2003 Kia Spectra Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Kia Spectra

Kia Spectra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 124 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Kia Spectra

  • Though convincingly cheap in base form, decently equipped Spectras cost as much as better-performing compacts like the Elantra, Focus and Sentra. Shop carefully.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low base price, nimble handling, available hatchback configuration, killer warranty.

  • Cons

    Lackluster engine performance, weak brakes and tires, mediocre build and materials, poor offset crash test score.

  • What's New for 2003

    For 2003, all Spectras will come with a CD player and body-color side moldings. Kia has attempted to make the cabin environment more hospitable via additional sound insulation in the roof and floor, an illuminated ignition and revised climate controls. Also, all hatchbacks get a standard rear wiper with an intermittent feature. Finally, note that engine specs have been revised this year -- the Spectra is now rated at 124 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque compared with 126 hp and 108 lb-ft for 2002. The four-cylinder engine itself is unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (10 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Cheap and reliable

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I put almost 120,000 miles on this car before I traded it in for my new car (not a Kia). The price was cheap and for the cost, the car ran pretty reliably. I never had any major repairs needed - just normal maintenance stuff like the timing belt. The brake systems needed a LOT of repairs over the years though. I had to replace rotors with every set of brakes and I had the brake calipers replaced once as well. I was told it was due to Kia's "small parts". The car was fun to drive, and I felt like I could drive rough with it when I needed to and it would hold up well. It blows around a little too much in the wind though. I did find the seats very uncomfortable, though.




Well, it wasn't expensive

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

For an inexpensive car, the reliability has been outstanding, but over time the "little" things have crept up. Seat(s) have become rather uncomfortable, wind noise is more pronounced, and now a disconcerting noise is coming from the front end, as if a strut is loose ore something. Also, little bits of trim have fallen off, but mechanically, only the brakes have been replaced, at 55,000 mi. I might keep it longer if it weren't becoming so unpleasant to sit in for more than 1/2 hour or so.




My hatchback

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Dependable, good gas mileage. Window seal on driver side bad, wind noise. All weather strips on hatchback fell off. Had to replace tires at 30,000 miles. Air conditioning weak. Regret not getting power windows and door locks.




Corolla vs. spectra--2 months later

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Ok, I have to admit--I was wrong. I have had nothing but problems with this car. It has been in the shop 3 times (the closest dealer is 60 miles away). Luckily it has all been covered under the warranty. But, it is a hassel to be without a car and to beg for rides to pick-up the car from friends. I think that I can claim this car as a lemon soon.




Spectra gs

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Has been extremely dependable though it does lack somewhat in comfort. Long distance driving can be tiring but all in all an otherwise excellent car




Green lemon on the road.

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I purshased my Kia on June 1, 2003and it has been in the shop four times already. This is the worst car I have even own, drove or even been in because it is a brand new car and has so many different problems including but not limited to poor gas mileage, water pump, radiator pump going and a few more problems.



Full 2003 Kia Spectra Review

What's New for 2003

For 2003, all Spectras will come with a CD player and body-color side moldings. Kia has attempted to make the cabin environment more hospitable via additional sound insulation in the roof and floor, an illuminated ignition and revised climate controls. Also, all hatchbacks get a standard rear wiper with an intermittent feature. Finally, note that engine specs have been revised this year -- the Spectra is now rated at 124 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque compared with 126 hp and 108 lb-ft for 2002. The four-cylinder engine itself is unchanged.

Talk About The 2003 Spectra

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs