1998 Kia Sephia from North America


Rough around the edges maybe, but I love this car


As an 11 year old car, this vehicle has just been fantastic. Despite Consumer Reports regarding the unreliability of the automatic transmissions, I have a manual, and this car really just is the little engine that could.

I got the car with only 86,000 miles on it, and I put over 30 grand on it in the first year I owned it. As is expected when purchasing vehicles with age, my Kia Sephia needed a replacement clutch around 100,000 miles. It needed a starter replacement at 120,000 and the clutch fluid line was rusted through when I first got the car (a byproduct probably of living in New England, not the car's manufacturing).

Seats have worn well, and even after 12 years on the road, they're still as comfortable as one can expect from the "I Failed My Credit Report" version of the car. I added modifications to the body, such as mud flaps and rain guards, and literally the only thing I wish this car had sometimes was A/C.

General Comments:

As far as 4 cylinder engines go, this little thing just PULLS. The car has been reliable - it has gotten me places on fumes many many times, and with a good oil change, this 13.2 gallon tank gets over 500 miles on a tank.

It's a true trooper in snow, and despite not having anti-lock brakes, it still stops on a dime.

As a speed junkie, this car may not have a turbo, but I've taken on an 05 Mustang and a SAAB 99 1.2 Turbo, and done just fine.

The trunk space is great, the car runs just as smoothly weighted down as it does without anything in it. It handles well, and despite being a "heavy" car on the hands (as it does not have power steering), it grips the road well and can takes corners just as well as a Mitsubishi Lancer, or a SAAB 99.

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

Review Date: 25th December, 2010

1998 Kia Sephia LX from North America


Do not buy


Brakes bad 4 times.

Fuel line disconnected once.

Master cylinder leaky fitting.

Bad alternator.

Bad air flow sensor.

Undetermined poor performance on acceleration problem.

Light bulb for over drive burns out; 200 to replace!

At 98000 I am told the catalytic converter is going out, as well as the transmission.

General Comments:

A great disappointment, because I believed the advertisement, that it would give me 200k of miles.

Treated it very tenderly, but even so, all kinds of problems, from day one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th July, 2010

9th Jul 2010, 19:28

"Do not buy"

- You now know why KIA = Killed In Action.

24th Jul 2010, 13:51

If you look at Consumer Reports as well as at this WWW site, you will rapidly conclude that KIA is well below average for repair and reliability. When I first took my '98 Kia in to the dealer service department, they told me right away that I should get rid of it and buy a new one! Incredible! Why would I want to buy a car with all those problems. I am in my 70's and this was to be my first new car to last a good 20 years. I hardly had a scratch on it! But the whole engine and transmission went out, even though I did all the regular maintenance with the dealership!


1998 Kia Sephia Base 1.8 from North America


Great little driver


The starter relay went out on me when I first got it.

Struts needed replacement.

Factory rotors warped.

General Comments:

Overall this is a great little car! It religiously gets me 28 mpg even while loaded down with luggage, and three people on my biweekly 900 mile round trip home and back to college.

Although I did have a lot of work to do on her when I first got her, I rarely do now. With regular maintenance, this car runs like a top!

Cosmetically, this car is not the best at all. But since I did buy it for $350, I cannot complain. The rocker panels are rusted away, some surface rust has come through. The interior is fairly cheap, but is not a problem in my opinion.

The car has gotten me 40,000 miles in the past year, and not complained once! I am not the nicest I could be to the car, and she always takes the beating.

In my opinion for what I need (a little car to get me here and there, with good gas mileage, and be reliable), it's better than most any other economy car I've driven.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th December, 2009