2009 Kia Spectra LX 2.0L from North America
For the money, I truly feel there is nothing better
The only things "wrong" with the car were caused by careless people in parking lots. The car itself has had nothing replaced, repaired, or any unscheduled maintenance.
I've owned 3 Kias (first one bought used, the other two new) and all have proven to be great purchases. My first, a Sportage, saved my life after a speeding motorist lost control causing us both to career off of an overpass. I rolled four times and walked away without a scratch. My replacement, an 05 Spectra5 was a great car and I traded it in for a Dodge (bad idea) at 60k miles with no rattles, mechanical problems, or really any complaints. I should have kept it. My Dodge was a POS and always in the shop, so I went back to another new Spectra when it came time to get another car.
The car isn't a Mercedes, but isn't trying to be, either. I don't drive too often and live close to work, so I don't need much; just a car. I truly feel there isn't another car out there that is a better VALUE than mine.
I bought the base model and upgraded the already great sounding system and added some stylish black rims (to the size of the upper-model SX, nothing crazy) and couldn't be happier. The wheels, with a set of Kumhos, improved all of the already good driving dynamics.
Brakes have never left me wanting more. I've even been shocked sometimes by emergency maneuvers where I slammed on the brakes and ended up having to let up on them because the brakes were able to handle the situation with less pressure. I've NEVER had to come to a screeching halt; the car just stops. It also behaves well in rain and snow.
It's not the quickest car in the world, but the car also doesn't leave me wishing for a big V8 either. I do 75% highway driving and the car has no problems reaching triple digit speeds. I actually feel like the car is most comfortable when you DON'T floor it to get to speed, but rather keep its RPM around its 3500 "sweet spot" and let it build up on its own. It's very smooth this way. The car is actually quite smooth in all of its operation, actually.
I've never felt the car has any downfalls, other than something that may differ in a matter of opinion. I regularly change my oil, and by choice have never put anything other than premium fuel in my Kia, as I've read online comparisons between the regular and premium, and feel premium fuel is better for your car for MANY reasons.
I believe a good regime regarding auto fluids is crucial to a good ownership experience. I also realize that some people have horror stories with any car, just as I have with my two new Fords I've owned.
Kia is the only car (& remember I've owned 3, and I also have many friends who own Kia or Hyundai, and my own mother is on her 2nd Kia, thanks to my recommendation; she is just as happy) that hasn't had a single issue and continues to prove a great choice, so I've decided to continue giving them my business. However, I can't contest that their service department is shoddy, as I've never had to deal with them. That's a good thing.
I highly recommend this car for someone just looking for a reliable SAFE car to get them somewhere. If you want a Benz, go get one. But for this kind of money -- there's NOTHING better.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th January, 2013