2009 Kia Borrego Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • All-new sport utility vehicle (SUV)

  • Kia's first V-8 engine

  • Kia's first 6-speed automatic transmission

  • Seating for 7

  • DVD navigation offered for first time in a Kia

  • Three months of Sirius satellite radio

  • Goes on sale this summer as a 2009 model


Three years after the unveiling of the Mesa concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show, Kia Motors America returned to Detroit to show off the production version, the 2009 Borrego. While the Mesa was concept-car chic-an electric rear step, 22-inch wheels and pod-like black-and-red leather seats-the Borrego is more down to earth. This 3-row SUV gets the first V-8 engine sold in the United States by the South Korean automaker. At a Korean introduction prior to its Detroit launch, Kia officials said they expected worldwide sales of the Borrego-to be sold as the Mohave in the domestic market-to grow from 48,000 in 2008 to 80,000 in 2009. This vehicle competes with offerings such as the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

The Borrego is a traditional, body-on-frame SUV. Measuring 192.1 inches long and 75.4 inches wide, and riding on a 114-inch wheelbase, the Borrego is Kia's largest vehicle. It's nearly two feet longer than the Sportage and a foot longer than theSorento. Styling cues include flared-back headlights, a stout grille and a sculptured hood with bulges. Optional are 18-inch alloy wheels. The second-row seats fold flat and slide forward and backward to better accommodate either passengers or cargo. The standard third-row seats fold flat as well. The Mesa concept was penned in the Hyundai/Kia Southern California design studio, but the production Borrego comes out of Korea, where it'll be built.

As with other new Kias, the Borrego will carry a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty as well as a 5-year or 60,000-mile basic limited warranty. That plan includes roadside assistance over the same time/mileage period.

Model LineupKia hasn't announced trim levels yet, but expect to find the Borrego available in LX and EX configurations, which is how both Sportage and Sorento are sold. Kia says all Borrego models will include an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer as part of a 300-watt Infinity stereo.
That sound system will be USB/iPod compatible, and the Borrego will become the first Kia to include Sirius satellite radio as buyers get the first 3 months of that programming free. Options will include power-adjustable pedals and Kia's first DVD navigation system that comes with a back-up camera.


Most notable on the 2009 Kia Borrego is the availability of a V-8 engine. With a displacement of 4.6 liters, it'll produce more than 300 hp, Kia says. Expect more specific numbers closer to sale date. This is a version of the engine that will be used in the forthcoming , where it will produce about 375 hp. (Hyundai is Kia's parent company.) It's paired with another Kia first-a 6-speed automatic transmission. Together, the powertrain is capable of towing 7500 pounds: class leading, Kia says. Standard is a 3.8-liter V-6 engine, which can tow up to 5000 pounds. To be sold in 2- or 4-wheel-drive (2WD or 4WD) versions, the Borrego features independent front and rear suspension set ups with coil-over springs.


Kia has moved to outfit all its models with a full complement of safety features in recent times, and the Borrego doesn't stray from that formula. Standard are front, 2-stage air bags; side curtain bags covering all three rows of seats; an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that includes electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist; electronic stability control (ESC); and a traction-control system (TCS).


Among the many Kia firsts found on the Borrego, both downhill assist control (DAC) and hill assist control (HAC) are available options here. Downhill assist control helps the driver negotiate steep hills by keeping the vehicle moving forward at a steady pace without worrying about wheels locking. Hill assist control won't let the vehicle slide backward while ascending a steep hill, Kia says. Expect the Borrego to borrow its off-road capability from the Sorento, using that vehicle's 4WD systems-either an electronic part-time setup or the full-time Torque-on-Demand setup complete with a low-range setting.
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