The all-new fourth-generation Kia Rondo people-mover has launched in Australia with a choice of petrol and diesel engines priced from $29,990.
It’s a significant hike of $4000 over the old Rondo, making it more expensive than the recently launched Fiat Freemont.
Kia Motors Australia is offering the seven-seat Rondo with a 122kW/213Nm 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine (from the new Kia Cerato) in three grades (Si, SLi, Platinum), while the 100kW/320Nm 1.7-litre diesel option (also used in the Hyundai i40) is available in just two trims, the Si and SLi.
Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission engineered and manufactured in-house.
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, 4.3-inch touchscreen and heated electric folding mirrors round out the highlights.
There’s also reverse parking sensors and a rear-view camera and static cornering lamps 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,
Also included are a panoramic roof, chilled glovebox, 7-inch touchscreen satellite navigation with, second row curtain blind, heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel.
The all-new Kia Rondo is a clean sheet design from the ground up, which has been styled under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, the Chief Design Officer of both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.
“I wanted to give the new Rondo a sleeker look and feel, to create a design that envelops its functionality and versatility in something altogether athletic and dynamic,” said Schreyer.
“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 packaging flexibility and adaptability are the reasons why people buy this type of vehicle,” added Schreyer.
Measuring 4.5-metres long, the new Kia Rondo is smaller, but has more space than the model it replaces. Cabin space has grown due to the vehicle’s increased wheelbase (up by 50mm, to 2750mm).
Overall, the latest Rondo is 20mm shorter, 15mm narrower and 40mm lower compared to the previous iteration. In fact, its height (1610mm) is the same as the Kia Soul and is one of the lowest in class.
Not an easy design brief, according to Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s Chief Designer Europe.
“A vehicle like the Rondo is probably one of the hardest of all to get right, it terms of styling, 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,” said Guillaume.
Boot space has increased by 17 per cent compared with the outgoing model and the cargo bay is now 24mm longer and 48mm taller. With all three rows of seats occupied, there’s a minimum 103-litres of luggage space. With the second and third rows folded flat, load space increases to 492-litres. By folding all seats (including the front passenger), storage capacity grows to 2150 litres.
Additionally, the latest-generation Rondo can carry 100-kilos on its roof, while towing capacity varies between 740 and 1500kg – depending on model and trailer type.
Even the glove box capacity has been increased by 23 per cent (to 8 litres), while the centre console space is up by 84 per cent (to 4.8 litres).
There are also 13 individual storage spaces throughout the Rondo’s cabin, including two new underfloor storage bins in the second row foot wells, each with a 6.8-litre capacity.
The new Rondo’s suspension and running gear has also been comprehensively re-engineered to deliver better more responsive handling and better ride quality than the old model.
At the rear, there’s a new CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle) that replaces the previous multi-link system, designed to reduce understeer and bump steer, while delivering a more compliant ride.
Rondo gets an electric power steering unit that features a combined torque/angle sensor, while the steering itself, is significantly quicker than the old model, with just 2.7 turns lock-to-lock for more responsive handling. The system also uses Kia’s latest Flex Steer technology that offers three different steering weights; Normal, Sport and Comfort modes.
There’s also an all-new braking system featuring larger 300mm ventilated front discs, and 284mm solid discs at the rear.
The new Rondo also benefits from an all-new bodyshell, too, which is 64 per cent stiffer than the old model through the use of a higher percentage of high-tensile steel.
The Rondo is also equipped with a full suite of active and passive systems including six-airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake force assist, electronic stability control, hill start assist and Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management System complete the safety inventory.
The new-generation Rondo is yet to be crash tested by either ANCAP or EuroNCAP, although Kia Australia expects the vehicle to be awarded a full five-star safety rating by both crash safety authorities.
The 2014 Rondo also benefits from Kia’s Australia-wide capped-price servicing program, which cover the first five services on the vehicle and add to brand’s five year unlimited kilometre warranty and free one-year roadside assist
The new Kia Rondo is in showrooms now.
2014 Kia Rondo pricing (excluding on-road costs)
Kia Rondo 2.0L GDI Petrol Si – $29,990
Kia Rondo 2.0L GGI Petrol SLi- $33,990
Kia Rondo 2.0L GDI Petrol Platinum – $38,990
Kia Rondo 1.7L Diesel Si – $32,490
Kia Rondo 1.7L Diesel SiL – $36,490