You’d have to be dumb to introduce a big, thirsty full size SUV during an economic downturn right? Yes, but Kia did it anyway with the introduction of the Borrego (also known as the Mohave in other markets) at the 2008 NAIAS in Detroit.
It was an SUV through and through too, designed with Americans in mind. It was body on frame, had 3 rows of seating for seven and came with 2 engine choices: a standard 3.8 V6 with 276 horses, and an early version of Hyundai’s Tau 4.6 v8 with 300 horses. Both came paired to a newly developed 6 speed auto as well as AWD and a 7500 lb towing capacity on the V8 (the V6 still made good with 5000 lb capacity). It also had some off road chops with adjustable air-suspension, hill-descent control and a high- and low-range.
Inside it was ok for end of last decade Kia with lots of gray plastic that was of decent quality. It was offered in 3 trims: a base LX that started at $26,245; a mid level EX that started at $27,995 and saw the available option of the V8; and a top line Limited trim that started at $38 grand.
But being introduced during the Recession, where everyone was broke and gas was sky high proved to be a mistake. It was only sold for 3 years here in the US. And it did not sell. Like at all. Its first year on the market,’08, saw a whopping 1869 finding buyers. ‘09 saw 10,530 sales, its best year. 2010 saw 9,835 and its last year on the market, 2011 saw only 429 sales. Kia promptly discontinued the model and redesigned the Sorrento to take its place in the lineup. We should be seeing something akin to it again here soon, with the rumors that the Telluride concept coming to production. Its already been seen testing as well:
So if you’ve been waiting on another big proper Korean SUV and you cant find a Borrego because there was too few, dont worry, they’re working on it again.