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The new Kia Rondo has been officially unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

The Rondo, known as the Kia Carens in Europe, joins the new Kia family with a stylish exterior design and significant improvements to the interior.

Lower, longer and with more room, the Kia Rondo is set to offer a more stylish and viable option for buyers looking for the practicality of a people-mover without the big, bulky size of larger models like the popular Kia Grand Carnival.

Designed from the ground up as an all-new car, the third-generation Kia Rondo is available (in Europe) with four powertrain, five- and seven-seat configurations and a range of new safety and technology features. Australian specifications are still to be finalised but CarAdvice can confirm a 103kW/211Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will be available while the higher-spec 1.7-litre turbo-diesel with 100kW of power and 330Nm of torque is on Kia Australia’s wish list.

The new Kia Rondo measures 4.5-metre long, 1805mm wide and 1610mm high, making it 20 mm shorter, 15 mm narrower and 40 mm lower than the car it replaces. Despite its purpose, it’s actually only as tall as the current Kia Soul, which Kia says creates a sportier appearance. The wheelbase has grown by 50mm and Kia’s engineers have moved the A-pillar above the front wheel centre line for a more spacious interior.

From the outside it’s easily distinguishable as a new Kia, thanks to its signature ‘tiger nose’ grille and standard LED daytime running lights. It’s certainly one of the better looking people movers on the market today.

Kia’s chief of design in Europe, Gregory Guillaume, says designing a car like a Rondo is probably the hardest of all the Kia cars to get right because “we are very tightly constrained by the car’s functionality. That packaging versatility cannot in any way be compromised by the design of the car because to do so would eradicate the car’s raison d’être [reason for existence]”.

As for Peter Schreyer, the company’s chief designer: “I wanted to give the new Carens [Rondo] a sleeker look and feel, to create a design that envelops its functionality and versatility in something altogether more athletic and dynamic. This new-found visual dynamism is important – this car needs to look appealing and attractive – but during its design and development stages, we never lost sight of the fact that its packaging flexibility and adaptability are why people buy these cars.”

Move inside and the seat configuration allows for multiple positions to carry cargo or passengers. The front passenger seat backrest can fold forwards while the second row seats are all independent of each other, which means they can slide or fold individually, allowing for a 33/33/33 split. As for the third row (on the seven-seater models) they split 50/50 and easily fold flat into the trunk floor.

In Europe, the Rondo will be available with an array of safety technologies such as Lane Departure Warning System and Smart Parking Assist System. These features are still unconfirmed for the Australian market.

The new Kia Rondo will go on sale in Australia early in the second quarter of 2013.




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