I originally brought a 1998 Kia Sephia, that car was even worse then the 1999 it was taken back by Kia after a five month long fight with them. Let me first start with this fact, the 1998 Kia Sephia is the same as the 1999. The 1999 uses all the same parts, all the parts are dated on the 1999, 1998. Event the engine and the body of the car were made in 1998. The first problem with the care was in all of the electrical connections. A monkey with a soldering iron could have done a better job at soldering the connections. All of the electrical connections on the car needed to be re-soldered, the wiring harness needed to be replaced, The car has broke piece by piece costing more the it was worth
Great little car, very dependable. Ride was a little rough at times on long trips. Biggest complaint was brakes needed to be replaced every 30,000 miles. Great on gas 32+ mpg, plenty of pickup. Over 135,000 miles and still in great shape, no rust and exterior finish is still excellent -- unusual for a vehicle that lives in Rochester, NY. Son drove to school and college all year round.
I bought my Kia in February of this year. I needed to get a vehicle with better gas mileage (I was driving a Explorer). I really enjoy the fuel economy but the vehicle is a very lightweight vehicle, not sure what would happen in a accident. If treated well these cars will last but you can't beat on them that is for sure. I would not put a teen in them; they may not last ( I have a 17 year old). He would destroy this vehicle not avoiding potholes etc. The one thing that has already needed to be replaced is the brakes. They go through brakes quickly, not sure why. I am already trading it in for a Mazda B2300. I don't believe it would last with my family long term.
I've driven the car 33000 in 3 years and have not had a problem what so ever. It's been very reliable, especially considering I had to do heavy city driving for the first year that I owned it. There are no frills or excitement to driving the Kia, but it is reliable and averages for me about 36mpg highway.