2007 Kia Rondo

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2007 Kia Rondo. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Manageable dimensions
  • Seating and cargo capacity
  • Tons of safety features
  • 10-year powertrain warranty

The Bad

  • Uninspired styling
  • Dowdy interior
  • Base model not as well-equipped as Mazda5

Notable Features of the 2007 Kia Rondo

  • All-new for 2007
  • Compact minivan, competes with Mazda5
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Optional third-row seat

2007 Kia Rondo Road Test

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David Thomas
Have you noticed? Automakers have been trying to disguise cars that five years ago would have been called minivans. They must have figured out that car buyers don't like that term, because they are bending over backward to design multipurpose cars that don't look like minivans of the past — replacing sliding doors with standard, swing-out ones and jacking the vehicles up to SUV height. Of course, they're not calling them minivans anymore, either.

With the Rondo, Kia bucks that trend. Kia doesn't call it a minivan, but the Rondo is the epitome of one in terms of style and size. It's a full 10 inches shorter than Kia's Sedona minivan, and has an optional third row that creates a cramped seven-seat configuration. There's plenty of cabin room for two rows, and it delivers a pleasant ride, yet although Kia hits a few home runs with the Rondo, they aren't enough to capture a pennant — or sway current minivan owners.

Exterior
Kia really wanted the Rondo to be "different." There's this whole "ugly beauty" aesthetic in the design world — think Scion xB — that companies are currently pursuing. The theory is, although the design might alienate most shoppers, the people who like it will really, really like it. I don't see the jelly bean styling of the Rondo getting many of those extremely positive reactions, though. The greenhouse is just way too tall, the profile is too stubby and neither the front nor the rear ...

Have you noticed? Automakers have been trying to disguise cars that five years ago would have been called minivans. They must have figured out that car buyers don't like that term, because they are bending over backward to design multipurpose cars that don't look like minivans of the past — replacing sliding doors with standard, swing-out ones and jacking the vehicles up to SUV height. Of course, they're not calling them minivans anymore, either.

With the Rondo, Kia bucks that trend. Kia doesn't call it a minivan, but the Rondo is the epitome of one in terms of style and size. It's a full 10 inches shorter than Kia's Sedona minivan, and has an optional third row that creates a cramped seven-seat configuration. There's plenty of cabin room for two rows, and it delivers a pleasant ride, yet although Kia hits a few home runs with the Rondo, they aren't enough to capture a pennant — or sway current minivan owners.

Exterior
Kia really wanted the Rondo to be "different." There's this whole "ugly beauty" aesthetic in the design world — think Scion xB — that companies are currently pursuing. The theory is, although the design might alienate most shoppers, the people who like it will really, really like it. I don't see the jelly bean styling of the Rondo getting many of those extremely positive reactions, though. The greenhouse is just way too tall, the profile is too stubby and neither the front nor the rear end offers any interesting angles.

The huge windows, while creating a frumpy exterior look, are actually a pleasant change of pace once you're inside the Rondo. They're preferable to the high beltlines of most of today's cars and SUVs and are terrific for sightlines; there are even small windows near the front pillars that give a better view to the right or left of the driver.

Trying to sell anyone on the Rondo's ugly beauty might be tough indeed. During a week of driving it, I felt too much like a suburbanite with at least two children, and I have no kids and live in the city. To pull off the cool-transport attitude, you want the opposite effect. There's just no way to feel cool in the Rondo, and if everyone sees me driving what they think is a minivan, I might as well buy a real minivan.

Interior
The Rondo's interior is filled with severely molded plastic. The bulky, gray stuff makes up most of the substantial areas of the interior — including the dash, glove box and center stack — and probably contributed to the opinion of many who sat in the Rondo that the cabin felt cheap. However, the radio and air conditioning controls and the steering wheel felt very nice to the touch and were almost welcoming.

It's the interior where you have to remember that the Rondo's base price is under $17,000. That might be high for a compact car, but this is supposed to compete not only with minivans but also with compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V. There is no compact SUV or full-size minivan on the market with a lower starting price than the Rondo.

With that in mind, I really didn't find the interior to be inferior. The front captain's chairs are much more like a minivan than an SUV and took some getting used to, but everything was laid out ergonomically, and the optional leather seats were quite comfortable over long hauls.

The second-row seats offered a lot of both leg- and headroom; I don't think it would be possible for anyone shorter than Kobe Bryant to hit their head on the roof of the cabin. The second row slides back and forth and reclines. The optional third row is tight, as one would expect in a vehicle this size. Small children might enjoy it, but anyone old enough for a driver's license shouldn't ride back there for more than a few minutes.

Cargo
Cargo hauling is an obvious plus for the Rondo, with its 74.4 inches of cargo room with the second- and third-row seats folded flat. That's more room than the Toyota RAV4, which sports one of the largest cargo areas in the compact SUV class. And yes, you can get a lot of stuff back there. However, the second-row seats are cumbersome to fold. It's a three-step process that includes pulling the seat bottoms forward with a strap, then removing the head restraints and storing them in holes on the turned-upward seat bottom. When that's done, the seatback folds flat where the seat cushion used to be. This is how many SUVs and other vehicles handled fold-flat cargo areas in the past, but for a new model to do it this way is a major flaw.

It's especially disappointing because the busy families looking at the Rondo are most likely to need a one-handed — or even one-button — method of expanding the cargo area, given one hand is likely to be busy with shopping bags, the laundry, a baby seat or even a baby. These owners will be frustrated if they need to change the layout on the fly.

Luckily, I found the cargo area with just the easy-folding third row down plenty large enough for most shopping duties, even a back-to-back grocery and Costco run. It's rated at 35.0 cubic feet, which is slightly less than the Honda CR-V and RAV4.

Performance
My biggest gripe with the Rondo concerns its performance, or, more precisely, its poor gas mileage. The optional V-6 engine in my test car had plenty of pep despite its somewhat sluggish automatic transmission. That triumphant feeling of ample passing power on the highway, however, will quickly fade at the pump. The EPA rates mileage at 20/27 mpg (city/highway) with the V-6 and 21/29 for the base four-cylinder. We observed less than that — mid- to high teens — in mainly city driving. The EPA numbers are similar to those for front-wheel-drive compact SUVs like the CR-V and V-6-powered RAV4, but both of those SUVs are more refined on the road than the Rondo.

The Rondo's ride, though, is exceptional. It glided smoothly over the bumpiest of Chicago's potholed roads. You could run errands in the Rondo all day with no backache.

Steering is intuitive, and despite a long wheelbase and its overall length, the Rondo was easy to navigate in tight spots. The upright seating position creates terrific forward visibility, and the huge windows help things out back.

The Rondo could be a very nice highway cruiser, but it suffers from some expected wind noise because of its awkward, tall shape. It's actually taller than both the RAV4 and CR-V, even though the step up is shorter.

Safety
Like many Kias, the Rondo comes equipped with a number of safety features that are standard on even the least expensive, base trim level. Front-seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags for all three rows, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, electronic stability control, a tire pressure monitoring system and front active head restraints are all standard.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had not crash tested the Rondo as of this writing.

Rondo in the Market
The Rondo is an odd duck to be sure, and not just because of its looks. No vehicle on the market offers this much interior and cargo room for so low a price. Even when decked out with leather, an upgraded Infinity sound system, a moonroof and a V-6 engine, my test vehicle was just more than $23,000. That kind of value statement is very alluring.

The question, though, is who is going to see that value? Thrifty compact-SUV shoppers who can no longer find a sub-$20,000 vehicle? Minivan owners who are looking to downsize and save money? I'm not sure, because Kia's full-size Sedona minivan starts at a price similar to a V-6 Rondo, but with a much more powerful engine.

The Rondo's transmission issue and sub-par gas mileage are significant cons, but all the other factors, like value, safety and comfort, will add up nicely for that elusive buyer who wants everything the Rondo offers, but doesn't want a full-size minivan. For everyone else in the market, nothing about the Rondo seems to add up.

Send David an email 



2007 Rondo Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2007 Rondo Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great value for the money

by leo from Levittown on October 2, 2018

Great family car, great value for the money. Acquired used no mechanical problems in over ten years. Recommend car for small family decent fuel economy Read full review

(5.0)

Love this car

by Elmersmom from Albany,ny on July 14, 2018

I bought this used in 2011. It has leather interior, premium sound, sunroof, 3rd row seat... nice vehicle! I don't know why KIA stopped making them. I have a trailer hitch added to mine to transport ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2007 Kia Rondo currently has 3 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2007 Kia Rondo has not been tested.

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All Model Years for the Kia Rondo

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Rondo received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker