This was my first Kia. Bought it solely because it was the newest car with the best warranty I could afford. I drive a lot so a new car with warranty was critical. In the past 3 years I've put on over 75000 miles and have had to do very little maintenance. But I don't feel safe in it at all - the littlest gust of wind tosses it around - not fun on highways during blustery blizzards! I actually had a panic attack while driving it through the W.V. mountains (Talk about a very long trip!) I get about 31 mpg most of the time and with the miles I put on, that's a definite bonus.
Love the headlights!! Tons of illumination at night out front and to the sides with this car! Good stereo, and the seats/cockpit is very comfortable. It's practically a magic clown car - you can just keep putting stuff in it.
Make it more solid - too lightweight. Starter starts hard all summer long - but dealership wouldn't replace it and now it's out of warranty. FYI buy the 100,000 bumper-2-bumper warranty right away or they'll renege on it later!
We have had our Spectra for almost four years now and the only major problem we had it in for was the throttle position sensor. Yeah, it took four return trips to the dealership (175 miles away, ouch!) but eventually the throttle body was replaced under warranty. Honestly, if you follow routine service and don't treat it like a red-neck stepchild, you should get many years of good use out of it, just like any other car.
Replace the filter with a K&N and you will get 33-35 on the highway, at least 31 on the interstate (with the A/C on!). Also, pretty good passing power on the highway and we even own the automatic. Replace the stock tires and handling isn't quite so treacherous in the wet/snow. Wish we had the stick!
Seats can get uncomfortable on long trips as well as a lack of factory cruise. Auto transmission can be a bit jumpy but it is more of an issue of mechanical refinement. Stock tires are terrible in the wet and snow. In town mileage is only about 20-23 MPG with the automatic. Lack of dealers overall.
2003 Kia Spectra Sedan LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I must admit I was skeptical when my husband first brought this home to me. I have been greatly surprised and pleased with it. The equipment on it for the money was a very good value and the factory stereo has surprisingly good sound. It has a good amount of storage for things like sunglasses and cd's. This baby will turn on a dime, and after 53,00 miles handles well, and drives and rides well compared to higher priced cars. 2 trips from Kansas City, MO to Fort Knox, KY and a trip to Akron Ohio and all I've had to do is change oil and tires. No mechanical issues at all which surprised me. A great little car for the money.
Cruise control is a must, storage space is great for an inexpensive car like this. I love the lumbar style seat adjustments.
Get rid of the factory tires ASAP. It will improve the ride drastically. My next one will be a 5 speed.
This car is my 2nd Kia. The car is fun to drive and has actually held up pretty well for a car of its price range. However, this baby was in the shop 8 times for a throttle problem. The first 7 times they said the problem was the throttle positioning sensor and it was replaced, reset etc. We were fairly irate because they would reset the sensor and it would be fine for about 3 weeks then it would have no power at all and I was getting 14 mpg - yep I said 14! Finally, they changed the whole throttle body and components. We also lost a bolt out of the flywheel, and they had to remove a chunk of foam from the back door so we could roll down the window.Tomorrow I am buying a Ford! Seriously!
Actually has a lot of room for a compact car.
KIA USA really could have cared less that we were having so many problems. I really should have exercised my rights under the lemon law. Now I am exercising my buying power by buying another vehicle, NOT a Kia. What is the point of having this great warranty if the car is always in the shop?