2006 Kia Spectra Review | Edmunds.com
 

2006 Kia Spectra

   
 
Kia Spectra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No
 

Review of the 2006 Kia Spectra

  • With its lengthy equipment list, high-quality interior and better-than-average performance, the 2006 Kia Spectra sedan and hatchback are an excellent low-cost alternative to a Civic or Matrix.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low price, large backseat, comfortable ride, lots of storage and cupholders, standard side curtain airbags, excellent warranty.

  • Cons

    Engine is weak and buzzy at higher rpm, soft handling on EX model.

  • What's New for 2006

    The base LX sedan has been dropped, and the EX no longer features foglamps or rear disc brakes. On the plus side, all models now come…

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (104 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

7 years & 90k miles-

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Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I drive about 12k miles/year with a good mix of city and highway. I have had no maintenance issues with this car whatsoever. I just do the regularly scheduled preventative maintenance and that's it. I sometimes forget I bought this car way back in 2006. It still feels brand-new after all this time. American car companies could learn a thing or two about quality from Kia. I will be a Kia customer for life, for sure.




Never had a problem

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Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra Spectra5 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I loved this car. I had it for 5 years, and I never had ANY issues. I did have to take off the front spoiler because it scraped on the driveway. I never had any work done on it in 5 years (other than oil/brakes/tires). I averaged 25 mpg till the last day. I was in an accident on the highway at lower speed, and the airbag deployed right away, BUT my head never hit ANYTHING. I came out 99% okay, just some minor whiplash. I 100% recommend this car. Turns great, isn't very noisy, accelerates nicely, quality interior, efficient.




Still love the car, not

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Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Reviewed the vehicle 3 1/2 years after buying, has now been 5 1/2 years. 2 issues since the last review for the vehicle. Started to experience a stiff pinging noise in the front driver side sometime last summer when the vehicle was cold and taking hard left turns slowly. Contributed it to a failing shock, my service manager misdiagnosed twice as brake pad backing plate that needed adjusting. They finally tightened down the shock's cap nut, which stopped the noise. The other issue started two months ago, my passenger mirror and driver side door handle are both peeling the clear coat. Falls out of the 3yr/36 month warranty, but I wrote to express my concerns to corporate, with no results.




My best car yet.

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Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car certified pre owned in august of 2009 and I loved everything about it. I bought it to replace my 99' GMC jimmy which honestly, I drove to hell and back. The spectra went right along with me as well; it was reliable, comfortable, and quick. Albeit, I only owned this car for a little over a year not once did anything go wrong with it. I am a 20 something guy, you can imagine how I drove this car and it held up every mile. It held all of my friend comfortably and the sound system was plenty loud enough for even myself. When someone eventually plowed right into me I came out only jostled and a few bruises, the car held up a lot better than you would think a KIA would.




Great car

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Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Travel 50 miles each way with this roller skate. Absolutely reliable! Not a thing wrong in 3 years and 72,000. Change the oil 3500 and put gas in it and away you go. Have a 2994 sorento as well. Another great car. 82k and not a thing wrong, ever. Also have a 2006 Audi a4. Forgetaboutit! Never again!




Great little ride

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Spectra EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Drove from NY to AZ in 2 days average speed of 80. took it up to 105 a few times with confidence. Great car for the money. Good gas mileage. $20 bucks get u at least a half tank! 400 miles to a tank.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 22
  • cty
/
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2006 Kia Spectra Review

What's New for 2006

The base LX sedan has been dropped, and the EX no longer features foglamps or rear disc brakes. On the plus side, all models now come with floor mats and a cabin air filter, while the SX and Spectra5 gain standard cruise control. The optional four-speed automatic transmission has been redesigned this year for greater durability and smoothness (although models with SULEV emissions still use last year's unit).

Introduction

The Spectra's origins in the U.S. market date back to 1994 when the compact Sephia sedan was introduced. In 2000, Kia added a five-door hatchback companion called the Spectra in an effort to reach out to younger drivers. In 2002, the Sephia sedan took the name "Spectra" as well. Although decently equipped, neither the Spectra sedan nor the hatchback had the level of refinement or quality necessary to get the attention of Civic and Corolla buyers. However, a groundbreaking redesign came midway through 2004 and established the Kia Spectra as the value leader in the economy car segment. Roomy, well equipped and for the most part pleasant to drive, the Spectra is worth the attention of anyone shopping for an affordable compact car.

A 138-hp, 2.0-liter engine is standard, and it's tuned to deliver a healthy dose of torque right off the line, allowing the Kia car to get around town and merge into freeway traffic with ease. Unfortunately, the engine begins to run out of steam at midrange rpm and gets a bit noisy in the process -- this is one of the few areas in which the Kia Spectra doesn't match up to the Civic and Corolla. Ride quality is excellent for an economy car, though, as the suspension dutifully absorbs bumps and grooves. Handling is soft yet predictable with the standard suspension, but you can get a tauter setup by opting for the SX sedan or Spectra5 hatchback, which also provides extra body cladding and sportier interior trim.

Inside, the furnishings are nothing too exciting, but a simple control layout, above-average build and materials quality and standard side curtain airbags count for plenty in this segment. So do comfortable seats, and the Kia Spectra offers plenty of room for both front and rear occupants. A vast selection of trays, bins, pockets and containers provides a spot for anything you happen to be carrying, while six large cupholders make road-trip dehydration a thing of the past. Although class leaders like the Civic and Mazda3 are still a few steps ahead of the Spectra when it comes to performance and refinement, we think highly of this Kia car. If you're looking for a well-rounded economy sedan or hatchback, the 2006 Kia Spectra is definitely worth a test-drive.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Kia Spectra sedan is available in EX and SX trims, while the five-door Spectra5 hatchback is available in one trim only. The EX features air conditioning, six-speaker CD stereo, height-adjustable driver seat, tilt steering wheel, a 60/40 rear seat, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors and keyless entry. The SX sedan and Spectra5 hatchback add front and rear spoilers, side sills, rear valance, black grille, black headlight bezels, upgraded tires and 16-inch alloys and a sport-tuned suspension (on manual transmission models, a front strut tower bar is also included). Inside, leather trim on the steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle add a sporty touch, as do sport cloth seats, metal-look trim and metal pedals.

Powertrains and Performance

The Kia Spectra features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with 138 hp and 135 lb-ft of torque (132 hp and 133 lb-ft with SULEV emissions equipment). Buyers can choose a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is a respectable 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway.

Safety

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all models except the EX, which has rear drums. Antilock brakes are optional. All Spectras feature standard front-seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In government crash tests, the 2006 Kia Spectra earned a rating of four stars (out of five) for front-impact protection. It also earned four stars for front-occupant protection in side impacts. Rear-seat side-impact protection rated a mediocre three stars. In IIHS testing, the Spectra rated "Acceptable" (second best) for frontal-offset safety and "Poor" for side-impact safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Kia Spectra offers a simple cabin layout with logically arranged controls and above-average build and materials quality. The front seats are downright comfortable with enough shoulder, hip- and legroom to accommodate large adults. There's plenty of legroom in back as well, and the rear bench is generously cushioned. A vast selection of trays, bins, pockets and containers provides a spot for anything you happen to be carrying, while six large cupholders make road-trip dehydration a thing of the past. The sedan's trunk capacity is bit small for this class at 12.2 cubic feet, but the Spectra5 boasts an accommodating 18.3-cubic-foot cargo area (52.8 cubic feet with the seats down).

Driving Impressions

The 2.0-liter inline four provides enough muscle around town for the small sedan and hatchback, but feels less spirited during high-speed maneuvers. Another downside is that engine noise can be obtrusive at speeds of 70 mph and above. The manual gearbox is easy to shift, but the automatic transmission can be a tad slow to come up with downshifts. The EX sedan offers a smooth ride, strong brakes and competent if not exactly sporty handling. The Spectra5 and SX sedan kick it up a notch with tighter handling while also retaining the supple ride quality of the less sporting EX sedan.

Talk About The 2006 Spectra