The all-new Kia Borrego, introduced at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, is Kia’s new flagship SUV. Named for California’s Borrego desert or the big horn sheep found there, Kia’s new range topper appears to be a fully competitive traditional SUV. No crossover here.
Over the years, Kia has shown an uncanny ability to plan, style and implement trucks that hit the center of their product segment target. The first example was the Kia Sedona, quickly followed by the Kia Sorento mid-size SUV. The Borrego promises more of the same.
Clearly, the Borrego benchmarked the high volume body-on-frame Premium Mid-Size SUV of the era – the Ford Explorer. Borrego even looks similar. It is nicely styled. Conservative. Will not offend anybody.
Code-named HM during development, the new Kia Borrego is the first (large) mid-size SUV from Kia and features a body-on-frame construction. With seating for up to seven occupants, Kia identified a very quiet ride as a key for acceptance and long term customer satisfaction. Incorporating the latest NVH engineering, Kia targeted enhanced refinement as a goal. The Borrego’s third-row seating is designed to comfortably accommodate two adults. The operative words here are “comfortably” and “adults”.
The Kia Borrego will be manufactured in Korea and go on sale in its home market early in 2008, with sales in the USA and other export markets beginning in the late spring or early summer. The Borrego will be available with a choice of V6 or the company’s first V8 gasoline engines (depending on market) and will boast Kia’s largest-ever towing capacity.
Has Kia Missed by Producing a Traditional SUV Rather Than a Crossover SUV?
Showing Kia’s commitment to designing products to suit specific markets, the Borrego is primarily intended to meet the needs of consumers in the USA and there are no plans to market this model in Europe. But Borrego is introduced just as the American market is quickly shifting away from traditional SUVs and towards crossover (car-based) SUVs. The Borrego certainly will be competent in off-road and towing situations, but those are just occasional use prerogatives (to lift a phrase from Jeep). Next time around, Kia should test the crossover market, after all, the benchmark Ford Explorer will become a crossover SUV at its next major model change (see Explorer America).
Heritage from 2005 Kia Mesa Concept
The Kia Borrego styling is derived from the Kia Mesa concept vehicle first shown by Kia at the Detroit Motor Show in 2005 and is larger than Kia’s popular Sorento model.
We’ll drop in more information and additional photos from the showfloor next week.