"I read & rated all 46 reviews of Kia Spectra available before I did my own review. PLEASE enter comments -- stars alone are useless. I gleaned a lot from both the positive and the negative reviews. After reading these, I can see why I like the Kia Spectra.
This is NOT for a person who wants "style", luxury, sportscar performance. You will NOT "make a statement" with a Kia. You may even be the brunt of a few jokes.
However, if you want a reliable ride, adequate performance, value for what you pay, and you don't mind some aesthetics issues, this is a good choice.
If you buy new, then you want to be the type that is going to RTF (Run Till Failure) because they do NOT hold their value.
If you buy used, as I do, then this loss of value is to your advantage!!!
I bought a 2003 Spectra in Feb 2005 (15k miles) for $5700. I drove it for 2.5 years to work (21k miles per year). In June 2007 I bought a used 2006 Kia Rio5 and past down the 03 Spectra to my wife. The Spectra now has almost 80k miles. We change oil, windshield wipers, tires -- still has original battery!!).
The CHECK ENGINE light came on at about 40k miles. I read owner's manual -- indicates an "emissions problem". I don't see any smoke coming from my tailpipe. Performance is the same. I put black electrical tape over the light to reduce the annoyance and it just keeps on rolling, no problem.
Gas mileage for size of vehicle is not great (25 - 27 mpg hwy, aggressive driver). Comparable Toyota/Nissan/Honda/... would get mid-30's. BUT the Kia, especially when purchased used, is 1000's less than these other "better" cars, so even at $2.90/gallon, I can buy a lot of gas with these 1000's I save on the car.
I am debt-free and purchase vehicles for cash, so I can self-insure a Kia (I carry liability only), which saves me more money.
As I said earlier, I bought another Kia in June 2006, and I am about to buy another used Spectra (2002, 75k miles) from its original owner for about $3000.
I am not as confident as a Toyota owner about bragging about Kias, but I guess I let my $$$ do my talking.
New car folks, buy it and keep it "forever" because at this point the Kias do not hold any value.
Use car folks like me, take advantage of the Kia's poor resale value and get a good, reliable car for less. As always, check out a used car carefully before purchase, title check, etc."
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