2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury
2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury
2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury. Click image to enlarge

Review by Jacob Black, photos by Jonathan Yarkony and Mark Stevenson

Remember when you had to drive a high-end European car to get all the best doo-dads? Remember when wanting things like leather seats, heated seats, heated steering wheels and panoramic sunroofs meant spending half of your mortgage?

Ah, those were the days. Hey, and remember when you could get all of those things, plus Bluetooth, hands-free connectivity and a really neat touchscreen interface in a seven seater – as long as you handed your minivan over to the team from “Pimp My Ride”?

Thanks to Kia, those days are gone. Want a panoramic sunroof, projector-beam headlights, LED taillights, 18-inch alloys and a sexy metallic paint job? No drama. Kia has you sorted – and you don’t have to pretend to like Xzibit’s latest ‘album’.

In fact, you can get the whole kit and caboodle complete with seven seats for the princely sum of $34,160 on the road! Less than $35K for an almost (more on this later) fully kitted, seven-seat micro-van that looks and feels just like a regular car.

Too steep? Okay, you can still go with one of the ‘base’ models. Why ‘base’? Because a base-model Kia still packs a feature list that dwarves many mid-level models from other brands.

For example, the LX model Rondo starts at $21,695. You still get Bluetooth, power and heated mirrors, air conditioning, three-mode electrically assisted steering, six-speaker audio system with USB, Aux and Sirius XM, splash guards, rear spoiler and keyless entry.

Add the automatic transmission for another $2,300 and you also get 16-inch alloys, rear back-up warning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and automatic headlights.

Yes, yes you say — but how much do you have to spend to get the seven seats? $25,195. For a feature-packed seven seater that’s a stunning price.

2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury
2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury
2014 Kia Rondo EX Luxury. Click image to enlarge

The first rung of the EX range can be had for just under $27,000 and ups the ante further. It comes with 17-inch wheels, the UVO infotainment system, power-adjustable driver’s seat and a back-up camera. Again, add another $1,200 and you get the extra two seats as well.

Our tester was the almost fully loaded (I’ll get there shortly I promise) EX Luxury. It came with a feature list straight from an episode of Pimp My Ride: 18-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, HID headlights, Kia’s Supervision in-dash instrument cluster, a premium audio system, navigation, automatic climate control, heated and cooled ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a black headliner.

Not bad, eh? The only thing missing from the list and the one thing I feel really shouldn’t be missing is a blind-spot detection system in the side mirrors to go with the parking assist toys like front and rear obstacle detection. Like Justin Pritchard and his new-found love for back-up cameras I have come to expect the convenience offered by a second opinion when changing lanes. As a motorcyclist I’m all too aware of the inadequacies of a head-check, so the mirror option is a good fail safe. My money is on Kia implementing it sometime in the near future.

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