Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback

2003 Kia Spectra
List price range
2003 Kia Spectra


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


  • Lackluster engine performance, weak brakes and tires, mediocre build and materials, poor offset crash test score.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though convincingly cheap in base form, decently equipped Spectras cost as much as better-performing compacts like the Elantra, Focus and Sentra. Shop carefully.

2003 Highlights

For 2003, all Spectras will come with a CD player and body-color side moldings. Kia has attempted to make the cabin environment more hospitable via additional sound insulation in the roof and floor, an illuminated ignition and revised climate controls. Also, all hatchbacks get a standard rear wiper with an intermittent feature. Finally, note that engine specs have been revised this year -- the Spectra is now rated at 124 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque compared with 126 hp and 108 lb-ft for 2002. The four-cylinder engine itself is unchanged.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Kia Spectra.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Second owner, purchased with 50,000 miles on it
Purchased this car in 2009 with 50,000 miles on the engine. With the bald tires on the car, it road like a roller coaster ride on the freeway. Purchased new tires and it drove almost 100% better. Replaced the entire radiator about 2 years later. Replaced the ball joint 6 months before that. Replaced the right passenger side head light about 5 times since we purchased the car, at some point it completely stopped working and my husband switched around the light from the brights to the regular headlight to salvage it. Parts are extremely hard to find for this car, we've usually have to purchase online and when we do find the part in store it is usually more expensive than say a honday or acura.
Good and Bad
Car is cute, gets great gas mileage. I bought my car new. Had to change the tires by 30K Replaced brake pads and rotors twice. Replace battery. Driver side locks broken & sometimes won't unlock and I have to crawl through the passenger side. Driver side window roller broke, Alternator going out. Problem with steering system. Hatchback cover broke within a week. Rear window brake light is falling apart from sun damage (I live in Indiana & typically don't have this problem). Brake lights are a pain to change..have to remove whole back panel of car. Very lightweight car and blows around on windy day
Worst car I've ever owned
I purchased this car new, and owned it for 5 years. In that time, I replaced the serpentine belt 3 times, the alternator once, the radiator twice (the replacement from the Kia garage had a hole in it, though it was supposedly a new part), and the alternator belt 4 times. The electrical system started acting wonky after three years, and after spending 2 months in the Kia garage, I got it back but the internal lights never worked after that. I cut my losses and gave the car to a friend, who told me that the engine died at 78,000 miles. I would never again buy a Kia.
Good and cheap to fix if you Know
Antonio Colon,11/15/2010
We have it since new and i am a drummer and have to travel a lot in PR the only problem that i had with it was the window that broke the power window cable and a small damage on the material of the seats that is weak.but for the rest is ok.
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Features & Specs

19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
124 hp @ 6000 rpm
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
124 hp @ 6000 rpm
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
124 hp @ 6000 rpm
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
124 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    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
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 Kia Spectra
Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback Overview

The Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback is offered in the following styles: GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback?

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 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchbacks are available in my area?

Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO 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 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback for sale near you.

Can't find a used 2003 Kia Spectra Spectra Hatchback you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Spectra for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $24,512.

Find a used Kia for sale - 2 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $9,545.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Spectra for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $22,560.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $12,365.

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Should I lease or buy a 2003 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
Check out Kia Spectra lease specials