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Mazda 5 Vs. Kia Rondo: Which is Which?

In the automotive industry, the Europeans have long patronized the diesel engine and they prefer smaller more economical automobiles. Meanwhile, North Americans who usually carry five people in their cars prefer a minivan and seven-seat SUV. The problem is that the minivan's polluted brush infects the driver and big SUVs are massive gas consumers. There are city-friendly substitutes now. The Kia Rondo EX V6 Luxury takes on the Mazda5 GT, both offering a minimum of five-plus seats and delivering a spacious cargo area when no one or nothing is occupying the third row.

The two vehicles are stunningly similar. However, they are different right down to the sharp-edged flashing on the glove box door. Seating constitutes the most visible similarity, wherein the Mazda5 has six in a 2+2+2 configuration, while the middle row of Kia has a seventh spot.

Both cars also yield huge flexibility as well as cargo capacity. However, Kia's headrests in the second row have to be removed first when the middle and third rows flat need to be folded. As regards the cars' cargo-carrying capacity, Mazda Motor and Kia Motor used different ways to compute the available relative space.

When the third row is moved down, the space produced is almost four times the original. When the centre row is flat, the Rondo is made available up to 73.4 cubic feet. Visually, the Mazda 5 has almost the same space as the Rondo, but its overall height may be slighted affected by its roofline.

As far as accommodations are concerned, both cars have a close fight. Kia has considerably more legroom, knee room and headroom spaces in the third row. The Mazda 5 also has a hard plastic trim piece on the headroom. However, this car has seats that are higher off the floor (270 millimetres compared to the Kia's 230 mm), which makes it quite more comfortable than the other car.

On both cars' second row, seats are comfortable and can be moved back and forth. When the third row is vacant, the back seat can be moved and the middle-row seats can be pulled forward, which means more stretch-out space.

While the Mazda has few nice touches like a storage bin under the left middle seat and a handy tray/net under the right, Kia counters those with functional roof rails.

Up front, there are minimal differences between the two. The cars' driving positions are good, visibility is also good (both feature triangular windows at the A-pillar that reduces what would be a bad blind spot) and the entire layouts are logically conceptualized. Both have air conditioning (a $1,100 option on the Mazda5), great audio packages and power locks, windows, mirrors and sunroofs. The only noticeable difference is the manual adjustment for Mazda's cloth seats and the power adjusters for the Kia's heated leather buckets.

The doors also depict differences. The Rondo comes with four conventionally hinged doors while Mazda 5 is available with sliding rear doors. Therefore, the Mazda is easier to load when one is parked in a tight area. The sliding doors deter access to the third row on the down side due to the eating of the leading edge into the way of entry.

On the road, both cars are not like larger minivans or SUVs. As usual, a minimal body roll (both use anti-roll bars front and back) is present as well as any under steer. Both are also available with fitted large tires as well as anti-lock brakes. The Mazda 5 GT uses P205/50R17s, while the Kia uses a 225/50R17s.

Bigger differences are in the power train. The Mazda has a 2.3-liter four-cylinder and a four-speed manumatic (a combination of manual and automatic). The Rondo EX V6 is run by a 2.7L V6 that drives a five-speed manumatic. The base Rondo EX is available with a 162-hp, 2.4L four and a four-speed tranny. To reach 100 kilometers, the Mazda needs 9.3 seconds, and 7.6 seconds to make the 80-to-120-km/h passing move. Meanwhile, the Rondo's V6 engine attains the same performance more quickly in 8.2 and 6.1 seconds, respectively.

The horsepower of the two also has a huge difference. The Mazda yields 153 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm while the Kia has 182 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The Kia has extra gear and is also gives more silence at highway speeds.

The fuel economy of the two is in close fight. The Mazda5 consumes 11.2 liters for every 100 km in the city and 8.3 L/100 km on the highway while the Kia is rated at 11.8 L/100 km in town driving and 7.9 L/100 km on the highway.

Regarding safety features, the Rondo has standard traction and electronic stability control systems - some of the car's advantages over the Mazda 5. Nonetheless, both cars come with front and side seat-mounted air bags as well as drop-down side curtains and active headrests.

In summary, both the Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo outcast any SUV; both have rear seats that are usable; both are stunningly designed and reasonably priced.

Now, it's your turn to decide which is better. Which is which?

About Mazda 5

With top of the line Mazda tie rod end, the Mazda 5 was formerly called Mazda Premacy in Japan and in Europe. It is a compact MPV built by Japanese auto maker Mazda since 1999.

About Kia Rondo

Kia Rondo is Kia Carens' name in North America. The Carens is a compact MPV that was introduced in 1999 by the Korean auto manufacturer, Kia.

The Rondo was introduced in North America at the 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show and began its sales early this year in the US and on the end of 2006 in Canada.

About The Author Kraig Johanssen is a native of Connecticut and holds a degree in Software Engineering. He now works at a software development firm in Alabama. His love for writing and great interest on cars makes him a proficient contributing author to various automotive magazines.
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