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.
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.
I've read through plenty of reviews, and the one thing I am noticing is that people are putting automatics in with the manual transmission, don't be daft please. The 2.0 DOHC 5spd standard transmission is great. I have over 100,000 miles on my car as it sits now still with the original clutch, and trust me when I say I haven't been overly kind to my car. I have beat on it, driven long distances and over all drvien this car as if it were a rally car or enduro car, including some slight off roading and it still starts up with out arguement and gets up and goes like a propper little sprinter. I unexpectedly fell in love with the little bugger, and I expect the romance to continue on for awhile.
I had my 2005 kia spectra for 5 years, the car had 148,000 miles on it and it had never let me down. 2 weeks ago my wife and I and our 2 sons were rearended buy a fullsize suv we were waiting to turn into a drive way and we were hit. The driver of the suv didnt even try to stop he hit us at at least 55 mph. my 9 yr old son and my 6 year old son were in the back seat. and even with the impact we all walked away without injurys. after the accident the car still runs great. I will find a new body to the motor into.