Performance » 8
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Had no problems effortlessly climbing steep mountain grades
Both transmissions shift smoothly in normal driving
Solid-feeling steering and a firm brake pedal both add to the Borrego's quality feel
Road & Track
The Kia brand doesn't exactly have a reputation for high-performance vehicles, but the 2009 Kia Borrego offers some impressive capabilities. A pair of engine and drivetrain choices adds increased flexibility to the Borrego Kia.
The 2009 Kia Borrego is available with two engine choices: a "3.8-liter V-6" that Road & Track says "delivers 276 horsepower," and a "V-8-equipped model" that "produces 337 hp from its 4.6 liters of displacement." While the V-8 gets most of the press and the praise, ConsumerGuide does report that, when "equipped with the V6, Borrego has adequate power in most situations." Impressions of the larger V-8 are much more enthusiastic, with Motor Trend claiming the Kia Borrego "had no problems effortlessly climbing steep mountain grades...or passing lines of big rigs on I-5," and they also note "zero-to-60 shouldn't take any more than 7.0 sec, which is impressive for a rig weighing 4600 lb." The V-8 is a very capable towing engine as well, and Cars.com says the Kia Borrego "can tow up to 7,200 pounds."
The 2009 Kia Borrego comes with one transmission matched to either engine, which Motor Trend reports varies between a "six-speed automatic with the V-8" and a "five-speed automatic with the V-6." The versatile Borrego Kia also comes in "both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive," according to ConsumerGuide, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show the transmissions are acceptable, if not spectacular. When equipped "with four-wheel drive," the Kia Borrego "can be shifted with a dash-mounted switch from on-road all-wheel drive to high- or low-range four-wheel drive for adventures in the wilderness," observes Cars.com. ConsumerGuide reviewers remark that "both transmissions shift smoothly in normal driving," but they also throw in that "the five-speed automatic transmission needs a deep stab of the throttle to downshift when going uphill."
The 2009 Kia Borrego handles pretty well for a truck-based SUV. To that extent, Cars.com finds that the Kia Borrego offers "confident handling," and Motor Trend raves about the "commendable handling,” while ConsumerGuide approves of the "steering [that] feels accurate."
Unlike many vehicles that trade less-powerful engines for increased fuel economy, the 2009 Kia Borrego offers similar numbers with both the V-8 and the V-6 engines. Cars.com notes "Kia touts the fuel economy" on the Borrego Kia "as best in the class," but seeing as this is a 4,500-pound-plus SUV, best in class is a relative statement. The official estimates from the EPA are that the V-6 will achieve 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway in 2WD mode, while the 4WD version gets 16/21 mpg. On the bigger V-8, the 2WD estimates are for 15 mpg city and 22 mpg on the highway, with the 4WD-equipped V-8 returning 15 mpg city and 20 mpg on the open road.
The 2009 Kia Borrego does everything a midsize SUV is supposed to do, including towing heavy loads.