2008 Kia Rondo EX V6 from North America

Summary:

Fantastic

Faults:

Nothing so far as it is new.

General Comments:

With next child on the way, we needed a larger family vehicle and quickly realized that at $32K+ we will not be purchasing either a Toyota or a Honda.

My budget was $350 a month and on that basis there were three contenders: Chevy Uplander $23K base, Dodge Journey $19.5K and the Kia Rondo $23.8K.

I visited a Chevy dealership where I was shown a dinosaur of a vehicle offering seats that could not be folded into the floor, but could apparently be removed by one person, a feat that the dealer refused to perform citing his bad back. Given the size and weight of the seats, I am not surprised at all with his refusal or the back problem.

On top of that, the vehicle did not have cruise control, elbow rests in the middle row, handled like a three legged bovine, had extremely poor brakes and the space inside was limited by the awful seat design.

Regardless, with the 7.9% financing, the price come up to $366 a month, so in the neighborhood of what I was hoping to pay.

Both local Dodge dealerships flatly refused to compete on the basis of price, claiming that their product is superior and worth more than the competition.

The Journey’s third row seats did not offer enough legroom for school age children to sit comfortably in, and I was told that they will not attempt to come close to the $366 that Chevy offered as "our car is a brand new design and the Chev is on its way out". When I pointed out that at 20K advertised on Dodge.ca website I should be expecting lease payments of about that, I was told that the 20K price is a marketing gimmick since Dodge will not be supplying the dealerships with the base model until later in the model year. I walked.

Already thinking to increase my budget to $400 a month, I walked into Kia, where my inquiry for a 7 passenger vehicle at $350 a month or less was met with “Oh, sure we can do it”. Right away I was shown the better equipped EX model with a small V6, air, cruise, stability control, 6 airbags, CD, key-less entry, power windows, fold flat seats, side mirror defroster, steering wheel radio controls, auxiliary input jack etc, etc.

While I would not call the haggling that followed an experience I would like to repeat, I ended up paying $330 a month for a vehicle that my wife loves to drive, is short enough to park, tall enough to offer excellent visibility, carries kids in comfort (they fight for a third row seat) and gives me better gas mileage then my Avalon.

I bought the van as a people mover on basis of price alone but I am truly impressed with its performance, handling, braking and creature comforts. The Rondo handles like a car, offers excellent gas mileage and with all seats folding flat a lot of cargo space.

After 7000km in every seat and passenger configuration possible, from 7 adults to cargo carrier there is only one improvement that I could suggest – while the air conditioner is sufficient to cool the vehicle, it does not have ducts to cool the last row of seats and only one duct to the middle making temperature adjustments somewhat of a pain.

Compared to other family vehicles, the primary difference between the Rondo (a mini minivan) and 'regular' minivans is non existent cargo room when all seats are deployed and the lack of sliding side doors. The first I fixed by getting a Thule roof box, the other never bothered me much.

So far I’m really, really happy with the vehicle and if reliability proves to be reasonable, chances are that I will buy it at the end of the lease period.

I will keep you posted.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th August, 2008

9th Jan 2009, 11:29

Hello dear friend, I would like to know about your Kia Rondo, so please post the latest update about your Rondo... thanks!

7th May 2009, 08:52

Original reviewer here. The car now has 20 000 Km and so far there has been one problem - both flaps that cover the mirrors on the sun visors broke, one at 12K the other recently. The dealer refused to fix under warranty and offered to replace the entire visor for $230, but seeing how KIA part is made out of cheap, brittle plastic, I will attempt to find either an aftermarket or a part salvaged from a vehicle made by a different manufacturer.

I also sense a bit of vibration coming from the front end when braking – not enough to warrant a closer look yet, but noticeable given how smooth breaking was a few months ago. I suspect that the rotors are beginning to warp and will need to be replaced within 10K Km.

Will keep you posted.

2007 Kia Rondo EX 2.4 4-cyl from North America

Summary:

What America has been looking for in size and capacity, instead of the conventional SUV

Faults:

Brake rotors warped upon delivery.

Wheels out of balance upon delivery.

General Comments:

Great little urban commuter. Rides and handles almost like the Optima (from which it shares the same chassis and architecture). Minimal body lean - almost sporty.

Gobs of interior space. It has as much passenger room in the interior as a BMW 7 series, and the cargo capacity of a midsize SUV, without having to go to the truck-type chassis.

Upgraded EX trim includes 17 inch tires and wheels, all power equipment is standard and the control layout is sensible and well laid out. Mine has the sunroof and Infinity 6-pack stereo, and it is crisp and clear.

Clear sight lines and visibility, easy to maneuver, plenty of power from the 4-cylinder.

Gas mileage is not the best though - around 20-22 in the city, although it got an even 30 on the highway at moderate speeds.

Seats are firm and comfortable, but one is best to invest in some good aftermarket fabric protectant as the seats are prone to water spots that don't scrape off with your fingernail.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th April, 2008

7th Jun 2009, 10:01

I like the Rondo, a lot! it seems to me like it's a great bang for a buck these days. 22/30 EPA doesn't sound all that bad to me. My 99' Town & Country, equipped with a 3.8L V6, doesn't seem to have one shred of mercy. I can actually see the gas needle move, whenever I'm looking at it. Thanks you for the review, I will consider it when buying the Rondo.

9th Jun 2009, 19:36

Update from original submission. Rondo now has almost 15K on it, and it still handles like crazy. Just moved between the Poconos and the Catskills and the gas mileage hasn't suffered at all. It's 90% highway mileage from now on, and I have gotten around 32 mpg when not pushed to hard. Still get all kinds of "what the %#!$" stares and I just motor on. It's one hell of a vehicle. My brother just picked up an 08 EX with the V6 and the premium package and he got almost 31 mpg on a trip (it does have an extra gear though)

6th Nov 2009, 03:00

I have never get over 24mpg on my 2008 Kia Rondo LX V6. 31 mpg is a dream and I did not get it at all.

10th Nov 2009, 19:29

Original owner here again. I have the 4 cylinder model, so you having the V6 (even with the extra gear) will eat the gas. My brother has an 08 EX V6 Rondo and averages 28-29 mpg when driven prudently (60-65 mph).