1997 Kia Sephia 1.8 DOHC from North America


I like my KIA, it is a fine running car when it starts


I love my Kia! I do however have a few eye sores. The dash is peeling back, the overdrive does not work, the transmision slips (bad) between 2 and 3 gears. Sometimes when I turn the key to start it, all the warning lights come on, but the car starter or engine doesn't make a sound.

General Comments:

Overall I must say that I have a really nice car. I have taken it on many road trips and have had no problems.

The dashboard is peeling back and looks like it got burnt from the sun. Nothing a little super glue wouldn't fix.

The overdrive button does not work, but I don't pull anything so it is not a big concern for me.

The automatic transmision slips between 2nd and 3rd gear. It sounds like someone learning to drive a stick shift and forgot to let the clutch out before giving it too much gas. This has become a problem only because I can't find anyone in my area that wants to put a new one in. The closest dealer is 45 miles away..

Just recently, it has started this new thing where it won't start. All the warning dash-lights come on, but the starter or engine won't kick in. I was advised that it was the "park/neutral" switch.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2002

1997 Kia Sephia from North America


I love my Kia, it handles great and runs very well


The dashboard is lifting & I don't think this should be happening. I was wondering if anyone else is having this problem, the dealer says it is due to the age of the car & the heat. I don't think this should be happening, does anyone else have this problem?

That is the only thing that is wrong with it, I love my Kia & find it very reliable.

General Comments:

This is a very good car as far as mechanical issues, I have not had any problems with it except cosmetic ones.

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

Review Date: 8th August, 2001

2nd Nov 2001, 22:45

Mine too.

18th Jan 2002, 17:09

I have a 96 Kia Sephia that I just bought a couple weeks ago. When I bought it, the dashboard was lifted too. The previous owner said that it was from the heat. I just put a dashboard mat over it.

20th Aug 2002, 21:53

Mine does the same thing. It is a 1996. I'm selling it soon for under 2000. It has 77,000 miles on it. I will never buy a nother one. I got is for 1200, however.

1997 Kia Sephia 1.8 from North America


My worst nightmare


Had to replaced the alternator.

Would die at the most unexpected moments.

Overdrive would suddenly switch off causing the car to suddenly lose power, to stall, jerk and drag. This could happen at any time and at any speed. When it happens when you're driving seventy five miles an hour on the highway, it is frightening.

General Comments:

I have spent over a thousand trying to find the problem. I brought the car to two different Kia dealerships. They keep telling me they can't find anything wrong with the car yet the overdrive problem happens to me at least twice every day on the way to and back from work. I have changed the transmission fluid twice, put in a new fuel pump, new distribution cap and rotor and new spark plugs. But the problem persists. I have no choice but to drive this car every day but I'm always tense on the road because the problem could hit anytime. Each time the overdrive kicks off, I have to stop. As soon as I stop, the car goes back to normal.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th October, 2000

7th Oct 2002, 16:44

Very clearly written. Problems were stated factually and without unnecessary colorful opinion. It was easy and pleasant to read. It left me with a clear understanding of what the writer was trying to convey, with enough passion to make the comments believable.

19th Oct 2004, 00:55

I have this exact same problem, and I too am terrified while driving my car. I went to an AutoZone to have the diagnostics test and I was initially told that it was the Oxygen sensor, well it wasn't because $300+ USD's later I am still having the problem, I went again to have a diagnostics test done, and now I am told it is the speed sensor and the crank shaft, although apparently Kia does not call the parts by tis name, they had to tell me the name. It apparently will cost me over another $300 USD's to get it fixed, just thought I would let you know.

3rd Jul 2005, 14:56

I have a 97 Kia Sephia that's been in the shop for 5 months. The car just died on me in the middle of the road one night. Everyone thought it was the fuel pump so we changed that. Then the car wouldn't start at all. We then changed the fuel filter and that did nothing. I finally ended up taking it to the Kia dealer in which they took forever to fix and kept telling me to replace everything!I ended up changing the distributor, the alternator, the battery and the computer (3 times!!) Now the car runs, but at stops the car jerks and feels like its gonna die on me. I love my kia, but this problem sucks. I just want it to run smoothly!

15th Dec 2006, 10:26

Your problems are the speed sensor all of you.

It won't go past third change the speed sensor for the tranny real easy self repair cost under $50.

11th Aug 2007, 08:21

I own a Kia Sephia and it has 110 Thousand miles on it and no problem. I haven't run into any problems at all. I just get the car checked every 3,000 miles and I have been fine.

24th Sep 2007, 20:43

Mine has 147000 on it, and I have had no problems whatsoever with it, other than normal maintenance. If you abuse it, it will let you down. Maintain it regularly (oil, tranny, brakes, tune ups etc.), and it will last a good long time.

1997 Kia Sephia LS 1.6L from North America


This is the worst car that I have ever owned!!!


Check engine light.

Battery (3).


Idle motor/throttle body assembly.


PC valve.

PCM (main computer).

General Comments:

Buying this car was the worst mistake that I ever made. For details of my bad experiences with my Kia, and for more horror stories from unsatisfied Kia owners, please check out the following website:


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th April, 2000