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The experts at TheCarConnection.com perused the range of reviews available on the new Kia Rondo to produce this comprehensive review. TheCarConnection.com’s editors have also driven it, so as to add expert opinions to this Rondo review, and compare it to rival vehicles.
The 2008 Kia Rondo is a tall wagon that fits into Kia's lineup somewhere between the Sportage small SUV, Sedona minivan, and Optima sedan. It was first introduced to the U.S. market for 2007 and carries into 2008 unchanged. The Rondo LX base model comes with standard power accessories, then the LX adds air conditioning and a roof rack, among other features. The top-of-the-range EX brings a long list of upgrades, including 17-inch wheels, fog lamps, upgraded upholstery, keyless entry, an upgraded sound system, and most notably, third-row seating that expands the Rondo's capacity to seven.
The Rondo's forte is people-moving--though it has enviable cargo capacity, too. The Rondo's third row is by no means a place for adults to sit, but there's space for two adults and five kids, or two adults, three kids, and a lot of cargo. Both the second and third rows fold forward for a flat loading floor, and the second row slides fore and aft for improved legroom, a little more cargo space, or more balanced legroom between the second and third rows. And there are plenty of cubbies for stuff, including a huge recessed tray below the cargo floor in back.
Performance is competent but unremarkable in the Rondo, which can be equipped with two different engines: a 162-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 182-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. The four-cylinder is smooth, refined, and more efficient than the V-6 (cheaper, too), so we recommend it. The Rondo's automatic transmissions shift smoothly and come with a +/- shift gate for manual control. Handling isn't sharp, but the 2008 Kia Rondo is very maneuverable, and its compact size makes it surprisingly easy to park. The Rondo has a very smooth ride, and its basic but attractive and comfortable interior stays quiet.
The Rondo performed well in the federal government's crash tests, earning five stars for frontal protection and five- and four-star results for front side and rear side protection, respectively. Electronic stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are standard, along with front side and head curtain airbags that cover outboard occupants. The warranty is another reason to consider the Rondo; Kia's coverage ranges up to 10 years or 100,000 miles on powertrain and five/50,000 on almost everything else.