2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
ADVERTISEMENT
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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Second owner, purchased with 50,000

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Purchased this car in 2009 with 50,000 miles on the engine. With the bald tires on the car, it road like a roller coaster ride on the freeway. Purchased new tires and it drove almost 100% better. Replaced the entire radiator about 2 years later. Replaced the ball joint 6 months before that. Replaced the right passenger side head light about 5 times since we purchased the car, at some point it completely stopped working and my husband switched around the light from the brights to the regular headlight to salvage it. Parts are extremely hard to find for this car, we've usually have to purchase online and when we do find the part in store it is usually more expensive than say a honday or acura.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Worst car i've ever owned

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

I purchased this car new, and owned it for 5 years. In that time, I replaced the serpentine belt 3 times, the alternator once, the radiator twice (the replacement from the Kia garage had a hole in it, though it was supposedly a new part), and the alternator belt 4 times. The electrical system started acting wonky after three years, and after spending 2 months in the Kia garage, I got it back but the internal lights never worked after that. I cut my losses and gave the car to a friend, who told me that the engine died at 78,000 miles. I would never again buy a Kia.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good and cheap to fix

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

We have it since new and i am a drummer and have to travel a lot in PR the only problem that i had with it was the window that broke the power window cable and a small damage on the material of the seats that is weak.but for the rest is ok.




Love my kia spectra

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

This car has been extremely reliable, the only thing it has been in the shop for is regular maintenance. The gas mileage has been phenomenal consistently near 30 mpg freeway, and mid to upper 20's in town. This is a great car I am sad to have to sell it. The one draw back on this car is that it does not work well for a growing family.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good and bad

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Kia Spectra GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Car is cute, gets great gas mileage. I bought my car new. Had to change the tires by 30K Replaced brake pads and rotors twice. Replace battery. Driver side locks broken & sometimes won't unlock and I have to crawl through the passenger side. Driver side window roller broke, Alternator going out. Problem with steering system. Hatchback cover broke within a week. Rear window brake light is falling apart from sun damage (I live in Indiana & typically don't have this problem). Brake lights are a pain to change..have to remove whole back panel of car. Very lightweight car and blows around on windy day




Cheap and reliable

by on
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.



ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Talk About The 2003 Spectra

2003 Kia Spectra Discussions See all Started By

hawaiipup
hawaiipup
12-10-2013
have a 2003 kia spectra went to start it and it was making a squirting noise like something was pumping and sloshing out popped the hood and thought it was the radiator but it was coming from the back...


tatyho88
tatyho88
05-01-2014
This is crazy. I googled these exact words and this blog came up snd my problem with my 2005 kia spectra is exactly as spectrman describes. This is actually our second go round with the rxact same pro...


spmrebel
spmrebel
08-20-2005
I justed wanted to post my feelings and experiences of the Spectra vs the Elantra. I own a 2005 Elantra GT Auto which I bought in Jan 05. My girlfriend bought a 2005 Spectra EX Auto in June 05. Both a...



ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific