Did Kia kill the Borrego too soon?
I'm still looking for the right Borrego, but the more I read about it, see it, etc...I really wish Kia was still producing it. Obviously it was poor timing as far as the introduction (maybe if they had introduced it at the same time as the Sorento and it had been more established it would have done better), but I wonder if any others think that Kia was premature in cancelling it? I say this because even though AWD/unibody compact and mid-sized SUVs and crossovers now dominate the landscape, there does seem to still be a market for the body-on-frame 4x4 in the Nissan Xterra, the Toyota 4Runner/FJ-Cruiser, and the various Jeep platforms. Folks gravitate to these nameplates because they are the only real 4x4s left out there. I am in the market for a Borrego for my wife. She has a short commute (3 miles each way) and only has to run errands around town so the gas mileage (a big factor in the Borrego's demise, no doubt) is not an issue for us. The "real" 4WD and seating for seven were HUGE pluses for us. We live in a rural, hilly area of the Northeast so winter weather (though not this winter) is always a factor, plus we just needed a large vehicle to accommodate a growing family. A Toyota Highlander or RAV4 were too small (and too expensive) and a Sedona minivan doesn't have the ground clearance or 4WD.
We also wanted the 4WD for exploring the unpaved backroads up here-not hardcore 4wheeling, but there's enough loose gravel hills, low lying muddy areas, and washouts to necessitate 4WD. Plus we like to go to Maine where there is endless backcountry to explore if you have a good 4WD. A lot of the vehicles you see up there (aside from older fullsize domestics like Suburbans, Tahoes, etc...) are Xterras, FJ Cruisers, Pathfinders, and Jeeps. These are niche markets, but why couldn't Kia try to muscle in? There is a small community of 1st generation Sorento enthusiasts drawn to the body on frame design and "real" 4WD-why not try to continue that in the Borrego? An off-road package with skid plates, locking front and rear differentials, and maybe a rear mounted tire carrier and beefier roof rack could help draw the Toyota/Nissan crowd in. Basically I think they threw away a good platform because of the shifting winds of the market which is shame.
I am looking forward to outfitting my Borrego anyway I can for overland traveling when it's not being used as a "mommy mobile." I think the first order of business will be to see if I can fit some 16" wheels (steel if I can find them) and get rid of the 17s. Creative use of backspacing might allow larger tires which would be a great deal cheaper-the difference between 16" and 17" ATs and MTs is absurd. Does anyone know if a lift can be accomplished with just springs like in the Sorentos? Since the Mohave is still produced Old Man Emu might end up making a kit-they do a lot of sales overseas. I found a great heavy duty hitch hauler and a roof rack which could be adapted to the Borrego-the combination of the two could be used to haul all gear for a long trip (luggage, food, extra fuel, water) without losing any interior space for us, the kids, and the dog. Any other folks using their Borregos for overland travel?