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.


2009 Kia Borrego EX 4x4 V-6
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Engine type 90 V-6, alum block/heads
Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 230.5 cu in/3778 cc
Compression ratio 10.4:1:1
Power (SAE NET) 276 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE NET) 267 lb-ft @ 44000 rpm
Weight to power 14.5 lb/hp
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Suspension, front; rear Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Turns lock-to-lock 3.5
Brakes, f;r 12.9-in vented disc; 12.8-in disc, ABS
Wheels 7.5 x 18 in, cast aluminum
Tires 265/60R18 109T Hankook RA07
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase 114.0 in
Track, f/r 63.6/64.0 in
Length x width x height 192.1 x 75.4 x 71.3 in
Ground clearance 8.5 in
Approach/depart angle 27.3/22.5 deg
Turning circle 36.5 ft
Curb weight 4750 lb
Weight dist., f/r 53/47%
Towing capacity 5000 lb
Seating capacity 7
Headroom, f/m/r 40.0/39.0/38.0 in
Legroom, f/m/r 41.7/37.4/32.9 in
Shoulder room, f/m/r 60.2/59.1/55.7 in
Cargo vol behind f/m/r 156.8/49.3/12.4
TEST DATA
Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.5 sec
0-40 3.8
0-50 5.6
0-60 7.5
0-70 10.1
0-80 13.5
0-90 16.9
Passing, 45-65 mph 3.9 sec
Quarter mile 15.9 sec @ 87.2 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 135 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.75 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.7 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 1900 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
Base price $30,745
Price as tested $36,295
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
Basic warranty 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 10 yrs/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Fuel capacity 20.6 gal
EPA city/hwy econ 16/21 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.08 lb/mile
Recommended fuel Regular

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