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Almost a quarter-century ago, Chrysler rocked the automotive arena by putting a two-box anatomy on the K-car platform, calling it a minivan and inventing the soccer mom. Unfortunately, the amid years haven’t been affectionate to the concept; the mini minivan is no more. In fact, the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan is about two anxiety best than the full-sized 1984 Dodge Ram van. If you’re attractive for a three-row bodies mover that won’t max out your garage, you can consistently go the CUV route– if you’re into poseurmobiles. Or you can accede the Mazda5 or Kia Rondo. But do these reborn minivans backpack the torch, or has the genre’s blaze fizzled-out?
The Mazda5 Grand Touring and the Rondo EX attach to the aboriginal formula. Both are congenital on commuter car platforms and allotment drivetrains with abridgement cars. Both are aural a brace of inches of the admeasurement of the aboriginal Chrysler minivan. Both accept three rows of seats; like the aboriginal Caravoyagers, the third row is alternative on the Rondo. And like those aboriginal minvans, you can accept a collapsed burden attic if you desire. But that’s area the similarities amid them end.
Mazda and Kia took absolutely aberrant architecture directions. The Mazda5 looks like the adulation adolescent of a Mazda3 and the amplitude shuttle. The ancestors DNA shows in the grille that precedes a steeply angled awning and windshield. While the added commonly minivannish of the two, it shows some appearance with a beltline that swoops advancement from the binding swept-back headlights, accomplished the bifold sliding doors and adjoin the rear– area you’re greeted by two huge silver… things… army abutting to the rear window. These pods accommodate the LED taillights and advancement lights. They’re accessible to see, but attending oh-so-last-decade.
The Rondo eschews zoominess for cute. With its huge headlights, trapezoidal barbecue aperture and angled corners, it looks like one of the talking cars in the Chevron commercials. The Rondo departs from the accepted minivan compound with parking lot-unfriendly hinged doors instead of sliders. The cautiously angled appearance continues to the rear area it’s abruptly concluded with a aciculate appendage below the rear window.
At aboriginal blush, both cartage attending agnate inside, bottomward to the about-face levers beginning at a 45-degree bend from the console. However, differences abound. The Mazda5 is rated at six passengers, alms advanced buckets, centermost captain’s chairs and a two-person bank in the wayback. The Rondo claims to bank seven, with a breach bank in the boilerplate and an alternative two-seater in the rear. Unfortunately, the bunched ambit of both become abundantly credible aback you get to the aback seats. There’s alone abundant allowance for preteens (or adults you hate) in the aback of either minivan. If you accept to catch the kids into car seats or booster seats, hip room’s too bound to mention. In an attack to accord admission to the ache chamber, the aperture openings are advanced and the centermost seats accelerate forward. But you’ll still accept a continued amplitude to get anybody acclimatized aback there.
The additional row is abundant better. The Rondo provides abounding legroom, alike with the advanced seats pushed all the way back. But all the Rondo’s additional row does is recline, move ahead and aft and bend flat. The Mazda’s does that and more. Flip-up the beanbag on the larboard ancillary and there’s a accumulator bin ample abundant to backing an added accumulation of diapers for continued trips. Flip up the beanbag on the appropriate and there are cup holders and tray you can bomb over into the amplitude amid the seats. Lift the basal of that tray and there’s a net below to authority baby toys and added flotsam that seems to be de rigueur for traveling with adolescent ‘uns nowadays. In contrast, the Rondo’s rear cup holders accelerate out of the basal of the animate at attic akin area they would be absolutely abortive for little ones who are beggared in aerial aloft them.
Both cars action affluence of amplitude up front. But the Mazda5 has a actual annoying appendage at the ancillary of the animate area the driver’s leg should be. It partially blocks the accelerator, authoritative you authority your bottom at a aberrant angle. Then, aback you blow your leg adjoin the console, it’s adjoin adamantine artificial with a 90-degree bend on it. If you’re aloft boilerplate size, you’ll apprehension they fabricated it feel so ample by downsizing aggregate in the interior. The council caster is the admeasurement of a banquet bowl and every time I adherent my 6’3” anatomy abaft it I acquainted like I was in a parent-teacher appointment sitting in a third-grader’s chair. The mail-slot sized sunroof aperture alone added to the sensation. The second-row seats accept actual low backs-– so low in actuality that aback the headrests were all the way bottomward they didn’t alike appear to the top of my shoulders. You acclimate to the seven-eights calibration appliance eventually, but it’s still disconcerting.
Neither the Rondo or the Madza5 accept an affluence of burden allowance with the third bank up. The Mazda’s block has abundant allowance to authority a baby attache or a few soccer balls. The Kia offers alone 6.5 cubic feet. Bend bottomward the third row in either, though, and there’s affluence of allowance for the beer run. The Rondo has 35 cubic anxiety abaft the additional bank and the Mazda5 holds 44 cubic feet.
The Mazda5 Grand Touring and Rondo EX are both at the acme of their corresponding model’s aliment chain. The Mazda assault the Kia out of the baptize equipment-wise. Both appear with the accepted ability stuff, alien locking, six-speaker complete systems, and steering-wheel army radio and cruise controls. However, the Grand Touring additionally includes covering seats, electroluminescent gauges, automated headlights, rain-sensing wipers, the aloft sunroof, acrimonious seats, Bluetooth and it an alternative nav system. The leather, sunroof and acrimonious seats are alternative on the Rondo EX and you accept to pay added for third row seating. The actual cyberbanking toys aren’t accessible at any price.
In return, the Rondo offers two things that aren’t accessible on the Mazda5. The aboriginal is cyberbanking adherence control, accepted on the Kia. The additional is a V6 engine. Mazda’s accomplished 2.3-liter four-pot pumps out 153hp; it isn’t abundant to accommodate the zoom-zoom you expect, abnormally if there are three or four bodies on board. It takes about 10 abnormal to airing from 0 to 60 mph. You acquisition yourself adulatory they congenital a MazdaSpeed5.
The Rondo’s accepted 2.4-liter four cranks out 162hp, and the bland 2.7-liter V6 ups the ante to 182hp. With the beyond engine, the Rondo does the 0 to 60 drag in aloof beneath nine seconds. About boondocks it’s added than sufficient. Push the comminute into the college RPM ranges to wring-out added acceleration and methinks it doth beef too much. With both of these vanlets, you should plan your casual assignment in advance, abnormally in arresting terrain.
The Kia and Mazda both handle adequately able-bodied for nose-heavy 3500-pound boxes. The Mazda5’s council feels added anon affiliated to the advanced auto than the Rondo’s, but it exhibits added anatomy cycle aback pushed into a corner. Both are actual maneuverable in burghal cartage and baby abundant to clasp into spaces area beyond SUVs abhorrence to tread. You wouldn’t appetite to access any gymkhanas, but there is active fun to be had. As an added bonus, the base-level Mazda5 is accessible with a five-speed chiral transmission.
For artery cruising, the Rondo beats the Mazda5, hands-down. Its advanced seats are added admiring and abundant added comfortable. The ample analog instruments are easier to apprehend than the Mazda’s high-tech electroluminescent ones. The radio controls are abundant added aboveboard than Mazda’s radio cum nav system, area you accept to accede not to sue them aloof to get to the basal radio functions. The alone absolutely annoying affair about the Rondo was the wind babble about the rearview mirror on the driver’s side.
The Mazda’s ashen advanced seats and aberrant shaped animate cabal to accumulate anyone aloft boilerplate admeasurement from accepting comfortable. That, added to a resonance that boomed through the autogenous at speeds aloft 40 mph, fabricated me ambition I’d taken the Rondo every time I collection it.
Pricewise, it’s advantage Kia, as you’d expect. My fully-loaded tester listed for $23,495. They’re alms $2k incentives, so you’re aloof aloft the $21k mark afore you alpha haggling. The absolutely much-better-equipped Mazda5 stickered for $25,395 (currently there are no incentives offered).
When you’re talking about a Kia, there are a few added considerations to agency in. Aboriginal is the abhorrent first-year depreciation. You can apprehend the Rondo’s amount to bead by about a third of its sticker amount as anon as you drive it off the lot. Then, there’s the amount of durability. Although Kias accept bigger quality-wise and accommodate one of the best warranties in the business, it’s still too anon to acquaint how able-bodied the Rondo will authority up over the years. Aggregate in my tester was bound and acquainted solid. But that doesn’t beggarly it’ll authority up for bristles or ten years.
In animosity of that, I adopted the Rondo. It was added comfortable, added fun to drive and provided added aboveboard controls than the Mazda5. Still, either is bigger to the aggrandized monstrosities they currently bazaar as “minivans” and would apparently do 95 percent of what bodies active SUVs charge a agent to do. Maybe the absolute minivan’s time has appear again.
[Kia and Mazda provided the cars reviewed, allowance and a catchbasin of gas.]
You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth Of Kia Rondo | Kia Rondo – Kia Rondo
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