Kia Borrego Research

The Car Connection Kia Borrego Overview

The Kia Borrego was a body-on-frame sport-utility vehicle, with rear- or four-wheel drive, offered in the U.S. for only the 2009 model year. The Borrego was added to the Kia lineup above the Sorento crossover, and took on more traditional SUV models like the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, and (from that era) Nissan Pathfinder.

Whether you go fro the 276-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine or 337-hp, 4.6-liter V-8, you'll end up with a Borrego with plenty of power on reserve. V-6 models got a five-speed automatic, while V-8s added a gear. The Borrego did also feature a full-time Torque on Demand 4WD system that served it well either in bad-weather on-road conditions or tougher off-road environs. And towing was a strong point; it could tow up to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped.

It wasn't all great news. Gas mileage was quite low for the time, at just 15/20 for 4WD V-8 models and 17/21, at best, for RWD V-6 Borregos. Likewise, the Borrego weighed well over 4,500 (approaching 5,000 pounds in some configurations), and it drove heavier than its graceful styling suggested. Handling was confident and precise, but hardly nimble.

We had no complaints of the Borrego's interior; in fact, it was one of the better laid-out interiors in its class, and felt premium in its materials and well put-together. Cabins were relatively quiet, although ride quality was one major disappointment, with stiff damping and lots of motion on rougher roads.

Ultimately, there were two main factors that led to the Borrego's misfire in the U.S. market. Firstly, at the time the Borrego went on sale, in 2008, Americans were trading in their older body-on-frame SUVs en masse, in favor of more modern crossover designs. Secondly, the Borrego hit the market just as the recession and housing collapse hit the U.S.—and at the time of fuel-efficiency-minded purchases, the federal Cash for Clunkers program, and a market flooded with an excess of new and late-model SUVs, the Borrego landed into a market in which, priced at up to $40k for the V-8, not at all the value that Kias typically are.

In the end, our editors—and other critics alike—will agree that the Borrego was a good product, but not one that was relevant, needed or wanted by the market at the time. And today you might find that they make a relative bargain on the used-car market if you need a vehicle that can tow.

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July 23, 2015
2009 Kia Borrego 4WD 4-Door V6 LX

I can take all my grand children in it and feel safe .That's a peace of mind for me. Safety

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I have owned mine for 2yrs now and I have only 2 complaints , one I wish the ride was a little smoother and got better gas mileage . I like the look and the big one is safety. I can take all my grand children... + More »
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