Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback

2003 Kia Spectra

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.


  • 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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Used 2003 Kia Spectra Hatchback for Sale

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Features & Specs

GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)GS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)GSX 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Transmission4-speed automatic4-speed automatic5-speed manual5-speed manual
Horsepower124 hp @ 6000 rpm124 hp @ 6000 rpm124 hp @ 6000 rpm124 hp @ 6000 rpm


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating

    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating

    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating

    OverallNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings

    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover

    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

Top Consumer Reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Kia Spectra


Consumer Rating

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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.
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).

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