Used 2007 Kia Spectra Review

Edmunds expert review

The 2007 Kia Spectra is a decent car with a great warranty but newer competitors offer more in terms of equipment, safety and desirability.




What's new for 2007

The 2007 Kia Spectra and Spectra 5 hatchback receive minor interior and exterior tweaks on all models, including a standard tire-pressure monitoring system and an available auxiliary audio input jack.

Vehicle overview

Though an also-ran in the compact economy car market for much of its earlier life, the Kia Spectra has recently become a much better choice. A full redesign midway through 2004 added a significant bump in quality and noticeable advances in the vehicle's powertrain and suspension setup.

The 2007 Kia Spectra receives a minor exterior freshening. The base LX and EX models have a revised front fascia, grille, bumper and headlamps. The EX also offers a rear spoiler and new 15-inch alloy wheels. The SX and Spectra5 hatchback, which are Kia's sporty image leaders, now come with standard 16-inch alloy wheels, tasteful metal-finish accents in the cabin and an optional six-disc CD changer.

The compact car market, however, is highly competitive. Sales leaders like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 remain on top because of a significant difference in looks, refinement and performance. However, if you're a budget shopper just wanting a well-rounded economy sedan or hatchback, the 2007 Kia Spectra should definitely be on your list of test drives.




Trim levels & features

The Kia Spectra is available as a sedan or hatchback (Spectra5). There are three trim levels. The base LX is pretty light on features; go with the EX to get air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry and rear cupholders. The sporty SX (the only trim offered for the Spectra5) adds a sport-tuned suspension 16-inch alloy wheels and bigger tires, foglights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cruise control, metal-finish interior accents and cloth sport seats. Major options include a six-disc CD changer and a sunroof.



Performance & mpg

The 2007 Kia Spectra comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a four-speed automatic transmission available on all models except the LX sedan. EPA fuel mileage ratings are respectable at 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway for the automatic transmission.

Safety

The Kia Spectra stands out from the pack with a long list of standard safety equipment built into a low price. It comes with standard front seat-mounted airbags, front-and-rear side curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Antilock brakes are optional on SX and Spectra5 models. In government crash tests, the Spectra earned a four-star rating for front and front-side impact protection. Rear side-impact protection rates three stars only. The IIHS rated the Spectra "Acceptable" (second best) for frontal-offset safety and "Poor" for side-impact safety.

Driving

The Spectra provides a very pleasant drive overall. The four-cylinder engine has enough muscle and a healthy amount of torque delivered right off the line for getting around town. Unfortunately, engine noise is a bit intrusive at higher revs. The manual gearbox is adequate, but the four-speed automatic does not provide the quickest gearchanges. The SX and Spectra5 distinguish themselves with tighter handling and stiffer suspension while also retaining an overall soft ride quality.

Interior

The 2007 Kia Spectra offers a simple cabin layout with easy-to-use (and reach) controls and good build and materials quality. The seats are comfortable and the storage cubbies and cupholders are generous in size. The Spectra5 boasts an 18.3-cubic-foot cargo area, but one hitch is the sedan's paltry trunk, which only offers 12.2 cubic feet of space.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.