Kia Rondos Fishers IN
Terre Haute, IN
2007 Kia Rondo EX Compact Minivan
By Derek Price
What was tested? 2007 Kia Rondo EX ($20,195).
Options: Premium package ($1,200), third-row seat ($500).
Price as tested (including $600 shipping charge): $22,195
The other day a coworker asked what car I'd be driving next.
"A Kia Rondo," I told him.
"Oh, the gay car," he replied, thoroughly confusing me.
"You know, the gay car."
I had no idea what he was talking about, so I looked it up on Google where - sure enough - there was a lot of speculation about whether Kia was marketing this car to homosexuals.
Most of this talk centered on a TV commercial where people in rainbow-colored sweaters wave their arms in the air and sing a hippie song, all while the Rondo drives around with rainbows following it.
That's not all. The commercial ends with the Rondo parked in front of the San Francisco skyline with rainbows flying all over the place. It's not exactly subtle.
The car itself doesn't seem gay to me, but what do I know? I hate pickup trucks. I've owned several Miatas and loved them, so perhaps my automotive sexuality sensor isn't calibrated properly.
If it weren't for the interesting TV commercial, the Rondo would actually be a fairly dull car. It's essentially a scaled-down minivan with four regular doors and a third-row seat, a perfect car for carrying kids to soccer practice and picking up groceries on the way home. It drives well, has a roomy cabin and looks nice, with all the practicality of a minivan and none of the stigma.
It's surprisingly nice for a Kia, but then again, that shouldn't be a surprise any more. Kia's reputation for quality and durability is improving rapidly. It's also a good value, starting just over $16,000.
But that TV commercial exists, and it also raises some questions.
Is Kia overtly marketing this car to gays, or is it the customer of a naive advertising agency?
If Kia is, indeed, targeting the gay market, what does that mean for heterosexuals who want to buy the Rondo but don't want to create confusion in their social lives?
Will Kia sales plummet in the Bible Belt?
Do I need to make eyes at women when I drive it, just to keep rumors from flying?
It's certainly a practical and affordable people hauler. But after seeing that commercial, I can't think of anything but rainbows when I get behind the wheel.
Pros: It's an affordable, practical, family-friendly vehicle that dries exceptionally we...