Run about in a Rondo

The Rondo meets ev­ery fam­ily’s needs, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive Kia Rondo -

JUST when you thought the cross­over pos­si­bil­i­ties had been ex­hausted, along comes the Kia Rondo. Ac­cord­ing to Kia, it not only ticks the boxes in two or three seg­ments. The lit­tle Korean has gone for gold with a four-seg­ment cross­over.

‘‘There are no com­peti­tors with this car in the Aus­tralian mar­ket,’’ Kia Aus­tralia pres­i­dent and CEO S.K. Lee said at the Aus­tralian launch.

‘‘It will sat­isfy cus­tomers in four of the most ac­tive seg­ments — hatch­back, wagon, SUV and peo­plemover. It is the ul­ti­mate ur­ban re­cre­ation ve­hi­cle.’’

Based on the com­pany’s medi­um­sized Ma­gen­tis pas­sen­ger car plat­form, the Rondo will have seven seats, stan­dard sta­bil­ity con­trol and a 106kW 2.0-litre petrol en­gine.

The name Rondo comes from a mu­si­cal term for a piece of mu­sic of­ten used at the end of a sonata. Prices start at $24,990. The base LX model is avail­able with a five-speed man­ual or an op­tional four-speed au­to­matic at a $2000 pre­mium.

Also stan­dard are air­con­di­tion­ing, 15-inch steel wheels (space-saver spare), power mir­rors and win­dows, dual front airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-skid elec­tronic brake-force dis­tri­bu­tion and a fiveyear un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty.

The mid-range EX adds steer­ing wheel-mounted au­dio con­trols, roof rails and cross­bars, fog lamps, 17-inch al­loys, up­graded cloth seats and a stan­dard four-speed au­to­matic. The EX is $28,990.

At the top of the range, the EX Lim­ited is an­other $3000 but has a sun­roof, leather in­te­rior, side, front and full-cur­tain airbags and cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing. RUISE con­trol is not avail­able but prod­uct plan­ning man­ager Nick Reid be­lieves it will be in the mix later in the year.

An op­tional airbag pack­age adds side and cur­tain bags to the two lower-spec cars for about $1000. It will take them to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion that has earned a four-star Euro NCAP and a five-star US High­way safety rat­ing.

‘‘This is a car that has come from the evo­lu­tion of chang­ing cus­tomers’ needs,’’ Reid says.

‘‘It has ver­sa­til­ity and func­tion­al­ity, do­ing the job of a fam­ily car dur­ing the week and dou­bling as a prac­ti­cal leisure ve­hi­cle at week­ends.’’

Though Rondo shares much of what is for­ward of the B-pil­lar with the Ma­gen­tis, the rear is unique.

To ac­com­mo­date the third row of seats in a com­pact pack­age, Kia has en­gi­neered a rear multi-link sus­pen­sion sup­ported by a com­pact trans­verse sub-frame.

The rear sus­pen­sion has been tightly en­gi­neered and many of the com­po­nents are mounted in or close to the in­te­rior space of the wheels.

It has been dubbed an ‘‘in-wheel’’ multi-link sys­tem.

Cov­er­ing the load-car­ry­ing roles of the Rondo are load-de­pen­dent, vari­able-stroke dampers, to main­tain con­sis­tent dy­namic be­hav­iour.

C

It has you cov­ered: the Rondo is a

hatch­back, wagon, sports util­ity ve­hi­cle and peo­ple-mover all in one,

ac­cord­ing to Kia.

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