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2009 Kia Borrego Review

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2009 Kia Borrego


by Marty Bernstein
Detroit Bureau
The Auto Channel

There’s an old joke about how one gets to Carnegie Hall – practice. In a analogy spin on the joke, the only way you’ll get to experience a really good midsize luxury car is to drive it. And not just because Kia is running a national sweepstakes, either.

This is an enjoyable drive. Period. I know, cause a few weeks ago I was able to test drive the Borrego through some of the most beautiful country in the U.S., the Eastern Cascade Mountains in the state of Washington.

From the flats of the lush valleys to the climb up some nifty, twisty roads to reach a beautiful lake for some fishing – this is a tough job – I was pleased and a little awed by the luxury Kia has been able to inject into this vehicle. Its impressive, damn impressive in and out. Which for some dumb reason, difficult for most manufacturers of SUVs to accomplish. Kia got it right.

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Built on a platform with a wheelbase of 114.0 inches with an overall length of 192.3 inches and overall width of 75.4 inches, Borrego stands wider and longer than the Chevy Trailblazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner its competition in this class. Its wide stance allows for a roomy, comfortable interior with standard three rows of seating for up to seven adult passengers.

Two all-aluminum engines are offered – a 3.8-liter V6 and 4.6-liter V8 engine, the most powerful in Kia’s line to date. While the horsepower on both is nice V6 at 276 and the V8 at 337 hp, it’s the torque that’s cool.

The smaller engine puts out 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm, and the V8 generates a class-leading 323 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm – more powerful than the previously named SUVs as well as the Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Acadia.

Given the price per gallon these days, the Borrego is not exceptional. It’s okay when considering the impressive horsepower and torque with the unique-to-Borrego and new-to-Kia six-speed automatic transmission. The V8 engine has an EPA rating of 15/22 while the V6 is 17/21 city/highway. How ‘bout adequate?

Available in LX and EX trims, Borrego’s spacious cabin comes well equipped with a slew of standard convenience features, including: air conditioning; power door locks, windows and mirrors; keyless entry; cruise control and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 six-speaker audio system.

Complementing the audio system, Borrego comes standard with USB and auxiliary input jack and is the first Kia vehicle to offer SIRIUS Satellite Radio with three months of complimentary service for hours of uninterrupted amusement[1].

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Adding even more refinement and upgrades, the EX trim level includes an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, four-way power adjustable front passenger’s seat, floor mats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Homelink with compass, steering wheel audio controls, trip computer, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The new midsize SUV also offers Kia’s first voice-activated navigation system, with a Rear Seat Entertainment Package that includes an eight-inch widescreen television (EX models) for passenger entertainment during long car rides or around-town adventures.

Nice package, right? So head to the Kia dealers near you to enter the sweepstakes or go online at Good luck.