2009 Kia Borrego Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's Significant About This Car?
Although now may not seem the best time to introduce a mid-size three-row SUV, the 2009 Kia Borrego certainly makes some compelling arguments on why it is due some attention. First, when equipped with Kia's first-ever V8 (borrowed from the Hyundai Genesis) and six-speed automatic transmission, the Borrego offers best-in-class fuel economy and towing capabilty, certainly appealing to those who make regular use of their trailer hitches. Second, this sport ute is spacious enough to easily seat seven adults – without requiring gymnastics in the process. And third, the Borrego comes packaged with an impressive array of standard features for a very reasonable price, making it all the more competitive with the likes of the Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a mid-size SUV that can tow up to 7,500 pounds and fit seven adults inside, the Borrego may be the vehicle for you. With three rows standard and an available V8 that offers best-in-class towing, this vehicle can easily and comfortably get a family (and their boat) from here to there.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If towing ability or having plenty of seating aren't on the list of things you are looking for, then you may be more interested in a crossover like the Ford Edge or Nissan Murano that gives you the feel of an SUV wrapped in a much more compact package.
The 2009 Kia Borrego is the largest SUV ever offered by the manufacturer in the U.S., not to mention their first vehicle to offer a V8 and six-speed transmission that should especially appeal to those who tow. Throw in a spacious interior, amenities aplenty and a low starting price, and the Borrego is one impressive package.
Driving the Borrego
We spent some considerable time in the 2009 Kia Borrego on a variety of paved surfaces and found it to be a quiet and comfortable vehicle. The 276-horsepower V6 and...
five-speed automatic transmission proved to be perfectly suited for easy cruising both in town and on the highway, while the powerful 337-horsepower V8 matched to the six-speed auto proved their worth when towing and in driving in hillier locales. To experience the vehicle from more than just the driver's point of view, we sat in all three rows of seats for extended periods of time and can attest to their all-around roominess. And, as we discovered in trying to quickly get the cabin to a reasonable temperature, the 16 air vents inside really do help keep the vehicle comfortable no matter the weather outside.
Air Vents Galore
When the temperature inside isn't quite right, nothing beats having an air vent within reach to quickly feel comfortable. And with 16 vents total, everyone has the opportunity to cool down or warm up.
Third-row seats are often great places to put children, but adults rarely find them easy to reach or practical. The Borrego's third row is actually roomy enough to accommodate two adults for more than just a trip to the store, which is more than many of its competitors can provide.
2009 Kia Borrego Details
Look inside the 2009 Kia Borrego and you'll find a spacious, well-finished interior. Up front, a USB/auxiliary input jack sits within easy reach of the driver, and the steering wheel is home to cruise and audio control buttons – although they're not quite as ergonomic as we would have liked. Moving back, the second-row seats slide forward to allow fairly easy access to a standard third row roomy enough for two full-sized adults. And for those occasions when having room for people isn't as important, the back two rows fold flat, opening up an impressive 97.6 cubic feet of space.
The Borrego's rather sculpted exterior certainly makes it stand out in the Kia lineup. In fact, if the Kia badges were removed, you might be inclined to think that the Borrego belonged to another automaker; with its wide stance, chiseled hood, vertical grille and wraparound projection headlights, this seven-seater sports a strong, solid look. Add in roof rails, a healthy dash of chrome and 17-inch alloy wheels, and this mid-size SUV looks ready to pull a trailer somewhere fun.
The 2009 Kia Borrego LX comes equipped with a standard 50/50 split-folding third-row, 60/40 split-folding second-row that slides and reclines, USB/auxiliary input jack, six-speaker SIRIUS Satellite Radio-ready AM/FM/MP3 CD player, and steering wheel-mounted cruise controls. Moving up to the EX trim adds fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass and Homelink, power front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob as standard equipment. Each Borrego comes equipped with six airbags (seven on the V8), ABS with Brake Assist, hill assist, downhill brake assist, traction/stability control and a backup warning system.
The good news is that Kia decided to offer a healthy portion of its more practical options on both trims, so things like Bluetooth, four-wheel drive, leather seating and a V8 powertrain matched to a six-speed automatic transmission are available to anyone. The bad news is that many of the more comfort-focused options are tied solely to the EX trim. Included in these extras are 17- or 18-inch chrome wheels, power sunroof, 10-speaker Infinity audio system with in-dash six-disc CD player, navigation, rear-seat entertainment system, running boards, driver's side memory system, a rear camera display and heated front seats.
Under the Hood
While the 276-horsepower V6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission would work well as a daily driver, the 337-horsepower V8 is better-suited for those who want or need a little more push to get where they're going. Matched to Kia's first six-speed automatic, the V8 (borrowed from the Hyundai Genesis) is a lean, mean, towing machine capable of hauling 7,500 pounds. And with highway fuel economy numbers in the 15/22 city/highway mpg range, it is also the most fuel-efficient V8 in its class. If desired, a full-time Torque-on-Demand four-wheel-drive system from BorgWarner is also on offer in both LX and EX trims.
276 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
267 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 (2WD), 16/21 (4WD)
337 horsepower@ 6000 rpm
323 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
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