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2009 Kia Borrego Review


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THE AUTO PAGE
by
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS:
Model: 2009 Kia Borrego
Engine: 3.8-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 276 hp @ 6,000 rpm/267 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 114.0 in.
Length x Width x Height: 192.1 x 75.4 x 71.3 in.
Tires: P265/65R18
Cargo volume: 12.4 cu. ft. (behind third row)
Economy: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway/17.9mpg test
Fuel capacity: 20.6 gal.
Price: $36,295 (includes $750 inland freight and handling and $5,500 in options)

The Bottom Line The brand new Borrego is a capable mid-size SUV with adequate power, three rows of seats and enough features to make anyone happy, all at a reasonable price (for mid-size SUVs).

Kia’s new Borrego mid-size sport utility vehicle is a pleasant enough vehicle with all the attributes one would expect from an SUV. It has four-wheel drive capability with a low range and an automatic range. We kept it in automatic most of the time because our primary problem was dealing with heavy rains on highways and we wanted the extra security of 4WD.

Since we didn’t get an opportunity to do serious off-roading with the Borrego, we were particularly interested in its on-road manners. We drove it on Interstates and on local roads and were quite pleased. One thing that impressed me the most with the Borrego was its manners and relative silence. We could cruise along on local roads with nary a sound from the engine or exhaust. On the Interstates, there was some road noise, but little engine or exhaust roar, except when we hit the loud pedal to accelerate. So this is a civil car that has off-road abilities, unlike some of the competition that may be more truck-based with truck manners.

Under the hood of the Borrego is a 3.8-liter V6 rated at a comfortable 276 horsepower. There’s a 4.6-liter V8 available with 337 hp that’s good for heavy hauling or trailering, but in normal driving conditions the V6 has plenty of power.

The V6 is hooked to a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the V8 gets a 6-speed automatic.

I felt that overall handling of the Borrego was good, when the tall aspect ratio is factored in. Sure, it would be nice to have sports car handling, but that isn’t going to happen with an SUV.

Inside, the Borrego has three rows of seats. Up front there are two buckets with decent side support. But check the paragraph above and you’ll note that deep side support really isn’t necessary. What’s available is adequate.

The second row seats are relatively flat, but there is room for three passengers with the flat floor. We found knee room to be tight with the driver’s seat pushed to what I feel is comfortable.

The right second row seat folds forward to facilitate access to the third row. In this case, the optional running board (part of an $1,800 premium package that also includes a sunroof, the Infinity audio system, rear AC and larger tires and wheels) is extremely useful. Once back there, I was surprised to note that the knee room was greater than in the second row. All rows have great head room and more cupholders than anyone could use. I counted ten total, but I might have missed a couple.

A nice feature was the three cubbies available. There’s a tray in front of the shifter that’s good for a cell phone. Above that, in the center stack, is a pull out drawer. And above that is a covered cubby that’s good for securing personal items that you don’t want visible when you leave the car in a parking lot.

All in all, the Borrego is a worthy addition to the Kia lineup. It’s bigger than a Sportage, but offers decent economy and excellent road manners.

© 2008 The Auto Page Syndicate