My family was the 12th people to own one in Houston. I learned to drive (stick) on our Kia Sephia. It was basic with nothing (RS) and at 100,000 miles we replaced the tranny, and timing belt, and ball bearings. After 4 1/2 years we still average 48mpg hwy and 39 city with 175,000 miles on it. And trust me, being 16 and stupid, I put that car to the test. I love Kia, and now I'm 22 and I am determined to buy the new Spectra as soon as i get a job. Kia made a customer of me for life thanks to that Sephia.
Our Kia has given us nothing but headaches. At about 70,000 miles we had to replace the transmission. We then repaired an oil leak. We have repaired the transmission once since the replacement and now it is leaking again. The radiator has been replaced and had numerous repairs. The reliability on this car has been nil. Not to mention, that about 2 1/2 years after we purchased it, the engine began to ping so badly in hot weather that getting up long stretches of hill is an impossibility. The air conditioner is also out but too expensive to fix, as it is not necessary. We probably got a lemon, but I won't take the chance on KIA again.
This was my first car. It got me around town with no problems and i bought it used. However, i have been in two very minor accienrts with it- a tire that rolled off another car hit the front from of my car. I also barely tapped the back of a jeep at less than 10 mph n another accident. DONT HIT THE CAR! The first accident left me with the whole right side messed up (undrivable) and lots of money to fix. THe horn still doesnt work. The second totalled my car- radiator was ripped apart, whole front messed up, hood popped upo and broke my windshield... and the jeep had no only a nick on its plastic wheel cover! UNSAFE
I bought it new when I first got married. The wife played bumper cars with half a dozen people and did a 360 flip in the air off of the highway. The others did not fair so well but the Kia is indistructable. I had to replace the alternater when I baught the car and the timing belt and water pump at the hundred thousand mile mark. But, since I can sell my lawn mower for more used I'll drive it until drops. Which is looking like an easy 20 years.
Bought the Sephia and immediately used it for around town and approx 12 - 15 long trips per year (1000+ miles roundtrip each trip). It has given us no problems other than what we consider regular maint. up north here (replaced brake pads, muffler, front struts, & battery).