Kia Rondo Research

The Car Connection Kia Rondo Overview

The Kia Rondo is a five-door compact crossover, or as the form factor is often called, a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). The Rondo has consistently won solid safety marks and delivers a lot of value for the money despite its slightly dowdy looks. Positioned against cars like the Mazda5, Toyota Venza, Chrysler PT Cruise, Scion xB and Chevrolet HHR, its base price range of $17,495 to $22,295 is a competitive starting point.

While it has only been around since 2007 in the U.S., the Kia Rondo builds on seven previous years of experience with the car in other markets. Its five- or seven-seat configurations and easily reconfigurable interior make it unique in the small people-mover class. While it lacks some of the sportiness of the Mazda5, it is a solid alternative to the decidedly quirky HHR, PT Cruiser and xB.

Powered by a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 192-horsepower 2.7-liter V-6, the Rondo os available in three trim packages: Base, LX, and EX. The four-cylinder models use a four-speed automatic with overdrive, while the six-cylinder models get a five-speed auto with overdrive. If you choose the base model, you only get the choice of the four-cylinder, with the V-6 reserved as an optional upgrade for the LX and EX trims. Standard features include a Sirius Satellite Radio system, front and rear 12-volt power outlets, USB input, and a wealth of safety features including an advanced airbag system, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.

Upgrading to LX trim adds the option of alloy wheels in place of the 16-inch steel units, air conditioning (not available on the base model), standard cruise control, and keyless entry among other features. The EX goes a notch further, adding an optional sunroof, navigation system, and Infinity eight-speaker sound system as upgrades. Standard 16-inch alloy wheels are also part of the EX package, and they can be upgraded to 17-inch units. Fog lights, chrome side moldings, chrome grille accents, and power/heated side mirrors also dress up the EX.

The final distinguishing factor of the EX is the availability of the premium package where the base and LX can only upgrade to the plus package. The plus package adds includes alloy wheels, heated front seats and Rondo-logo floormats. The premium package adds the power/tilt sunroof, navigation system and Infinity sound system as a group.

Looking forward to 2011, no major changes are expected for the Rondo as it's still a fairly young car. Minor exterior styling and interior featuers updates may come, but they'll be intended to add value rather than a true redesign.

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