I have owned my 98 Kia Sephia basically since new, I got it with about 5,000 miles on it and now it has over 115,000 on it. Parts can be expensive, but the motor has lasted great with no problems. The car shows no signs of quiting anytime soon, has been very reliable over the years, had a few parts break, but that is to be expected when you start putting miles on your car.
Owned since new--11.5 years now. Only lightly used, but fun and peppy engine with manual (Mazda made I think.) Had brake recall and exhaust repair made under warranty. Other than that, only had to replace old battery. Some of the interior fittings are a bit too cheaply made, but if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Very inexpensive to own; costs almost nothing to insure. I have read that due to relatively high HP to weight ratio (125 HP vs 2400 lbs.) some convert this model to rally car. You could not find a less expensive platform than this one!
It's a good buy considering what I paid for it brand new and the use I have gotten out of it. I paid about 10.5k including taxes and a few additions like alloy wheels, power windows/locks and remote keyless entry. My monthly payments hover around $150 after a $1,500 downpayment. I'vet ravelled from Ohio to Florida or New York and back about five or six times. The car has never let me down nor given a hint that it would. This is an ideal new car for those on a budget like me and students.
I bought my Kia new in 1998 in FL. It made many cross country trips and up and down the coasts thanks to travel for the military. It was a great reliable car, had good gas mileage and was fun to drive. The only complaints was the electrical system which was sometimes questionable. A blown fuse or connector shut the car down a few times but was a quick, cheap fix. The battery never quite seemed to last and had to be replaced ever other year or so. Handled great and was a blast to drive in curves. Great fuel economy. Was a bare bones vehicle but great for being on a budget. Great for reliability if you just need a dependable mode of transportation. Am looking at a new Kia today.
I have had this Kia Sephia since 1998 when I got it brand new. What convinced me was the cheap price but two days after I got it the a/c stopped working. And ever since then it has been nothing but new transmissions, dashboards, etc. Now we're having problems with the transmission again, the engine is failing, the brake fluid disappears, the turning pinions rattle, the paint is chipping and the air conditioning broke again.