Detroit 2008: Kia Borrego arrives at the wrong time

click above for more high-res live shots of the 2009 Kia Borrego

Perhaps the biggest news about the Kia Borrego is that it marks the introduction of a V8 to the Korean automaker's powertrain arsenal. On the other hand, maybe we're just power-addled. Lobbing an entry into the midsize-SUV arena, Kia has stuck with the traditional body-on-frame strategy that many other automakers are abandoning. Styling wise, the Borrego is familial with the Kia Sorento, and neither 'Ute is bad looking. Even when blinged out with the highest trim level, the Borrego will skim along under the radar pretty easily. Those wheels, however, look like they were lifted from an unattended concept car on the show floor. Coil springs hold up all four corners, and stability and traction control are standard. Playing in the dirt will be aided by twin hill-traversing systems; Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Hill Assist Control (HAC). One's for going down, the other's for going up, we guess.

The aforementioned 4.6L V8 will serve up something north of 300 horsepower and be affixed to Kia's first six-speed autobox. Kia's stalwart snortalicious V6 will likely have to press all of its 264 horsepower into service just to haul the Borrego, but a five-speed automatic will help proceedings. Inside, three rows of seats provide places for seven posteriors, though the third row might be a little snug (aren't they all?). Kia's first navigation system is available, offering customers the option of a rearview camera, as well. In Kia fashion, we expect the equipment list of this 2009 model year offering to be lengthier and the dollar figure smaller than the competition. The Borrego goes on sale as a 2009 model later this year.



Kia Motors today announced the world debut of the all-new Borrego SUV at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, further bolstering its product offerings in the United States.

Inspired by Kia's "less is more" design philosophy, Borrego was intended to convey a pure and functional look. It joins Kia's versatile and stylish line of cars and SUVs for those who enjoy active and energetic lifestyles. Set to go on sale this summer as a 2009 model, Borrego houses Kia's first-ever V8 engine, making it the most powerful Kia vehicle to date.

"Kia is proud to deliver a stylish and amenity-filled SUV to consumers who are passionate about what they drive," said Len Hunt, president and CEO of Kia Motors America. "We strive to make quality vehicles at affordable prices and the Borrego offers distinctive styling, while meeting the needs of families and those who want to infuse life into their driving experience."

Aggressive Yet Attractive Packaging

Based on styling cues from the Mesa concept vehicle shown in Detroit in 2005, Borrego's body-on-frame construction and muscular exterior sit on fully independent front and rear suspension matched with coil-over springs, which provide an optimal riding experience, on- or off-road. Flared back headlamps, an upright grille and chiseled hood project a strong presence, while optional 18-inch alloy wheels offer increased off-road capabilities.

Built on a platform with a wheelbase of 114.0 inches, an overall length of 192.1 inches and overall width of 75.4 inches, Borrego offers a roomy interior with standard three rows of seating for up to seven passengers. In American terms Borrego falls into the "mid-size" segment but in the UK would be regarded as a "full-size" SUV and is larger in every dimension that the Sorento – currently Kia's biggest SUV on sale in the UK.

Spacious, State-of-the-Art Interior

Inside, Borrego features an in-dash, six-disc CD changer powered by a 600-watt Infinity® audio system to entertain its seven passengers. Complementing the powerful audio system, Borrego comes standard with USB/iPod capabilities and is the first Kia vehicle to be SIRIUS Satellite Radio equipped. The new SUV also offers power-adjustable pedals and a DVD navigation system as options, as well as a reversing warning system with a rear camera display.

Depending on passenger or driver needs, Borrego comes with a sliding second row for easy entry and exit to or from the third row, as well as fold-flat second and third row seats to optimize cargo space.
- more -

Unparalleled Power And Safety

As Kia's most powerful vehicle, Borrego is offered with a 3.8-litre V6 as well as Kia's first 4.6-litre V8 DOHC engine, the latter producing more than 300-horsepower. Also unique to Borrego and new to Kia is the six-speed automatic transmission mated to the V8 engine. Offered in two- and four-wheel drive, with class-leading towing of 7,500 pounds when partnered to the V8, 5,000 pounds with the V6, it offers unmatched capabilities for a weekend of camping and off-roading, just as much as a sophisticated night on the town.

Borrego continues to offer the same unprecedented level of standard safety equipment as all Kia vehicles, with features such as advanced two-stage airbags, full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist system (BAS), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TCS), and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Borrego also offers downhill assist control (DAC), which keeps the vehicle moving straight and steady down steep grades and helps to keep the wheels from locking, as well as hill assist control (HAC), which helps the driver move up steep inclines without fishtailing or allows the vehicle to stop uphill without sliding backward.

No Plans For UK Sale

Borrego will go on sale in other markets around the world under the Mohave name but currently there are no plans for the vehicle to be sold in the UK due to its size and lack of a diesel-engined option.

"This is a fantastic vehicle in terms of its technical capability and the step forward in technology it represents," commented Paul Philpott, managing Director of Kia Motors (UK) Ltd. "But without a diesel option it would not make sense for the UK market as the segment demands it apart from those customers looking for a large, luxury SUV.

"We shall of course be looking closely at developments and also at the market as well as talking to our colleagues at head office in Seoul about future possibilities – but at this point we are not planning to bring Borrego – or Mohave – to the UK in its current form," he added.

Share This Photo X