Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2013 Kia Rondo.
I don’t think I’ve ever come across two variants of the same vehicle that have both delighted and disappointed me as much as the petrol and diesel versions of the Rondo.
The diesel Kia Rondo is a real winner (check out a full review here); the petrol Rondo sadly isn’t anywhere near as impressive.
The Rondo range starts at $29,990, which gets you into the entry-level petrol version – the Si. For $32,490 you can get the diesel Si, and then there’s the SLi Rondo which carries a $33,990 price tag for the petrol and $36,490 for the diesel.
Above all off those is the flagship Platinum – available with a petrol engine only and with a $38,990 price tag.
Standard features on the Platinum Rondo are very generous and include;
- 18” alloys
- Leather interior
- Heated and ventilated front-row seats
- Large colour touch-screen
- Remote key-less entry
- Push button ignition
- Front and rear fog lamps
- Large electric sunroof
So as you can see it’s a model that really does offer just about everything, yet I really didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the diesel SLi Rondo, mostly because of the petrol engine.
The diesel power plant gives you 100kW and 320Nm and I managed to use as little as just 5.9L/100km in highway driving, around town you can expect the Rondo to consume just over 7.0L/100km, remarkable!
Beyond that the diesel is quiet and smooth and the power delivery is more than adequate for the small seven-seater.
On the other side of the divide the petrol Rondo used just over 12.0L/100km in the city! The official combined figure is 7.9L/100km.
The petrol engine is also noisier and feels less refined and despite boasting an extra 22kW of power felt slower and less enthusiastic when asked to get the Rondo moving.
The diesel also has it all over the petrol when it comes to low-down grunt (which is what you want when you have a load of people on board) with the unleaded burning engine packing only 213Nm (107Nm less than the diesel)!
Game, set and match the diesel is the runaway winner!
I also felt the ride was negatively affected by the low profile tyres on the larger 18” alloys on the Platinum, sure the tyres on the 17” alloys on the SLi also have 45 series tyre walls but they seemed to do a much better job of soaking up the bumps.
And another frustration I found with the Platinum grade model was the Bluetooth system; I just could not get my phone to sync with the vehicle, conversely in the SLi my phone and the car hooked up in a matter of moments - no stress.
The push-button ignition in the Platinum though is a winner, same goes for the heated and ventilated front seats, handy feature lighting and it even comes with a rechargeable torch in the boot.
Summing it up, I love the new Rondo; it drives really well, has some great features and is really well built and designed.
The Platinum grade is also extremely well kitted out, it’s just a real shame it isn’t available with a diesel engine.
The diesel Rondo is the one you want and priced from $36,490 I reckon the SLi represents great value for money.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol delivering 122kW and 213Nm
Transmission: Six speed automatic
Warranty: Five years
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $29,990, Platinum from $38,990.