Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2009 Kia Rondo Overview
The 2009 Kia Rondo boldly strides into the burgeoning crossover segment with little concern for the fierce competition it faces. Affordable, flexible and offering both four- and six-cylinder power, plus room for five or seven passengers, this user-friendly front-wheel-drive hauler displays the kinds of features and options – including standard stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and the industry's longest and most comprehensive warranty package – that have come to characterize most of Kia's current-generation products. While the Rondo's closest direct competitor would be the slightly smaller Mazda MAZDA5, its cross-shopping potential encompasses everything from a Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevrolet HHR or Dodge Caliber to front-wheel-drive versions of smaller SUVs like the Honda CR-V, Saturn VUE and Toyota RAV4.
Matching versatility, value, safety and security, the 2009 Kia Rondo is a decidedly attractive choice for anyone in a one-vehicle household. The top-line EX, particularly when upgraded with the optional Premium Package with navigation, makes a very inviting daily driver.
If you truly believe that only bigger can really be better – or just see a micro-minivan in the Rondo's silhouette – you may still be part of Generation SUV and find more to love in an upsized, truck-based alternative.
For 2009, both the four- and six-cylinder engines see a modest bump in horsepower, and the base LX trim now features air conditioning as part of its standard equipment list. Last year's Leather Package, which includes leather seating surfaces and heated front seats, is now standard on EX trims.
Although it has a slightly longer wheelbase and unique rear suspension, the Rondo shares a good deal of basic platform design with Kia's mid-size Optima sedan, which endows it with a distinctly car-like feel. Ride comfort is good and, despite a somewhat taller profile, body roll is minimal and well controlled. Even the four-cylinder engine with the four-speed automatic transmission possesses sufficient force to get you through normal urban stop-and-go traffic and onto freeways at speed; however, the more potent V6 and five-speed automatic provides more enthusiastic acceleration and, in the bargain, includes a bigger wheel and tire package that makes for slightly sportier handling. In either case, the Rondo's standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) provide a reassuring safety net in a variety of conditions.
Choice of Engines
While the available V6 offers more power and torque plus an extra gear in the automatic transmission with which it's paired, the four-cylinder engine has sufficient muscle to cope with lighter-duty chores and offers even better fuel economy and a lower base price.
Cargo-Friendly Rear Hatch
The Rondo's huge rear-hatch 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.
Familiar Kia-style cues in the dash and center stack, a user-friendly demeanor and lots of cupholders and storage cubbies dominate the Rondo's nicely finished cabin. The LX offers cloth upholstery, and seating for five, while the EX is fitted with premium leather and comes with three rows of seats standard. The decently supportive front buckets and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat can handle two adults or three younger folks with relative ease. Add the 50/50-split folding third-row seat, and the second row adds nearly 12 inches of fore and aft travel that eases access to that third row. Configuring the Rondo in seven-passenger mode does cut rear storage space from over 30 cubic feet to not a lot more than about one medium-sized duffel bag, but folding both the second and third rows opens up a generous 70-plus cubic feet maximum capacity.
The 2009 Kia Rondo's clean lines are highlighted by its curving roofline and a bias-cut rear side-window shape that imparts a bit more character to the generously proportioned glass. At the LX trim level, the accent elements are all rendered in black or body color, while items like the grille, door handles and side moldings are bright chrome on EX versions. Top-line Rondo models also get fog lamps, heated outside mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. In keeping with a very welcome corporate practice, the Rondo's wheel and tire fitments are commendably generous, with LX models having H-rated 205/60 rubber on 16-inch standard aluminum wheels and EXs stepping up to V-rated Michelin 225/50 tires on 17-inch alloy rims.
The 2009 Kia Rondo has a long list of desirable features that include air conditioning, electronic stability control, anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) and front and front-side airbags plus head-protection side curtains. Other standard amenities include power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt steering column, auxiliary input jack, front and rear 12-volt power outlets and cupholders, six-way non-power driver's seat and 60/40-split folding rear bench. EX and LX models get a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio package with a three month subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio, while the EX trim also has leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless remote entry, third-row seat and leather accents on its shift knob and multifunction steering wheel.
The extras list for both Rondo lines is fairly modest. Single options include a body kit (fender flares and fascia extensions), upper and lower rear spoilers, rear bumper protector and a cargo shelf. Save for the base version, LXs can be ordered with the LX Plus package, which adds heated seats and 16-inch alloy wheels. Also available are a third-row seat and roof-rail crossbars. EX buyers can step up even further with the Premium Package, which includes navigation, power sunroof and premium eight-speaker Infinity AM/FM/MP3 audio system with six-disc CD changer).
Kia offers the Rondo with two engine and transmission combinations – both also common with current or previous Optima models. Standard is a 2.4-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine. Fitted with efficiency-enhancing Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT), it makes 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. The Rondo V6 models have the DOHC 2.7-liter unit that's also used in several other Kia vehicles and is backed by a five-speed automatic. It, too, is fortified with CVVT, and it cranks out 192 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Both of the Rondo's automatic transmissions feature a Sportmatic gate to permit manual control of upshifts and downshifts.
2.4-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
169 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
167 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (SULEV)
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm (SULEV)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27
192 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
184 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
In base form, the 2009 Kia Rondo LX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $18,000. The "standard" LX bumps the price closer to $19,000 with a four-cylinder engine and $20,000 with the V6, while the EX starts just under $22,000 and an EX V6 around $23,000. Those are fairly aggressive numbers versus many other players in the segment, and all Rondo models have sold in the past for slightly less than those amounts. New Car Blue Book Values, representing prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment, can differ substantially, so click on the New Car Blue Book Values to compare. The Rondo is projected to maintain average resale values over time, with numbers that are right in the middle of those belonging to most of its direct competitors.