1997 Kia Sephia LS 1.8 DOHC from North America


Great deal for the price


Brake rotors warp at 2,000 miles. Dealer replaced part of warranty.

Dashboard has color stain in-front of the steering wheel. It seems to be getting bigger over time.

Dashboard lifted up from the windshield. Defrost vents damaged because of it.

General Comments:

Great value for the money. Didn't have to pay for it that much since all the bad things happened under warranty.

Surprisingly nimble on acceleration. Whenever my friends drive it they comment on how quick it can accelerate. Have never put it past 90 mph so can't comment on that. It tends to shake really bad around 75-80mph. Actually won against a 2002+ Eclipse on a drag race from a stop light once.

Was rear ended once and the bumper didn't even dent (speed of collision around 30 mph). Had to replace it all the same because of paint damage.

The front signal lights have a tendency to break easily since they are made with a 1 screw attachment.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2003

1997 Kia Sephia LS from North America


I'd have been better off buying a lame horse!


Check Engine light is always on. I took it to the manufacturer while it was under warranty and they installed something behind the dash that was supposed to eliminate the problem of the light coming on for no reason. It didn't, and the dashboard was not reinstalled properly. Now the dashboard is extremely warped and coming apart and it appears that it was attatched with doubled over masking tape.

Goes in and out of overdrive by itself when driving under 35 mph.

Weather stripping falling apart around driver side door and back window.

Driver side seat belt doesn't always stay latched.

Brake drums were warped when purchased (Manufacturer did sand them down, but wouldn't replace them)

General Comments:

This is the worst car I have ever owned.

It's poorly made, unreliable and an all around piece of junk!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

1997 Kia Sephia RS 4.6 from North America


Fantastic car for it's class


I have to replace the CV joints. This isn't very expensive, around $200.

General Comments:

I bought my Sephia at an auction with the expectation of putting a lot of money into it. I paid only $1,200 for it. I just needed a decent vehicle to get back and forth to work and have been pleasantly surprised at how well it's performing.

The model I have is the higher performance model so maybe that makes a difference. The pick-up is great and handles just as well as my Mazda and Honda had. Well, maybe not my Honda.

Since I got it at such a cheap price, I have no problem sinking some money into it.

Great gas mileage also.

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

Review Date: 27th March, 2003

1997 Kia Sephia LS from North America


Runs good, Dashboards are a hazard!


Mainly it has been a good running, reliable vehicle. But almost immediately the dashboard started getting discolored in the middle sort of a brown spot. Now over time, the dashboard has lifted away from the windshield significantly, and is what I would consider a safety hazard. I feel it is likely the airbags could come out of this at any time. I urge everyone who has this same problem to contact the National Highway Traffic Safety administration 1-888-327-4236.The need to hear about this so it can be recalled and fixed by Kia.

Also, in the cold weather the gear shifter (we have an automatic) is very difficult. You can't get the button to push in to unlock it from the park position and this is a pain.

Overall, the vehicle has lasted us well and we have not cared for it well, but it keeps on running. Kia's depricate in value so badly I would not purchase another one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th February, 2003

14th Jul 2004, 17:01

I have the same problem with my 97 kia sephia, at first I thought I was the only one with the dashboard issue. I contacted the Highway Safety Division so hopefully more people will do that so Kia will fix it. thanks for your info.


28th Jul 2005, 19:02

I have the same burn mark on the dashboard of my 97 KIA and know others who also have this problem. I have contacted Kia about fixing it and they do not agree that it is a defect and won't do anything about it. I have also had trouble in cold weather shifting gears.