I bought this new. What sold me was it, actually, had an ashtray and lighter. But more important was it's tight corner handling and spunky acceleration. You have to know that handling depends a lot on the quality of tires. It was a little squirrelly at 70+mph with a cross wind or highway speeds during the rain. But a set of quality TOYO tires solved all that. It handles like a sports car now. It has a standard trans. And it gets 35mpg without the AC running...about 30mpg with it on through all ranges of driving. During the winter I take out the AC relay, in the under-hood rely box, to prevent the AC from coming on when I turn on the windshield defogger/defroster. I wish there was a switch to turn it off from the inside. The warranty was useless, due to the dealership, There was a broken middle air register when I bought it and it's STILL broken. The cabin blower motor went out at about 6 months. They wanted me to leave the car for a week. I replaced it in about 45 minutes. And I still had to pay for the new motor.
I bought this car with no choice. Mine was stolen, left with little time I bought a 2005 Spectra EX for $3800. It had 98k miles. That was in 2011. I still own it, with 180k+ and she's magnificent. The little 2.0 has power on the highway, without having to go up high in the powerband. The tall gears in the automatic gearing kill performance, manuals are quicker by far. Mine hits 60 in 8.8 seconds with a 4 speed auto, and shes topped out at 126mph. I guess that's about average. The stereo is surprisingly good with a 120 watt 6 speaker setup, as well as interior materials. I previously owned a Honda and Kia is quite close with their quality. I don't care what ANYONE says, Kias are damn good vehicles.
2005 Kia Spectra Spectra5 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I am the 2nd owner of this car. Bought it in 2013 with 160,000 miles for 3k. The car's exterior was in reasonable condition, minor wear and tears,dents and dings. Mechanically she was sound. After a few thousand miles, the radio went, Clutch went, brake caliper froze up, replaced the timing belt. However, at 160,000 miles those items are expected to be replaced. Since then, everything has been great, except the transmission synchronizers are starting to fail. I still use this car as my daily driver, and commute my daily 48 miles. To date i have 186,458 miles on it. Not bad for KIA. I may just buy another when this one finally decides to rest. And for sake of argument, i drive very spirited.
***Update*** Up to 210,000 miles. a small section of my exhaust rusted off, replaced it for $100. No other mechanical failures yet!!
2005 Kia Spectra Spectra5 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I own one since 2005, after 8+ years, 220,000km it still running great! I'll make it 30kkm+. Changed oxygen sensor last year, new stunt, changed front bearing half year age; brake and rotor.... Never down, just oil change and the timing belt. Cd player fail after 2 yrs, got a new one for free. Cheap but comfort and quiet. Small outside big inside, big leg room. Fun to drive, not the best for gas. Want to find a better car after this one, may be a Camry or KIA again.
I bought the car with 44,000 in 2007, and at 85,000 the engine became completely clogged with oil despite regular oil changes every 3,000-5,000 miles. The manual recommends changing the oil every 7,500. A Kia dealership just said to change the oil every 1,000 miles, to clear the clog but that didn't work, and I had to replace the engine.
After the replacement, I've since learned this has been a problem with this particular engine, and Kia has stopped making it.