Chicago Auto Show: Kia Rondo gets SXy

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Following in the footsteps of its other "sporty" SX models, Kia unveiled its new Rondo SX in Chicago today. Playing up the versatility of the new people hauler, Kia's VP of Marketing, Ian Beavis, said the new Rondo SX should appeal to those who want to have a more aggressive package on a budget. The SX was done all in-house by lowering the suspension, adding some bigger rubber, a new mesh grille, rear valance, red trimmed interior accents, and a new cold air intake and cat-back exhaust to add 10 hp to the Rondo's 2.7-liter V6. In the SX, it's rated at 192. The 2007 Kia Rondo was intro'd at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November, with a slew of "Rondoisms" describing all of the new terms people had to invent to cover the new things this versatile vehicle could do. Well, here in Chi-Town, the Rondoisms returned and the unveiling of the SX was even accompanied by song as a rainbow-clad chorus sang Let The Sun Shine In. No, really.

One small tidbit slipped out of the lips of Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of KMA, right after the presentation too. He said that the enthusiast market is small but showing what can be done on a small budget is what these special addition cars are all about. Something Kia owners can replicate pretty easily on their own. He even mentioned in passing that a light turbo application has been considered as well. "The Rondo SX Concept is proof that smart, spacious vehicles don't need to be boring, and that consumers can still be passionate about a daily driver." When asked how he sees the Rondo stacking up against the similar Mazda5, he said that sliding doors equal minivan in the minds of most consumers and that the Rondo is definitely not a minivan. He also said that we might see a new side of the Rondo in New York, where it has been pitched as a 21st century cab. Full press release and specs after the jump.

[Source: Kia]
Press Release:


Concept Displays Aggressive, Sporty Side of the All-New Kia Model

CHICAGO, February 8, 2007 –
Kia Motors America (KMA) debuted its all-new crossover vehicle, the 2007 Kia Rondo, at the Los Angeles Auto Show just last November and has wasted no time enhancing its "Exciting and Enabling" brand direction with the Chicago International Auto Show introduction of the Rondo SX Concept. Already a capable vehicle – Rondo is based on the current-generation Kia Optima platform – the SX concept elevates the crossover to new heights by showing that practicality doesn't mean excitement is sacrificed.

"We have positioned the all-new 2007 Rondo as a vehicle of function and versatility," said Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of KMA. "The Rondo SX Concept is proof that smart, spacious vehicles don't need to be boring, and that consumers can still be passionate about a daily driver."

The Rondo SX Concept is finished in a sophisticated four-stage metallic gray exterior color and reinforces its sporty theme with cues from current Kia SX-trimmed vehicles like the Rio and Spectra models, which include more aggressive front and rear fascias, sportier grille inserts and other exciting exterior details. Key front-end changes include a larger lower air intake, an integrated SX-styled front fascia, new brake cooling ducts as well as a restyled metal-mesh-insert front grille to match. Headlight inner rings also are darkened in color to complete the aggressive look.

Likewise, the rear fascia receives sportier treatment with a new metal-mesh vent insert, diffuser and dual exhaust outlets. Roof rails, which are standard on most Rondo models, have been removed for an aerodynamically cleaner look and the door handles and body-side moldings finished in a contrasting technical silver color to present a smooth and contemporary overall finish. The Rondo SX Concept is fitted with an optional accessory body kit currently available on LX and EX trim lines. However, on the SX concept model, the initially argent-colored lower rear spoiler, fender flares and rear/side fascia extensions of the body kit have been finished in a slightly contrasting metallic gray color. The vehicle sits on aggressive five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels fitted with 235/40R18 Michelin® Pilot Sport performance tires to complete its bold exterior stance.

On the inside, the Rondo SX Concept is enhanced with modern luxury sport materials and finishes. From the driver's seat an SX-familiar black leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting red stitching can be easily identified. The seats are trimmed in gray leather with custom contrasting red leather trim surrounding dark gray Alcantara® inserts. Dark gray Alcantara® and red leather accents also can be found on the front and rear door trim. Replacing the stock black parts are SX-styled brushed stainless steel sport pedals, as well as platinum-look accents for the center stack, shifter surround and door switch trims.

The Rondo SX Concept's 2.7-liter DOHC V6 has been enhanced with a cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust system that yields an additional 10 horsepower to boost the engine's output to 192 horsepower. The SX Concept's ride height has been lowered approximately three inches to improve cornering and augment the sporty aesthetic. The vehicle also is equipped with cross-drilled and slotted front and rear brake rotors for enhanced braking performance.

Kia Rondo SX Features & Specifications

Exterior Dimensions
Length: 179.0 in. (4547mm)
Width: 71.7 in. (1821mm)
Height: 62.0 in. (1575mm)
Wheelbase: 106.3 in (2700mm)

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18-inch, five-spoke alloy
Tires: 235/40R18 Michelin® Pilot Sport

Exterior Features
Aggressive front fascia that matches styling of other Kia SX models
Larger lower intake
New brake cooling ducts
Integrated chin spoiler and fascia extensions
Restyled front grille with metal mesh grille insert
Black chrome door handles, body-side moldings and emblems to match front grille
Restyled rear fascia with new matrix-style vent with ground effects-style fence diffuser and dual exhaust outlets
Darkened headlight inner coloring
Kia accessory body kit finished in slightly contrasting gray color
Fender flares
Rear and side fascia extensions
Lower rear spoiler
Roof rails removed for enhanced aerodynamic look

Interior Features
Stock gray leather seat trim bolsters with dark gray Alcantara® inserts and contrasting red leather accents
Dark gray Alcantara® and red leather accents on door trim
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting red stitching
Platinum-look accents for center stack trim, shifter surround trim and door switch trim
Brushed stainless steel sport pedals

Driving Functions
2.7L DOHC V6, 192HP
Custom fabricated cold-air intake system
Cat-back exhaust
Lowered ride height (approximately three inches)
Cross-drilled and slotted front and rear brake rotors

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