The Kia Rondo is an all-new model to the North American market; elsewhere, it’s known as the Carens, and this is a redesign of the existing model, first launched in 1999.

Based on the Magentis platform, the Rondo is a “tall wagon”, available in five- or seven-passenger seating. Engine choices are a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, or a 2.7-litre V6, with five-speed automatic and manual shift mode. The LX, EX and EX Premium use the four-cylinder, while the EX-V6 and EX-V6 Luxury use the V6 engine.

Features on the LX include five-passenger seating, 16-inch alloy wheels, power mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, power windows, power locks, CD stereo with four speakers, tilt wheel, floor mats, under-floor cargo storage compartment, six-way manual driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, and side and curtain airbags.

The EX is a five-passenger and adds air conditioning, fog lights, chrome door handles, heated mirrors, roof rack, six speakers and wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, keyless entry, leather-wrapped wheel, and heated seats with deluxe cloth.

The EX Premium is a seven-seat model and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, power sunroof, third-row storage box, and 50/50 fold-flat third-row seats.

The EX-V6 is a five-seat model and includes features found on the four-cylinder EX; while the EX-V6 Luxury is a seven-seat model and includes features found on the EX Premium, plus automatic climate control, trip computer, and eight-way power driver’s seat.

Having already proved its popularity overseas, the Rondo is set to take on Canadian buyers, offering appealing styling, considerable safety features, easily-folded seats, good visibility, good steering feel and a smooth ride.

As with most in this configuration, the third row is cramped and suitable mostly for small children. Buyers who aren’t planning on hauling a full load may want to opt for the four-cylinder, which offers only 20 hp less than the V6 and with better fuel economy.

Shop the Rondo against tall wagon competitors such as Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Mazda5, Chevrolet HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Dodge Caliber.

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