The Seven-seat Urban Utility Vehicle has Re-Arrived. Sharing absolutely nothing with the outgoing model, the all-new 2014 Kia Rondo has gone through some serious Maury Povich-style geek-to-chic action. The new Rondo is looking good.

 

CONS:

  • Not available in the US
  •  7-seater, though stuffing in 7 adults probably not ideal (third-row headspace)

 

Galveston, TX – By now, we’re all well aware of Kia’s recent tear – from countless awards to wow-it’s-a-Kia Euro-styling. But there’s always that one misfit bogging down the bunch. Like the weird uncle at Christmas dinner. Well, Kia’s ambiguous seven-seater took a hard look in the mirror. Now, the all-new 2014 Kia Rondo shows up with a load of new features and a complete makeover sporting a sleek, contemporary look. Kia’s new Urban Utility Vehicle has re-arrived. Pass the gravy.

2014 Kia Rondo Review

We’ve all had, or will have, an ugly-stage. Most of us, anyway. And the Kia Rondo of years past is certainly no exception. But in all fairness, the last seven years or so have resulted in peculiar, and straight-up unsightly, vehicles from the majority of the automakers – an auto industry identity crisis, if you will. Accounting for the Great Recession of 2008, where consumers are losing their homes and car companies scrambling just to survive, any and all design faux pas are forgiven. Especially, for the underdog Korean, who first introduced their family Rondo to North America back in 2007.

2014 Kia Rondo Review

2014 Kia Rondo ReviewExterior Styling

Fortunately, in the automaker’s world of uber-talented engineers and designers, coupled with marketing (and let’s throw in consumer demand as well), what was once fugly can become sophisticated and smart, both inside and out. And when you have ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer behind the helm, that doesn’t hurt

Today, the Kia lineup of product offerings look tasteful (not cheesy), smart, and super-stylish. The 2014 Kia Rondo is the company’s third new launched vehicle through 2013. Through the remainder of the same year, Kia plans to launch 6 more all-new enhanced vehicles.

The front design of the 2014 Kia Rondo definitely robust. The next-gen Kia signature grille is evident, coupled with the bold front bumper design with integrated fog lights. Projection headlights are both attractive and useful, with LED DRLs and Xenon HID headlamps, both standard on the top EX Rondo trim.

Above all, in terms of exterior styling, this all-new Rondo infuses a more sporty image without compromising on practicality. A new dad myself, I need cargo without feeling like all I need is cargo. In other words, adding some ‘sport’ is always welcome. Yes, even with a seven-seater.

An aggressively raked windshield and A-pillars improve aerodynamics while retaining the sleek look. In turn, the glass is expanded, improving safety, enhancing visibility, and allowing in more light. You’ll also notice the bolder, concaved side character lines running the length of the car. The rear end is clean and void of too much stuff, like black plastics. Optional chrome accents are available, and the distinct shoulderlines integrate into the tail lamps rendering better style and wider rear view. For more sport, add 18-inch wheels.

Colours for the 2014 Kia Rondo include Clear White, Black Cherry, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Newport Blue, Galaxy Brown.

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A new dad myself, I need cargo without feeling like all I need is cargo. In other words, adding some ‘sport’ is always welcome. Yes, even with a seven-seater.

2014 Kia Rondo Review 2014 Kia Rondo Review

Interior Impressions

If you’re like me (hopefully not), you wouldn’t initially think 2014 Kia Rondo houses a third-row. Well, it does. But when trekking 7-passengers, anything less than full-sized CUV dimensions, cabin space and convenience can become a premium factor – but this new Rondo does a great job of expanding spaces, offering storage and capacity with 14 compartments. In fact, space and capacity has increased from the out-going Rondo, now with an under-floor tray and an enlarged capacity glove box and enlarged centre console.

2014 Kia Rondo Review

Kia loves seats. And premium materials. They should, because we enjoy them…especially when driver gets a ventilated/cooled driver seat, where cool air discharged through the cushion and back. Or the power extendable seat cushion, whereby the front edge of driver’s seat cushion can be extended. This accommodates taller drivers, also improving thigh support for those long journeys. Both of these are standard in EX trim.

But there’s love for the rear seats too. Here are some configurations for the 2014 Kia Rondo, demonstrating the seat flexibility:

2014 Kia Rondo Review

Some of the Standard Features

The base 2014 Kia Rondo LX with manual transmission starts at $21,695 CAD MSRP. So what do you get standard for under $22k? With Kia, the answer is: a lot. I’ve tested several Kia vehicles over the years, and feel their greatest advantage is adding value. People spending around $20-30k appreciate as much convenience, storage, safety, etc. automakers are willing to offer, without having to fork out more cash.

Notable standards include the Flex Steering System (offering Comfort, Normal, Sport driving dynamics); Vehicle Stability Management (VSM); Hill Assist Control (HAC); body-coloured sideview mirrors and exterior door handles; rear spoiler; front fog lights; express up/down windows; heated windshield wipers; Satellite Radio; and Bluetooth, to name a few.

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2014 Kia Rondo Pricing and Trims

Available in 6 trims, including:

LX – manual transmission – $21,695 CAD MSRP

LX – 6-speed automatic – $23,995

LX – 7-seats – $25,195

EX – $26,995

EX – 7-seats – $28,195

EX – Luxury 7-seats – $32,195

2014 Kia Rondo ReviewPerformance

Powered by a new 2.0-litre gasoline direct injection (GDI) 4-cyclinder engine, the 2014 Kia Rondo produces an estimated 164-hp and 156 lb.-ft of torque; figures with both manual and automatic trannys.

Everything (everything) in the all-new Rondo is new compared to previous version. Including the engine: an inline 4-cyclinder 2.0L GDI offering better performance, fuel economy, and durability. A timing chain replaces the belt; roller rockers replace stamped steel; and the GDI replaces the dual-cam CVVT power plant.

Final Thoughts

Again, having tested several Kia vehicles over the years, it’s clear why they’re doing well. And more importantly, why consumers are favouring the automaker that many had written-off. Today, the family-mover has become an even more integral part of a family’s everyday existence. The 2014 Kia Rondo offers the family the practicalities desired, yet bundling it in a sleek, sporty package. And while the American’s passed on the new 2014 Rondo, Kia believes the new Rondo will serve Canadians just fine. And for under $30,000 for the EX 7-seat trim (second-highest), it’s tough to disagree.

Learn more – Kia Rondo

2014 Kia Rondo Review

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Amee is an award-winning motor & lifestyle photographer and writer in the auto niche. His work has been published in various global outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. A member of AJAC and founder/publisher of TractionLife.com, he enjoys travelling and spending time with his kids and family.