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The 2009 Kia Rondo can carry up to seven people and is quick, efficient and comfortable - even for long trips. It's small. With overall dimensions of 179 x 71.7 x 65 inches (l x w x h) and a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, it is smaller than the Mazda5, yet it still has more legroom for the 3rd row of seating than the Toyota RAV4. And with MSRPs beginning at $16,395, even compared with the Hyundai Veracruz, it is the least expensive ride in its class. It delivers 19/26 mpg city/highway and also comes with the class-best standard warranty that's good for 60,000 miles or 60 months.

The NHTSA awarded a perfect 5-star rating to the Kia Rondo for frontal crash tests. The base engine is a 2.4L 4-cylinder that joins forces with a 4-speed automatic transmission to produce 162hp and 169 lb-ft of torque. Redline rpm readings stand at 5800. The transmission also has a manual mode that can be utilized at will. Additionally, for an extra $1000, there is an available 2.7L V6/5-speed auto combo that yields considerably more power, yet still delivers 18/26 mpg.

Whether you opt for cloth or leather seating, the seats are comfortable - able to be sunk into a bit, but still firm and supportive. The rear 2 rows of seats fold down to expose an impressive 74.4 cubic feet of cargo space. There are 5 trims available: the LX Base, the LX, the LX V6, the EX and the EX V6. All models are station wagons. Loaded models top out in MSRP at $20,195.

Safety equipment standards are front, side and full-curtain airbags; antilock braking and electronic stability control in addition to tire pressure monitors. Appearing like a mix between a minivan and a hatchback, the 2009 Rondo doesn't remind one of the small-sized SUV that it is. It has sexy slopes and nice curves all over it. The headlamps are trapezoidal. All four corners are, not surprisingly, rounded. The tinted window glass seems seamless when fitted on the black pillars. The glass in the rear is a single, non-opening rectangle that allows for great visibility.

Wide-opening doors accommodate simplistic entries and exits to and from the spacious interior. There is plenty of knee, elbow, shoulder and head room for all. Easy-grab handles also are a convenient door-based feature. The cabin features excellent lighting placement. The driver's armrest is surprisingly comfortable and there is even an oversized spot for larger water bottles. On the right of the center stack, there is a purse hanger that women adore. There are also separate climate vents for the second seating row.

The 2009 Kia Rondo is an excellent-driving, safe, quick and comfortable vehicle that costs less than every vehicle in its class - and offers the best warranty. Sales numbers are very strong. Fuel economy is solid. It is definitely a vehicle that deserves your serious consideration.

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