1996 Kia Sephia RS 1.8 L from North America


The reason they invented aspirin


The air conditioners' low pressure hose snapped and went through the radiator at 500 miles. At about 45,000 miles the low pressure air conditioning hose snapped again.

All rubber hoses and the like within the engine compartment had to be replaced due to damage from the air conditioning leak.

New rotors at 20,000 miles due to warping.

New dashboard due to warping at 20,000 miles.

New head gasket seal at 50,000 miles.

New gear shift was needed around 65,000 miles.

New alternator in October of 1999, and new one in August of 2001.

All new C.V. joints were need at 75,000 miles.

A new distributor was needed at about 80,000 miles.

The engine light goes on and off. Diagnostic checks get expensive after a while.

The radio was replaced 3 weeks after the purchase of the car. The tape deck kept eating my tapes.

The battery died after one year.

General Comments:

The car is comfortable but very noisy on the inside.

Parts for the 1996 Kia get very expensive and are not kept in stock anywhere. They all must be ordered.

The only thing that I do enjoy with my car is that I am one of only five or six owners of this type of Kia in my state. It makes me unique. However, I will never own a Kia again. I had better luck with my Buick at 135,000 miles than I have ever had with this, my Kia.

Oh yeah, after all the problems I have had with this car I have yet to replace any lights on it. They all still work great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th August, 2001

18th Jul 2002, 14:48

I have my Kia since 1996, bought "her" new. Besides being reliable, roomy, clean, cozy, and cool, she always has problem (s). I think she has $0.99 spare parts.

I failed my smog test due to malfunction indicator light. I've brought her to different mechanics due to engine light failure (s) after a regular changed oil, and nobody knew what's wrong with her. Next step, diagnostics.

I could have a real daughter, but I bought a Kia instead. I wish after this, she'll be fine.

1996 Kia Sephia LS 1.8L DOHC from North America


Not bad if you can get it at MSRP of $6995


Front brake disc rotors replaced at 25K miles due to warping.

Fuse box melted at 50K miles. Expensive fix.

Passenger side air bag failure. VERY expensive fix. Happened soon after warranty expiration, darn.

Master cylinder started leaking at 65K miles after a 2nd brake pad change.

Battery replaced at 70K miles.

Alternator noisy at 80K miles.

General Comments:

The early Kias were about 75% Japanese, with only some parts made in Korea. This keeps my review somewhat favorable as I know which parts are Japanese... the ones that didn't break. I used the 60K mile bumper-bumper warranty often but the bigger problems came after that. While it isn't a basket case, it isn't the bulletproof wonder like my 1984 Honda Accord which lasted to 134K miles until I sold it. I imagine it's still going strong.

Comfort is good. A/C is good, controls are logically laid out. Road noise is rather high but not unexpected in a sub-compact. Dashboard looks good but the sunlight has taken its toll... the dashboard is lifting in places and is now misaligned with the plastic dash panel instrument gauge insert. Radio is OK, was replaced soon after buying the car with an aftermarket one.

Despite the problems it has been reliable transportation and starts every time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th June, 2001

24th Jan 2003, 13:00

This is a followup to my original review. Since then I've had my alternator break twice and now it needs a new starter. the driveshafts are also about to go out. Apparently if you rev the engine past 5000rpm the alternator breaks...odd.

The neutral safety switch also broke. it's a small piece of plastic that sits on top of the transmission and cost around $25. A new part costs $165 and the repair shop charged me $300 to replace it. I could have fixed it myself with a crescent wrench and a flashlight. I don't know who are the bigger thieves, the parts manufacturers or auto repair shops.

Now I know why they don't want electric cars on the road... they would last too long and would be too reliable, thus putting parts and repair shops out of business.

16th Aug 2004, 18:00

I own a 1996 KIA Sophia 1.8 and I have had nothing, but problems with this car. I change the oil and wires and plugs and a tune up. I have spent over 1500.00 dollars on this car. What ever you do Do not buy a Kia sephia there made poorly and very cheap. This is not a good car for families.

18th Apr 2008, 21:28

I like my 1996 Kia. The problem for me is trying to find an oil pan.