2004 Kia Spectra Base 1.8L from North America


Great economy car


The only problem I have had is with the drink holder. There are little "wings" that are suppose to swing over and hold smaller diameter cups from moving around. That thing broke off right after I bought the car.

General Comments:

I bought this car brand new for $9000 in 02/2004. It is a base model manual,1.8L, 4-door sedan. One of the few 2004 models sold before they changed the body style, and engine that year.

I drive this car over 100 miles/day back and forth to work, and will be hitting 100,000 miles soon. I have not had a single problem with it. I don't even change the oil as often as I should (I do use synthetic though). The only maintenance I have had done to it was a tune up and timing belt replacement at 60,000 miles.

After having at least 20 rocks hit the windshield over its lifetime, I finally had one chip it. I was beginning to think that KIA built their windshields out of Kryptonite. It still has the stock brakes and tires. Every time I take it to get inspected at the tire store, they tell me the brakes and tires are still good. It gets 35mi/gal, is comfortable, fun to drive, good looking, and reliable. I could not ask for more in a $9000 economy car.

The people who have had the problem with the check engine light obviously did not read their owner's manual. The dealer told me when I bought it, there was a tag hanging off the gas cap that said it, and the manual says: Click the cap at least three times when shutting it to avoid the check engine light coming on. I had the light come on once in the first month. Clicked the cap, and have never had the problem again. So long as the cap is secure so that no oxygen can get in and set off the sensor, you will not have this problem.

The only problem I have had with this car is the dealer. The buying process was alright. However, when I took it in for maintenance that one time, I was not impressed with the staff's knowledge or service. I do most of the maintenance myself since this is a simple car, and I will be taking it to mechanics other than the dealer for any future repairs I can't do.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th May, 2009

2004 Kia Spectra EX 2.0 from North America


Best car I have ever owned!


At 200-250 miles the master cylinder needed replaced. Kia's warranty took care of it, didn't cost me a dime. I drove it 4,000 miles a week, and just did routine maintenance.

General Comments:

Awesome power from a 2.0 engine. The shifting toward the end got pretty hard, but other than that it was great. Seats were very comfortable and didn't rip. Gas mileage average 42. Average speed was probably 75. Overall, so far it is the best car I've ever owned, and would never buy anything but a Kia again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2008

2004 Kia Spectra GSX from North America


This car is possessed


This car is possessed.

The car first acted like it had a timing belt problem (inter-mitten problem). I took it in because it seemed that the automatic shifting wasn't happening at the right times. They told me, nothing is wrong that they can see.

A few days later it does it again, I bring it back to the shop because this time it didn't shift out of the gear at all. I was on the highway and couldn't go over 30mph, I was redlining the engine. I was told they saw nothing wrong with the car. I explained this wasn't the first time, they reiterate that they see nothing wrong with the car.

I drive off, of course it is working fine.

Few weeks later, it does the same thing and it gets stuck in gear again. I take it immediately to the shop. They look at it and believe it to be low on transmission fluid, but see no leaks. They tell me to watch my fluid levels. I leave very disgusted with this treatment.

Few weeks later, happens again. Pulled over looked at fluid level of transmission fluid. It is level on the line. Fluids are fine. Tired of being told I am crazy so I give up. I now turn the car off and back on.

I get no engine light, no warning when this will happen.

General Comments:

This vehicle has strange problems that I am sure could be fixed and this car could be really wonderful. It is a great car when it runs properly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th December, 2005

21st Feb 2007, 12:25

That is really too bad that the dealer cannot catch the problem. I was thinking to my self "have a Priest bless the vehicle!". lol, no offense, but I just find that odd on whats going on. Hopefully not like the movie "Excoristism of Emily rose".

24th Apr 2007, 01:01

Sounds like the problems I had with my car. Kia never bothered to look into the matter so I had to go to an independent repair shop. They wanted to rebuild, but I convinced them not to do so. Kia wouldn't agree on an outside repair shop doing the job. They said that they had to rebuild this transmission. But at the same time they did not acknowledge there was any problem with the car. No kidding! Talk about stuck in the middle!

Anyhow this independent shop found the error within an hour and they said it was a common failure on many types of transmissions. It was a sticking/defect solenoid. New transmissions are electronically operated and shifts are made when the management electronics send a shift signal to the solenoid.

Btw, I'll never bother buying a new Kia again. The cars are a heap of crap and the dealers are a bunch of gangsters.