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click above image for high-res gallery of the Kia Borrego

It's that time of year again when people call up all their friends and invite them over for some holiday cheer and the car makers are no exception. Kia Motors kicked off the festivities the other night with a little gathering at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. The invitation promised Kia America CEO Len Hunt and a special guest. Unfortunately Hunt couldn't make it, but the special guest turned out to be the new Kia Borrego SUV.

The unit on hand was one of two prototypes in the country right now having arrived only days before. Party-goers had the opportunity check out the new truck up close, but it was made clear that as a prototype the interior trim did not include all the final textures and materials. The shapes and layout are complete, but we'll pass on an overall judgment until a vehicle closer to final spec is available. There's plenty more first-hand information on the Borrego after the jump.

[Source: Kia]

Although no press kit is being supplied for the Borrego before it's public roll-out at the Detroit Auto Show next month, we were able to glean some more details from Kia sources. In designing the Borrego, Kia selected a body on frame layout to allow for a greater towing capacity, which will top 7,000 lbs in the V8 model. They did promise that even with the chosen layout they were able to keep the weight down to almost the same level as a unit body design. Motivational force will come courtesy of the 3.8L V-6 already available in the corporate family or optionally a brand new 4.6L V8, which oddly enough seems to be the same size as the engine in the new Hyundai Genesis. Go figure!

Kia used the Ford Explorer as its bench mark for interior volume and comfort while the Jeep Grand Cherokee provided inspiration for the handling dynamics. Having recently spent a week with a Grand Cherokee, it definitely has fine handling for this type of vehicle with good body control and excellent damping. Our Kia sources also tell us to expect surprisingly good fuel economy for this class of vehicle.

The Borrego is smaller on the outside than full size SUVs and CUVs like the Chevy Tahoe or Saturn Outlook falling closer to the Explorer. In the inside, room in the first two rows of seats was good and the third is claimed to accommodate 6'2" passengers. The seating position back there is of the low butt, high knees variety. There is certainly enough room for a couple of adults on cross-town travels, but a long road trip is probably not a good idea.

The new Kia SUV will come in both rear- and four-wheel-drive configurations and definitely slots in above the existing Sorento. It's going on sale in Korea early in 2008 and should turn up at U.S. Kia stores by next September. The company isn't talking specific numbers yet, but they don't expect the Borrego to be a huge volume seller, although in typical Kia fashion it will be priced aggressively. We'll be getting all the details including interior shots next month at Cobo Hall.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Seems nice enough but what is with the badging? Why not a Kia oval. I wonder if it will say the foreign name on the podium at the auto show?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hmmm....let the arguments begin. Does it look like a Chrysler Aspen or Subaru Tribeca?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I was actually thinking it resembles a 2009 Forester.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just thought the exact same thing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Laugh at Kia and they design issues but they are eating the lunch of many more established nameplates. Do a little research, you'll find out that Kia is outselling Suburu, Mazda, Mitsu, etc. I can promise you they aren't laughing at Kia.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to know weight, and mileage numbers for the V6/V8.

      I own a Sorento and the Veracruz is tempting me away from Kia.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks like the Tribeca front end which looks like the Pacifica front end. Not bad though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not impressed, especially with the exterior. This car will passed over by many because it simply has no stand out styling cue that says "look at me". Thats too bad because the interior looks respectable and has some nice features like the tilt-telescoping wheel that all cars should have. I will however look at it in Detroit because I look at nearly everything, especially when its new.

      On a side note, I always wondered how people in Korea, China and Japan feel about having their controls half in English and half in their native language?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford Escape-esque
      • 7 Years Ago
      wow, the center stack design is a complete ripoff of the touareg, but with the cayenne's rocker switches for temp control... steering wheel is a direct copy of the touareg too.

      why is it that nearly every design to come from hyundai/kia is stolen from another manufacturer? guess it's a way to cut corners to keep prices low...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh please - pretty much every auto borrows styling cues from predecessors.

        And it costs the same to pay a designer whether they come up w/ something original or "play it safe".

        And the head of design at Kia is Peter Schreyer - who designed the Audi TT - which is probably why there some similarities in switches (oh, the horror!).
        • 7 Years Ago
        there's a difference between "borrowing" or "similarities" and copying. being influenced by something is different that ripping it off.
        • 7 Years Ago
        OMG they also stole the same halogen headlight bulbs as other cars used.

        Oh God they also stole the idea of using black rubber for the tires!

        Why can't the stupid company come up with originality like having 3 wheels instead of 4 or flying instead of being a land vehicle. GRRRRRR

        /in case you did not catch on that was sarcasm.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow.Chrysler's being copied.I guess they should be flattered.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It does look like a Tribeca. But, its DULL overall!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Being that I work for Kia, I can personally testify that more and more people are coming to the brand from Toyota and Honda than anything else. People that were interested in the new Accord were irritated when dealers were charging sticker or higher and it actually doubled my Optima and Amanti sales. Some brands may get a little better fuel economy, but when you save thousands, and get nearly double the warranty w/ 60,000 miles of roadside, it really is irrelevant.
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