Used 1997 Kia Sephia

1997 Kia Sephia
List price range

Pros

  • Cheap price, Mazda powertrain and chassis

Cons

  • Build quality, limited dealership network

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Based on the 1990-1994 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 many Americans, but Kias have actually 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 proven to be 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 depicts Korean cars as unreliable garbage. Thank Hyundai for that image, the first Korean automaker on U.S. soil, and Daewoo, who in 1988 unleashed a reliability 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 small Fords, which consistently rank among the most reliable subcompact cars available.

We've determined that Kias are a step above other Korean cars; now the reasons you should consider one. RS equipment levels are rather impressive; front and rear stabilizer bars, dual exterior mirrors, theft-deterrent system, remote trunk release, rear defogger, split-folding rear seat, and fabric upholstery come standard. This year, the RS looks less cheap thanks to body-color bumpers. Dual airbags, a powerful engine (except on RS and LS five-speed models sold in California--these cars are equipped with a dinky 105-horsepower 1.6-liter engine), suspension work and styling tweaks that make it look like a far more expensive car arrived barely two years ago. With base prices starting at less than $10,000, the Sephia offers better value than the Chevy Cavalier, Ford Escort, Geo Prizm, Mercury Tracer, 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.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Kia Sephia.

Having problems with the idel in this car!!
rose85bud89, 2/20/2011
I just bought this car alittle over amonth ago. It is agreat car, but there is something wrong with the idel. When you drive it, its okay...but while you are stopped or in park it idels really high. There is also asmall piece that is on the car, that still works but there is some part broken where the hose is suppose to go, we think that might be the problem, but no one knows what this part is or called just something to do with the idel.
Low Price Transportation
manolito, 9/26/2009
I just bought this 15 exterior color combination with a toredown interior. This little car will get me to school for the next 8 months and I will have no major or minor repairs. Yes, I paid $650.00 for it and I drove 56 miles one way to get it.
My Work Car, the 97 Sephia R.S.
A. Cook, 4/9/2004
This car, for what it cost me and for the way it was designed , wasnt a bad buy.It is easy on gas and tires. The front wheel drive is a god send in the snow and ice. I have had some problems with a sensor going out . Expensive sensor, 310 $ plus labor ! The local dealer wasnt real helpful fixing it and i had to take it to an independent shop. They had it diagnosed in 45 minutes, whereas the dealer couldnt or wouldnt tell me what was wrong with it in 3 seperate trips. Go figure that !
my kia
AMERSHON, 3/6/2002
I have had very ggood reliability and low maintenance costs. This is a comfortable car and has many options, fun to drive and a pleasure to own.
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Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
122 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
122 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
122 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Kia Sephia features & specs

Safety

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
    Poor

More about the 1997 Kia Sephia
Used 1997 Kia Sephia Overview

The Used 1997 Kia Sephia is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include GS 4dr Sedan, RS 4dr Sedan, and LS 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Kia Sephia?

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Which used 1997 Kia Sephias are available in my area?

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