2002 Kia Spectra Base 1.8 from North America


Awesome little first new car!


The Spectra had one mysterious incident involving the transmission shortly after braking suddenly at high speed: it would not shift to higher gears. After stopping and placing the vehicle in park, however, the problem resolved itself and has not recurred.

General Comments:

The Spectra is my first new car purchase, and after nearly two months with the car, I am pleased and excited.

The fuel mileage is wonderful, and the warranty is incredible.

The cabin is comfortable, open and well-organized, although the styling is reminiscent of vehicles from the mid-1990's. However, the design is clean and efficient.

Heating and air-conditioning work fabulously, as does the rear defrost. The controls are simple and easily reached from the driving position.

The base-model AM/FM Stereo/Cassette is easy to operate, but is a big disappointment in a 2002 model vehicle. The sound from the well-positioned four speakers is clear and handles higher volumes quite well.

The front bucket seats in my model are four-way manually adjustable which makes for a comfortable fit, and finding the driving position is easy.

The factory suspension is adequate, if not just a tad stiff. The over-all ride is smooth with quite enough translation from the road to the driver.

Engine and road-noise are enough to let you know you're on the road, but not so bad that they detract from the pleasure of driving the car.

The car is nimble and quick, but displays a bit more over-steer than I would prefer.

The automatic transmission is the one major disappointment. It shifts a bit earlier than would be preferable and lacks pick-up at high speed.

The factory tires leave a lot to be desired, and I plan to replace them with something a bit more serious very soon.

The body-panels fit nicely and the paint is superb. Exterior styling is adequate, but not flashy.

Clear-glass headlamp covers and clear-glass tail-light covers are a nice touch, but the 1980's-style mast antennae on the left-rear fender detracts from these touches.

To sum this up, as a first new-car purchase, the 2002 KIA Spectra is great. I am pleased with the over-all styling and performance. Lots of bang for the buck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th December, 2002

9th Feb 2003, 15:47

Perhaps your "transmission" problem had to do with the tiny button on the gear shift for "overdrive" - I know that happened to me, and since I figured it out, it hasn't happened again.

2002 Kia Spectra Base 1.8 ltr from North America


Still working out the bugs


The problem I have that is always coming back is the check engine light. Within the first 3 days of owning the car I called the service department about the check engine light. They stated to me that it was most likely from were I did not put the fuel cap on tight. I informed them that I had not put any fuel in it since buying the car. I have now been back for the same problem 5 times and now they are going to run a test on the fuel system.

General Comments:

Although the car is comfortable and does what I bought it for. I feel like the dealership should spend more time trying to eliminate the problems instead of giving quick fixes.

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

Review Date: 16th September, 2002

27th Nov 2002, 17:35

I have had similar problems with my 2002 KIA Spectra. Now it seems that there it could be caused by transmission problems. You might want the dealership to thoroughly check the transmission.

28th Dec 2002, 10:39

When I first bought my Kia Spectra it did the same thing with the fuel cap. I went to Kragen and bought a locking gas cap for $15 and when I click it 5 times or more the problem stayed a one time issue for me. Good luck with the Service Department though. They are horrible with customer service and will try anything to get out of warranty repair. Don't let them push you around and get a second or third opinion.