Used 2003 Kia Spectra Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
ADVERTISEMENT

2003 Kia Spectra - Consumer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating

97 Total Reviews

View reviews for a specific Spectra model:
ADVERTISEMENT

Sort by

Most Recent|
Most Recent Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating
Cheap and reliable
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Andrew Dietz
on

Vehicle

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


Review

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.


Best Features

Car drove well and was really easy to maneuver. Hatchback style had an enormous amount of trunk space.


Worst Features

More comfort on the seats. Better seals on the windows. Brake replacement is both expensive and a big hassle.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

More than you'd think
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By mlerlie
on

Vehicle

2003 Kia Spectra 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)


Review

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.


Best Features

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.


Worst Features

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!


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Depends on how you treat it
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By travisp11
on

Vehicle

2003 Kia Spectra 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)


Review

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.


Best Features

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!


Worst Features

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.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Well, it wasn't expensive
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Bexley
on

Vehicle

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


Review

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.


Best Features

Price, reliability, a/c works good. Armrest is nice, and storage bin by the maplights has been useful.


Worst Features

Screw it together a little better (probably the newer models have done so) and make it more engaging to drive (again, probably has been addressed in newer versions).


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

First purchases
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jilly O
on

Vehicle

2003 Kia Spectra GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)


Review

My first car. About $7500 at a Ford dealership. To work, to school, to play, it gets you there comfortably and in style. It isn't just a tool of transportation, it's a great ride. I'm 18 and as a first car, I am impressed. Only one blind spot (on every car) and great handling. I honestly love my little Kia and get compliments on it. For a small car, there is a ton of room (unlike Honda Civic coupe). Haven't had an engine problem at 60,000 miles. Kia isn't "established" so my insurance was a pain to get. Recommended for teens or first purchase.


Best Features

Great sound system. Comfortable drive. Very stylish and fun. Good handling. Brakes. Good pickup. Hatchback trunk/folding backseat (one seat folds back or the whole thing - handy).


Worst Features

Have to manually turn lights off or good bye battery - better if automatic, but there is an alert sound. Sunroof would be nice. Child lock on doors. Keyless entry. Light on mirrors. Somehow larger glove compartment. Better carpeting (looks cheap). Driver's side foot heating is insufficient.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

ADVERTISEMENT

Write Consumer Reviews

Write Consumer Reviews

Write a review and rate your own car.

ADVERTISEMENT

New Car Buying Guides

See which cars and trucks our editors recommend

ADVERTISEMENT
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
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411