"We bought this car in early 2003 to replace a Sephia that was totaled in a T-bone accident (with no passenger compartment intrusion, I walked away - Thanks, Kia). It had a whole 4 miles on the ODO when we test drove it - they hadn't even removed all of the plastic.
Five years later, it has 160,000 miles on it, and I can honestly say I would buy it again. If you are looking to purchase, keep in mind a few things - 1) Do not intend to resell this car, as they don't hold their value. 2) You will have some cosmetic issues with the car. The dash is cracked and pulling away, the interior hatchback release broke during the first winter, the weatherstripping around the hatch is mostly gone - but it doesn't leak!, and the paint is pitted and chipped in the front from interstate driving.
That said - it runs well and gets 30+mpg. Over the course of the car's lifetime to date, it has had one recall performed on it, and everything else has been general maintenance(3 sets of tires, 3 sets of headlamps, 2 sets of brakes - but only one set of rotors, one timing belt, one serpentine belt, 3 sets of spark plug, one battery, and oil changes without number!).
I can depend on it starting when I want it to, and I am not afraid to jump in it and take long trips (although the seat is not especially comfortable after the 4 hour mark!). Folks make fun of it, although not as much as they once did, and the response that it was cheap, is paid for, and gets 30 miles to the gallon of gas usually silences the critics these days!"
"More tinks and sounds than I can count since we have owned it. Fix one and two more show up. Then a seal went out on the fuel rail that caused fuel to drip directly on the alternator. Went to get the part at the dealer and they acted like it was no big and said that its common for that seal to go out alot! What?! Said not to worry about a fire hazard! Really?! Seriously?! Works good for a cheap commuter car to use but would NEVER trust my family in it! Like the title said, use for a method of cheap transportation and toss it!"
"I've owned my car for 10 years and never had a problem or expensive fix. It's a cheap car that runs great and is great on gas! Also it seems small but seats fold down and you would be impressed what will fit in it. ITS A GREAT LITTLE CAR!"
Pros: "Great price, good gas mileage, trouble free"
Cons: "Loud road noise at high speeds."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for almost 9 years and it has 125,500 miles. It has never had any problems in this time and I am still getting over 30 mpg in the city. I didn't replace the original battery until it was 8 years old. The road noise is bad at high speeds and a lot of the plastic parts on the inside have broken. It does go through headlights quickly. I think I got more than my money's worth."
"I drive my 2001 Kia Spectra every day, 100 miles a day, and it has never let me down. Just turned 187K miles and still going strong. Sure I've had general maintenance, and the most expensive thing i've done other than tires is a new torque converter.... I'd buy this car over and over."