Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
power output seems more than adequate for the job
drives...well enough for the average Kia buyer
Car and Driver
power is there, but not so aggressive that the wheel puts up a fight
Reviewers feel the 2008 Kia Rondo's performance is adequate for most driving situations.
There are some significant performance differences between the 162-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and the larger 182-hp V-6 option. ConsumerGuide calls the 2008 Rondo's four-cylinder's power "adequate" when starting out, but reports that it "struggles to gather speed for passing and merging." The V-6 option didn't seem to make a lot of difference around town, but it proved "meaningfully stronger at highway speed." On the other hand, while agreeing that the smaller engine's power was "adequate," the New York Times suggested that the "stronger but slightly less fuel-efficient V-6 hardly seems worth the extra cost [of $1,000]." This source may have a valid point here, but according to Cars.com, the mileage difference isn't that much, and unless the buyer is paying cash, the extra money shouldn't add significantly to the monthly payments.
Reviews were similarly mixed when it came to the transmission; while Car and Driver says the "V-6 felt comparatively gruff," it adds that "the transmission didn't help significantly." Kelley Blue Book, on the other hand, reports that the "four-speed automatic transmission possesses sufficient force to get you through normal urban stop-and-go traffic and onto freeways," but was more enthusiastic about the five-speed automatic version of the 2008 Kia.
Cars.com reports that braking is solid, although the 2008 Kia Rondo exhibits a tendency to nose-drive in hard braking situations. With such a tall profile, the Rondo should have plenty of body roll, you might suspect, but according to Kelley Blue Book, this is not the case. New York Newsday reports that the "Rondo's ride was almost always comfortable," but notes that when driving over some rough pavement at highway speed, the Rondo Kia was "a bouncing and unpleasant place to be."
Towing capacity is marginal; according to New York Newsday, the Rondo Kia can tow no more than 1,000 pounds regardless of which engine is installed.
TheCarConnection.com spent hundreds of miles in the Kia Rondo, and observed that performance is competent but unremarkable. 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.
With the Rondo, Kia builds in decent performance with an inexpensive V-6 upgrade.