Used 2002 Kia Spectra

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2002 Kia Spectra
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2002 Kia Spectra

Pros

  • Low base price, responsive steering and nimble handling, available hatchback configuration, killer warranty.

Cons

  • Lackluster engine performance, cheap interior materials, dearth of refinement, Kia's initial poor quality reputation.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

vehicle overview

If you're gung-ho about three-box sedans, the Sephia sedan switches to the Spectra nameplate for this year. But our favorite is the utilitarian hatchback model. Why? Five-door hatchbacks have always been hot sellers in Asian and European markets, but American buyers have shunned the concept -- so much so that Ford initially left the five-door hatchback out of the U.S. Focus lineup. The Spectra hatchback's duplicitous design does a good job of hiding the fact that it is indeed a five-door and not a sedan, and therein lies its appeal. Two trim levels are available for the hatchback: GS and GSX. The sparsely equipped GS includes fabric upholstery, split-folding rear seat, cassette player, rear defroster and two-speed wipers. Optional equipment includes A/C, body-color side moldings, rear wiper/washer, floor mats and an automatic transmission. GSX adds alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, tape stripes and special fabric for a sporty look. It also provides power windows and locks, air conditioning and a tilt steering wheel. ABS, a CD player, cruise control and power windows are available only on the GSX.

Sedans come in Base or LS trim. Base equipment on the sedan 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 seat cushion tilt feature. Buyers can add woodgrain dash appliques, a rear spoiler and floor mats, but goodies like cruise control, alloy wheels, power mirrors and ABS are limited to the more expensive LS.

Powered by a 125-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine and mated to a standard five-speed manual gearbox (a four-speed automatic is optional), the Spectra provides decent fuel economy (23 city and 29 highway) but lacks capable acceleration off idle and during passing maneuvers. Additionally, the raucous motor makes an incessant whine at higher revs, which can grate on the driver's nerves.

The Spectra proves to be a competent handler, exhibiting limited body roll and responsive steering. Too bad cheap tires ruin the fun in the twisties. On the highway, the Spectra smoothes out bumps, but floats like a boat over highway expansion joints despite the Lotus-tuned suspension. Front disc/rear drum brakes are barely adequate, requiring lots of pedal pressure that results in mediocre stopping performance.

Firm front seats are reasonably comfortable, with a decent amount of lumbar and thigh support, and the simple layout of the dashboard and controls makes the Spectra easy to manipulate. Rear-seat riders get minimal legroom, and the canted rear glass impedes valuable headroom. Things are improved in the sedan, however, with a more useable rear seat in which four adults can fit with a minimum of contortion. Interior materials are not the Spectra's strong suit with headliner, dash panel and seat-fabric quality well below that of slightly more expensive competitors.

Higher-grade interior materials, along with a more powerful engine and improved brakes, would do wonders for this Kia's overall desirability. Still, you can't deny its substantial price and utility advantages over the competition.

Another incentive to consider the Spectra is Kia's Long-Haul Warranty Program, which consists of a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty (which protects against holes in the body caused by rust) and a 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan. This impressive package should add some peace of mind to Spectra ownership.

For first-time buyers and college students trying to survive on Top Ramen, as well as those who desire the utility that only a five-door hatchback can provide, the Spectra is worth a look. Others might want to consider shopping around, especially with Hyundai's well-equipped and more powerful Elantra as competition.

2002 Highlights

The Kia Sephia has officially been renamed the Spectra sedan. Got that? So now, there's the Spectra hatchback and the sedan; they've always shared mechanicals, so no big change there. The sedan will now sport some exterior styling cues borrowed from the five-door version.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Kia Spectra.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Kia Specrta GSX
sporty90,04/07/2012
All and all this car is great for the money, the performance of this car is amazing in my eyes. Fun to drive, with its rated 125 horsepower, add a little aftermarket adjustments this car could have a great future. never had a problem for the engine. now at 109,000 miles still drives like brand new!!!!
Worst Car Ever
MS,09/21/2010
This car has been nothing but issues since it was purchased. It had only 60,000 miles on it which is generally ok and since it wasn't a car for commuting, the mileage wasn't a big deal. After replacing the brake lights- needed new wiring harness, the brake system, the passenger side window that decided to not roll up one day. and various "check engine" lights and sensors later, the Kia WAS working. But alas, now the driver side window fell down by itself while parked in my driveway. It's not even worth the money that's already been dumped into it so at this point, I'm hoping the broken window gives someone some incentive to steal it.
just good car period
riskman,09/01/2002
No reason to buy $5000 more expensive Honda Civic. Spectra has just same power and feel as Civic and I felt it was even peppier and handles better. New Honda is just too boring
Not good enough
No Please,02/14/2003
10 yr warranty? NOT!! I WAS CHARGED $1,000 FOR IT!! Want more? When I start it in the mornings, it makes weird sounds and TURNS OFF. I have to start it again! In the dealership they told me that Kia Motors knew about the failure and would fix all the cars...they never did. Headlights offer incredibly poor illumination...thanks to that, my husband crashed one night. Car design is ugly...it looks old. Too little features for the price. While accelerating, it jumps and feels weird. But the car build is very strong. One day, I crashed...nothing happened! Same thing with my husband. Cool storage spaces and interior lights. However, it’s not good enough.
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
126 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
126 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
126 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
126 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2002 Kia Spectra features & specs
More about the 2002 Kia Spectra
Used 2002 Kia Spectra Overview

The Used 2002 Kia Spectra is offered in the following submodels: Spectra Hatchback, Spectra Sedan. Available styles include LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Kia Spectra?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 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) 2002 Kia Spectra for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Kia Spectra.

Can't find a used 2002 Kia Spectras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Spectra for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $9,239.

Find a used Kia for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,541.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Spectra for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,247.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,584.

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 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.

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