Small on the outside, big on the inside. The Kia Rondo S makes sense as a family hauler.
What is it?
The Kia Rondo S, the cheapest version of Kia’s Rondo people mover range, which is only marginally larger than the Kia Cerato hatch, but packs volumes of interior space and can seat up to seven people, while being much smaller and cheaper than the Sorento and Carnival.
What’s it cost?
The Kia Rondo range consists of three trim levels, all powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic: the Kia Rondo S kicks of the Rondo range at $26,990 and for that money you get five seats that slide and fold to your heart’s content, air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, a reversing camera and parking sensors, anti-lock brakes, stability control and six airbags to keep the family safe.
Step up to the Si which is priced from $31,490 and you get seven seats, satellite navigation, a leather wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels and enough chrome on the exterior to let the neighbours know that you haven’t plumped for the base model.
At the top of the Kia Rondo tree is the Kia Rondo Platinum. Priced from $39,990, the Rondo Platinum has everything from seven leather wrapped seats, a panoramic glass roof, rear sun blinds to help keep harmful UV rays out of children’s eyes, a punchier stereo to ensure that The Wiggles are played in higher fidelity on road trips and front parking sensors to make mum and dad’s life a little bit easier. There’s also LED tail lamps and high intensity discharge headlamp, push button start and much more.
Crucially, all models score a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, important for something that will be used as family transport.
What’s it go like?
People movers aren’t for getting about quickly. And, the Kia Rondo’s 2.0 litre petrol engine develops 122kW @ 6500rpm and 213Nm @ 4700rpm.
Whilst on paper these figures seem reasonable, in reality, the engine struggles and the smooth shifting six-speed automatic doesn’t seem to know how to get the best from the engine, revving unnecessarily hard at times when trying to overtake or accelerate quickly. If strictly required.
Around town the engine is reasonably hushed, but we can’t help but think that Kia would’ve been better off fitting the Rondo with a small turbo diesel, it does those rather well.
Kia claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres, but we averaged around 8.5-9 litres, and at times saw the figure creep up to 10.5 litres.
Visibility is excellent, the driver sits high and the Rondo has a large glass house. Ride, like all Kias of late is spot on – comfortable without being mushy or flaccid.
Handling isn’t sporty and the steering is fairly light. But the Rondo is nimble compared to larger MPVs, and this will keep parents happy, especially when weaving in and out of crowded school-rush suburbia.
What we like:
- The space, the comfort, the quality, the price and the warranty. Despite the relatively stingy equipment level in the Rondo S – it is cheap at $27k, remember – it still ticks quite a few boxes.
- The boot is enormous, there’s plenty of rear legroom and the seats slide fore and aft individually, making it easy to fit child seats and unload your most precious cargo.
- The visibility and driveability make the Rondo feel spacious and more like a small hatch than a big family bus.
- There’s also the relatively low price of $26,990 and Kia’s market leading seven/year unlimited kilometre warranty sweetens the deal for families on a budget.
What we don’t:
- That engine lets the package down to be honest. Not only can it become incredibly noisy it also becomes thirsty. It’s just not well suited to the Rondo package. Again, bring on the diesel.
- The Kia Rondo S also does very little to disguise that it’s the cheapest model in the Rondo family. There’s metres of black plastic – some of which is very good quality, it must be said – inside and the lack of a third row could restrict its appeal. The absence of alloy wheels on the outside also flag the Rondo S as the poverty pack.
- A space saver spare tyre is also a black mark in our book, especially in a car that’ll be used predominately for family commuting, especially for trips away.
But with all the equipment aforementioned, the bare necessities are all there.
Kia Rondo S Specs:
Price: from $26,990
Warranty: 7 years/unlimited kilometres
Capped priced servicing: Capped price for the first seven years or 105,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol, 122kW/213Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic.
Fuel consumption: 7.9L/100km
Dimensions: 4525(L), 1805mm (W), 1610mm (H), 2750mm (WB)
Spare: Space saver
Country of Origin: Korea