crossover vehicles have spawned a number of unusual and creative designs over the course of the past 15 years. The idea of creating an automobile which is capable of combining the driving experience of a standard sedan with the large cargo area and extra seating capacity of a sport-utility vehicle is one which has fired up the imaginations of some of the best engineers and stylists at car companies around the world. While the first tentative attempts at creating crossovers tended to err on the side of being a bit too wagon-like, the industry soon lost its fear of exploring as-yet unseen vehicle shapes. The result was a proliferation of crossovers with an outward appearance that ran the gamut from the odd to the sublime.
As time wore on, one of the most prominent criteria used in the creation of crossover vehicles was that they must be built upon a pre-existing automobile platform in order to maximize prior investments. At the very least, a crossover needed to share similar engines and drivetrains with other vehicles in the company lineup. This sometimes limited the design possibilities of a vehicle, so much so that there came to be a sort of standardized crossover look in certain segments of the market that took a lot of the fun out of the original shapes that had once been offered for sale.
Korean economy car company Kia, realizing that none of their current platforms were adequate for crossover conversion, decided to embark on a program to design their own unique vehicle that would bring the styling of Asian micro-vans to North America. Debuting in 2007 as the Rondo, the new crossover was of course larger than the vehicles typically sold on the Korean market but kept many of the same friendly-looking styling cues. The Rondo was targeted directly at families who need strong passenger capacity but didn't want to be seen in a vehicle the size of a typical minivan. Its low purchase price drew many interested parties into the company's showrooms, as Kia continued their trend of offering excellent value to buyers in the economy segment.
The 2007 Rondo represents the best used crossover currently available from Kia. This article delves into the features and specifications which have made the Rondo an appealing entry-level crossover to used car shoppers not interested in paying a lot for their family transportation.
2007 Kia Rondo
After seeing some success in the international market, the Kia Rondo made its North American debut for the 2007 model year. The re-designed crossover is aimed at competing with vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CRV, but bears a price that is more comparable to a compact wagon.
The 2007 Kia Rondo is available with one of two different engine choices. For those who don't intend to load the vehicle up to its full seven-passenger capacity, the 162 horsepower 4-cylinder unit coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission will do the job nicely. A 4-speed automatic is also available. When toting a high number of passengers or a heavy load of gear, it's a better idea to opt for the 182 horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine. Both engines see excellent fuel economy for a vehicle of the Rondo's size, with a slight edge going to the smaller 2.4-liter 4-cylinder: 21 miles per gallon in stop-and-go traffic and 29 on the highway.
Base Rondos come with air conditioning, cruise control and power door locks and mirrors. Upgrading to the Rondo EX adds leather interior trim, more attractive exterior styling and an available sunroof. Strangely, Kia offers the option of a barebones edition of the crossover which removes all but the most basic of equipment. This is clearly a nod to the company's history of producing stripped compact sedans, but it feels out of place in the larger crossover segment. The Rondo's third row of seating provides a livable amount of passenger room, and the entire cabin is large enough the most buyers who have never before been inside a Kia will likely find themselves surprised at how much bigger the interior of the vehicle feels compared to how it looks on the outside.
The 2007 Kia Rondo offers strong value for entry-level used crossover shoppers and makes an attractive upgrade over a compact wagon for anyone needing a larger, more capable vehicle without the associated higher price tag.