Are mini-minivans on their way back in the U.S.? If the Kia prototype shown above is any indication, the answer is yes.
Spotted testing near Ann Arbor, Michigan, our sister publication found this tall-roof, seven-passenger van believed to be the next generation of the Kia Carens, known to you and me in the U.S. as the Kia Rondo. Or, if you heard the incessant radio commercials in the Greater Pittsburgh area in 2010, you know it as the “rockin’ Rondo.”
Last sold in the U.S. as a 2010 model, the Rondo was here for four model years before being discontinued amid slowing sales and a drive for a refocused brand image. Kia continued selling the Carens overseas, and now the time has come to give it a clean-sheet redesign.
Likely built off the same chassis as the European-market Kia Cee’d, which itself is based on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback, the future mini-minivan will likely carry the same formula as the current one—compact dimensions and seven-passenger seating. It will slot below the larger, next-generation Kia Sedona minivan, which is anticipated to debut for the 2014 model year.
Seeing the Kia Rondo replacement in the U.S. is no guarantee that it’ll be sold in the U.S. when it reaches production, as many foreign automakers test cars away from the markets where they will be sold. But seeing as the lineup of mini-minivans and small wagons is filling out here, with the Mazda5 and Toyota Prius v on sale already and the Ford C-Max coming for the 2013 model year, we wouldn’t bet against Kia re-entering our market with its redesigned small people hauler.
To see the full gallery of pictures follow the link to Automobile Magazine below.
Source: Automobile Magazine