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2009 Kia Borrego Vehicle Overview

Introduction

There was a time not all that long ago
when automakers couldn't crank out SUVs
quickly enough. During the 1990s and
into the new millennium, even companies
that historically stuck to cars jumped
on the SUV bandwagon, developing their
own versions of utility vehicles to
satisfy consumers' ravenous appetites
for road-going monstrosities. But oh,
how times have changed. As fuel prices
continue to rise, more consumers are
turning back toward smaller,
fuel-efficient vehicles, and some
automakers have even responded by
cutting back production of their larger
vehicles to focus on the small car
market. But not Kia. The Korean company
is betting there's still some life in
the midsize SUV segment -- and the
stakes are in the form of the new 2009
Kia Borrego.

Kia is hoping to lure customers to its
seven-passenger, body-on-frame SUV with
the promise of luxury at a value price.
The Borrego is Kia's first model to
offer gadgets such as voice-activated
navigation, Bluetooth, keyless start and
a back-up camera. Other options such as
leather seating, an upgraded Infinity
audio system and a rear-seat DVD
entertainment system may come as a
surprise to shoppers who may have
previously considered Kia strictly a
bare-bones brand.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 328i and
all-wheel-drive 328i xDrive are powered
by a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces
230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of
torque. The 335i and 335i xDrive get a
different 3.0-liter inline-6, this one
twin-turbocharged to produce 300 hp and
300 lb-ft of torque. The 335d will be
powered by a twin-turbocharged diesel
engine rated at 265 hp and a
pavement-rippling 425 lb-ft of torque.
All models come standard with a
six-speed manual shifter, while a
six-speed automatic is optional. Paddle
shifters can be added to the latter.

In performance testing, we've spurred a
328i sedan with the manual transmission
from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds,
while the heavier convertible is a few
tenths of a second slower. We've tested
a variety of 335i sedans and coupes, and
they consistently do the sprint in just
a shade over 5 seconds.

Despite its potent power plants, the 3
Series remains relatively
fuel-efficient. The 328i gets 17-18 mpg
in the city, 25-28 mpg on the highway
and 20-21 mpg combined, depending on the
body style and drivetrain. The 335i with
the automatic achieves 17 mpg city/26
mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The
manual transmission or all-wheel drive
will lower those numbers slightly. BMW
estimates fuel economy for the 335d will
be an impressive 23 mpg city and 33 mpg
highway.

About US Online America Group :Safety

Antilock disc brakes, stability and
traction control, front-seat side
airbags and full-length head curtain
airbags are all standard. Side airbags
for rear passengers are optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

In keeping with Volkswagen's reputation
for fine cabins, the interior of the
Tiguan boasts high-quality materials and
tight-as-a-drum build quality. Real
aluminum -- not silver-colored plastic
-- enhances the premium feel. Most
controls are large and well-placed, and
the available navigation system boasts a
large screen and a simple interface.

Firm, well-shaped seats offer proper
support when logging miles on the
interstate or slicing through a twisty
two-laner. The reclining rear seat
offers a 60/40-split design as well as a
pass-through in the middle, which allows
the Tiguan to carry long items and four
passengers at the same time. The rear
seat also slides fore and aft to improve
either rear legroom or cargo space. With
all the seats in use, the Tiguan offers
a maximum of 16.6 cubic feet of cargo
capacity, about the same as a large
family sedan's trunk. With the second
row folded down, maximum capacity
measures 56.1 cubic feet, about 17 cubes
shy of class leaders such as the CR-V
and RAV4.

US Online America Group Info
Driving Impressions

Nissan enthusiasts were dismayed when
the company revealed that the new GT-R
would employ a V6 in place of the iconic
inline-6 from previous Skyline GT-Rs.
They needn't have worried. This engine
makes big power everywhere, and displays
none of the coarseness that afflicts
other Nissan V6s at higher rpm.
Moreover, the 2009 Nissan GT-R is as
graceful as it is powerful. When we
drove a GT-R at Nissan's test facility
in Japan, we were amazed at how easy the
car was to drive at the limit. The GT-R
also felt incredibly poised both in
tight corners and on high-speed
straights, an impression supported by
the otherworldly 7:29 lap the GT-R has
turned in at the Nürburgring's famed
Nordschleife loop. Its Teutonic target's
best time, by the way, is 7:40.

As capable as the GT-R is at the
racetrack, it nonetheless manages to be
bearable on the street, even if no one
will mistake it for a luxury coupe. The
transmission's automatic mode is
surprisingly civil, and although the
GT-R's ride is never less than stiff,
the suspension settings can be fiddled
with so pavement imperfections need not
be treated like land mines. We still
yearn for a stickshift, but we know a
good thing when we see it -- and the
2009 Nissan GT-R is unquestionably one
of the best performance cars ever.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Honda Fit drives a lot like the
previous model, only better. Like all
subcompacts, it's highly maneuverable
and a great urban runabout. Where the
Fit rises above the rest is in the way
it actually drives. Because of its
approximately 2,500-pound curb weight
and wonderfully direct steering, the Fit
feels light and nimble while cornering.
Going with the manual transmission takes
full advantage of the Fit's engaging
personality, though the Fit Sport's
available automatic with shift paddles
is a viable alternative.

US Online America Group : Body Styles,
Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Porsche 911 comes in both coupe
and convertible ("Cabriolet") body
styles. Each comes in four basic trim
levels: the rear-wheel-drive Carrera,
the more powerful Carrera S, the
all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and the
Carrera 4S. All 911 Carrera trims come
standard with 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon
headlights, full power accessories,
cruise control, leather seating, power
reclining front seats (with manual
fore-aft and height adjustment),
split-folding rear seats, automatic
climate control, the touchscreen display
and a nine-speaker audio system with a
CD/DVD/MP3 player.

The S trims add a more powerful engine,
19-inch wheels, a sport suspension with
active damping on coupes (optional on
convertibles), bigger brakes, a sport
steering wheel and unique exterior and
interior trim. Many of the standard
features on the S models are optional on
the base Carreras. In addition, all
cabriolets feature a fully automated
soft top with a heated glass rear window
and wind deflector.

Porsche offers a dizzying array of
expensive options including different
wheel designs, custom interior color
schemes, different seats, different
types of leather and a choice of several
wood, aluminum and carbon-fiber accents.
Notable options include race-bred
ceramic disc brake rotors, heated and
ventilated seats, a heated steering
wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, a
hard-drive-based navigation system,
voice activation control for the
navigation and PCM, parking sensors,
satellite radio, a universal audio
interface that provides iPod, USB and
auxiliary jacks, and an upgraded Bose
audio system with subwoofer. A Sport
Chrono package allows the driver to
record lap times and other car data,
and, when combined with PDK, provides a
button for activating launch control.

US Online America Group Interior Design
and Special Features

Thanks to some much-needed improvements
last year, the Charger's cabin features
materials of pleasing quality and simple
controls. The styling is on the bland
side, however. The seats are very comfy,
and those included with the road/track
package and in the SRT8 provide lots of
snug lateral support. The Charger's
large size and long wheelbase translate
into a generously sized cabin with
plenty of rear legroom. Unfortunately,
the Charger's sloping roof line makes
rear-seat access more challenging than
in other sedans, and rear headroom is a
bit less than normal as well. The trunk
can hold 16 cubic feet of luggage, an
average figure for a large sedan.

Driving Impressions

With an abundance of torque and
rear-drive power reaching the asphalt,
the V8-powered 2009 Dodge Charger R/T
delivers grins and giggles in equal
measure for enthusiasts who appreciate
neck-snapping thrust as well as the
extra utility of a four-door-sedan body
style. However, most of that fun is had
in a straight line, as even in SRT8 and
R/T forms, the Charger's light and
uncommunicative steering doesn't provide
much confidence. With the Charger,
you'll never forget you're piloting a
large 2-ton sedan.

In terms of engines, the 3.5-liter V6 is
a decent choice for those on a tight
budget, but keep in mind that it's not
particularly powerful or fuel-efficient.
Considering the R/T's horsepower
upgrades this year, it's now the obvious
pick of the regular Charger litter. The
SRT8 is still the top dog, but its much
higher price is hard to justify
considering the relatively minor
increase in performance over the R/T.

US Online America Group FAQ Driving
Impressions

Nissan enthusiasts were dismayed when
the company revealed that the new GT-R
would employ a V6 in place of the iconic
inline-6 from previous Skyline GT-Rs.
They needn't have worried. This engine
makes big power everywhere, and displays
none of the coarseness that afflicts
other Nissan V6s at higher rpm.
Moreover, the 2009 Nissan GT-R is as
graceful as it is powerful. When we
drove a GT-R at Nissan's test facility
in Japan, we were amazed at how easy the
car was to drive at the limit. The GT-R
also felt incredibly poised both in
tight corners and on high-speed
straights, an impression supported by
the otherworldly 7:29 lap the GT-R has
turned in at the Nürburgring's famed
Nordschleife loop. Its Teutonic target's
best time, by the way, is 7:40.

As capable as the GT-R is at the
racetrack, it nonetheless manages to be
bearable on the street, even if no one
will mistake it for a luxury coupe. The
transmission's automatic mode is
surprisingly civil, and although the
GT-R's ride is never less than stiff,
the suspension settings can be fiddled
with so pavement imperfections need not
be treated like land mines. We still
yearn for a stickshift, but we know a
good thing when we see it -- and the
2009 Nissan GT-R is unquestionably one
of the best performance cars ever.

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