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Kia Rondo SLi vs Fiat Freemont Lounge


Kia Rondo SLi and Fiat Freemont Lounge go head-to-head in this comparative review.
 

value

Kia Rondo SLi

from $33,990

Mid-spec SLi has dual-zone climate, leather trim, powered driver's seat adjustment, folding and heated mirrors, auto power windows, puddle lamps, touchscreen infotainment, USB and Bluetooth input for the six-speaker sound system but lacks satnav.

Fiat Freemont Lounge

from $30,990

The 2.4 six-speed auto gets satnav, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, auto headlights, leather trim for seats and wheel, tri-zone climate, folding and heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, 19-inch alloys. Third row of seats adds $1500, as does rear DVD player.

technology

Kia Rondo SLi

The little Korean 2.0-litre (122kW/213Nm) turns a six-speed auto that's smoother and smarter than the Italian-American. It's also asked to lug less (1546kg). Claimed fuel use for the Rondo is 7.9L and we returned 11s during our time in it.

Fiat Freemont Lounge

No tech tour de force -- engine cranks out an adequate 125kW/220Nm to lug 1.8 tonnes plus crew, which gets the thirst up from a claimed 9.8L/100km into the mid-teens. The auto's ratios are mismatched and it's generally something of a grump.

design

Kia Rondo SLi

Less angular and slab-sided, the Rondo takes up less road space overall, it has a decent wheelbase and useful amounts of space. There are fold-up tables for the second row seats, under-floor storage, 35-30-35 split-and-slide second-row seat and standard folding third row.

Fiat Freemont Lounge

The "Dodgey" exterior has some blind spots but seven-seat option is clever. Middle row slides and reclines (and had built-in boosters for the outboard seats), with nifty underseat, underfloor and door storage. Don't look for stacks of boot space with all rows in use.

safety

Kia Rondo SLi

Kia expects five stars, thanks to high-strength steel in the body. Six airbags, auto-dimming centre mirror, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera. Spare is a space-saver.

Fiat Freemont Lounge

Four ANCAP stars, six airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes. There are tyre pressure monitoring, space-saver spare, auto-dimming centre mirror, reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

driving

Kia Rondo SLi

A willing worker, the engine punching above its cubic capacity. Ride quality is good without sacrificing body control. Cabin comfort is good, if a little tighter for occupants than the Fiat. Even those prone to car sickness travel well in third row.

Fiat Freemont Lounge

It packs plenty of gear but is a little rough around the edges. Flexible, clever seating and storage make school runs a doddle but it's not as refined and comfortable as you'd expect. Improvements will come with Grand-Cherokee-based new model.

Verdict

Kia Rondo SLi

Fiat Freemont Lounge

The Fiat has the edge on space, adding plenty of gear and clever touches. The much-improved Korean matches or beats it on most fronts and is a more refined ride.