Our Rondo has been to the dealer three times for scheduled maintenance, at 7500-mile increments. The first trip came about four months into our time with the Kia, at which point the dealership changed the oil and filter, rotated the tires, and checked the tire pressures ($95.13). The adjusting clip (lets you change the angle of the vent) had come off one of the vents on the center stack, so we had them take a look at that. The techs wedged the clip back in place-the logical thing to do-and sent us on our way. By the next visit, the clip had come off again, so while it was in for its next oil/filter change, inspection, tire rotation, and rear brake adjustment ($228.12), the service advisor ordered the replacement parts for the clip. When the Rondo was getting its 22,500-mile service, the parts were in and we discovered that the vent itself-not just the clip-would have to be replaced, which would require pulling the entire dash assembly and about five hours of time. Instead, we waited an hour for the oil change, inspection, and tire rotation ($97.17) and accepted that we would find other ways to redirect airflow. Adjusting clip aside, we had zero mechanical problems and no other issues needed to be resolved.

In terms of styling, interior amenities, and power, the Rondo has fallen behind the pack. However, during our year-plus, it more than made up for those shortcomings in interior volume, frugality, and value. While we still have it, we've learned that the Rondo will be going away soon, and when it does, we'll lose a long-termer with the seating capacity of a minivan or SUV with the size and fuel economy of a compact-not a bad combination.

From The Logbook

"The V-6 is small, but is a good match for a car of this size and weight."
- Brian Vance

"This Kia is practical, useful and, best of all, cheap."
- Ed Loh

"The Rondo is an interesting combination of ample power, mundane styling, questionable interior aesthetics, and excellent functionality."
- Kirill Ougarov

"I'd feel comfortable recommending this car to someone who's looking for a frugal, spacious, easy-to-drive car that focuses more on practicality than enjoyment."
- Rory Jurnecka

Our Car
Base price $20,795
Options Premium Package ($1200: power sunroof, Infinity AM/FM/CD stereo system); Leather Package ($1000: leather seat trim, heated front seats), third-row seat ($500)
MSRP, as tested $23,495
Total mileage 22,589
Avg fuel economy 19.6 mpg
Problem areas Broken vent clip
Maintenance cost $417.42
Normal-wear cost $29.98 Replacement of wiper blades
Three-year residual value* $8,928
Recalls None
* Automotive Lease Guide