Review 2014 Kia Rondo | Toronto Sun
By Jacques Deshaies, Toronto Sun
Rondo was removed from the Kia catalogue at the end of 2012, but only so it could grab a better spot in the line-up. In addition, the manufacturer’s new image applies to all models, including this station wagon. The wait was worth it. Yet, our American neighbors shun it still – it won’t be sold in the U.S.
This configuration is tailored for a very specific clientele: families. Target buyers are aged between 30 and 45 and have young children. Year after year, 6,000 to 8,000 per year were sold in Canada. It was no longer part of the catalog last year but the sales targets for the new generation remain at 8,000 units per year.
The 2014 Rondo is part of the renewal of all Kia models over a short period of time. Moreover, our presenters were quick to point out that by 2017, over 47 new products will be launched, whether new ones or existing models being renewed.
At first glance it looks nothing like the previous generation, with its much more dynamic silhouette sitting on a brand new platform. Let’s bet other novelties will be introduced on this same platform. The front part is shorter and slanted, combined to a full-size tailgate in the rear. Like the previous generation, the waistline is substantial, but the designers have lightened it by adding an embossment feature in the lower half. It’s a matter of style!
Inside, the interior is much more modern. The design of the dashboard is borrowed in part from the Optima. Again, the instruments are clear and easy to use. No need to mention that the new Rondo offers an impressive list of standard equipment for the price. In higher trim levels, even an adjustable cushion to support the knees is offered.
This second generation also differs in its dimensions. It is shorter by 20 mm, 40 mm lower and 15 mm narrower. In return, and for added comfort, its wheelbase gains 50 mm. Even the trunk gains a few litres of volume behind the second row. Again, the new Rondo is available in five- or seven-passenger configurations.
The new Rondo trades its 2.4-liter engine for a direct-injected, slightly less powerful 2-liter engine. The factsheet states 164 horsepower vs. the previous version’s 175. In addition, torque slips from 169 to 156 lb.-ft. On the other hand, the 2014 Rondo loses more than 163 kg. This combination allows for substantially lower fuel consumption. In contrast to the 2012 model’s 10.6 L/100km city rating, the 2014 model states 9.2 L/100km. If the previous generation was only available with an automatic transmission, a manual transmission is added to the 2014 version. In the latter case, the weakness in terms of torque is more than palpable. Our tester with the six-speed automatic transmission was more positive but beware – the addition of passengers and their luggage could also herald a glaring lack of power. A small 30-hp increase and a little more torque would do a world of good.
All in all, this 2014 Rondo remains a true family car. It’s prettier and certainly more modern, with a stylish interior design and a full set of equipment. Of course, the Rondo has seen its price increase since its introduction a few years ago, but it’s still in the game. In return, the engine is a tad lazy and the rear suspension will require an update due to a certain decline in terms of comfort.
Trim levels available: LX; EX; EX LUXURY
MSRP range: $21 695 – $32 195
Notable options: none
Configuration: front engine/ front wheel drive
Available engines: 2.0L 4 cyl. (164 hp/156 lb.-ft.)
Available transmissions: 6-spd manual; 6-spd automatic
Fuel economy ratings (L/100km): Comb. – 7.8 (man.); 7.7 (auto)
Warranties: 5 years/ 100,000 km (comprehensive)
Competitors: Chevrolet Orlando, Dodge Journey, Mazda5