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
In most cases, reviewers think that performance from the 2009 Kia Rondo is adequate, though not much more.
Between the 175-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and the larger 192-hp V-6 option, the engines are surprisingly similar in feel around town. The difference is in passing ability. ConsumerGuide calls the 2009 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 doesn't seem to make a lot of difference around town, but it proves "meaningfully stronger at highway speed." On the other hand, while agreeing that the smaller engine's power is "adequate," the New York Times suggests 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, but according to Cars.com, the mileage difference isn't much, and unless the buyer is paying cash, the extra money shouldn't add significantly to the monthly payments.
Reviews are 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 is more enthusiastic about the five-speed automatic version of the 2009 Kia.
Braking and handling, according to the range of reviews read, aren’t anything to seriously gripe about but aren’t particularly boast-worthy either. Cars.com reports that braking is solid, although the 2009 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, but according to Kelley Blue Book, this is not the case.
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—especially now that there’s a bump in power. 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.
There’s nothing here to remark strongly about; the Rondo performs well for most family needs.