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.
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