Kia has decided to cease production of the Kia Rondo. This compact minivan offered more of a crossover flavor in terms of exterior styling, but with the ability to haul as many as seven passengers across three rows of seating, it added a hefty dose of utility to go with its frugal four-cylinder power plant and extremely affordable price. Kia never brought out a 2010 edition of the Kia Rondo, preferring instead to let remaining supplies of 2009 models slowly dwindle on dealer lots, with only a few currently remaining available for purchase across the country.
With so many growing families looking for the practicality, seating and storage space of a minivan but not interested in stepping up to a larger vehicle and spending more money than they have in their car budget, it's never a good sign when a compact minivan option bites the dust. Let's take a look the best small minivan candidate still out there on the new car market.
2010 Mazda MAZDA5
Although priced around $3,000 more than the bargain-basement Kia Rondo, the 2010 Mazda MAZDA5 has a few additional perks to justify its higher MSRP. For starters, the MAZDA5 has developed a reputation as one of the best handling compact people movers available, and combined with its peppy 153 horsepower four-cylinder drivetrain, standard manual transmission and a suspension system that was designed by the same engineers who put together the Mazda Miata and the Mazda RX-8, this minivan has some serious cred through the corners
While the Mazda MAZDA5 gives up a single seating position to the Kia Rondo - it offers accommodations for six, rather than seven passengers across three rows - it does come with a healthy 44.4 cubic feet of cargo space with that last row folded forward. It also provides a number of storage compartments, nooks and crannies dedicated to stowing away gear while underway. Perhaps best of all is the vehicle's best in class fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 miles per gallon on the highway, numbers that are difficult for larger minivans to duplicate.
Other Compact Minivan Replacement Options
Although the departure of the Kia Rondo has essentially whittled the field of compact minivans down to one (the 2010 Mazda MAZDA5), there are a few other mini-people movers worth considering.
- 2010 Scion xB - While this box-shaped crossover might not offer the seating found in a minivan, its roomy interior and excellent cargo space are backed with excellent fuel economy and a fun, youth-oriented vibe.
- 2010 Nissan Cube - Square seems to be in when it comes to compact crossovers, as the Cube's rectangular dimensions are matched by a funky appearance that includes wrap-around rear glass. Once again, passenger accommodations are not van-like but there is plenty of room to store gear, packages and other items.
- 2010 Kia Soul - Smaller than the other two crossovers mentioned here, the fuel-efficient Soul does not replace the Rondo but it does fit in with the wave of toaster-shaped compacts that are giving entry-level car buyers a more practical family option compared to traditional hatchbacks.