1997 Kia Sephia RS 1.6 DOHC from North America


Good cheap and reliable transportation


The first two years I had to replace the brake pads and rotors a few times, but it was still under warranty.

The tape player/radio had to be replaced three times in the first two years.

Recently the radio started "hiccuping" in hot weather or if you played it more than 45 minutes.

Dashboard started coming apart at 100,000 miles.

Just recently replaced front drive axle, much of rotting exhaust system and oxygen sensor emissions problem.

General Comments:

The car was super reliable after the first year or two and was great until it got around 103,000.

I just didn't have the money to replace the whole dang exhaust system.

My friends were impressed at how nice it handled and quick it accelerated for such a cheap car.

It was great on long trips, never had any problems.

I just wish they could last as long as Honda or Subaru.

Just traded it in for a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta, but still miss the Kia's penchance for low maintenance -- Volkswagens are not like that.

Also wish the interior was not made so cheaply.

The fact that it got some of the poorest crash test scores was a bummer too.

For my seven years of ownership, I certainly feel I got my money's worth.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2004

1997 Kia Sephia RS 1.8 liter DOHC from North America


Cheap car and very fun to drive!


Brake rotors warped early, but were replaced with a newer design which fixed the problem.

Check engine light went on one night and a few seconds later the car started accelerating very slowly and was a little jerky. Turns out I was dragging a cylinder (therefore using 3 out of 4) due to a spark plug failure. This however was at 36,000 miles or so with the original spark plugs when they were meant to be changed at 30,000.

Something wrong with the car cutting off gas randomly even with the gas pedal pushed down and then randomly feeding it back in. It cuts out and comes back only once in a while and when it starts I have to stop the car and shut it off, wait a minute, then restart it and the problem is gone. Has only happened to me 5-6 times though throughout the entire time I have had the car.

General Comments:

Car takes off with a little revving off the line and accelerates very quickly given the engine size. I have drag raced my friend with a 2.0 liter Mitsubishi eclipse and won.

Besides the little problem with the car, it is a very fun car to drive and just rev up through every gear.

Handles pretty well. I definitely put the car to the test too.

The relatively big alternator (70amp) provides enough power to power my system of two 10 inch sub-woofers with a 1000 watt amplifier and a 200 watt head unit with still enough extra power to not have the headlights dim even when running at idle engine speed (around 800 rpm). (with no capacitor on the system)

An all around fun car which I have had only minor problems with.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th February, 2004

1997 Kia Sephia RS from North America


You pay for what you get


Rattle of pan near the fan (had it fixed like 3 times, but the last time did the trick (almost)

Some times it leaks a little in the window seal, but that just requires you toying with the seal to get a tight seal again.

Jerking was the car as it accelerates when using regular gas (so now I use 89 octane and the jerking has pretty much stopped in the low gears.

Transmission blew, but right before the warranty was to expire THANK GOD.

Issue with brakes in the front wearing prematurely a month after I had them changed, but my mechanic fixed that issue and haven't had one since.

Year after getting the car got a bad oil change and all the oil came out of the engine. Ex kept driving it and locked up the engine. Had to get a new engine, but lucked out and found a standard engine that a mechanic put in for me. Now it goes up to 110 without rattling.. Don't ask what he did, but I'm glad he did it.

General Comments:

I brought it in 97 new for the now ex wife after she kept having "accidents" with the other cars. It pretty much was purchased for a run about car in NYC. Can park the little sucker anywhere. Well, we separated and she did not want it so I left it in storage for 3 years (2000-2003). Had my mechanic fix her up flew to NYC and drove her cross country to WA in Sept without any issues. She still can get to 110 without rattling (but would not advice it if you don't want to have to purchase a new transmission). Would greatly suggest getting at minimum 15 to 17 rims and tires to give a little more stability when driving. She can lose transaction and stability with a slight jerk of the wheel at 55 on the standard 13's she comes with. Nice toy to play with if you have it as a 2nd run around vehicle. For all those who dare push this car past 110, word of advice she stops taking acceleration and "liquids" out (it just gets real quite *laughing*)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2003

23rd Dec 2003, 21:43

What in the world does that last sentence mean?