The Rondo is an all-new model, both in name and concept. It is a crossover utility vehicle that looks more like a car than a sport utility vehicle (SUV). Based on the Optima midsize sedan, the Rondo is available with 5 or 7 seats and 4- or 6-cylinder power.
Ever since fellow Korean automaker Hyundai purchased Kia, their products have tended to be developed in tandem. But when it comes to SUVs and crossovers, Kia has taken its own path. Hyundai's latest utility vehicles, the Santa Fe and Veracruz , follow the industry trend of combining aggressive SUV styling with a car-based platform. Kia, on the other hand, introduced the redesigned Sorento, which uses traditional truck-based (body-on-frame) construction, and the all-new Rondo, which is truly unique.
From the beltline up, the Rondo looks like an SUV, featuring a long hood and high roof. Below the beltline, however, the wheel-hugging fenders, low-profile tires, and short ground clearance resemble that of a car. The tall windows and available roof rails even provide a bit of a minivan-like appearance, but the doors are forward-hinged rather than the sliding type. Underneath its skin, the Rondo is based on the Optima sedan, sharing its engine choices (a 162-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder or a 182-hp, 2.7-liter V-6), automatic transmissions (a 4-speed automatic for the 4-cylinder and a 5-speed automatic for the V-6), front-wheel-drive layout, and four-wheel independent suspension (MacPherson strut in front, multi-link out back).
Standard safety equipment on the Rondo includes front-seat side air bags, full-length side curtain air bags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and a tire-pressure-monitoring system. Other standard features in the LX base model include power windows, locks, and mirrors and a CD player, while the EX model adds chrome trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, among other features. Several option packages are available for both models, and the Rondo is covered by a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.
The Kia Rondo competes in the Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment, which consists of 20 models. Buyers in this segment look for fuel economy, reliability, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Honda CR-V (170,028 units sold), Ford Escape (157,395), and Toyota RAV4 (152,047). The Kia Rondo sold a combined 594 units in November and December, 2006 in its first two months on the market. Other models offered in the Compact CUV segment include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevrolet Equinox and HHR, Saturn Vue, and Scion xB. Joining the segment in 2007 are two Jeep models-the Compass and Patriot.
|LX (A4)||4 speed automatic||$16,395||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||21/29|
|LX V6 (A5)||5 speed automatic||$18,895||182-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||20/27|
|EX (A4)||4 speed automatic||$19,195||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||21/29|
|EX V6 (A5)||5 speed automatic||$20,195||182-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||20/27|