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CAR OF THE MONTH September 2008

Can Bigger Be Better?
2009 Kia Borrego EX
A three-quarter front view of a metallic orange 2009 Kia Borrego EX

In short: A large SUV at a low price.

Looking for a seven-passenger SUV that’s loaded with value but won’t entice you to mortgage the house? Then you probably want to test drive the all-new Kia Borrego (called Mojave elsewhere in the world), which is built on an exclusive platform and powered by an equally exclusive 4.6-liter V8 engine. The Borrego is also available with four-wheel drive or with a V6. We very much liked what we drove and were impressed by all the new technology—somewhat unexpected from the usually miserly brand—loaded in the Korean company’s roomy, 5,000-pound vehicle.

Kia Motors can finally say that they offer a full lineup of cars, from their trusty econoboxes such as the Rio and Spectra to their luxurious Amanti sedan and their practical Sedona minivans. Now the automaker tops its lineup with this self-dubbed “new kind of luxury SUV,” a vehicle that will take the family camping in style. Play with the seat arrangement and you get a serious cargo ship that can tow 7,500 pounds, to boot. Did you know that the second row of seats not only slides but reclines, too? You also get active headrests and a backup warning system. We counted ten, yes TEN, cupholders and enjoyed the easily adjustable climate control system while driving from hot plains to cool mountain passes. How about a retractable trailer hitch? Yes, it has one of these, and even runs on regular fuel—not to forget a few Kia firsts along the lines of a rear camera display, a sophisticated navigation system, a smart key with a start/stop button and Bluetooth connectivity. All of this contributes to making an arrival at the Opera House totally acceptable.

A view of the 2009 Kia Borrego EX's V8 engine
An interior view of the 2009 Kia Borrego EX

The Borrego is easy to drive, corners quite decently (all things considered) and above all, is very quiet. You certainly get a luxurious feeling while riding. Along with fully independent all-wheel suspension and traction control, the Borrego offers downhill and hill assist controls to help maintain stability on uneven terrain. In the cabin, SIRIUS satellite radio (with complimentary service for the first three months) and an in-dash, six-CD changer powered by a 600-watt Infinity audio system add to the driving pleasure. Plug in your USB jump drive loaded with your favorite music, and tunes play immediately without even pushing a button. For a reliable, safe and powerful value-packed and luxurious SUV, please head to your local Kia Motors dealer and see if the Borrego can seduce you.

Warranty/Service: Ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty; five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty; and a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan.

A three-quarter rear view of a metallic orange 2009 Kia Borrego EX

Base Price: $30,995 / As Tested: $36,545

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, four-wheel drive, 7-passenger, 5-door SUV

Engine: 4.6-liter, 32-valve DOHC V8
Horsepower: 337 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 323 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: ZF 6-speed automatic with overdrive

Curb weight:
4,621 lbs
Wheelbase: 114 in
Length/Width/Height: 192.1/75.4/71.3 in
Turning circle: 36.5 ft

all-wheel disc with ABS, electronic brake distribution, and brake assist
Suspension: independent in front and rear with coil-over springs
Traction: electronic stability control and traction control, downhill assist control and hill assist control

0-60 mph: 7-8 seconds (est)
Top Speed: n/a

EPA City: 15 mpg
EPA Highway: 20 mpg

dual front advanced airbags; dual front seat-mounted side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags with rollover sensor; driver’s knee airbag; three-point seatbelts for all seating positions; backup warning system; front active headrests; tire pressure monitoring system; side-impact door beams; front and rear crumple zones; impact-absorbing steering column

Likes: space, value, price

Dislikes: rough on bumps

Check out other Kia models
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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 08/26/08 SCV)

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