Bought this car (my first ever) with 100,000 miles; have put 4500 on myself. Anything I've had to do mechanically is to be expected with the high mileage and was coming eventually replace OEM alternator and serpentine belt, plus timing belt as a preventative measure. Mechanic said the rattling I hear in the body of the car can be fixed inexpensively, but is mostly cosmetic and can wait. Very low to ground; be careful over even small speed bumps.
Overall I love it, pleasantly surprised! Expected better MPG (22/30+) but fun and easy car to drive.
Serves me quite well. It keeps going and I feel like it has lots of life left even after so many miles. I'd consider a Kia in the future!
I have had this 2002 spectra for several years and it has performed well with very few issues. There are some basic issues that I have not fixed but do not cause a problem, such as a shock housing that allows the shock to rattle a bit. It not very powerful but for small city driving its fine and a bit fun. Not the most comfortable, it is a cheep car. Turning on the air conditioner will result is a noticeable pull on the engine. The interior is ok to look at but is mostly hard plastic. Starting in 2011 the summer heat from in the south has cause the plastic parts inside to start failing, things just randomly break or fall off or appear to disintegrate.
Just replace belt for $600.
2002 Kia Spectra Sedan LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I bought my 2002 Kia Spectra in 2006 with 60k miles on it. It now has over 220k. Most of the work as been regular maintenance. I just put in a new head gasket and my clutch is starting to pop. It has been great in the snow (I drive a 100 miles a day in Colorado). And has always started. I've replaced the alternator (no big deal), scheduled timing belts, and front wheel bearings. The back struts are gone and there are a lot of rattles developing. The arm rest is very uncomfortable and my wife hates the seats. But it has been very very dependable. Gas mileage right now is about 35 to 38 mpg. I'm moving up in car class, but have daughter turning 16 and it will be a good first car for her.
My 2002 Kia Spectra just threw a head gasket at 166,000 miles. Previous problems: the a/c went out in 2007 and was repaired for $1400. It went out again about 9 months later and the mechanic wanted another $750. Shortly afterwards, the heat went out. I replaced the clutch 3 times. Also replaced a valve in the braking system for $250. Lots of the cheap plastic interior broke and/or fell off including the driver's side sun visor. The driver'side seatbelt also broke and had to be replaced. I did a lot of driving for work and both knees and hips were hurting me due to driving this car. If you're only going to put maybe 10-12,000 miles/year on a 2002 Spectra, it may be worthwhile.
Good gas mileage. Could be a bit sporty at times.
Improved durability of AC/Heater. Better quality plastic on the interior. More comfy seating. More durable seat belts.