• Good looks; even more space and versatility; loads of features; vastly improved handling and ride on some variants; improved NVH.
  • Petrol engine can be noisy; poor ride quality on 18-inch alloys; lack of steering feedback across all variants; no sat-nav option on diesel models; price hike over old model.

OUR RATING
7 / 10



2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

To the credit of the Kia design team, the first thing you’ll notice about the sleek all-new fourth generation Kia Rondo is that it shares few of its looks with its frumpy, box-on-wheels predecessor, the Rondo 7.

In fact, Kia’s latest iteration of the compact seven-seat people mover continues the marque’s design revolution under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, the Chief Design Officer of both Hyundai and Kia brands.

The new Rondo benefits from a full suite of Schreyer styling cues, such as the tiger nose grille, swept-back headlights, high beltline and tapered roofline.

While it doesn’t get quite the same dose of styling mojo as evident in Schreyer’s previous Kia design efforts, (namely the current Optima and Sportage models) the new Rondo is nonetheless a world apart from the outgoing version.

Kia has priced the new Rondo from $29,990 in Australia with a choice of petrol and diesel engines mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that has been developed in-house.

It’s a significant hike of $4000 over the old model as well as the recently launched Fiat Freemont, but the improved specification levels largely offset the price increase across the new Rondo range.

2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

Kia is offering the seven-seat Rondo with a 122kW/213Nm 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine in three trim grades (Si, SLi, Platinum), while the 100kW/320Nm 1.7-litre diesel option is available in two trims, the Si and SLi.

Standard equipment on the entry-level Rondo petrol Si includes 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone and music streaming and a 4.3-inch touchscreen. Heated electric folding mirrors round out the highlights.

There’s also the standard reverse parking sensors and a rear-view camera, static cornering lamps and a multifunctional steering wheel included across the range.

Step up to the $33,990 SLi and you add 17-inch alloys, front parking sensors, LED daytime running lamps, leather trim, power adjustable driver’s seat, puddle lights on outside mirrors, steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters, 4.2-inch colour instrument display, dual-zone climate control and auto up-down on all windows.

The top-shelf $38,990 Rondo Platinum model gets additional equipment including 18-inch alloy wheels, electronic parking brake, smart key with push button start, HID headlamps and LED rear combination lamps.

Kia’s decision not to offer the Platinum grade with the diesel option also means those buyers will be denied the larger 7-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, panoramic roof, chilled glove box, heated and cooled front seats and a surprisingly impressive heated steering wheel.

Inside, Kia’s design revolution is less exciting though the overall cabin ambience and quality is decent even in the base model.

2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

It’s a contemporary look and soft touch materials feature more liberally than in the previous model – at least at the pointy end of the cockpit.

However, it must be said that there’s a decidedly budget feel to the lower-placed plastics, while the second-row tray tables feel flimsy.

These packaging challenges aside, all of this newfound style fortunately doesn’t come at the expense of Rondo’s practicality, which is all the more impressive for a vehicle that’s actually smaller than the one it replaces.

Both rear seat rows can fold flat, as well as the front passenger seat so long loads can be carried. The second row of seats (though slightly narrow) can slide easily forward, and all three seats can be individually folded with the middle seat doubling as a table.

The rear seats flip up from a flat boot floor with relative ease, but these should be considered as ‘occasional’ pews only and best suited for kids. There’s also no third row ventilation back there.

With all seven seats occupied, rear cargo space is limited to just 103 litres. Fold down the third row and load space expands to 492 litres and up to 2150 litres with all reclining seats folded flat.

The Rondo is also loaded with oodles of storage compartments including underfloor compartments, bottle holders and a decent size glove box.

2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

With more power and torque (up 16kW/24Nm) than the previous version, the new Rondo’s 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine delivers decent performance despite a lack of low-down torque.

Under full throttle, engine noise can sound harsh, but at freeway speeds its much quieter due to infinitely superior NVH levels.

Armed with 320Nm of torque between 1750-2500rpm, it’s the 1.7-litre diesel that’s by far the most versatile – pulling well and effortlessly shifting the Rondo’s 1652kg kerb weight.

It’s also surprisingly well refined and muted, with little of that diesel clatter making its way into the well-isolated cockpit.

The six-speed auto is a reasonable performer and is a vast improvement over the previous four-speed box. It’s also a suitable match to both engine variants with paddleshifters proving more effective on the petrol models.

Notwithstanding the improvements though, the new Rondo falls short of ever being an engaging drive. The steering lacks any feeling, despite adopting Kia’s ‘FlexSteer’ system, which allows you to choose between three different steering settings (weights) – Normal, Comfort and Sport.

However, Kia’s localised suspension tuning has paid dividends for the latest Rondo.

2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

With a MacPherson strut front suspension and the adoption of a torsion beam set-up at the rear, it corners surprisingly flatly and the ride is soft and supple at all speeds – provided it’s riding on either the 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The top-shelf Platinum model with standard 18-inch wheels and low-profile tyres suffers from an uncomfortably firm and fidgety ride, which never really settles down.

While we didn’t get the chance to properly test average fuel-consumption on the launch test program, Kia claims 7.9L/100km for the petrol models and 6.6L/100km with the diesel versions.

There’s no doubt the latest-generation Kia Rondo represents a quantum leap on its predecessor and a very compelling proposition in market. This is a people mover that’s not only easy the eye, it also offers up a genuinely impressive raft of features that make it good value for money in the class.

But all the bells and whistles aside, the pick of the litter and the best all-round package would have to be the fuel-efficient, entry-level and diesel ‘Si’ at $29,990.

It seems that even with all the grand gestures Kia has made with the new Rondo, ultimately less really is more.

2014 Kia Rondo pricing
Petrol models
Kia Rondo 2.0L GDI Si – $29,990
Kia Rondo 2.0L GDI SLi -$33,990
Kia Kia Rondo 2.0L GDI Platinum – $38,990

2014 Kia Rondo Review
2014 Kia Rondo Review

Diesel models
Kia Rondo 1.7L CRDi Si – $32,490
Kia Rondo 1.7L CRDi SLi – $36,490


  Submit an Owner Car Review

KIA RONDO BREAKDOWN

2014 Kia Rondo Review
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 7
  • 7
  Submit an Owner Car Review


  • WayneTSV

    Another great design from KIA, and their interiors are superb for the price. Just imagine where KIA will be 5 years from now?

  • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

    I must say this brand is getting better all the time. as long as they continue to say ‘what is europe doing? how do we do better’ then they will continue to do well.
    I suspect however that they will sell lots and then do a hyundai and go ‘we are now no1 we will show you all’ and start the slow slide backwards into copying which is what i am starting to see from them. Veloster is a blatant rip off and the i30 is mazda 3 design. they used to do it better then stuff it up with the i45/sonata onwards.

    • Sonic

      What on earth is the Veloster a rip-off of? I can’t think of anything even remotely similar.

      As for the Rondo… Great looking car. I hope it does well.

    • openeyes

      Mazda 3 and i30 are brothers or copy cats?? your eyes are OK? Check your eyes and brain at a hospital.

  • apple

    good exterior. Kia is doing better and better

  • Smart US

    it is great looking car – in my opinion great mix of Seat Altea and MB B-class… seems to be great value as well

  • James

    Any chance review could include dimensions? Story stated that it is smaller than previous model but the actual dimensions can rule a car in or out of some people’s calculations. Any help?

  • Sammo

    Another quality offering, I wonder if sales of this model will improve over the previous generation?

  • Zaccy16

    Huge improvement over the hopeless last gen, diesel is easily the best pick for the extra torque to pull a full load, the koreans still can’t muster good steering though!

    • Sumpguard

      They can’t muster “great steering” you sheep. The steering is “good” for most motorists.

      Veedud can’t muster reliability !

    • openeyes

      Actually most motorists cannot feel “good steering” or “bad steering” as describing in motor magazines. They feel similar otherwise sports cars.

  • Jess

    The problem with their petrol engines is that full torque comes in at 4700 rpm which is too long, it needs to be at least 1000 rpm lower. Otherwise good overall package.

  • Pete

    Looks fab well done Kia. Living in Perth rear ac vents in the 3rd row us a must. If it had these it would be on my shortlist

  • Metal Mick

    After living with this vehicle for 3 months, I find my feelings mixed: there are some very fine features to it, but sadly the support is profoundly poor.It is quiet and smooth-riding (mine is the Pt model, which is supposed to be less smooth) and has adequate power although somewhat less than my Peugeot 308, and is thirstier. Comfort is great and the heater fan is quiet except on high speeds. On delivery, the USB port was not functioning, so I had a trip back to the dealer to get it working after a fashion: the sound system WILL NOT play WMA or MP3 files properly, pausing randomly. The satnav takes around 20 minutes to “warm up” before it will accept a destination, a situation that seems to be getting worse. The stated ability for it to play videos on its screen from an iPod is broken. I’ve been back tot he dealer several times and initially they’ve denied there is a problem but now have changed their minds – something they do often because they’ve said they wolf replace the head unit and reneged several times. The latest claim is that a software problem is the cause and the head unit is in perfect working order. Really? 3 month’s worth of sales to determine their software is buggy? No, this car was rushed to market to fill a gap and Kia Australia looks to have already forgotten about it. So, it’s a terrific car with many fine features but avoid it because it just doesn’t work properly, a situation that is unlikely to change.

    • openeyes

      I want to ask about this car. Does it fit for two road bikes without taking out front wheels from the bikes?

Kia Rondo Specs

PLATINUM : 2.0L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
KIA
Model
RONDO
Variant
PLATINUM
Series
RP
Year
2014
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
7
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
213Nm @  4700rpm
Max. Power
122kW @  6500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
78.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
81x97mm
Compression Ratio
11.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.51
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
58
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1546
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1610mm
Length
4525mm
Width
1805mm
Ground Clearance
151mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1400  Unbrake:740
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7.5x18
Rear Rim Size
7.5x18
Front Tyres
225/45 R18
Rear Tyres
225/45 R18
Wheel Base
2750
Front Track
1563
Rear Track
1576
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seat Driver
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
28-H-12
Country of Origin
KOREA