The Rondo shares some components with the mid-size Optima sedan, so it's more of a tall wagon than an SUV. That means the Rondo handles with no tipsy feeling; a 4-wheel independent suspension includes anti-roll bars front and back to keep body lean under control. The Rondo's efficient powertrain manages an EPA rating of 20 mpg city, 27 highway.
Kia has clearly designed the Rondo around creating the most interior space possible; its interior is surprisingly huge given its compact exterior. The second-row seats have plenty of headroom and legroom for full-size adults, and the third-row seat, now standard for 2011, can comfortably seat smaller occupants, expanding the Rondo's seating capacity to seven. The seats all fold to expand cargo space when needed, and the second row slides fore and aft to adjust either the legroom or the amount of cargo space in back. The interior has cup holders for each row, plus a number of storage cubbies.
A total of six airbags, including seat-mounted side bags and full-length side-curtain bags, help protect occupants of the Rondo; active head restraints help reduce the chance of whiplash injury in a crash, while electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes might help prevent one.