The 2009 Kia Borrego may qualify as a mid-size SUV, but it's surprisingly spacious inside in all three rows. The Borrego Kia boasts respectable build and materials quality, though the lack of ride comfort is a weakness. That said, the consensus among reviews read by TheCarConnection.com is that Kia's first attempt at an SUV is a resounding success.
Kia's all-new Borrego Kia SUV is designed to seat seven, and unlike some mid-size SUVs that make the same claim, the 2009 Kia Borrego is actually quite capable of holding seven passengers in comfort. Up front, Motor Trend observes that "the perforated leather seats aren't nearly as soft as those of, say, a Mercedes, but they're good enough to be compared with popularly priced Japanese brands." Motor Trend also praises the Kia Borrego's front seats for their "excellent lateral support," which, combined with the "excellent driving position, makes long hauls short." ConsumerGuide reviewers report the Kia Borrego also features a "very roomy 2nd-row seat with plenty of space for two six-footers and good headroom even with the sunroof." The praise extends even to the third row, which tends to be laughably cramped on competing mid-size SUVs, with Road & Track finding the back row "easily accommodating children for long periods of time and adults for short trips." Car and Driver reviewers also appreciate the flexibility of the interior passenger space, noting "the middle bench has adjustable recline and slides forward to create more space for the tail gunners, so adult-size head and leg room can be found even in the third row."
The 2009 Kia Borrego also excels when it comes to daily usability, as Kia designers have clearly spent a lot of time maximizing the utility of the interior. Road & Track points out "space efficiency is a strong point" on the 2009 Kia Borrego, and ConsumerGuide rates the Borrego Kia above the class average for cargo space; their reviewers find that the "second- and 3rd-row seats fold flat, and both are split to favor passengers or cargo as the situation warrants," while "in-cabin storage includes door pockets front and rear and covered space in the console." Motor Trend took their calculators to the Kia's interior measurements and discovered that "cargo volume behind the third row (12.4 cu ft) is more than that in the 4Runner (12.1)," and overall, they say the Kia Borrego offers "a larger interior volume (156.8 cu ft)" than either the Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner.
It's not uncommon for the first model year of a vehicle's production to suffer from quality problems that will be addressed in subsequent versions, but early indications are that the Kia Borrego is well-finished. Motor Trend looks to the Kia Borrego as "proof that Kia and sister company Hyundai are spending lots of money and quickly refining interior quality," as the Borrego Kia boasts "switchgear [that] looks and feels of quality and panel fit and parting lines are tight." Road & Track agrees, opining that the Kia Borrego "features a well-styled and constructed interior with material quality reminiscent of that found in the latest Infiniti models," and even the typically conservative reviewers at ConsumerGuide say the Kia Borrego's "interior features attractive materials and solid assembly."
One of the many benefits of solid construction is that it usually indicates a quiet ride. That is certainly the case with the Borrego Kia, and Motor Trend claims the Kia Borrego can make "90 mph sound and feel more like 60." ConsumerGuide adds that the Kia Borrego is "quite serene for a truck-type SUV," noting outside noise is typically "audible but not annoying."
Several reviewers remark that the Borrego suffers from an especially harsh ride, which may detract from the quiet interior and comfortable seating. Cars.com contends "the suspension system is harsh, transmitting road shocks" frequently back to passengers. Car and Driver also derides the "viciously stiff damping," which "bobbled heads on the freeway and actually made a baby cry" during their test drive.