The Borrego comes with either a 3.8-liter V6 engine using a five-speed automatic transmission, or a 4.6-liter V8 using a six-speed automatic. Both engines are built by Kia, and are all aluminum with double overhead cams. The V8 makes 337 horsepower, more than the Hemi in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The V8 model is rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds.
Fuel economy is an EPA-rated 15/22 City/Highway miles per gallon with 2WD and 15/20 mpg with 4WD. The V6 is only a bit better with 17/21 mpg. That fuel mileage is good for an engine with that much power in a vehicle having the Borrego's weight and boxy aerodynamics, but it isn't frugal.
The Kia Borrego offers three rows of seating, with overall interior volume greater than the competition. Legroom in the third row is very good, although it comes out of cargo space behind the third seat. With the 50/50 third seat lowered flat, there's a ton of cargo space. The 60/40 second row also drops flat, and it slides forward for easier ingress and egress to the third row.
Exclusive features include a standard tow hitch that's hidden behind the rear bumper, and LED turn signals on the sideview mirrors.
The Borrego is comfortable off road, with all-terrain capability that separates it from crossover SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX7. It comes standard with skid plates, and its optional electronic 4WD system is the latest generation made by BorgWarner and features high and low range.
Kia doesn't take styling risks, so the Borrego looks pretty much like any other boxy SUV; even its hood contours are rectangular. It may be bold, but it's still vanilla. The V8 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, the V6 with 17s.
The interior is especially clean and well laid out, the seats are soothing, and the instrumentation and controls are intelligent.
The ride is solid, consistent, and comfortable, on a double-wishbone front suspension, multi-link rear. The smooth six-speed transmission in the V8 is the same that's in the BMW X5 luxury SUV.
There's not much to fault with the Borrego, except that it gets the fuel economy of a mid-size SUV.