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2009 Kia Borrego Performance

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On Performance

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 does everything a midsize SUV is supposed to do, including towing heavy loads.

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.

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