The Kia Rondo is a compact minivan that may not have the name recognition of Kia’s current lineup but offers the automaker’s signature blend of value nonetheless. Arriving in 2007, the Rondo struggled to compete against more traditionally sized minivans like the Honda Odyssey, leading to its demise after just 4 model years.
However, with room for up to seven passengers across three rows, an available V6 powertrain, and remarkably affordable values, a used Kia Rondo represents a potentially smart purchase decision for those in the market. This makes now a great time to look at our data-driven rankings of the best and worst model years of the Kia Rondo.
Kia Rondo Engine Reliability Score, Safety Ratings, MPG, Value v.s. Value for the Money, and F.I.R.I.S. – Year by Year
The Kia Rondo Reliability Score graph below is the most significant factor in our analysis and ranking of the best and worst model years. It plots objectively measured reliability per data collected from thousands of FIXD devices installed in customer Rondos.
As is so often the case, the first model year of a new generation tends to struggle with reliability as the manufacturer irons out production kinks. The Rondo stays true to this theme with 2007 marking its debut in the North American market and one of the worst years for reliability.
To fill out our analysis, we look at published government safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fuel efficiency figures per fueleconomy.gov, current market values from Kelley Blue Book (KBB), and annual maintenance costs from RepairPal.
In the interest of having a subjective counterpoint to the objective data, we also generate a FIXD Internet Review Index Score (F.I.R.I.S.). You can learn more about how this score is calculated below, but it is based on data gathered from Edmunds, KBB, Cargurus, and Cars.com.
We’re aiming to help current Kia Rondo owners, and potential buyers, learn about what to watch out for from one model year to the next. On that note, if you’re in the market for a car, take a look at our article on the USA’s most reliable and cheapest to repair cars in the U.S. Don’t get stuck with a lemon, use our data to help you shop.
Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years
The green line on the Kia Rondo Reliability Score chart above is based on the total number of CELs that have been recorded by customer-installed FIXD devices for each model year from 2007 to 2010. After tallying them up, we weight this objective score by average mileage and convert it into a 1-10 scale where 10 is the best and 1 is the worst.
Normally, this score trends up over time, but while the Rondo starts out on the low side and moves up initially, it ultimately tumbles back down for the final year of production. There are no clear updates made by the automaker that year to explain this, but 2010 is the only year the NHTSA issued an “URGENT: FIRE RISK WHEN PARKED” notice on the Rondo.
We’ll dive into the details of this topic in the relevant model year rankings below and at the bottom of the page, you can find more information on how we calculate the FIXD Reliability Score. Also, be sure to check out this list of the most common CELs to expect from a Kia as it plays a role in how reliable you can expect your Rondo to be.
NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years
The green line on the Kia Rondo NHTSA Safety Rating chart above is based on the average safety score, for all trim lines, of a given model year. It is plotted against the average safety rating of the entire auto industry (gray line) to give a reference point for Rondo safety. Both sets of ratings come from published NHTSA safety data.
As you can see, the Rondo performed above average all 4 years it was in production. Some of that can be chalked up to its 6 standard airbags, which was relatively high for the time. It’s also nice to know that even objectively unreliable model years, like 2007 and 2010, are still safe to drive.
Understanding how a given model year of the Kia Rondo ranks for safety is important as it plays a main role in keeping insurance premiums down. If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours.
|What Used Cars Are the Cheapest To Insure In:|
MPG – Over The Years
Throughout its production, the Kia Rondo offered a 2.4L inline-4 or 2.7L V6 powertrain and front-wheel-drive. In 2009, Kia bumped the output of both engines, but only by 13 and 10 horsepower, respectively. This helps explain why the Rondo’s fuel economy hovers between 21 and 22 mpg combined – as represented by the green line above – for its 4-year production lifecycle.
These figures are calculated by averaging the combined fuel economy figures for all Rondo trim lines of a given model year using data from fueleconomy.gov.
Current Market Value of All Kia Rondo Years vs. Value for the Money
The above chart of Kia Rondo Market Value vs. Cost of Repairs is based on Rondo market values published by Kelley Blue Book against average annual service costs according to RepairPal. This additional dataset furthers our efforts to put together a comprehensive analysis of the best and worst model years of the Kia Rondo.
As is typical, market values move higher with more recent model year Rondos, but there is less than a $1,000 swing between the 2007 and 2010 models. So, potential buyers should do well regardless of which Rondo they’re looking at.
Plus, annual repair costs range between $350 and $450, so you can rest easy knowing a visit to the shop – for any of the 4 model years – should stay under $500.
When shopping for a used Kia Rondo, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!
F.I.R.I.S. – FIXD Internet Review Index Score– Over the Model Years
The Kia Rondo F.I.R.I.S. chart above gives us a way to analyze subjective reliability. To create it, we gather scores from Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Cargurus, and Cars.com for each year of Rondo production. After averaging these figures, we put the F.I.R.I.S. rating on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best.
Looking over reviews from these publications shows that experts generally appreciated the blend of value and versatility offered by the Rondo. Although Kia ultimately struggled to sell its compact minivan, the subjective rating was always between 8 and 9 out of 10, so there is a lot to like about the Rondo.
Important Features Timeline
2007 – Rondo debuts for the North American market with 4- or 6-cylinder power and seating for 5 or 7 passengers
2008 – Aside from the addition of an auxiliary audio jack, 2008 was a carryover year
2009 – Both engines receive a minor power increase, satellite radio made standard, navigation system offered
2010 – The final year of Rondo production comes with standard 7-passenger seating and turn signals integrated into the side mirrors
The Best Years of the Kia Rondo
Taking into account FIXD reliability, F.I.R.I.S ratings, fuel efficiency, safety ratings, market values, and annual repair costs, we’ve come up with this list of the best Kia Rondos. Pertinent recall information and notes about common DTCs are included as well.
FIXD Reliability Score: 8/10
FIXD Internet Review Index Score (F.I.R.I.S.): 8.4/10
Mileage Est. KBB Value: $3,517
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg
RepairPal Average Annual Repairs Total: $435
Safety Rating: 4.6/5
Looking at the FIXD Reliability Score chart, it’s easy to see why I chose the 2009 Kia Rondo as “best of the best”. It earned an 8 out of 10 for this metric, which is far higher than any other model year and a 3-point improvement over the next-best 2008 Rondo.
This is all the more notable considering 2009 was the only year that Kia modified the Rondo’s powertrains by increasing the power output for both the 4- and 6-cylinder options. Normally, we see reliability drop when an automaker starts monkeying with the mechanicals, but that’s not the case here.
Other highlights include a roughly $500 increase in KBB market values, which is relatively large, and a 22 mpg combined rating, which puts it in a group with the most efficient Rondos. Though the F.I.R.I.S. rating of 8.4 out of 10 for the 2009 Rondo is technically the lowest, it is within a range that only varies by half a point over 4 years, so it’s not bad.
The 4.6 out of 5 safety score in 2009 is identical to every other Rondo, which is to say above the industry average. And while annual upkeep costs of $435 are higher than average, it’s only $23 above the $412 average across all model years, so is not worth worrying about.
Two of the most common DTCs recorded on the 2009 Kia Rondo are for leaks in the EVAP system. DTC P0456 is triggered by a small leak as we discuss in our DTC P0456 explainer video, while DTC P0455 is considered a large leak. In both cases, the culprit is often a loose gas cap.
If you encounter DTC P0106, it means the Manifold Air Pressure sensor is acting up and you should stop driving as this severe issue can cause damage if left alone. Repairing this problem should cost between $55 and $160 at a shop.
The NHTSA issued just 2 recalls on the 2009 Rondo. Of those, a problem with the stop lamp switch unexpectedly failing was the most significant as it impacted close to 1 million vehicles.
FIXD Reliability Score: 5/10
FIXD Internet Review Index Score (F.I.R.I.S.): 8.6/10
Mileage Est. KBB Value: $3,040
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg
RepairPal Average Annual Repairs Total: $404
Safety Rating: 4.6/5
The 2008 Kia Rondo makes our list of best model years because it posted an improvement to its FIXD Reliability Score over the 2007 model and managed to increase the average fuel economy rating by 1 mpg. Granted, the FIXD score is on the low side, but it does mean these models are objectively more reliable than the 2007 or 2010 Rondo.
Like all Rondos, the 2008 model has a high F.I.R.I.S. rating, an above-average safety rating, and annual maintenance costs that are very close to the average of $412. Market values moved in the right direction this year even though that uptick is minor against the prior year.
Like the 2009 model, two of the most frequently encountered DTCs on the 2008 Rondo are related to the EVAP system. This system is designed to prevent fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere and in the case of DTC P0441, the system’s purge valve is malfunctioning so should be looked at.
DTC P0455, on the other hand, is defined as a large EVAP system leak, which is typically caused by a loose gas cap. DTC P0341 is triggered when the camshaft position sensor is acting up, but it could also mean it’s time to replace the battery.
Of the 3 recalls for the 2008 Rondo, an issue with the airbag clock spring assembly impacted some 145,00 vehicles. Any Kia dealer should repair recall-related problems at no charge on a Kia vehicle up to 15 model years old. You can use this NHTSA VIN tool to find out if your car has any outstanding recalls.
The Worst Years of the Kia Rondo
Working with the same information to determine the best Kia Rondos, we’ve compiled a list of model years to avoid. Worse reliability and bigger service bills are the norm with these poor-performing Kias. We are starting from the absolute worst and progressing to the “best of the worst”.
FIXD Reliability Score: 4/10
FIXD Internet Review Index Score (F.I.R.I.S.): 8.9/10
Mileage Est. KBB Value: $3,828
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg
RepairPal Average Annual Repairs Total: $452
Safety Rating: 4.6/5
Both the 2010 and 2007 Kia Rondo have a 4 out of 10 FIXD Reliability Score, which is the lowest for any model year. But I’m putting the 2010 model in front (or behind depending on how you look at it) of the 2007 model as the “worst of the worst” because of how dramatically it declined in reliability.
Dropping 4 points is bad enough, but it’s even worse considering 2010 was the final model year for the Rondo. Normally, vehicles show reliability improvements toward the end of a lifecycle as the manufacturer has had time to work out any production kinks.
That’s not the case here, but there are no obvious causes – like powertrain changes – from Kia. However, this was the only model year that the NHTSA issued a troubling “URGENT: FIRE RISK WHEN PARKED” notice. It was related to one of the 2 recalls that year for a short in the vehicle’s electronic control unit that could cause an engine bay fire.
This issue impacted some 1.7 million vehicles and though it does not correlate directly with reliability issues, it points to overall problems with these Rondos.
It’s not all doom and gloom however as the 2010 Rondo has the highest F.I.R.I.S. rating of 8.9 out of 10 and hits a market value high point of nearly $4,000 per KBB. Like most model years, it earns 22 mpg combined and like every Rondo, this 2010 model has a 4.6 out of 5 safety rating.
On the downside, these Rondos post the highest figure for annual service costs even if that amount is only $40 above average. And while one of the most common DTCs on these Rondos, P0455 for an EVAP system leak, can often be corrected by simply tightening the gas cap, the other two top offenders go down a more complicated path.
One of them, DTC P0765, is triggered when the Transmission Control Module detects a malfunction with the shift solenoid, a component that controls hydraulic fluid pressure inside the transmission. If DTC P0014 pops up, it means the exhaust camshaft timing is too far advanced, which could lead to replacing a variable-valve timing system solenoid.
FIXD Reliability Score: 4/10
FIXD Internet Review Index Score (F.I.R.I.S.): 8.8/10
Mileage Est. KBB Value: $2,860
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg
RepairPal Average Annual Repairs Total: $357
Safety Rating: 4.6/5
The first model year of any new vehicle often struggles with reliability as the automaker works through unforeseen production issues. Such is the case with the 2007 Kia Rondo, which marked the debut of this compact minivan in the North American market.
It also has the worst average fuel economy rating of 21 mpg combined, though that is just a single mpg off the other 3 model years. Its F.I.R.I.S. rating is relatively high, which may be related to the excitement surrounding a new – and unusual – vehicle, which was apparent when reading through period reviews.
Like the rest of the Rondo lineup, the 2007 model has strong safety marks, but it also has the distinction of the lowest annual maintenance costs per RepairPal. So, the 2007 Rondo has some high points, but with objectively poor reliability, we can’t recommend it.
The ever-present issue of an EVAP system leak across all Rondos is present on these models as seen with DTC P0441. You’ll see DTC P0341 when the camshaft position sensor is on the fritz and if the catalytic converter is on its way out, watch for DTC P0420.
There were 3 recalls issued for the 2007 Kia Rondo, including one for a problem with the stop lamp switch that affected over 980,000 vehicles.
According to RepairPal, the most frequently reported issue with engines on the Kia Rondo is a CEL triggered by a fault in the Intake Air Temperature Circuit. However, the code is said to be erroneous in most cases and can be fixed by reprogramming the Powertrain Control Module. This issue affects the 2007, 2008, and 2009 model years.
On the transmission front, watch for DTC P0765, which is triggered by a malfunction with the shift solenoid, which controls hydraulic fluid pressure within the transmission. Only the 2010 Rondo has recorded this issue according to our FIXD data, which is also our pick for “worst of the worst”. It’s also a good reminder to stay on top of your automatic transmission service intervals.
According to the listings on CarsForSale.com (as of November 8, 2023), there are 87 used Kia Rondos on the market across the country. Of those, fewer than 5% have 200,000 miles or more on the clock, while more than 42% show between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. Almost 37% of these Rondos have between 100,000 and 150,000 miles on the odometer.
Considering close to 80% of these Rondos have between 100,000 and 200,000 miles and less than 5% have cracked the 200,000-mile mark, I would say that 200,000 miles could be considered high mileage for the Kia Rondo as so few have gone past it.
The Kia Rondo was sort of an in-between compact minivan and small crossover with few direct competitors aside from the now discontinued Mazda5 and current Ford Transit Connect. However, short-wheelbase versions of the Dodge Caravan and small crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester make for interesting alternatives.
If you want to stay in the Kia family, there is the long-running Sportage crossover and the larger Carnival minivan for those in need of more space.B
A Note About Data and Information Sources
This article has many details about Kia Rondo reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.
- FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App.
The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage using 12,000 per year. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing.
This is an objective score.
- F.I.R.I.S & Data: This data is the result of averaging the score of the Kia Rondo from Edmunds, KBB, Cargurus, and Cars.com.
Those individual Scores come straight from reviewers and owners of the Kia Rondo.
This is a subjective score.
From here we translate the answers into the F.I.R.I.S as all the answers are out of 5.
Keep in mind, that owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is.
One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.
Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.
Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others.
It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars.
Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these F.I.R.I.S, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data.
We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the F.I.R.I.S for this reason.
- KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Kia Rondo with typical mileage for that respective model year.
- Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
- Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by RepairPal
- Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph.
- Kia Rondo model-specific information. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.edmunds.com/
- Kia Rondo model-specific recall information. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
- Kia Rondo model-specific information. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.auto-brochures.com
- Kia Rondo model-specific information. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.kiamedia.com/
Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.