Kia offers a fairly comprehensive model lineup, yet it does not really stand out in any particular category. That's why the Rondo was created. Now available in Canada, this small minivan was already being sold in Europe under a different name (Carens).
The Rondo is obviously the main rival of the Mazda5. The South Korean manufacturer likes to use the expression "Urban Utility Vehicle" (as if there were not enough market segments already) -- essentially a cross between an SUV and a traditional minivan. In reality, the overall shape of the Rondo is more akin to the latter, albeit in shrunk size.
The Rondo seems rather small at first glance but when put next to its Japanese competitor, it's actually taller, slightly wider and basically identical in terms of wheelbase and overall length. By the way, the headlights are borrowed from the Magentis sedan, while the taillights are similar to the Spectra's.
That being said, the interior is really where the Rondo stands out. In base configuration, five adults will find enough room to feel comfortable. With the flexible cargo area and 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, you can load up to 2,083 liters of camping gear, luggage or other items.
The beauty of the Rondo is that you can optionally sit seven passengers. Sure, you have to be a contortionist to get to the third row and not a complaining type to stay there for a while, but so is the case in most similar vehicles. Those third-row seats come in handy when your kids and their friends insist on getting on board.
Fit and finish is decent, while the equipment level easily answers the needs of most families. The Kia Rondo is a well thought-out little minivan.
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