With the ever increasing prices of gasoline not to mention the growing problem on global warming car buyers have chosen to purchase smaller, eco-friendly, and highly fuel efficient cars. In North America which was once a citadel of minivans and SUVs are shifting to more urban-friendly alternatives. The competing models are Kia Rondo EX V6 and the Mazda 5 GT; these two models offer five-plus seating with plenty of cargo space especially when the third row seat is not in use.
The Rondo and the Mazda 5 are in some way similar like for instance the sharp-edged flashing on the glove box door. Their biggest similarly so far is the seating capacity, Mazda 5 can accommodate six in a 2+2+2 configuration while Kia adds a seventh spot to the middle row but of course imagining the limited seat space it will only be able to accommodate a child.
Both cars also deliver a high level of flexibility and cargo capacity. Although the idea of folding the middle and third row seats flat down may prove to be a simple matter however for Kia this is not the case, you have to remove first the second-row headrests. And not only that when it comes to the actual cargo carrying capacity it gets a little too muddy for Kia.
The maker of Mazda radiator, Mazda and Kia seem to use a different method when it comes to calculating the relative space available however one thing is for sure with the third row deployed, there is no cargo space in either vehicle. But take note once the third row is down the cargo space quadruples. And with the center row seat flat, the Rondo opens up to 73.4 cubic feet. The Mazda 5 was able to match this space however its roofline may slightly limit its overall height.
As for the accommodations, both Mazda and Kia are at par with each other. In the third row Kia has noticeably more legroom, headroom, and knee room. On the other hand Mazda has a hard plastic trim piece that is right over the head of the passengers. In terms of seating comfort, Mazda provide slightly more comfort since its seats are higher off the floor approximately 270 millimeters compared to the 230 mm on Kia.
The space on the second row is just right. The seats are also comfortable and can easily be moved to and fro. When the third row is vacant moving the seats back provides passengers with more room to stretch. But once the third row is in use, pulling the middle-row seats forward gives the third row with ample space.
When it comes to up front, there is very little to differentiate the two vehicles. The driving positions are comfortable, provides better visibility, and the layouts overall are logical. Both cars also comes with air conditioning but is offered as an option on the Mazda 5. Both cars are also equipped with decent audio packages and power locks, windows, sunroofs, and mirrors. The noticeable difference is in the manual adjustment for the 5’s cloth seats versus the power adjusters for Kia’s heated leather buckets.
Differences are also evident in the doors. Kia makes use of four conveniently hinged doors while Mazda utilized sliding rear doors. This difference may be subtle but still highly significant. The advantage of the Mazda door is the fact that it is easier to load especially when it is parked in tight spots however the down side of it is that it hinders access to the third row because the leading edge eats into the entryway.
In terms of fuel economy it is pretty much a tie. The Mazda 5 is rated at 11.2 liters per 100km for city driving and 8.3 liters for highway driving. On the other hand Kia consumes more fuel in town but much better on the highway.
When it comes to safety, the Rondo surpass the Mazda 5 by coming with standard traction and electronic stability control systems unfortunately neither are offered on the Mazda 5. Both however are equipped with front and side seat-mounted air bags as well as drop-down side curtains and active headrests.
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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.