Throwback thursday kia borrego on cloudy background with text overlaid

Throwback Thursday: Kia Borrego

Kia Borrego Model History and Photos

“It ain’t about how hard you hit…it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward…” This quote, from 2006’s Rocky Balboa offers a lot of insight into life and enterprise. Show me a success story without any failures along the way and I’ll show you what I was going for when I went to Bass Pro Shop for Christmas shopping last month and left $30 poorer with 0 presents.

Even the most ambitious among us stumble. For many of us, this stumbling can be catastrophic. If it happens when we’re on an upward rise, it can be especially devastating. Mistakes, though, aren’t anything to grieve. They are opportunities to learn and refine and, ultimately, perfect.

The Kia Borrego is the story of a stumble.

Kia Borrego Model History

By this point, none of us are strangers to Kia’s propensity to give their vehicles different names depending on the market in which they are released. The Kia Borrego was not an exception. Known as the Kia Mohave everywhere except North America, the Borrego was a large, third-row SUV.

Introduced three years after Peter Schreyer arrived to bring his trademark, European-influenced design to Kia, the Borrego hit the American auto market in 2009. Now, if you’ve been reading the Throwback Thursday featurette before, you know this is right about the time Kia was beginning to get their groove back and find a unified and compelling design language.

The Borrego was the largest Kia model in the lineup, exceeding the wheelbase and height of the Sorrento by 8 inches and 11 inches respectively. The standard third-row and available 4.6L V8 made it a premium, large SUV vehicle.

The Borrego cut an intimidating form. Offering an imposing geometric front fascia, uncharacteristically-large grille and squared-off design, it wasn’t quite at home with lineup mates like the first generation Sorento and Kia Spectra 5.

When Was the Kia Borrego Discontinued?

So why don’t we see the Borrego on the road today? Because, and it hurts us to admit this, it flopped.

Sales for its first year were underwhelming, to say the least. For as much as Kia had invested in the design, which fit in better with large SUVs from Mercedes-Benz or Land Rover, the return in sales was disappointing and Kia quietly removed the model from their website and sales collateral just one year after its introduction.


[READ MORE: Throwback Thursday: Kia Amanti]


After all was said and done, the Kia Borrego was only part of the lineup for the 2009 and 2010 model years. Industry analysts (us) have speculated that by the time the Borrego was released, Americans had moved on from their infatuation with extravagantly-sized SUVs. We were all looking to crossovers, instead, which offered similar safety and cargo volume specs to the bigger SUVs but with better handling and superior efficiency.

This mistake, however, which hit Kia right when the brand was hitting their stride for a grand reinvention, didn’t stop them. For the 2011 model year, they replaced the Borrego with a larger, redesigned Sorento that carried many of the features into the future lineup, such as a third-row and robust cargo capabilities.

Kia Borrego Photos

With the Borrego lasting only a couple of years, photos are sparse. As a blanket disclaimer, we have no control over Instagram’s content and do want you to know that clicking through the hashtags #Borrego, #KiaBorrego, #KiaMohave and #KiaMesa may result in viewing inappropriate content.

Here’s how this behemoth looked:

A post shared by Kia Mohave (@kia.mohave) on Jan 7, 2018 at 3:41am PST

A post shared by adam barrera (@highmileage) on May 21, 2013 at 6:16pm PDT

A post shared by Kia Mohave (@kia.mohave) on Dec 26, 2017 at 12:28pm PST

A post shared by Kia Mohave (@kia.mohave) on Dec 15, 2017 at 9:15pm PST

A post shared by Kia Mohave (@kia.mohave) on Dec 6, 2017 at 1:05pm PST

It really was a great looking car that, if released six or seven years before its inception, could have turned the industry on its head. We love the few Borregos we’ve seen around Tampa recently. If you have a Borrego and would like to upgrade to something a little bit nicer on your gas budget (or just want to show it off), bring it on in!

For more information on the Kia Borrego, other Kia models or to schedule a test drive with the Borrego’s legacy, the capable and luxurious Kia Sorento, contact us today!

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