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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
somewhat rough running 192-horsepower 2.7-liter V6
power is there, but not so aggressive that the wheel puts up a fight
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.
Not everyone thinks that the V-6 isn’t worth the extra money, though. With the four-cylinder engine, ConsumerGuide deems the Rondo’s performance just "adequate" when starting out, but also 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." MotorWeek calls the larger engine rough running and noisy, however. The New York Times agrees that the smaller engine is just adequate but suggests that the "stronger but slightly less fuel-efficient V-6 hardly seems worth the extra cost [of $1,000]." Regardless, Cars.com says that the difference in fuel economy isn’t significant. EPA ratings are 20 mpg city, 27 highway with the four but 18/26 mpg with the V-6. In 20,000 miles of combined driving, MotorWeek reports "a mediocre 21.8 miles per gallon," and the "base four-cylinder does better."
Both engines are paired with an automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and comes with a +/- shift gate for manual control. Car and Driver says the "V-6 felt comparatively gruff," and "the transmission didn't help significantly."
Don’t expect anything pulse-quickening about the way the 2010 Kia Rondo handles either. According to Kelley Blue Book, the lack of body roll makes it quite capable, if not fun, while Cars.com reports that braking is solid—though the Rondo tends to nosedive during hard braking.
There’s nothing remarkable here; the Rondo performs well for most family needs.