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 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 124 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Yet another big mistake

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

We bought it and withing 3 months had to put a new transmission into it. That was under 100000 miles. It has been back into the shop 6 more times so far and we are only at 106000 miles. Nothing but issues left and right. Everything seems to break. Unfortunately we financed and are stuck with it for the next 2 years.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Nothing but problems

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Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my 03 Spectra new from a dealer, and I have driven it for 9 years. When I drove off the lot, IT DIED at the 1st intersection. They had to replace the entire computer system because it was faulty. Luckily, that was covered under warranty, but everything that followed was not. The entire engine seized up for no reason about 3 months later. I had to replace the transmission within the first couple years (and then a second time about 3 more years down the road). There have been several other smaller issues, but these are the majors. I don't know why I kept it so long. I guess the last 3 years it was somewhat more dependable (because I had replaced everything inside)!




Go have 10 root canals!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

This was the most painful vehicle I have ever owned. We bought it used, and with in the first month had to have 2 transmissions put in. What kind of car needs that? The interior is just an awful design. The alternator went 3 times! The front wheel mounts on both sides were shot. The seat belt buckle broke, come one. The cruise control worked went it wanted too. And for 3 years the check engine light was on and after numerous checks by mechanics no one could get it to turn off and stay off. If you have a choice of someone giving you a Kia Spectra or having to pay for 10 root canals... take the root canals!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cheap used car, wouldn't buy

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

I find this to be a decent used car for someone just learning to drive or looking for nothing more than point A to point B transportation. It's been pretty reliable although when things do break, they are expensive to repair. Many parts have to be ordered from Korea and it's hard to find a mechanic that will work on them. Very difficult to work on yourself as well. The "little things" like interior trim and such start falling apart around 50k miles though. By 87K the dash was warped, interior trim always falling off, drivers seat no longer went back, and power windows only worked sometimes. The drive train itself is fairly reliable though.




Kia spectra

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

This was my first new car. Iwasn't sure if I would like a small car. I'm used to driving a full size van. After driveing it for a few weeks I love it. The interior is nice and roomey.Everything that Edmunds has said I would have to disagree. I have had no trouble with my brakes at all.




Spectra 2003 ls

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this car about a month ago. I have had no problems with it. Power is sufficient and ride is comfortable. The car has easy to use controls and I think the looks are great. If you review cars for a living apparently this is not the one for you. To those of us who don't I think this is an excellent choice.



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

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs