2009 Kia Rondo Review

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
December 31, 2008

When looking at the 2009 Kia Rondo, don’t judge a book by its cover. Though it doesn’t flaunt svelte good looks or flashy trim and wheels, you’ll see it in a different light once you discover how Kia uses the space inside.

To compile this comprehensive review covering the 2009 Kia Rondo, the experts at TheCarConnection.com perused the range of reviews. To help compare it to rival vehicles, TheCarConnection.com's editors also bring their experience putting it through the paces.

Offered with a four- or six-cylinder engine and five- or seven-passenger seating, the front-wheel-drive 2009 Kia Rondo may be odd-looking, but this tall wagon is an interesting alternative to the traditional minivan.  Launched in 2007, it enters the 2009 model year with modest horsepower and fuel economy increases that keep it competitive.

Carrying humans is what the 2009 Kia Rondo does best, but it also has the enviable ability to carry cargo. The available third row, as in many of its competitors, is designed for little people, not adults. There is 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, including a huge recessed tray below the cargo floor in back.

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Performance is improved for 2009, but it won’t win any drag races. Either a 175-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 192-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 is available. 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 2009 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 LX entry model Rondo comes with standard power accessories, and the LX adds air conditioning and a roof rack as standard, among other features. The top-of-the-range 2009 Kia Rondo 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 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 2009 Rondo; Kia's coverage ranges up to ten years or 100,000 miles on powertrain and five/50,000 on almost everything else.

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