A great SUV at the wrong time.
It's amazing how far Kia has come in the last decade. There was a time when Kia was considered little more than a bargain brand with fuel-efficient commuter cars. It was the very definition of no-frills basic transportation. Steadily but surely, Kia has risen to the top in several segments. Its lineup of crossovers has become the target for rival brands. The all-new Kia Telluride? Sales are so hot, Kia insiders refer to it as the "Selluride."
Another key area where Kia has become an industry powerhouse is design. The hiring of former Volkswagen designer Peter Schreyer changed everything. Right around the time of his hiring, Kia decided to enter the body-on-frame chassis segment in the US with the Kia Borrego.
Called the Mojave in overseas markets where it remains on sale, the Borrego is a true SUV with V8 power and very capable 4x4 off-roading capabilities. Although the styling broke no new ground, it looks good because it's simple, handsome, and honest. Thank Schreyer for that.
The Borrego arrived in America for the 2008 model year and was offered in three trim levels, LX, EX, and Limited. The LX was powered by a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 or an optional NA 4.6-liter V8 that came standard on the Limited. Total V8 output came to 378 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque. Even the V6 offered decent power with 238 hp and 263 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic drove power to the rear wheels but a 4WD system came standard.
Another bonus: a third-row seat. Some standard features included keyless entry, USB and iPod auxiliary input jacks, and Sirius Satellite Radio. The EX tacked on dual-zone automatic climate control and subwoofer, while the Limited had leather seating with heating, upgraded alloy wheels, and a touchscreen GPS navigation system.
All in all, it was a great package, especially for SUV fans on the hunt for value.
But there was a serious downside: fuel economy. The V6 and especially the V8 were not fuel-efficient and this was exactly the time when fuel prices began to skyrocket in America. Even Ford began converting its lineup to smaller models like the Fiesta (we all know how that turned out).
Following extremely slow sales, Kia decided to drop the Borrego after the 2009 model year. Its closest replacement in the lineup was the second-generation Kia Sorento. There are still a number of Borregos for sale right now, though a majority are high mileage and come with the V6.
But we found one V8 Borrego Limited up for sale at Patriot Auto Sales in Oklahoma for an asking price of $6,300. Judging by the photos, it appears to be in relatively good condition but it's done 166,000 miles and has had four previous owners. But if you're looking for a cheap full-size SUV with 4WD and a reliable V8, the Borrego is worth considering.