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Paris show: Kia’s Rondo outed

Paris bound: Kia’s new Rondo 7 small people-mover – known as Carens in Europe – has been revealed in studio photos in the UK.

Baby Kia people-mover emerges in images ahead of next week’s global reveal in Paris

Kia logo19 Sep 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

HERE is the next generation of Australia’s most affordable people-mover, the Kia Rondo 7.

The images emerged in Britain overnight ahead of next week’s Paris motor show where the seven-seat, Cerato-based wagon will be formally unveiled alongside the new three-door Pro_Cee’d hatch.

But unlike the Pro_Cee’d that is for Europe only, the Rondo 7 will go on sale in Australia, following the new Cerato small car into showrooms about April next year.

No powertrain or other mechanical details have been given for Rondo, which is currently powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and priced from $25,990 (plus on-road costs).

Kia began its teaser campaign for the Rondo 7 – called Carens in some markets, including Europe – in July when it released drawings resembling negative photos.

The latest studio photos show that the fourth generation vehicle adopts the now-familiar “tiger nose” grille and other styling treatments of latest-generation Kia vehicles, such as the Optima and Rio.

17 center imageBritain’s Autocar speculates that the new Rondo 7 will replace not only the current small people-mover but also the larger Sedona, known in Australia as the Carnival.

The short-wheelbase Carnival was discontinued in Australia last year, with only the Grand Carnival – powered by a choice of 3.5-litre petrol V6 or 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel – remaining in showrooms here.

A new Grand Carnival is believed to be under development, although is it not scheduled to go on sale for at least a year.

The new Rondo 7 is reportedly built on the same platform as the Cerato and Cee’d small cars (and Hyundai i30), but beefed up to take the third row of seats.

In Australia, the current Rondo 7 has lived in the sales shadow of its big brother, the Grand Carnival, which is by far Australia’s top-selling people-mover, outselling its closest rivals, the Hyundai Imax and Honda Odyssey, by about two to one.

While the ageing Grand Carnival – by far the oldest vehicle in the Kia line-up – has gathered 2369 sales this year, the Rondo 7 has welcomed just 218 new-car buyers.

Kia will be hoping the new model, with its contemporary styling and new-generation powertrains, will lift those sales considerably.

Kia Motors Corporation vice chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun Lee said the redesigned Rondo “marks a dramatic shift forward for our MPV contender and brings the model in line with Kia’s distinctive current design direction”.

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