Took the Borrego for a long haul up north to visit family over the weekend and I can't help but think of our long-term Rondo. By that, I mean that the Borrego is a perfectly capable but utterly unremarkable vehicle. It took me nearly a thousand miles with nary a hiccup and was actually a pleasant long-haul cruiser.
Every time I walked away from it, though, I completely forgot about the drive because it was entirely uninteresting. The engine has good power, it handles surprisingly well for its size, the nav/infotainment system is very user-friendly and the ride is quite comfortable. So while I had nothing to complain about, I had nothing to boast about either when friends and family asked how I liked it. The Borrego will take you and all your stuff just about anywhere you want to go with no fuss at all, but when you tell the story, the drive will be just an afterthought. Updated styling would go a long, long way towards making the Borrego a more interesting competitor in the segment. Inside and out it feels like you've stepped backward into 2005 and the gauges have to be the most uninspired design I've seen in years. Kia needs some new designers on this thing ASAP.
As perfectly capable and usable as the Borrego is, I do have some nitpicks. The seats feel comfortable at first, but on a long haul, it becomes apparent that the bottom seat pad is rather thin and hard. While the big V-8 hustles the Borrego down the road with some authority, it's a bit rough and unrefined when you put your foot in it and even on the highway I could only average a wholly unimpressive 19 mpg. Direct Injection, cylinder deactivation, whatever it takes this thing needs to be a lot more efficient. I dropped the Borrego's second- and third-row seats in order to bring an electric piano home with me and while I appreciate the durability of the hard plastic backings on the seats and load floor, I'd much prefer a rubber mat or carpet. Hearing expensive electronics crashing into things as they slide around on the slick plastic during the gentlest of maneuvers is nerve wracking to say the least. On the positive side, I'm thoroughly impressed with the Borrego's turning radius. Every time I had to make a tight maneuver in a parking lot the Borrego impressed me. It's much more maneuverable than you would expect a vehicle of its size to be and a welcome surprise.