Kia Rondo 7 Arrives Locally
20th April, 2008
Modern and dynamic styling, seven seats standard in every model, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) standard in every model, European-standard ride and handling, the versatility and seating positions of an SUV, flexible seating arrangements, 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for private buyers, great value and a low entry price - the all-new Kia Rondo 7 is a car without equal in the Australian car market.
Rondo 7 is the car for the 'crossover' buyer - the buyer who sometimes needs a vehicle with the high seating and interior versatility of an SUV, sometimes needs a people mover or a wagon, but always needs a stylish and functional vehicle that's as home mid-week in the inner-city as it is on weekends when it's time for recreation.
Often, these buyers will be about to enter a new phase in their lives, whether as new parents, or an expanding family or maybe even becoming 'empty-nesters' and they need a vehicle that addresses their changing circumstances without compromising their driving enjoyment.
"The Rondo 7 is a new approach to the crossover segment. No other vehicle has quite the same configuration of seats, doors and body style," said Mr SK Lee, President and CEO of Kia Motors Australia. "It combines the benefits of four conventional segments in one package - the Urban Recreation Vehicle."
Rondo 7's high ride height, good visibility, functionality and adaptability deliver that sense of being 'above the traffic' that many drivers find so appealing in SUVs, without having to resort to the expense of buying and running an SUV.
Its individual looks and style, a compact and manoeuvrable body shape, good fuel efficiency and safety equipment package echo many of the features of the today's hatchbacks.
For occasions when five seats just aren't enough, the Rondo 7 offers easy 7-seat flexibility with third-row legroom for real people in a spacious, airy and well-equipped passenger compartment.
Finally, when cargo-carrying capacity becomes the No.1 priority, the Rondo 7 has the space and functionality of a load-lugging wagon with fold-flat seats for a flat floor.
With the interior space and flexibility of a 7-seater, a 5-seater or even a 2-seat van, the new Rondo 7 is the ultimate Urban Recreation Vehicle.
When the Rondo 7 enters Kia showrooms in late April 2008, it will be available in three grades - LX with either manual or auto transmission, EX with auto only and EX Limited also with auto only.
"Kia has always been a brand that strives to give owners a little bit more, but always with outstanding value. At an entry price of just $24,990 (RRP) for the LX manual, the new Rondo 7 is the best priced 7-seat vehicle in Australia," said Mr Lee.
"The Rondo 7 has been very successful in other markets including Canada, whose population and car buying habits have many similarities with Australia. In Canada, Rondo has become Kia's top-selling vehicle and we fully expect the Rondo 7 to gain strong acceptance amongst Australian buyers."
"Rondo 7 is without rival in the Australian car market and its 7-seat capability, SUV versatility, 5-year warranty and great value sets the benchmark for the new crossover segment."
DESIGN - 7 seats with SUV versatility
No other vehicle in the Australian market can provide seven seats with the kind of SUV versatility that the new Kia Rondo 7 delivers … and at such a low entry price.
Responding to consumer feedback and to developing market trends for more interior space without a large footprint, Kia conceived a "next generation" vehicle for active lifestyle families that blends the interlocking trends of people movers and SUVs - the Urban Recreation Vehicle.
Consumer clinics conducted by Kia Motors Corporation around the world using prototypes of the Rondo 7 confirmed that a significant percentage of today's car buyers would be interested in a larger vehicle that could seat up to seven people, provided that its overall length and width were kept to a modest level.
The Rondo 7 is just over 4.5 metres long and features 'European-specific' frontal styling with a lower centre air-intake and front bumper with inset air-intakes, or unique twin-chrome-bar grille and fog lamps on the EX Limited.
Its smooth exterior design, with elegant detailing, results in significantly improved aerodynamics - now a highly competitive Cd of 0.32 - despite being able to comfortably transport up to seven people.
No other vehicle has quite the same configuration of seats, doors and body style. It combines the benefits of four conventional segments - SUV, hatchback, people mover and wagon - in one package, the Urban Recreation Vehicle.
With the interior space and flexibility of a 7-seater, a 5-seater or even a 2-seat van, Rondo 7 is the ultimate Urban Recreation Vehicle.
Rondo 7 is being launched initially with a 2.0-litre version of the same smooth-revving 'Theta' four-cylinder engine that powers the 2.4-litre Kia Magentis, matched to either a five-speed manual (in LX trim) or Kia's optional Sport Mode 'intelligent' four-speed Tiptronic-style automatic transmission (optional on LX, standard on EX and EX-L).
The twin-cam, four-cylinder 2.0-litre 'Theta' petrol engine, with continuously variable valve timing (CVVT), produces 106 kilowatts of power @ 6,000rpm and 189 Newton metres of torque @ 4,250rpm.
The Rondo 7's 2.0-litre petrol engine is a state-of-the-art four-cylinder 16-valve unit that is powerful, quiet and economical. Weight-saving measures include a die-cast aluminium block and a plastic cylinder head cover and intake manifold.
Continuously variable valve timing optimises low and medium-speed torque as well as aiding high-speed performance and economy.
The valve gear is chain-driven to minimise maintenance requirements and cut noise, while auxiliary systems are powered by a serpentine belt.
Matched to a five-speed manual gearbox in the Rondo 7 LX, the 2.0-litre 'Theta' engine can power the new Kia to a top speed of 190 km/h. Combined fuel consumption is 8.4 litres/100 kms (official ADR81/01 combined cycle).
With the optional four-speed Tiptronic-style automatic gearbox in the Rondo 7 LX, the new 2.0-litre Kia tops out at 181 km/h, and achieves 8.6 litres/100 kms on the combined cycle.
Clever packaging means the Rondo 7's gearshift lever is mounted as part of the centre console, rather than sprouting from the floor, making for easier, more natural and safer movements when the driver needs to change gear. It also provides a more precise gear change.
The Rondo 7 in LX trim is fitted as standard with a smooth and easy-shifting, five-speed manual transmission.
All three models of Rondo 7 - LX, EX and EX Limited - are also available with a four-speed automatic transmission (extra-cost option in LX), fitted with Kia's Sport Mode system which offers drivers the choice of fully-automatic gear changes or driver-controlled sequential manual selection.
The four-speed 'intelligent' automatic features electronic control that monitors a variety of parameters to guarantee smooth shifts adapted to individual driving styles. The transmission features Kia's Sport Mode system that allows the driver to exercise sequential manual shifting in place of fully-automatic operation. A high top gear ratio ensures reduced fuel consumption and quieter cruising at high speeds.
Economy and emissions
The 2.0-litre 'Theta' engine delivers impressive economy in the Rondo 7. With an official combined fuel consumption of 8.4 litres/100 kms, the Rondo 7 LX model with manual transmission is capable of travelling more than 650 kilometres on a single fill of 91 RON regular unleaded fuel in its 55-litre fuel tank.
Last week, with Sydney's retail petrol price at $1.45 per litre, a full tank of 91 RON regular unleaded fuel costs less than $80 - substantially less than the cost of filling the tank on a seven-seat SUV.
The Australian Government's Green Vehicle Guide shows that, in addition to impressive fuel economy, the new Rondo 7 with manual gearbox produces just 201 grammes per kilometre of CO2 emissions (206 g/km for the four-speed automatic).
Rondo 7's fuel efficiency, low CO2 emissions and economical footprint all ensure that driving the new Rondo 7, with its seven-seat capacity and SUV versatility, doesn't have to come at the expense of the environment.
The Rondo 7 has a long wheelbase and a wide track that, allied with its short front and rear overhangs, gives the new car an athletic stance.
The chassis has been tuned with European and Australian tastes in mind, with European-style steering response, roadholding, ride comfort and braking the aim. The result is a composed and supple ride, matched by precise steering and sure-footed roadholding.
Derived from the Magentis platform, the Rondo 7 shares some stampings and several suspension, steering and braking components with Kia's mid-sized sedan, although it is unique from the rear floor backwards.
The use of high-tensile steel improves rigidity, to the benefit of dynamic behaviour and crash safety.
At the front, the Rondo 7 uses a McPherson strut layout mounted on the same sub-frame that supports the drivetrain, and is designed to provide optimum stability and ride comfort with good steering response.
At the rear, the new Rondo 7 maximises third row space by employing a compact transverse sub-frame to support a rear multi-link system with twin upper arms and long lower trailing arms, and separate coil springs and dampers.
The system is so tightly engineered (a significant percentage of the components are mounted within, or very close to, the interior space of the road wheels) that it has been called 'in-wheel' multi-link.
The rear suspension also incorporates stroke-dependent shock absorbers which vary rear damping dependent on vehicle weight to deliver customised shock absorption.
Taking advantage of its rigid structure and balanced suspension layout, the new Rondo 7 minimises body roll, reduces tyre-generated road noise and ensures negligible noise intrusion into the passenger or luggage compartments.
The steering is a hydraulically-powered rack and pinion system with 2.86 turns from lock-to-lock (15" wheels) for a tight turning circle of 10.8 metres. It makes parking a breeze, enhances inner-city manoeuvrability, and allows quick and precise response and good feedback on country roads without being overly-sensitive for freeway driving.
The overall result is improved ride comfort, crisper handling and reduced levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Much of the fine-tuning was done by engineers at Kia's European R&D centre at Russelsheim, Germany.
The new Rondo 7 continues Kia's commitment to offering safety and value across the whole Kia range.
Rondo 7 is equipped as standard with dual SRS front airbags; 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution); ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and TCS (Traction Control System).
Rondo EX Limited is also equipped with side front SRS airbags and full-length curtain SRS airbags as standard.
ABS brakes allow drivers to maintain steering response and directional control even when braking heavily, minimising the risk of an accident. Electronic brake force distribution adjusts the force applied to individual axles.
Kia is becoming recognised worldwide for its continuing commitment to making its vehicles more able to avoid accidents, as well as making its cars a safer place to be should they become involved in accidents.
The Rondo 7 is the second all-new car released by Kia Motors Australia to feature ESP as standard in every grade across a model range (the first was the Magentis range).
ESP and TCS prevent skids by monitoring the car's course compared to that intended by the driver, and applying the brakes or slowing the engine if necessary.
Should an accident be unavoidable, occupants are protected by a remarkably stiff and strong body. Dual SRS front airbags are fitted to all three models, with side front SRS airbags and full-length SRS curtain airbags standard in the EX Limited model.
Every grade of Rondo 7 has a three-point safety belt for all seven seating positions, ensuring every occupant is safely restrained in the event of an accident (subject to the correct wearing of the said seat belt).
In addition, the Rondo 7 has already recorded impressive crash test results with a four-star Euro-NCAP occupant crash-test rating and a five-star NHTSA rating in the USA.
Complementing the Rondo 7's array of safety equipment, thicker gauge steel has been strategically used in key locations to provide a stiffer bodyshell without adding unnecessary weight, to protect occupants in the event of an accident while at the same time minimising unnecessary fuel usage.
The new Kia Rondo 7 is the wagon that's also a people mover, but it's also an SUV.
Taking advantage of the balanced Kia Magentis platform - but with a wheelbase shortened by 20 mm - Kia's designers have provided a strong, square, but still stylish car that combines the best elements of wagons, people movers and SUVs.
Rondo 7 has short overhangs, large wheels and tyres, and a low floor and step-in point, but still offers passengers a higher-than-average seating position that is such a part of the appeal of SUVs.
The Rondo 7's front end is clean and strong, with sculpted jewelled headlamp units and a characteristic Kia grille, along with an integrated front bumper that gives the car a particularly tough appearance.
A low drag co-efficient of 0.32 is in part due to an engine undertray that channels air cleanly beneath the Rondo 7 to the diffuser-like rear panels. Clean airflow over, around and underneath the car has been achieved by careful shaping of the nose, door mirrors, A-pillars and upper door frames and aided by tighter panel fit.
The base of the windscreen sits a long way forward and, allied with large windows, helps to provide a large and airy cabin.
The rear of the car is as strong as the front. The upwards kink in the rear window line gives the car a robust appearance and this is echoed at the rear of the car where the deep, square tailgate is recessed behind prominent bumpers that sweep up to the rear lights.
INTERIOR - room for seven with greater versatility
The new Kia Rondo 7 is a roomy, safe, quiet and generously-equipped place for up to seven occupants.
With seven seats in such a compact body shape, the new Rondo 7 might look as though it would be cramped, but the opposite is the case thanks to clever design and the packaging of its three rows of seats. Taking some styling cues from the design of SUVs, the Rondo 7 adopts a taller cabin to allow more upright seating, for better legroom. Width has been pushed out to provide additional elbow room.
Occupants of all three rows of seating have plenty of space in which to enjoy the light and airy glasshouse of the Rondo 7 cabin.
All passengers sit higher than they would in a normal sedan, without having to climb "up and in" as they would in many SUVs. This ease of access ensures that people of all ages from young children right through to their grandparents can easily enter the Rondo 7's cabin.
Making best use of a longer wheelbase and wider cabin, Kia engineers provided an innovative 'shallow' fuel tank mounted integrally with the rear suspension subframe, which allowed the rear cabin floor to be lowered by 40 mm. This has boosted interior space and ensures that the third row seats will accommodate two 1.8-metre tall adults in comfort.
The key to the clever packaging is in the way the seven seats are laid out. Both parts of the 60:40 split middle 3-seater bench move forward or back on rails to vary leg space for those sitting in the pair of third-row seats - a bit more for adults and a bit less for children.
Versatility and flexibility is the name of the game for the Kia Rondo 7, with numerous seating configurations available. The third row folds flat to allow for a generous and completely flat load space, whilst still carrying five adults.
The middle row can be pushed forward to extend the load capacity even further and the front passenger seats fold to provide extra length for a surf board or ladder, allowing occupants to sit behind the driver. There are one, two, three, four, five, six and seven occupant options. Lay flat the middle and rear seats - or front and middle - and you've got an emergency double bed if you get stranded awayfrom home.
Entry to the rear-most seating is made easier by wider rear door openings and one-touch 'slide and fold' seats in the second row.
With five seats occupied, luggage space is more than 400 litres and with just the driver and front passenger on board up to 2,106 litres of cargo space is liberated.
With the third row folded flat, up to four golf bags can be carried and the second row seats can be split 60:40 to permit extra-long loads to be carried while still retaining second row passenger space.
The practical nature of the new Rondo 7 is enhanced by the numerous storage areas around the cabin, which include a total of ten cup/drink bottle holders, large door pockets in all four side doors, big centre console and glove box, lower dashboard oddment tray for the driver, a storage bin for third row passengers and a ceiling-mounted sunglass holder for the driver.
Levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the cabin of the Rondo 7 have received particular attention.
Strategic use of thicker gauge steel in key locations has provided a stiffer bodyshell without adding unnecessary weight.
Sound-proofing materials in hollow sections of the body shell; the use of front and rear sub-frames for mounting the suspension; a double-curved surface floor panel; a thick under-bonnet sound-absorbing pad; insulation pads on the cabin floor, in the door cavities and on the bulkhead between the engine bay and passenger cell; triple layer rubber seals and weather strips around the doors and windows; and aerodynamically refined door mirror shrouds and mountings have all helped significantly reduce NVH levels.
Kia is renowned for offering strong levels of equipment matched with great value - the new Rondo 7 is no exception. Rondo 7 offers a comprehensive package of standard specification in all three models, as well as traditionally low running costs and a comprehensive 5-year/unlimited kilometres warranty package for private users (5-years/130,000kms for business and commercial users).
Rondo 7 LX
The LX model has a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 106 kW of power and 189 Nm of torque; five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed Tiptronic-style automatic transmission; 15" steel wheels with 205/65 R15 tyres; driver's seat height adjustment and a tilt-adjustable steering column; remote central locking with immobiliser and alarm; automatic headlights; flexible 7-seat layout; air-conditioning with 2nd row vents; CD tuner with AUX input; tweeter front speakers; power, heated door mirrors; power windows; dual SRS front airbags; cloth interior; 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution); TCS (Traction Control System) and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme).
Rondo 7 EX
The EX model is fitted with the four-speed Tiptronic-style automatic transmission as standard and in addition to the LX model's specification, it also features 17" alloy wheels with 225/50 R17 Dunlop SP Sport tyres; front fog lamps; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; remote audio controls (steering wheel-mounted); roof rails with crossbars; exterior chrome highlights (grille, side mouldings and door handles) and upgraded cloth interior.
Rondo 7 EX Limited
The top-range EX Limited includes all the features of the EX model, but with the addition of a tilt and slide sunroof; leather interior; side front SRS airbags; full-length curtain SRS airbags and climate control air-conditioning.
The new Kia Rondo 7 comes standard with the confidence of Kia's new 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for privately registered vehicles (5 years/130,000 kilometres for business and commercial vehicles).
The new five-year warranty, better than almost every other new factory warranty available in Australia, reflects the rapid improvements to the quality and reliability of Kia vehicles in recent years.
The balance of the five-year warranty is fully transferable to a new owner should a Kia Rondo 7 be sold during the warranty period, further enhancing the vehicle's value.
In addition to new vehicles, all Kia approved parts and accessories fitted prior to, or at the time of, delivery of a new Rondo 7 will also be covered by the same warranty applying to that vehicle.
The Kia Rondo 7 offers a high level of standard specification and value across every model.
The starting point is the Rondo 7 LX model at $24,990 plus on-road costs for the five-speed manual or $26,990 plus on-road costs for the four-speed automatic.
The Rondo 7 EX is available only with four-speed automatic transmission at $28,990 plus on-road costs, while the range-topping Rondo 7 EX Limited also comes only with four-speed automatic for $31,990 plus on-road costs.
Metallic paint is a $350 option on all models.
SUMMARY OF KEY SPECIFICATIONS
Rondo 7 LX
Rondo 7 EX - same as LX, plus:
Rondo 7 EX Limited - same as EX, plus:
The Next Car team will be looking closely at this new significant model for Kia. Look for our Rondo review, within days, and a full road test very soon.
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