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2009 Kia Borrego First Impressions

2009 Kia Borrego First Impressions

Big and strong By ,

There are very few reasons to buy a large, V8-powered sport utility vehicle. You have to be looking for power, towing capacity and generous room... and be willing to spend a lot of money on gas.

"Not so much" is what the folks at Kia will tell you. Recently, they chose the beautiful Rockies to host the media launch of their all-new Borrego SUV, unveiled a few months earlier at the New York International Auto Show.

The Borrego is the largest vehicle ever produced by the brand.

Surprisingly, despite having the size of a Ford Explorer or Nissan Pathfinder, this Korean 4x4 wants to play with the big boys like the Dodge Durango and Chevy Tahoe, at least as far as performance is concerned.

Big... well, sort of...
The Kia Borrego looked huge upon its original introduction, but when we finally got up close, it couldn't hide the fact that it's smaller than most full-size SUVs. Sure enough, the Borrego is the largest vehicle ever produced by the brand and almost identical to the Jeep Grand Cherokee in terms of exterior dimensions.

Size is used to give the vehicle off-road capabilities that are quite remarkable. For instance, the 217-millimeter (8.5-inch) ground clearance and 27.3-degree approach angle allow the Borrego to tackle some steep and muddy trails without fear of getting stuck and battered.

As for styling, designers used restrained taste and seemingly found inspiration in other competing SUVs. Charming yet understated and low-profile, the Borrego is a true member of the Kia family; it lacks visual punch and assertiveness.

Interesting power under the hood
The 2009 Kia Borrego comes with a choice of two engines. The base model borrows its 3.8L V6 from the Sorento. A 5-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.

Thusly equipped, this "big" machine benefits from 276 horsepower and no less than 267 pounds-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Basically, the V6-powered Borrego can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the standard towing package (although it seemed to struggle on the roads of Alberta) and achieve a combined city-highway fuel economy of 11.4 liters per 100 kilometers.

The base model borrows its 3.8L V6 from the Sorento.