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2009 Kia Borrego Review

2009 saw the introduction of the Kia Borrego: a seven-seat SUV that’s best-suited to serious towing or off-roading. Test drivers were impressed by the Borrego’s utility, interior space and design, but shoppers should note that its ride is harsh and the V8 model chugs fuel.

Pros & Cons

  • Good off-road abilities
  • Strong engines
  • Upscale interior with roomy third row
  • Excellent safety scores
  • Thirsty V8 engine
  • Truck-like ride




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Kia Borrego Overview

When it was new, test drivers loved the 2009 Kia Borrego’s surprisingly upscale, well-designed interior, saying that it was attractive and used nicer materials than they had expected. The Borrego’s standard third row is also big enough to fit adults comfortably, which is a rarity in any SUV. Standard features are typical for the class and include a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.

The base Borrego gets better fuel economy than most other body-on-frame SUVs, although those estimates are lowered when the Borrego is outfitted with four-wheel drive and a V8 engine. Borrego models with two-wheel drive and the base V6 engine have EPA ratings of 17/21 mpg city/highway, but those with the available V8 and four-wheel drive get just 15/20 mpg city/highway. Test drivers said its handling and power were fine, especially since many SUV buyers don’t prioritize driving dynamics. The Borrego received very good safety ratings.

Most reviewer complaints about the 2009 Borrego didn’t center on the SUV itself. Rather, their main gripe was about Kia’s timing, saying that Kia introduced a traditional truck-based SUV when most other automakers were focused on developing car-based crossovers. Overall, if a traditional SUV suits your lifestyle, the Borrego is a good choice. But shoppers looking for comfortable, maneuverable, family-centered transportation for seven may find that a midsize crossover is a better option.

See the full 2009 Kia Borrego specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner is a better traditional SUV in nearly every way. Reviewers said it’s excellent for off-roading and towing. It offers similar V6 and V8 options as the Borrego, and test drivers said it’s powerful no matter which powerplant you choose.

The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse ranks highly in its class thanks to its spacious interior and comfortable ride. This Chevrolet also offers more cargo space than almost any other 2009 midsize SUV, and with seating for eight, it has more passenger space than most. Like the Santa Fe, the Traverse is a crossover, so it’s not great for rough-and-tumble activities. However, if you want a more comfortable ride, as well as better fuel economy, the Chevrolet Traverse is a good choice.

Compare the Borrego to the 4Runner and Traverse »

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