1996 Kia Sephia Review

Used Sephia for sale
List Price Estimate:$353 - $834
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Kia Sephia model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Based on the previous generation platform of the Mazda Protege, and utilizing many Mazda components and technologies, the Kia Sephia is truly a compact sedan bargain. Kia is a new name to most Americans, but Kias have been cruising the highways of North America since mid-1987, when the Ford Festiva was introduced to showrooms on the West Coast. Also based on a Mazda design, the Festiva was assembled at Kia's assembly plant near Seoul, South Korea, and has gone on to become a reliable, inexpensive set of wheels. Currently, Kia produces the Ford Aspire.

The Sephia is a Korean product, but unfairly suffers the stigma attached to all autos from that country that says Korean cars are unreliable garbage. Thank Hyundai for that one, the first Korean automaker on U.S. soil, and Daewoo, who in 1988 unleashed a nightmare called the Pontiac LeMans on the American public. The crummy Hyundais are history, and the LeMans died at the end of 1993. Meanwhile, Kia has been sending us Ford Festivas, which consistently rank among the most reliable subcompact cars available.

So, we've determined that Kias are a step above other Korean cars; now the reasons you should buy one. Standard dual airbags, more powerful engines, suspension work and styling tweaks that make it look like a far more expensive car arrived in mid-1995. For 1996, GS models have antilock brakes as an option and the Sephia meets 1997 side-impact standards. With base prices starting at $9,000, the Sephia offers better value than the Ford Aspire, Ford Escort, Mercury Tracer, Hyundai Accent, Geo Metro, and Toyota Tercel, among others.

Those of you on the eastern side of the country have probably been wondering what the heck a Kia is. You'll be getting them soon. The company is expanding slowly, taking a cue from the massive expansion that Hyundai embarked upon in the late '80s, only to see sales and quality suffer in the early '90s. Kia doesn't want to have a poor image to overcome, so they are taking their time. Take yours too, and then test drive a Sephia. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

1996 Highlights

Styling and suspension tweaks, dual airbags and new twin-cam motors appeared with the introduction of the 1995.5 Sephia. These improvements, along with interior revisions and improved equipment levels, make the Kia more competitive in the compact sedan marketplace. Sephia now meets 1997 side-impact standards, and GS models can be equipped with antilock brakes. Sephia comes with five-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Kia Sephia.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.13 out of 5 stars
1996 Kia Sephia LS, Manual, A/C, Powered
Driven 25,000km,148K,01/17/2010
LS 4dr Sedan
Excellent car for a late 1990's model. 1996 received excellent reviews (looking online). This vehicle is well built, repairs are inexpensive (in Korea), the built is solid. For $320 I bought a vehicle driven 25,000km over the past 1.5 hours without a breakdown. Quality build tested on rough Korean roads intercity and highway driving. Weakness: curling dashboard, radio electronic problems, replaced drive shaft, ball joints, front brakes, master clutch cylinder, 1 front strut, 4 (new) recycled new tires ($80!). Very dependable and a little hard to get rid of really. Save money, this is a good one if mechanically maintained. Thx.
2.38 out of 5 stars
I wouldn't do it again!
LS 4dr Sedan
As of this date, the car has 34k miles on it and has about that many pieces of paper from the dealerships that serviced it for one problem or another. I wish I could find someone to buy this garbage heap from me.
4 out of 5 stars
Ilove kias
GS 4dr Sedan
Very good auto for a very good price
2.63 out of 5 stars
RS 4dr Sedan
This is my second car and I bought it two days ago and already the check engine light came up. I mean its only a 96 there should be anyhting wrong with it already I mean there is only 55,000 miles on it. But other than that its been alright its sort of noisy.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Kia Sephia

Used 1996 Kia Sephia Overview

The Used 1996 Kia Sephia is offered in the following submodels: Sephia Sedan. Available styles include GS 4dr Sedan, LS 4dr Sedan, and RS 4dr Sedan. Pre-owned Kia Sephia models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 122 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1996 Kia Sephia comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Kia Sephia?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Kia Sephias are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Kia Sephia for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Kia Sephia.

Can't find a used 1996 Kia Sephias you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Sephia for sale - 3 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $22,864.

Find a used Kia for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,249.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Sephia for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,776.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $19,766.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Kia Sephia?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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