It's a modest car that could have easily been made better
A couple months after purchasing my used Sephia, I replaced the noisy Hankook tires (factory installed) with Goodyear Integrity tires and it is now much quieter.
The Korean brakes had to be replaced, too (these are non-anti-lock brakes).
The front seats were way too low when I bought the car; while looking underneath the seats, the springs looked like they needed to be reshaped or replaced.
The car shakes too much while going above 80 MPH. Also, my Sephia doesn't want to go above 110 MPH on flat pavement (130 MPH is the max on the speedometer).
After six months, the Korean battery failed and left me stranded one night. I replaced it with an American counterpart and - much to my surprise - the car starts and accelerates much better! It was almost as if I replaced the starter and spark plugs in one go.
All in all, it's not a bad car. Around the big city, Kia doesn't have a bad stigma that Korean cars usually have.
It looks good and has a little more leg room than its competition. I wish the wheel could swivel, though - it's either pointing too high or my seat is really messed up.
I particularly like how much easier it is to make a U-turn in my Sephia than it is with, say, the Sentra or Civic.
I just wish that Kia gave out warnings about using Korean parts. ;) Seriously, though, if you don't want to be in trouble away from home, you should at least replace your battery and tires.
Better yet, save up for a Nissan Sentra 2000. Its ride is just as sweet, if not better, and it has quality parts. If you're going to get a Kia, though, expect to have problems with it thanks to the cheap components.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th August, 2001
2000 Kia Sephia Base 1.8 from North America
Good price, bad service, lots of small problems
Purchased Nov 2000 and so far the engine block heater cord shocked both my wife and I.
Mass air flow sensor replaced (twice).
Oil smell coming from engine bay (psi washed).
Mud flaps broke off.
Stick shift boot cracked.
Lost gas cap (no lanyard).
Paint chipped everywhere.
Chip gaurd (sticker in front of the wheel wells) fell off.
Heater temp select knob inoperable.
The car is not in the shop for the latter items (6-18-01).
I bought the car knowing it would be cheap. I had previously owned a Festiva and Aspire (both new and manufactured by KIA), the Sephia however is by far the most prone to problems.
The dealer (North Star Ford, Duluth, MN) has gone through several Kia service managers and have a hard time returning calls (ie your parts are in).
Parts seem to be shipped directly from Korea via ship because of the time it takes to get to Duluth.
Gets about 35 MPG. Rain or shine and even started in -35 F. (synthetic oil a must).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 18th June, 2001
6th Feb 2002, 19:27
Had to laugh at the part about the parts being shipped directly from Korea.
6th Oct 2002, 22:59
An update to the saga of the cheap car that I bought. We had an engine mount go out on a trip to Indiana (35k on the odometer). The dealership took care of it under the warranty. The neighbor painted his garage with my car parked next to it and the over spray got all over the car. So I got a free buffing and all those other chips show up even better now. I have 50k on the odometer and the car is running like a trooper. We average 37mpg now after a new set of High quality tires from Fleet Farm and a front end alignment. To date the car has been pretty good, but the service at the dealer ships has not gotten much better.