We bought this car new in 2001, mainly for the price, fuel economy and warranty. Handled pretty well, a bit underpowered but the manual tranny helped. Interior very cheap. Seats bent easily, vents broke easily, cupholder was awful, shifter skirt broke easily. Entire brake system minus master cylinder replaced three times. A/C system blew a hose. Doors froze constantly in winter. Recently lost power, found that both catalytic converters (yes there are 2!) had gone out and were blocking exhaust after the car heated up. This of course fried the spark plugs, wires, and coil packs. Dealer wanted $2100 just to fix this issue, used it to buy another car instead (not a Kia.)
Pretty exterior. Fun to drive, handled well with new tires. Stick shift was very easy to use. Fairly reliable, tho w/headaches. Good gas mileage (~30 mpg 25:75 city:highway.) Put quite a few miles on it before it wasn't worth fixing. Planned on keeping it as a third car before the major breakdown.
Body is very weak and easy to dent. I dented the fender while changing the tire! Interior very cheap, not very comfortable for commutes. If they brought it back I would definitely suggest upgrading the quality of all of the components, as it could have been a very nice car if the quality were better.
Purchased the car used in a pinch. The car had 40,000 miles on it and now has 180,000 miles on it. Only paid $3000 for it when it was 2 years old and said that I would drive it till it dropped. Still going!! Right after it was purchased, the car was driven for 40,000 miles without an oil change... still no problems. You can't beat the price, the gas mileage or the insurance, although parts are sometimes hard to find. Nothing but general maintenance since purchased. I now have a new truck, but will probably buy another Sephia after this one dies to have another 35 mpg road car.
I love this car. I originally bought a 1998 m type sephia and it was crap, always in the shop. But because I couldn't afford anything else, I decided to give Kia a second try. I bought an 01 Sephia LS with 10 miles and still drive it today with over 93K miles! This car has never let me stranded and always starts in the morning. I plan to keep this car forever! I'm really happy to drive it everday!
I like my dash. I'm a big guy and a lot of times I drive cars I have to reach for the steering wheel, but not now with my Kia. I also like the front end of my car. I put in some after market fog lights and now my friend tells me it looks like spomgebob's teeth!
Definitely the body, the body dents quickly, and stronger seats. I had to replace my seat already once and the second one is on the way!
Ok, I know it's not a Honda, but when I had to borrow my friend's Integra, and got back in my Kia, all I could think was "sloppy." The shifter, the brakes, you name it, sloppy. It has never failed me, even with 163k miles. I still love the sag-proof roofliner. Some people have problems with the dash buckling, I haven't seen it yet. Oh, and I was wrong in my other review about the Mazda engine/Getrag designed tranny, that was '98 and previous Sephias. I certainly would not recommend this car to a friend just because it's slow AND gets bad mileage. I average 23mpg city/hwy. Highway only is 33mpg. Also, this car will scare you if you go over 80mph. It acts like it's in a hurricane.
Clutch lasts forever (because there's no torque to wear it out).
Kia has worst power / fuel economy ratio of any manufacturer. Cupholders too small. Rear disc brakes on all models, not just abs equipped LS. This rear drums are difficult to adjust well (even for an ex-mechanic) which doesn't help brake feel.
This has to be the worst vehicle ever created. My transmission was replaced at 15,000 miles. The brakes squeak all the time. The rotors were ruined quickly. I've had it towed an average of 3 times per year. All 3 KIA dealerships could not fix recurring problems. There was a popping noise on the driver's side that no one could diagnose. The tires had to be replaced within 20,000 miles. The car metal is so weak that it looked like someone beat the side of it with a bat (door dings). Everyone says it has a good warranty, but it won't cover all the problems you face. Plus, you won't get a free rental car when you car is constantly in the shop. It was totaled by a few minutes of hail.
Good gas mileage, cheap (you get what you pay for!).
Everything on the car needs to be improved! Don't fall for the "excellent" warranty. You will be disappointed.