by kiadriver on Feb 20, 2010 Vehicle: 2007 Kia Spectra LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
The car was given to me as a loaner while my Chevy was in for service and I was so impressed with how much better it was than my own car I wound up buying it. The ride is GREAT, even over potholed northern IL roads. I was very impressed that it comes with all-wheel independent suspension. Handling and ride are excellent. The interior is nicely thought out and very comfortable on long trips, and the car does well in the winter. Only issue was it needed a new radiator at 54000 miles. Kia fixed it under warranty for no charge despite the fact I purchased it used from a Chevy dealer. No other problems at all (knock on wood!).
The 2007 Kia Spectra and Spectra 5 hatchback receive minor interior and exterior tweaks on all models, including a standard tire-pressure monitoring system and an available auxiliary audio input jack.
Though an also-ran in the compact economy car market for much of its earlier life, the Kia Spectra has recently become a much better choice. A full redesign midway through 2004 added a significant bump in quality and noticeable advances in the vehicle's powertrain and suspension setup.
The 2007 Kia Spectra receives a minor exterior freshening. The base LX and EX models have a revised front fascia, grille, bumper and headlamps. The EX also offers a rear spoiler and new 15-inch alloy wheels. The SX and Spectra5 hatchback, which are Kia's sporty image leaders, now come with standard 16-inch alloy wheels, tasteful metal-finish accents in the cabin and an optional six-disc CD changer.
The compact car market, however, is highly competitive. Sales leaders like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 remain on top because of a significant difference in looks, refinement and performance. However, if you're a budget shopper just wanting a well-rounded economy sedan or hatchback, the 2007 Kia Spectra should definitely be on your list of test drives.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Kia Spectra is available as a sedan or hatchback (Spectra5). There are three trim levels. The base LX is pretty light on features; go with the EX to get air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry and rear cupholders. The sporty SX (the only trim offered for the Spectra5) adds a sport-tuned suspension 16-inch alloy wheels and bigger tires, foglights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cruise control, metal-finish interior accents and cloth sport seats. Major options include a six-disc CD changer and a sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2007 Kia Spectra comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a four-speed automatic transmission available on all models except the LX sedan. EPA fuel mileage ratings are respectable at 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway for the automatic transmission.
The Kia Spectra stands out from the pack with a long list of standard safety equipment built into a low price. It comes with standard front seat-mounted airbags, front-and-rear side curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Antilock brakes are optional on SX and Spectra5 models. In government crash tests, the Spectra earned a four-star rating for front and front-side impact protection. Rear side-impact protection rates three stars only. The IIHS rated the Spectra "Acceptable" (second best) for frontal-offset safety and "Poor" for side-impact safety.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2007 Kia Spectra offers a simple cabin layout with easy-to-use (and reach) controls and good build and materials quality. The seats are comfortable and the storage cubbies and cupholders are generous in size. The Spectra5 boasts an 18.3-cubic-foot cargo area, but one hitch is the sedan's paltry trunk, which only offers 12.2 cubic feet of space.
The Spectra provides a very pleasant drive overall. The four-cylinder engine has enough muscle and a healthy amount of torque delivered right off the line for getting around town. Unfortunately, engine noise is a bit intrusive at higher revs. The manual gearbox is adequate, but the four-speed automatic does not provide the quickest gearchanges. The SX and Spectra5 distinguish themselves with tighter handling and stiffer suspension while also retaining an overall soft ride quality.
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