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Avg. Price Paid:$6,028 - $7,465
Original MSRP: $16,395 - $20,195
MPG: 19 City / 26 Hwy
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2008 Kia Rondo Interior

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

Most auto writers applaud Kia for the Rondo's refined and practical interior cabin. "Its cockpit is logically laid out, the seating is comfortable and hauling room is both generous and variable," writes Edmunds. MSN adds, "High seats, a tall roof and large glass area provide the quiet, nicely done interior with an airy feel."

However, a few reviewers have a different take on interior quality. Cars.com gripes, "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."

Seating

With 107.8 cubic feet of passenger volume in the five-seat version, the Kia Rondo packs a lot of space into a modestly sized wagon. For an extra cost, a third-row bench seat increases passenger capacity to seven. MSN marvels, "Looking at pictures, you might not believe that the Rondo can hold three rows of seats. It doesn't look that big on paper, especially from the side view which makes it look like a competitor to the little Honda Fit hatchback."

In fact, the Rondo is just 2 feet longer than the Fit, slightly shorter than the Mazda5, and according to MSN, sized "more like that of a 2007 Honda CR-V." And according to the Orlando Sentinel, "The shortest Dodge minivan -- which is the shortest minivan available -- is still more than 10 inches longer than the Rondo."

Most reviewers find the Rondo comfortable in either its five-seat or seven-seat configurations. The Boston Globe comments, "I don't know how Kia packed so much leg room and head room into this vehicle." The Kansas City Star appreciates how the Rondo's tall roof "allows the seats to be upright like dining room chairs. That not only creates good legroom in a small space, but it also makes getting in and out easier. That's appealing to passengers of all ages, but it's especially helpful to those who aren't as limber as they used to be."

The front row captain's chairs gets especially good reviews, with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram calling them "surprisingly roomy" and Consumer Guide noting "ample leg room." The second row gets even more praise for legroom and headroom. Cars.com gushes "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 reclines and slides back and forth to allow easier entry or more legroom for the optional third row.

The two-seat third row, however, is where the praise begins to fade. Most find it's hardly worth the extra cost. The Sacramento Bee says "I can't advise putting seven people in the 179-inch-long Rondo. Kia gives you that choice with a third-row seat -- for an extra $500 -- but one of those seven in that cramped space better be a chiropractor willing to help his/her seatmate." MSN finds the third row "mainly suited to kids." However, buyers with very young children should note that the third-row seats don't include LATCH child-seat anchors, "which suggests it's not a place for little kids," Edmunds says.

But a few reviewers buck the trend and find the third row adequate, with AutoWeek commenting, "While many third rows offer what we've come to regard as merely a street-legal place to tie down a child or two, we haven't found many that are this hospitable -- even in far larger vehicles." The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also notes "unlike the third row in some of the other compact crossovers, the Rondo's has enough room to hold two average-size adults."

Interior Features

The Rondo comes in three different LX models -- the base, the I4 engine and the V6. The base model (without the V6) is priced well below the others and is differentiated by its standard interior features. It comes with power windows and door locks, but doesn't include cruise control or air-conditioning. Newsday reports "The AC is $900 extra in the cheapest Rondo, standard in the rest." The EX model includes standard air-conditioning and cruise control, as well as other interior conveniences.

Cars.com also notes LX buyers should keep in mind "Kia's tendency to leave the evidence where optional equipment would have gone; without the optional steering-wheel audio controls, for instance, the steering wheel features blank plastic buttons on its left side." In addition, MSN urges buyers to be aware that "several options typically offered on other wagons and crossover-type vehicles aren't available on the Rondo." Options not offered on any trim include a navigation system, rear entertainment system, and rear-park assist.

Cargo

The 2008 Kia Rondo provides 6.5 cubic feet of cargo space with all three rows in place. In five-seat models (or with the third row folded down), that increases to 31.7 cubic feet. With both the second row and the optional third row folded down, space increases to an even bigger 74.4 cubic feet -- "more room than the Toyota RAV4, which sports one of the largest cargo areas in the compact SUV class," according to Cars.com.

The 60/40-split second-row seat folds completely forward and the 50/50-split third-row seatbacks fold flat. The first-row passenger seatback also folds forward to accommodate long objects. But Cars.com finds the three-step process of folding the second-row seats too difficult: "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." On the other hand, the reviewer finds the third row easy to fold and notes that space with just that row folded down is "large enough for most shopping duties, even a back-to-back grocery and Costco run."

But with all seats in use, reviewers find cargo space lacking. The Los Angeles Times calls the 6.5 cubic feet "Porsche-like" and MSN concludes "...there is little cargo space with the third-row seatbacks in their upright position. However, chances are those seatbacks will be flipped forward for good cargo room when groceries and such are being carried." Still, many reviewers like the cargo-friendly rear hatch. Kelley Blue Book says the sizable opening "rivals that of many conventional SUVs. Its lower cutout margin extends all the way down to bumper level, making it particularly easy to load or unload larger, bulkier objects."

Interior storage spaces are also a plus. AutoWeek says, "The Rondo is loaded with convenient storage, including a smart in-dash shelf framed by the top edge of the glove box door." Several reviewers also like the below-floor compartments in five-seat models. The cupholders are another big hit, with MSN raving "...Kia's Rondo has more cupholders than seats! The 5-passenger Rondo comes with eight cupholders, while the 7-passenger Rondo has 10 cupholders."

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