Used 2009 Kia Spectra

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Low price, comfortable and functional cabin, plenty of storage space, great warranty.
  • Noisy engine at higher rpm, antilock brakes aren't standard, lackluster safety scores.
List Price Estimate
$2,041 - $3,465

Used Spectra for Sale
None for sale nearby. Instead:
See all for sale

Edmunds' Expert Review

Although the 2009 Kia Spectra provides solid performance, comfortable seats and a great warranty, the competition offers more in terms of safety, desirability and resale value.

Vehicle overview

Blame an almost stalled economy or fluctuating fuel prices, but no matter where you point the finger, the result is the same -- small cars have made a comeback. Suddenly, cars like the 2009 Kia Spectra aren't so easy to dismiss. As Kia's compact-car offering, the Spectra boasts a low base price, a comfortable interior and a highly impressive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Don't look for the Kia Spectra to outclass or outperform favorites in the compact-car segment such as the Honda Civic, the Mazda 3 or even the Toyota Corolla. All of the previously mentioned competitors are more refined. They also offer a wider range of optional equipment; for example, the Spectra's lack of optional antilock brakes on low-priced models should be of great concern to parents who want to buy their college students their first new car. In its favor, however, the Spectra has plenty of standard features, and the Spectra5 version has a little dash of sport-wagon attitude to go along with its added cargo space. Value is another plus, since the Spectra is a couple grand cheaper than segment leaders. Spunky performance is also part of the deal if you opt for the manual transmission.

The bottom line is that there are better compact fuel sippers, and the Kia Spectra shakes out about midpack if you line them all up -- it's better than some but not as good as many. However, those on strict budgets will find much to like about the 2009 Kia Spectra.

Kia Spectra models

The 2009 Kia Spectra is available as a sedan or hatchback. The sedan may be had in a choice of three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. The hatchback Spectra5 is only available in the top-of-the-line SX trim. The base LX is bare bones -- most folks will likely go with the EX, which has air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack. The sporty SX adds a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, bigger tires, foglights, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal-finish interior accents and cloth sport seats. Major options include a six-CD changer and a sunroof.

2009 Highlights

The 2009 Kia Spectra gets just a few equipment changes. Active front headrests are now standard on all models, and EX models get cruise control as standard. Additionally, a sunroof can now be ordered for EX models.

Performance & mpg

Every Spectra comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a four-speed automatic transmission available on all models except the LX sedan. Fuel mileage ratings are 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined for Spectras with the automatic transmission; manual models have ratings that are just a tick lower.

Safety

The Spectra comes standard with front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Antilock brakes are optional for the EX and SX trims only. In government crash tests, the Spectra earned a perfect five out of five stars for front-impact protection and four stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Spectra "Acceptable" (second best) for frontal-offset safety and one ranking lower -- "Marginal" -- for side-impact safety.

Driving

The Spectra is pleasant to drive overall, and its four-cylinder engine is peppy enough for getting around town. It remains fairly quiet at lower revs, but linger in any one gear for too long, and engine noise becomes intrusive. The manual gearbox is adequate and perhaps preferable to the four-speed automatic, which does not provide the quickest of gearchanges. The SX versions offer tighter handling and stiffer suspensions, but even on these models, overall ride quality is quite comfortable.

Interior

The 2009 Kia Spectra offers a simple cabin layout with easy-to-use (and reach) controls and good build and materials quality. The seats are comfortable, and the storage cubbies and cupholders are generous in size. The overall look and feel of the interior is a few cuts above cars like the Ford Focus and Suzuki SX4. Kia didn't resort to any garish gimmicks to hide cheap materials, and the result is almost classy for a car in this price range.

If you need extra space, look at the Spectra5. It boasts an 18.3-cubic-foot cargo area and considerably more room if you lower the 60/40-split rear seats -- maximum cargo capacity is 53 cubic feet.

Scorecard

Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Kia Spectra.

5 star reviews: 70%
4 star reviews: 18%
3 star reviews: 5%
2 star reviews: 7%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 4.5 stars based on 34 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • fuel efficiency
  • appearance
  • value
  • interior
  • handling & steering
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • spaciousness
  • warranty
  • driving experience
  • comfort
  • engine
  • seats
  • safety
  • sound system
  • lights
  • cup holders
  • dashboard
  • ride quality
  • infotainment system
  • maintenance & parts
  • road noise
  • doors
  • brakes
  • acceleration
  • climate control
  • transmission
  • wheels & tires
  • electrical system

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars, Better than I had hoped
nolarobert,
SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Spectra SX new in July of 2009. It was priced to move since the brand new 2010 Forte was hitting the market. If I could have afforded to spend more I would have likely gone with the Honda Fit. Imagine my surprise 8 years later that my Spectra is still going strong with no major issues. It has proven to be an enjoyable car that is darned reliable.

4.625 out of 5 stars, Life Saver
DrAwkward,

This car saved my life, along with three passengers, when a drunk driver crossed into our lane. Its responsive handling allowed us to avoid a head-on collision, and the side-airbags minimized the seriousness of our injuries. Everyone in the accident thanked me for choosing this car after putting its safety to the test.

4.875 out of 5 stars, Good highway car
dexter,

Purchased this car to drive to school (260 miles round trip) four days a week. It gets 36-38 mpg and rides surprisingly well. Good build quality especially for the price. Never owned a kia before but if the quality of this car is indicative for the rest of their line I see an Amanti in my very near future.

4.75 out of 5 stars, Impressed with Kia
Felt32,

I wanted a fuel efficient, inexpensive vehicle, with all of the up to date features (such as cruise control, CD, aux outlet) and I got all of that in this Kia. My only regret is that I had waited until the end of the year to get the Kia Forte!!

Write a review

See all 34 reviews




Features & Specs

EX 4dr Sedan features & specs
EX 4dr Sedan
2.0L 4cyl 4A
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm

LX 4dr Sedan features & specs
LX 4dr Sedan
2.0L 4cyl 4A
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm

EX 4dr Sedan features & specs
EX 4dr Sedan
2.0L 4cyl 5M
MPG 23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm

SX 4dr Sedan features & specs
SX 4dr Sedan
2.0L 4cyl 4A
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm

See all Used 2009 Kia Spectra features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Side Crash RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Side Barrier RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Driver4 / 5
Passenger4 / 5
Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
Front SeatNot Rated
Back SeatNot Rated
RolloverRating
Rollover4 / 5
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
Poor
Roof Strength TestNot Tested
Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
Acceptable
IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
Moderate Overlap Front Test
Acceptable

FAQ

Is the Kia Spectra a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2009 Spectra both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Kia Spectra fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Spectra gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg to 27 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Spectra has 12.2 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Kia Spectra. Learn more

Is the Kia Spectra reliable?

To determine whether the Kia Spectra is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Spectra. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Spectra's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2009 Kia Spectra a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2009 Kia Spectra is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2009 Spectra is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more

How much should I pay for a 2009 Kia Spectra?

The least-expensive 2009 Kia Spectra is the 2009 Kia Spectra LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $13,550.

Other versions include:

  • EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $16,550
  • LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $14,550
  • EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $15,550
  • SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $17,450
  • SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $16,450
  • LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $13,550
Learn more

What are the different models of Kia Spectra?

If you're interested in the Kia Spectra, the next question is, which Spectra model is right for you? Spectra variants include EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A). For a full list of Spectra models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2009 Kia Spectra

Used 2009 Kia Spectra Overview

The Used 2009 Kia Spectra is offered in the following submodels: Spectra Sedan, Spectra Wagon. Available styles include EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Spectra5 SX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), Spectra5 SX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What do people think of the 2009 Kia Spectra?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Kia Spectra and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Spectra 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Spectra.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2009 Kia Spectra and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2009 Spectra featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2009 Kia Spectra?

Which 2009 Kia Spectras 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) 2009 Kia Spectra for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap 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 2009 Kia Spectra.

Can't find a new 2009 Kia Spectras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Kia Spectra for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $15,980.

Find a new Kia for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $20,554.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Kia Spectra?

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.

Check out Kia lease specials