Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Kia Borrego Could there be an any worse time to debut a brand new body-on-frame SUV like Kia has done with the new 2009 Borrego? Gas prices have most every new car shopper running from SUVs into small cars with four-cylinder engines. In fact, many SUV early adopters are now driving much smaller sedans like those models that make up Kia's bread-and-butter line. Enough new Korean vehicles were sold in America so far this year that the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group managed to outpace mighty Honda in total sales as it roared into the number five worldwide automaker spot. Therefore, our immediate thought is that Kia must be crazy to go ahead and introduce the new Borrego in the American market... but Kia would have you believe otherwise. As Kia's sales team sees it, since the Korean automaker currently offers no contenders in the true midsize SUV category, any slice of the dwindling market is a win. Is the Borrego good enough to win over any remaining SUV buyers? Read on. %Gallery-28156% All photos copyright Jeremy Korzeniewski / Weblogs Inc. The new Borrego breaks no new ground in terms of styling. The blocky 'ute features corners just smoothed-over enough to eschew the current box-it-came-in trend, though the upswept side sightline, also currently en vogue, is present and accounted for. A large chrome grille dominates the front view, while dual rhombus-shaped headlights flank that massive mug. Pronounced wheel arches bring the current Acura line to mind -- perhaps not the wisest choice of automakers to copy. Standard light gray body cladding and bumpers are also featured all around the vehicle as is common on vehicles of the genre. It seems that Kia managed to locate and include all of the common sport utility vehicle trappings. While the look is a bit played out, the Kia manages to remain anonymous enough that it's not likely to turn off many prospective buyers based on looks alone. Inside, the look is fairly upscale. In fact, Kia sees its new vehicle as a bargain-priced option when compared with the current entry-level luxury utility vehicles, going so far as to include the Lexus RX330 on some promotional slides shown to us during our early-morning press briefing. While it would be hard-pressed to live up to that early billing, the fit and finish of the interior was considerably better than expected and reminded us again how far Hyundai and Kia have come in initial quality. Panel gaps were tight and the graining on the soft-touch plastic was agreeable enough. There were a few sour points, though, including the actual instrument cluster and the shiny plastic covering in which it was festooned. An oversized speedometer looms large front and center in the binnacle, flanked by a tach on the left along with temperature and fuel gages on the right side. Individual gauges those other bits of info would be more fitting in an upscale interior. Still, everything was easy to see …
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