Used 2001 Kia Sephia

2001 Kia Sephia
List price range

Pros

  • Low price, impressive build quality, roomy interior, incredible warranty.

Cons

  • Unrefined drivetrain, weak tires, cheap interior materials.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The Sephia will never be called a great sedan, but for some, it might prove to be a good bargain.

vehicle overview

The Kia Sephia is proving itself a contender in the compact sedan market, greatly aided by its extreme affordability. Two trim levels are offered and both come equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 125 horsepower to the front wheels through a standard five-speed manual transmission. A responsive four-speed automatic is optional.

Base equipment on the Sephia includes power steering, four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, wheel covers, dual exterior mirrors, theft-deterrent system, rear defogger, cassette stereo, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and fabric upholstery. The upgraded LS adds air conditioning, power windows and door locks, bodyside moldings, tilt steering wheel and a driver's seat cushion tilt feature. Buyers can add wood grain dash appliques, a rear spoiler and floor mats to any Sephia, but goodies like cruise control, alloy wheels, power mirrors and ABS are limited to the more expensive LS.

Upscale styling tweaks make Sephia appear more expensive than a car this cheap has a right to look. Even build quality ranks high for a vehicle in this class, based upon our experience. Slam any one of the four doors and you will be rewarded with an impressive "thunk" usually reserved for Hondas and Toyotas. Oddly, however, Kia often scores well below average in terms of initial quality according to J.D. Power and Associates, as reported by owners of the car.

The Sephia is certainly not a performance car, despite its optional rear spoiler, but the motor makes a decent 108 ft-lbs. of torque. This allows the 2,500-pound Sephia to scoot away from stoplights with authority, but the engine doesn't generate much passing thrust at higher rpms where the engine makes more racket than power.

Boasting a capable, Lotus-tuned suspension, Sephia is severely hampered by cheap original equipment tires, which are noisy and make for sloppy handling in the twisties. The front disc/rear drum brakes, available with ABS on LS models, won't help in this regard, proving weak and generally ineffective with lousy pedal feel.

Perhaps the Sephia's greatest strength, aside from a low price and extensive warranty package, lies in its roomy interior, which, according to Kia, is larger than the 2000 Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, among others. With a truly useable rear seat, four adults can fit with a minimum of contortion.

Sephia offers better up front, out-of-pocket value than many competitors. The new Kia Long Haul Warranty Program helps this value equation. It consists of a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty, a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty (which protects against holes in the body caused by rust) and a five-year, unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan.

But, is that enough to sway buyers? Unimpressive mechanicals and a bad rep for quality will, for some penny-pinching consumers, be offset by the low price and great warranty. The Sephia would never be called a great car, but for some, it might prove to be a good bargain.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Kia Sephia.

2001 kia sephia 225000 and still running tough
2001kiasephia, 2/15/2011
i have a 2001 kia sephia ive been the only owner it has been by far the best car ive ever bought i have done routine oil changes and tune ups on it and ive done the timeing and water pump every 60000 on it and she just keeps running like a champ and i get 30 mpgs out of it and im am very happy with it..
My Kia
Gina, 12/3/2004
I knew that I was not buying a luxury car, so I didn't expect it to be comfortable. But I did expect that for 20,000 (with interest) my 2001 Kia Sephia would be reliable. My car has failed on me 10 times in the past two years, all ten times the problem being my battery...dead, no matter the weather or how long my car was sitting. My dash lights also go out on occasion which really sucks because it's usually nice to know how fast you are going. My Kia stinks.
No Problems Yet!
ladle24, 8/19/2005
For an economy car -- paid $10,600 brand new (standard w/ AC), this has been a faithful car. Four years and 60,000 miles later, I have no complaints, although the older I get, the more uncomfortable the sparse interior gets. One great plus -- we live in a bad neighborhood, and our car is tough to break into. We see marks where people have attempted it, but so far no one has gotten into it (it took the tech 1/2 hour to do it once when I locked my keys into my car!). This car has taken us clear across the US (coast to coast) at least 3 times, and this summer, we took it all the way to LABRADOR, Canada (from Chicago) with 2 kids and camping gear. We've definitely gotten our money's worth out of it!
Keep in Perspective
ericdunham, 2/1/2012
I bought this car used for $800 with over 200k miles on the odometer, a wreck in the near past and work to be done in the near future. I knew it wasn't a great car, but I needed a car—I was broke. Well over a year later, this little thing is coming up on 250k miles and until today I had no major work done on it. I replaced an alternator belt a couple months ago and that was it. The bill today was $660—a price I would normally never consider on a car I bought for $800. But this car just takes a beating and keeps on going! I'm awful about maintaining my vehicles and I hate to spend money on them, and yet this little car has never faltered. As long as you know it's not a BMW, you'll be happy!
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
125 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
19 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
125 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
125 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
125 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2001 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
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 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
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 2001 Kia Sephia
Used 2001 Kia Sephia Overview

The Used 2001 Kia Sephia is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M).

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