2000 Kia Spectra GSX 1.8 from North America
Better than it should be, easy on the eyes, fun and functional
Rear bumper trim separates occasionally.
Exhaust replaced under warranty. Rattling front sway-link bearing. Terrible dash fit. Unreliable hatch release. Hatch release latch broke. Replaced center console latch. Hatch tray snapped. A cacophony of rattles and squeaks dominate the cabin noise. Occasional hiccup/hesitation on start-up.
I purchased this vehicle used for $6000 on 8/02 with a warranty that is good till 11/05. That was the selling point. This car is as loaded as a cheap car gets. Power locks/windows/mirrors, rear wiper, leather steering wheel/shift knob, alloys, 4 wheel disc w/ABS, nice body skirts, CD player, 6 speaker stereo.
The spectra is a spirited little car and with the right road and the right pace it can be extremely entertaining to drive. But, it is far from being a performance vehicle. 15" rims and better tires transformed this car. The shifter throw is too long and sort of rubbery, but faithful. Highway speed is no problem and I can even toast a few unsuspecting kids in 3rd gear around 4000 rpm. Gruff little engine, and competent suspension make for some fun B-road runs. Steering is too light, has terrible bump steer and MIA centering ability.
The interior space is incredible, especially with the rear seats down. I have done 2 moves in this car and both times I have been blown away by the functionality and space of the hatchback. Too bad the hatch cover bounces and rattles.
Reliability has been outstanding. Aside from exhaust work replaced under warranty and some persistent, but minor quality flaws, this car has been rock solid. Decent, not stellar mileage. Incredibly cheap to run, and insure.
The car is unique, and the 5 door configuration is incredible. I'm not embarrassed to be seen in it, and occasionally it gets a compliment from an uneducated motorist. The only thing keeping me from purchasing a 2005 Spectra5 is the rental car interior which has grown in quality, and deteriorated in design.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th July, 2004
I am the original author of this review and would like to provide an update. I have recently crested 100,000 miles. Not a single thing aside from a dead alternator has gone wrong. A few bits needed to be replaced here and there due to wear and tear but otherwise she has been chugging along, humbly and reliably. I have been getting better mileage as the engine wears in, I suppose regular oil changes will do that. If I flog the car I get 27mpg, if I baby it I get 32... that beats the ambitious EPA estimates when this car was new. This car has exceeded my expectations and then some, it doesn't owe me a thing - haven't even replaced the clutch yet.