By now, we've gone over the V-8-powered 2009 Kia Borrego with a fine-tooth comb and picked at every nit. The jury has returned, and the verdict is in: The Borrego is a great midsize SUV that suffers from bad timing. The only question is, what about the V-6?
Unsurprisingly, it's just as good. The Borrego V-6 is the same well-built and well-equipped SUV, with no cheap upholstery or low-quality materials dragging the base model down like a stone. In fact, in terms of features, the V-6 gives up very little ground. Besides 17-in. wheels instead of 18s and the lack of the V-8's standard driver's knee airbag, the differences between the two variants of the Borrego are confined purely to the driveline.
Underhood is a smooth and potent 3.8L V-6 making 276 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. That's a drop of 61 hp and 56 lb-ft from the powerful 4.6L V-8, but it's hardly noticeable in daily driving. The V-6 Borrego scoots 0-to-60 in 7.5 sec and through the quarter in 15.9 sec, both just four-tenths behind the V-8. The five-speed automatic (instead of the V-8's six-speed) gets the job done, no complaint, with smooth, well-timed shifts. The suspension is still on the stiff side, but once again, not uncomfortably so.
The only real hit is to the towing capacity, which, at 5000 lb, is down a third from the V-8's 7500 lb. There's a negligible fuel-economy improvement, with 2WD Borrego V-6 achieving 17/21 mpg city/highway, while the 4WD gets 16/21 mpg.
Things deviate more when it comes time to count dollars. The base-model Borrego (LX V-6 2WD) checks in at $26,995, while the first V-8 model (LX 4WD) starts north of $30,000 -- at $31,745, to be exact -- a difference of $4750. Stepping up to the 4WD LX V-6 reduces that difference to $2700. As for the better-equipped EX trim, both V-6 versions are exactly $3000 cheaper than their V-8 counterparts.
Are an extra cog, extra airbag, 2500 lb of towing capacity, and 60 extra hp worth $3000? To some customers yes, to others no. What is certain, however, is that the Borrego is a serious midsize SUV, regardless of its having six cylinders or eight.