Go

2009 Kia Spectra

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Kia Spectra Review

By

In the crowded compact-car field, the Kia Spectra sometimes falls off the radar screen. That's a shame, because this little four-door has a lot to offer, including an unbeatable combination of standard safety and convenience features, not to mention the 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. The 2009 Kia Spectra has sporty good looks with bright exterior paint, body-colored door handles and available body-colored mirrors and racy alloy wheels. The Spectra's 2.0-liter engine doesn't exactly inspire spirited driving, but it is a miserly consumer of gasoline.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a high-value car and you like the Kia Spectra's more expressive styling, this is a lot of vehicle for not much money. And you might especially appreciate the sprightly demeanor of the SX version.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If the recently documented quality improvements made by at least one Korean automaker have you expecting absolute top-tier refinement, you might be disappointed.

What's New for 2009

The EX trim adds cruise control to its standard equipment roster, while a power glass sunroof and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are now offered as options.

Driving the Spectra

Driving Impressions We drove the sporty Spectra SX model that features a more tightly tuned suspension than the EX version. Like the Spectra5 hatchback, with which it shares its performance...

modifications, we found the SX more fun in the corners than many other cars in this category. In EX trim, expect a smoother highway ride in place of that enhanced cornering capability (although the SX rides nicely enough itself). In any case, the four-cylinder engine delivers responsive acceleration and enough power to make the four-speed automatic a perfectly valid option. With the manual transmission, the shift lever functions adequately enough but the action feels awkward and unrefined.

Smart Styling
Contemporary, attractive styling makes the Spectra easy on the eyes, inside and out.

Six Standard Airbags
It's nice not having to decide whether to pay more money for extra airbags.

2009 Kia Spectra Details
Interior

Nicely designed, and using materials as good as one would reasonably expect in this price range, the Kia Spectra is a decent place to spend a commute. Most passengers under six-feet will find the rear-seat accommodations acceptable, but frequent stretching breaks may be in order during long road trips. The Spectra's front seats are fairly comfortable but could do with more thigh and lower back support. Two thumbs up for front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags being included as standard equipment.

Exterior
2009 Kia Spectra photo

Improved exterior styling is a big factor in the recent surge in the appeal of Korean vehicles. The 2009 Kia Spectra features large, jewel-like headlamps that highlight sharply styled sheet metal in a vehicle that in no way resembles Kia's first entry in this country, the Sephia (of which the Spectra is a direct descendant). The sharp crease running from wheel to wheel adds a degree of design sophistication, similar to the side treatment of Mercedes-Benz's S-Class.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Spectra LX comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (the only powerplant available in the lineup), a five-speed manual transmission, AM/FM/CD sound system with six speakers, tilt wheel and front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags. The EX trim adds cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry and four-wheel disc brakes. The SX trim adds a sport suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and metal interior trim.

Optional Equipment

Options for the LX trim include air conditioning and carpeted floor mats, while the EX can be equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes and a power sunroof. Options for the SX are limited and include a power sunroof, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and a six-disc CD/MP3 changer. Stand-alone options include a four-speed automatic transmission and remote start.

Under the Hood

The Spectra's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine employs continuously variable valve timing to produce 138 peak horsepower – and it often feels stronger than that. City and highway acceleration is brisk, and fuel economy is very good.

2.0-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 (manual), 24/32 (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Kia Spectra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 354 Ratings for the 2005 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Nice first car

By on Sunday, January 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Dependable powertrain, appearance of the rear"

Cons: "Front appearance, stereo quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The good points: I have this car for 9 months now, and I found it dependable in the Dallas area. Has enough power to overtake long vehicles on 70 mph freeways. It has not developed any mechanical faults. Cheap service and parts. Not so good: The following things have started to go wrong as it ages: 1. Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Speedometer stops working on the hottest days of the year. The ride and handling is not as comfortable as my other car (comparing to my 2004 MB E-class). The check engine light came on one morning in January, with "Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor Low", but it went away in the evening. I did not feed any difference in the car."

Great value vehicle

By on Friday, January 01, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "lots of pep, good sterio and inside comfort items."

Cons: "cheap coating on door handles, door rubs bk seats."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this new for my son at 16 in 2009. He has taken care of it and changed the oil every 5K mile. It has ran great and has a lot of pep. Interior is starting to show a little wear but the outside is still in great shape. He has used it in 2 years of HS and 4 years of college. He plans to keep it during his 2 years of masters work and then some. Told me he has no plans of replacing it anytime soon. Only complaint I would have is that the window shades on the outside are flimsy and 1 broke off. Also the plastic colored chrome coating on the door handles inside the car came off like tin foil. But has been a great car!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great little car!

By on Saturday, December 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very cheap and reliable."

Cons: "Major cons.... None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"We had 2 Kia Spectras an 06 and an 07. Both were great cars. Had to get rid of one due to a growing family. The 06 had 105,000 mile on it when we got rid of it. It never had one single issue. The 07 currently has about 85,000 miles on it and has also never had an issue. Kia has since revamped the quality of their interior which is the only minor dislike of the Spectra. The interior was a little "boring" but if you are wanting a reliable car with good gas mileage this is a great option."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Does it's job well.

By on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "A+ handling, good engine, mostly reliable, roomy."

Cons: "Paint is meh, lack of interior color options."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We've owned this 2006 Kia EX since buying it used with 12,000 miles on it. It's very fun to drive and it's easy to handle and control. Our Spectra doesn't have many miles considering the age so we haven't done the head gasket yet or other major service work outside of oil changes, transmission oil, coolant, brakes and rotors once, and a timing belt with spark plugs once. We've had two unexpected dealer visits. The thermostat was stuck closed, which blew the radiator. A year ago the Canister close valve (part of the EVAP emission systems) stopped working. The dealer had to remove the fuel tank to get to it. Even though those events have happened since owning this car, I love it. Its great on gas, it looks nice, and I feel safe driving it because it has so many airbags. The paint on the rear-view mirrors is poor, but that's just cosmetic. Good engine, but it lags a little getting from 40-60 mph. After this it cruises along the road nicely. Overall a B+ vehicle. I will buy another Kia because of this car."

It's a good car!

By on Thursday, October 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, aux, easy to handle, sporty, design"

Cons: "subpar paint, light interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my 2007 Kia Spectra EX brand new in 2007 with 10 miles on it! I'm glad to say I've never had any problems out of my Kia. Besides routine maintenance such as oil changes and brakes, I've never had to have her in the shop for any major repairs! I did have to replace the battery after after 6 years. The inside is very roomy and comfortable. The headlights are big and bright. The knobs are huge and very intuitive. It has a sporty feel to it. The trunk is very large for such a small car. There is a lot of storage. The paint isn't the best ... there are small chips, but nothing too bad. Also, I would've liked a darker interior, but oh well. My Kia has been such a wonderful car, I have passed her on to my daughter. My Kia has been so reliable. I hope it's just as reliable for my teen."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

I LOVE MY KIA SPECTRA 2006

By on Tuesday, October 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 219,249

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "GREAT PRICE, FUN TO SHIFT GEARS, AND DEPENDABLE"

Cons: "NO ELECTRIC WINDOW, SUNROOF, OR DOORLOCKS"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I HAVE EXPERIENCE ONLY THE BASIC WEAR AND TEAR ON ANY VEHICLE. ALL I HAVE REPLACE ON THIS CAR IS THE TIMING BELT, SPARKLE PLUG, BRAKE PADS, BROUGHT NEW TIRES. THIS IS THE A VERY DEPENDABLE CAR. I WOULD HAVE NEVER EXPECTED AN 4 CYCLE TO STAND UNDER ME. BUT MY BABY BLUE IS STILL ROLLING PRETTY SITTING ON SOME 17' NOT 10'. LOL"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?


Advertisement