2010 Kia Rondo Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 2, 2010

You likely won’t be drawn to the 2010 Kia Rondo because of its looks, but you’re likely to see it in a different light if you do your research first.

In order to bring you this comprehensive Bottom Line summary of the 2010 Kia Rondo, the editors of TheCarConnection.com have driven the Rondo and report on how it drives and stacks up to other people-movers. Then to give you the most information for an informed purchase decision, TheCarConnection.com has read a range of other reviews, bringing you highlights in the adjacent Full Review.

Whether you see it as an interesting alternative to the traditional minivan or a tall-roof hatchback or wagon, the 2010 Kia Rondo remains a unique vehicle in the market. With an unbelievably roomy, minivan-like interior layout—in five- or seven-passenger seating—paired with backdoors that are hinged, not sliding, the 2010 Kia Rondo is definitely a little weird-looking but redeems itself for a number of reasons.

The Rondo is built for room, not for sex appeal, with its tall, bulbous profile and five-door configuration eking three available rows of seating out of a footprint that’s barely larger than that of a compact car. From some angles the Rondo appears downright awkward, but the rounded silhouette looks reasonably attractive, thanks to its overall simplicity and lack of gimmicky details. Inside, too, the emphasis is on functionality, with an unremarkable instrument panel design that locates the shifter at the bottom, not as part of the center console.

The 2010 Kia Rondo certainly won’t win any drag races. Powertrain options remain a 175-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 192-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. Between the two, there’s very little difference in actual thrust, so we recommend the more affordable four-cylinder engine, which is smooth and slightly more fuel-efficient. Both engines are paired with an automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and comes with a +/- shift gate for manual control. Maneuverability is very impressive in the Rondo, and it’s especially easy to park, but it doesn’t handle with the sharpness of the better minivans or sport wagons.

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Moving people and their stuff around in relative comfort is what the 2010 Kia Rondo does best; although a third row of seating is available, it’s designed for children, not adults. Overall, the seating arrangement is fuss-free and helps maximize space, with the second row sliding fore and aft for better access to the third row or a better balance of legroom between rows. Storage space hasn’t been forgotten either; there are lots of small cubbies, along with an impressive recessed tray below the cargo floor. The materials used in the Rondo aren’t that impressive—they’re definitely of the type you’d see in a cut-rate small car—but it feels well put-together and has a smooth ride, free from excess road or wind noise.

The Rondo comes with a good set of standard safety features, including electronic stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, plus front side and full-length head-curtain airbags. Safety features are quite good, too. In federal tests, the Rondo earns five stars for frontal impact and four- and five-star results for side and rear impact.

Value for the money is a strong reason to consider the 2010 Rondo, which has one of the better new-car warranties and a strong list of standard features. Kia's coverage ranges up to 10 years or 100,000 miles on powertrain and 5 years/50,000 miles on almost everything else. Even at the base level, the Rondo comes with power windows, locks, and mirrors, and the LX adds air conditioning and a roof rack, among other features. Third-row seating is included with the top-of-the-line EX, which also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, plus fog lamps, upgraded upholstery, keyless entry, and an upgraded sound system.

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