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January 28, 2009 > Auto Review: 2009 KIA Borrego

Auto Review: 2009 KIA Borrego

Kia has added an all-new, mid-sized SUV to its line up of models sold in the USA. The new three-row, seven-passenger Borrego is a good value in this segment of the SUV market.

The Borrego enjoys Kia's extraordinary warranty benefits with base coverage of five years or 60,000 miles and powertrain warranty period of 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Borrego comes with a choice of the most powerful engine that Kia has offered. You can have them drop in a 337 HP, 4.6-liter V-8, similar to our two wheel drive test Borrego. It was mated to a 6-speed automatic; that combination delivered 15 city MPG and 22 highway MPG in the EPA test cycle on regular unleaded gas. My wife and I felt that this produced plenty of power for moving the Borrego down the road. This combination can tow a 7,500-pound payload which should cover almost anything most families want to tow to their favorite fun spots.

The other engine is a 3.8-liter V-6 that delivers 276 HP to its 5-speed automatic. Its EPA numbers are 17 and 21 in the two wheel drive Borrego. This combination is rated at 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

Both powertrain variants can drive either the rear wheels only or a four-wheel drive system for playing in the dirt or those ski trips up to Tahoe. The four-wheel system drops the EPA mileage numbers about 1 mpg. Looking at its competitors, it is interesting to note that the Borrego powertrains deliver the most horsepower, the most towing capacity, and the best gas mileage.

The Borrego is built like a truck because it utilizes a body that is built on top of a frame. This gives it more strength than some of the other mid-sized SUVs. It has a full complement of safety equipment including electronic stability control, a full set of air bags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control.

The standard interior is well set up with a six-speaker audio system, CD and MP3 capabilities, USB, Sirius satellite radio, and air conditioning. The third row, back seat was very easy to get in and out of compared to similar vehicles. However, I thought the driver's seat could go back a little further to make it more comfortable for tall drivers.

As in other Kia models, Borrego delivers a huge number of features and value for its price. The base V-6 model starts at an MSRP of $26,245 and the base V-8 starts at $30,995. Adding the four-wheel drive system will cost about $2,000 additional. Moving up to the better equipped model (the EX) will add power adjustable front seats, dual-zone AC, Homelink, trip computer, and other items for $1,750. A navigation system and rear seat entertainment system are other options.

Vehicles from Kia never cease to amaze me. They always offer a very good value for their cost, and the Borrego continues this promise.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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