It goes a Rondo

The ugly duck­ling of Kia’s cool fam­ily gets the Cin­derella touch

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - NEIL DOWLING neil.dowling@cars­guide.com.au

FAM­I­LIES in need of a com­pact seven-seater that’s not an SUV have had a choice of one and Kia’s Rondo hasn’t been much choice at all.

The stolid and prac­ti­cal peo­ple-mover is un­der­go­ing a trans­for­ma­tion that will re­sult in a new model by April. Sit­ting on a new plat­form, the Rondo brings an in­crease in cabin space, a de­crease in fuel use and a big boost in the style stakes.

I don’t think this can be con­sid­ered a per­ma­nent sev­enseater,’’ Kia Aus­tralia spokesman Kevin Hep­worth says. But it cer­tainly is ca­pa­ble of seat­ing up to seven and it has a very flex­i­ble and roomy in­te­rior. It’s styled and en­gi­neered for buy­ers who want all the ver­sa­til­ity and space of an SUV, but don’t want to be seen in an SUV.’’

The third-gen­er­a­tion of the Rondo— the first model came here as the Carens— will prob­a­bly re­tain its 2.0-litre engine and man­ual and auto trans­mis­sion choices and $26,000-$32,000 price range. It de­buts at this month’s Paris mo­tor show along with Kia’s Op­tima Hy­brid (which will not com­ing to Aus­tralia) and the new Sorento SUV (which will).

The Sorento, due here early next month, won’t fol­low the lead of par­ent com­pany Hyundai, which re­leased its closely re­lated Santa Fe last week. The Sorento comes with the op­tion of a 3.5-litre petrol V6 and and a front-wheel drive ver­sion, nei­ther of which are avail­able in the Hyundai, though both mod­els have a 2.2-litre turbo diesel.

Hep­worth says a 2.4-litre four-cylin­der petrol model is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. This 145kW di­rect-in­jec­tion engine is also fit­ted to the Op­tima sedan.

Flex­i­ble: Kia’s third­gen­er­a­tion Rondo gets a boost in the style stakes and can fit seven

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