Over the years it’s not always been the crowd favourite when it comes to compact people movers, but this time, it’s different.
The 2017 edition of the Kia Rondo is extremely well put together and feels more expensive than the reasonable $30,799 price tag would suggest. We took the S, the base model, out for a spin or several over a week and found plenty of value on offer.
So let’s climb inside to start off with. The seats are comfortable and they hold you well. The driving position is also quite comfortable, and if we had to call one thing out, the driver’s seat could use some lumbar support to really make it brilliant.
The dash set up is great with everything in easy reach, and the Rondo S has some pretty nice standard inclusions such as Bluetooth, reversing camera and reversing sensors, plus a multi-function infotainment system and a great 6-speaker sound system.
Cruise control is also standard as well as a speed limiter that can be set so the vehicle won’t exceed the set limit. A very handy feature in some situations. On the whole, the interior is of a high quality, and even the floor mats feel more expensive than they are.
There is a heap of room in the back for all that sporting gear, shopping or weekend getaways, even with the back seats in use. There is plenty of leg and head room throughout as well and the rear seats also recline a little, so weekends away with friends or family are very comfortable.
It’s great for families looking for a comfortable, economical and useful, every day drive. If you need some extra space to move things, the rear seats fold flat too, providing a ridiculous amount of space. The next model up, the Si, has a third row of seats to allow it to be a genuine 7-seater.
The downside to the Si is these seats are really only good for smaller kids as there isn’t a lot of leg room. This also reduces the cargo space significantly.
Under the hood, the engine in this compact people mover is pretty punchy for a 2.0-litre direct injection engine that doesn’t have a turbo bolted on. It can sit comfortably on highway speeds as well as being smooth and easy to get around in on city streets.
Paired with the excellent 6-speed auto transmission it was well behaved throughout our rigorous testing, quiet, and comfortable to drive. The 122kW power plant will get you moving and it’s quite economical as well at 7.9l/100km in varying conditions. With a 15,000km service interval it is an easy vehicle to live with too.
We did find the brakes on this vehicle were a little bitey and on more than one occasion it felt like the driver over reacted, even though this was not the case. Visibility is excellent as well, and overall it really just feels like a mid-sized car, rather than a people mover.
Even today, not everyone is a fan of the exterior design of the Rondo, which now looks more like a mini version of the Carnival than ever before, but you can’t please all the people, all the time, and quite frankly, we liked it.
The external build quality is great, and the doors close with a satisfying ‘thunk’, which means it doesn’t feel cheap or nasty. It has some nice features, including heated exterior mirrors, great for those dewy mornings, and it’s these little things that get it across the line for us.
The external headlights are automatic or manual and will “look” around the corner when you turn the steering wheel. Our test vehicle was fitted with steel rims but the Si version comes standard with alloys.
It comes in a number of colours including Clear White (our test vehicle), Cherry Black, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Newport Blue and Inferno Red. It also comes with Kia’s market leading seven year warranty.
All in all it’s a great family car that’s very easy to drive. We reckon that the Rondo S would definitely suit a young family that needs a little extra space and didn’t want to spend a heap of money, and let’s face it, if you need more room, for an extra $5000 you can upgrade to the 7-seat Rondo Si.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2017 Kia Rondo S, contact your local Kia dealer.