2007 Kia Rondo Review
The Rondo delivers a safe, affordable and spacious ride on a budget, but can't match the sportier performance or resale value of others in its class.
Reviewers generally agree the all-new 2007 Kia Rondo is a practical, affordable and safe five-seat (seven-seat-optional) alternative to a traditional minivan or SUV. Consumer Guide summarizes consensus, noting, "Kia calls Rondo a crossover, but its carlike design and lack of available all-wheel drive land it squarely in the wagon camp. As such, its roomy interior, flexible cargo accommodations, and attractive pricing make Rondo worth a look." Edmunds calls it "A mini multipurpose vehicle with a super-size interior." And MSN further notes that even though the Rondo "mainly stresses practicality," it still provides "decent driving fun" - in part thanks to clutchless manual shifting capability on both automatic transmission choices. A shared platform with the Kia Optima sedan gives the wagon a carlike feel.
Though the Rondo's only direct competitor is the Mazda5 wagon, it is also similar to other car-based crossover sport-utility vehicles, including the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe. However, Edmunds notes that what sets it apart are "optional seating for seven, the choice between inline four-cylinder and V6 engines, and a high value quotient when cost and Kia's generous warranty are factored together." In addition, the Rondo differs from a minivan because its large side doors open outward (like a car) instead of sliding. The concludes the Rondo "has a lot to offer young families on a budget. No matter what you call it, it is more roomy and versatile than a sedan and lacks the baggage of a too-square too-big minivan."
Best of all, the Rondo is highly affordable according to almost every reviewer. Cars.com gushes, "There is no compact SUV or full-size minivan on the market with a lower starting price than the Rondo." Edmunds calls the pricing "pretty aggressive" and points out that even the fully optioned top-of-the-line EX V6 test vehicle "bottom-lined at a very attractive $22,495. This is a provocative price in a market where the price of a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 can approach $30,000." For buyers on even more of a budget, the points out the base model's attractive "sub-$17,000 starting price. Adding air-conditioning ($900) and a few other options bumps the sticker, but you'd be hard pressed to spend more than $25,000, whereas an Odyssey can top $40,000."
Though the Rondo is highly affordable, its value over time is less than impressive. IntelliChoice gives the LX base model a value rating of "worse than average" for its predicted five-year total cost of ownership, compared to others in its class. MSN calls the Rondo's resale value "a question mark." And Kelley Blue Book estimates it will maintain just 31 percent of its original purchase price over a five-year period -- "or slightly-to-moderately less than most of its direct competitors."
The Rondo comes in two trims, the LX and EX, which are both available with either the standard inline four-cylinder engine or an optional V6.