1999 Kia Sephia LS 1.8L SOHC from North America


Total nightmare


The transmission has been replaced twice—the second one lasted only 8,000 miles. Despite this, the car continues to shift erratically. Often the car refuses to go faster than 40 MPH, or when it does, requires the engine to reach over 65,000 RPM's before it will shift into high gear. My dealer now says the transmission is not the cause of my problems and wants me to pay $300 for various services, even though the symptoms are identical to those that were occurring prior to the last transmission replacement.

Breaks have been replaced three times.

Starter has been replaced.

Muffler has become punctured three times and replaced twice. I plan to bring the car in for another repair next week. If I was doing a lot of "off-road" driving with this car, I could understand how this could happen, but the majority of my driving occurs on paved city streets.

Speaker on driver's door emits more static than sound.

Wipers often make loud clicking sound despite dealer adjustments.

Rear-view mirror rattles.

General Comments:

Unfortunately, the transmission problem began to occur a couple months after my car became ineligible to be considered under the lemon law in my state. If it had happened a six months sooner, I would have probably gotten my money back and bought a new, more reliable car.

I have written to Kia six times since I started having these problems. Every time I write, I get a call from the eastern region customer support manager. He calls my work number early in the morning, at times such as 7:45 AM—before I arrive, and leaves messages for me to call him back at a long distance number. I call back, but he is always either on the other line or at lunch, or so I'm told. I leave messages for him, but he has yet to return a single one. I did manage to get a hold of him once, and he promised to follow up on my claim and to set up a meeting with the district service manager, but that never happened.

I bought my car because it seemed like it would be a low cost, reliable car. I was a college student when I bought it and I needed something dependable, but not expensive. The Kia seemed to be just the right car. It has turned out to be nothing, but a major headache. The car is a piece of junk, and it is quite clear that Kia doesn't care about their customers once they get their money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th April, 2002

29th Aug 2005, 21:47

I can see that most of Kia's stuff is junk. Just look at all the negative reviews...

But I wanted to say something.

Getting on the highway required the engine to reach 65,000 RPMs? If you're ever able to rev your engine that high, you'd be one of the few people to ever see their pistons and most of the top end go sailing through the hood and up a few hundred feet. Most cars redline at around 7000 to 8500 RPMs, not 65,000. Though the above image is rather amusing...

29th Jul 2009, 09:41

I own a 1999 Kia Sephia and I have similar problems. My car has a horrible time shifting and in park, it idles ridiculously high. Whenever I shift gears, it doesn't want to accelerate after that.

The car shakes and rattles at high speeds and my speakers/radio go out every time I hit a bump in the road (literally)

This car has been nothing but a huge headache since I bought it. So many gear problems and electrical problems. I've only had my car a year and I wish I never bought it.

1999 Kia Sephia STD 1.8 L from North America


A very good car for the price


The clutch pedal spring broke at 32,500 miles.

General Comments:

This is car is very reliable, and will get you any where you want to go.

Although, the car is not very quick off the lights, it makes up for it in third gear on into overdrive. The little car has great power reserved in fifth gear, even at eighty miles per hour the car will pin you back into the seat.

This is car is very dependable and I would buy another anytime.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2002