Kia's product planners got sideswiped by last year's high gas prices, as the upgraded Kia Borrego was just about to go into production. This traditional SUV can be had in two- or four-wheel-drive versions, seats seven, and comes with a V-6 or V-8 engine.
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Although configured as a traditional SUV, the exterior design shows a modern refinement, with softer lines and a petite grille.
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This Borrego has the 3.8-liter V-6, adequate for driving around town, but lacking power when passing at speed. Unfortunately, mileage isn't great with this engine, and isn't even much of an improvement over the V-8 version.
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The Borrego's modern design language is shown in the enhanced front-fender line and the rear-side windows, which kick up at the trailing edges, rather than being simple rectangles.
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With its soft suspension, we noticed the Borrego tended to bounce around on the freeway. This behavior probably wouldn't be as noticeable with a fully occupied cabin.
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Third-row seating allows for seven occupants. Cargo area is ample with the third-row seats folded down.
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This Borrego was nicely appointed, as the optional Luxury package included leather seat inserts and a power-adjustable steering wheel.
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The Borrego includes audio controls on the left of the steering wheel and cruise control on the right. There is also a voice command button hidden below the left side of the steering wheel hub.
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A basic trip meter shows up in the speedometer display, while the tachometer, on the left, uses a unique angular design, which is taken up on the right side with the fuel and temperature gauges.
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When fitted with the V-6 engine, the Borrego gets a five-speed-automatic transmission. The V-8 version gets upgraded to a six-speed automatic.
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The available touch-screen navigation system works well enough, and covers the basics, but only has one feature we consider advanced: text to speech, that lets it read out street names under route guidance.
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An iPod and USB port is a welcome addition to the tech in the Borrego.
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We are impressed by the graphics for the audio system on the touch screen. Here you can see what the satellite radio interface looks like.
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You can play MP3s off of an iPod, USB drive, or from a CD with the Borrego's audio system. This Inifinity system offers good quality sound.
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