Kia Rondo V6 EX

Last month, I followed the Kia Forte Koup SX across much of Newfoundland. It was the Targa Rally and Kia had entered for the first time ever. The car I trailed the rally in, with a couple of other media types, was the Kia Rondo. Last week, I tested the Rondo again for perspective.

I was very pleased. The first reason? That man smell which was evident after 2000 clicks and 8 days in Newfoundland doesn’t come with the car. But plenty of decent details do.

Performance – actually, yes.

Several times during the 5 days of the race, we had to boot it up the TransCanada highway to catch up to the racers. The road sometimes offers a brief passing lane on a typically 2-lane highway. (Think of that famous Terry Fox footage.)

Times like these the V6 engine with 192-hp came in handy. A Steptronic transmission, standard with the price, wrung extra juice and the engine would whine sweetly while shooting us along satisfyingly fast. Last week that familiar whine kicked in while the Rondo passed other autos on highways in the GTA. It didn’t love the tight turns but available 17” tires would aid the gription.

More than enough space for a working crew and/or family.

Behind the second row of seats, there’s 31.7 cubic feet. (You could flatten them 73.6.) In September, we carted cameras, lights, luggage, computers, water and food — we always had plenty of space. Last week, my kids’ hockey equipment and endless school detritus traveled as easily.

Built for maximum efficiency on the highways.

A suburb-dweller or weekender’s ride, the Rondo drinks 11L/100km in the city but on the highways that drops to a more competitive 7.7.

Plenty of extras for the price.

None of us guys in Newfoundland noticed or mentioned the heated seats. Last week, my wife and daughters did immediately. The Rondo comes with a few other interesting standards like keyless entry, cruise control and air conditioning. Electronic stability and traction control lessen the thrills but that’s OK when you’re carrying your kids. Safety first.

MSRP $25,795

This is a test