Last post on Oct 17, 2006 at 4:51 AM
You are in the Kia Spectra/Spectra5
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Kia Spectra, Sedan
#294 of 464 Re: Ford Focus ZX5 vs. Kia Spectra SX [huntley]
Jun 13, 2005 (10:55 am)
Could someone please offer some advice and suggestion to help me make my final choice?
Be daring.... try the Spectra!
As everyone who reads this board knows, I've had great success (so far) with my almost year-old 10k+ miles Spectra EX.
Also... I bet you have play "hardball" with your KIA dealer, you can get the price of that SX down even more! Especially with the current incentives listed below.
My EX (with a sticker of nearly $17k) was gotten for around $13,200 (pre-tax / dest) with a $1,500 rebate. My car was completely loaded, so it has to be at least close to the content of the SX you're looking at. I've got the 15 inch alloys instead of the 16 inch, but that and a few bits of plastic trim should be the only difference.
Also... the Spectra boards here at Edmunds have been pretty quiet defect-wise (save the emergency brake story above) when compared to some of the nightmares recorded on the Ford Focus boards.
As far as not seeing many Spectras on the road.... I like it! Foci are a dime-a-dozen, esp. in Michigan. A clean, well appointed Spectra like mine stands out... IMHO. I'm also 40+, and I don't feel the slightest bit out of place out in public in my car. In fact, a lot of people have commented to me how it looks very similar to a Honda Civic. Would you be embarrassed to be seen in a Civic?
In any case, let us know which way you go!
CURRENT INCENTIVES AS OF 6/13
$1750 Cash to Customer start: 04/01/2005 end: 07/05/2005 Get Dealer Pricing
Restrictions $1750 Customer cash cannot be combined with special APR programs.
$750 Cash to Customer start: 06/01/2005 end: 07/05/2005 Get Dealer Pricing
Restrictions $750 Customer bonus cash available to current owners of qualified non-Kia vehicles. See dealer for complete list of vehicles that qualify.
Jun 13, 2005 (6:58 pm)
I'll second that emotion-get the Kia Spectra!
It looks better, costs less and has a better warranty. Oh, and Kia does honor their Long-Haul Warranty, don't let anyone tell you they don't. I know that they do and I also know that you do stand a very good chance of never needing your Warranty coverage on your new Spectra.
I'm on my second new Kia ('99 Kia Sephia and now a '01 Kia Sportage 4x4) and I may be getting a third later this year. They are solid, reliably performing cars, vans and SUV's and the Kia Mojave pickup truck is in the hopper as I type this, too.
Just to be different and really sporty, take a look at the hot new Kia Spectra5. The car looks very nice, has a very sporty stance, bold and aggressive looking and has received very good performance marks. Or, get a Spectra sedan. You get a lot of car for your money and you have that Long-Haul Warranty to protect you.
Post back in here with your decision, OK, huntley? Have fun and enjoy the chase, man!
#296 of 464 2005 Kia Spectra
Jun 14, 2005 (6:48 am)
After test driving both the civic and the corolla, I found the spectra to be an equal if not superior in all categories. I bought my spectra and have not regretted the decision. After 5K miles, I am happy to report that the car gets more fun to drive each day. The acceleration is great. Gas mileage has been better than I expected. On a 240 mile trip across the cascade mountains and back, I got 36 MPG. WOW!!!! This was with only 1500 miles on the car. Please, all of you people who are considering buying a spectra, don't listen to some of the reviewers who from what I have read, have opinions that are questionable at best. At worst, outright lies. The new spectra is an awesome car. Kia makes fine well built cars. I also own a sedona. We have had it for three years and have had absolutely no problems in 35K miles. GO KIA!!!!
#297 of 464 Re: Ford Focus ZX5 vs. Kia Spectra SX [spectraman]
Jun 17, 2005 (12:27 pm)
Spectraman has given some good advice (as always). However, last night I saw a Kia ad for the Spectra that listed the cash to customer of $2,400 ($2,500 for the LD model). Of course, this may be a regional incentive--that is what it lists for Colorado. This information can be found on the Kia website.
Living in Colorado, I see quite a number of Focus cars. I rented one last February and didn't have any complaints other than the interior felt cheap.
#298 of 464 Spectra vs Focus ...
Jun 20, 2005 (7:48 pm)
On the Spectra vs Focus discussion ...
I am in the market for a new car and have pretty much narrowed my choices down to the Mazda3, the Kia Spectra, and the Ford Focus. In regards to Kia vs Focus, the Focus has a couple of things going in its favor:
1. It has more options, including the 6-disc CD/mp3 changer (important to me) and the butt-warming seats ... didn't figure I'd be able to afford those for at least another 5 years
2. I am driving a Spectra EX as a rental car right now (my 2000 Ford Escort was totalled last week), and I didn't like it at first, but it has definitely grown on me and now I think it's pretty fun to drive. However, my biggest concern about it is that, since I don't have very good vision, I have to position the seat close to the steering wheel, which makes it so that the seat blocks my view when I do 'over the shoulder' glances for lane changes. I know it sounds strange, but I've seen a few others mention it on various websites, so I know it isn't just me. I don't know how different the body style of the SX is, but I plan to test drive one and see if this is as big of a problem for me as it is with the EX.
As for Focus and reliability, I don't see very many people having issues with models > 2002, but based on the problems I had with my Escort, I'm really not sure if I want to give Ford any more of my money. On the other hand, does anyone have any statistics about the reliability of Kias? I looked in Consumer Reports, and it says they don't have enough data to say one way or the other.
Oh, one other thing about the Spectra - I REALLY dig the cup holders! I know something as insignificant as that probably shouldn't make a big difference, but it really does
#299 of 464 Consumer Reports
Jun 21, 2005 (4:10 am)
Regarding the Kia Spectra and Consumer Reports: They said: "it still trails the better cars in this category, with reluctant cornering and mediocre acceleration and fuel economy. The 138-hp engine delivers lackluster acceleration with the automatic and unimpressive fuel economy. A poor offset-crash-test result TAKES IT OUT OF CONTENTION." Under the RELIABILITY SCORES, the Kia Spectra isn't even listed! Since it's based on the Elantra platform, you can take a look at the Elantra's score. It is rated "much better than average" with a better-than-average reliability score for 2003 and 2004. The Ford Focus is Consumer Report's top pick of small cars and they love it except for the cheap looking interior. As far as the Mazda3 goes, I thought the seats were the absolute hardest, most uncomfortable seats of any small car I have tested.
#300 of 464 Re: Consumer Reports [huntley]
Jun 21, 2005 (5:51 am)
"Regarding the Kia Spectra and Consumer Reports: They said: "it still trails the better cars in this category, with reluctant cornering and mediocre acceleration and fuel economy. The 138-hp engine delivers lackluster acceleration with the automatic and unimpressive fuel economy. A poor offset-crash-test result TAKES IT OUT OF CONTENTION."
At the risk of sounding defensive about my car, I want to share a couple of additional thoughts regarding your post.
1. My EX has an automatic, and I find the acceleration just fine. When I pull away from a stoplight, the next thing I know is that I'm doing almost 60 mph without even hitting the throttle hard. I've had several people drive the car who have made the same observation. The torque band on these cars is pretty low, so when you put your foot down, the 138 hp do wake up pretty quickly.
The only "doggedness" I've found is possibly when the car's in 4th gear (overdrive), and I'm in somewhat slower city traffic, the car may bog a little if I hit the gas, but not hard enough to downshift. My remedy for this is to simply drop down a gear to 3rd in city traffic to help keep the RPM up a bit.
My "summer" car is a 5-speed '88 Mustang LX 5.0, so I think I have at least a little experience with a performance car to compare the Spectra to. In my book the acceleration is fine... plus the engine is nearly silent at idle and transfers no vibration to the cabin!
2. Fuel economy..... well this one has credence. I've gotten anywhere from 22 mpg to 35 mpg based on the time of year and driving habits. The average is probably close to 25 overall. Not exactly great, but not horrible either. This category definitely goes to Toyota and Honda from what I read.
3. Handling.... my car is shod with Goodyear Eagle RS tires. I have no qualms with the handling of my EX. It's no worse than a lot of other cars in its class. On occasion I'll whip the Spectra around on some switchbacks and tight corners on my way to work, and I never get any "rollover" squeal from these tires. Take that for what its worth.
4. Finally, the crash rating. KIA has been installing a revised airbag in the Spectra since January of this year (2005). It has smaller vent holes, and the dummy's head doesn't hit the steering column any more. This one change was enough to boost the Spectra from 'POOR' to 'ACCEPTABLE' for the frontal offset crash test. The IIHS website has all the details. Side impact ratings were pretty low for the whole compact car class if I remember correctly. I think Honda and the Cobalt did okay in that category. You could research that specific topic more.
The bottom line is that any new post-January 2005 built Spectra you might purchase has a better rating that what CR is claiming for it.
Keep us posted as to what you decide, and then report back in here with your experience(s).
#301 of 464 Small observation
Jun 29, 2005 (12:58 pm)
While camping this weekend, I was able to get a really good look at the trunk ("boot" to you Brits out there) of a Ford Focus ZX4.
On the plus side for the Focus, it had the decklid hinges with mini-struts located and recessed outside of the trunk opening. The Spectra uses the standard goose-neck hinge that enters the storage area and usable space. Keep in mind though that the mini-struts are pressurized gas, and will very likely need replacing in not-too-many years. My Mustang's hatch needs its struts replaced about every 3 years.
On the plus side for the Spectra, the fit and finish quality blows the Focus away. I was appalled to see tons of gray primer peeking through the black paint of the Focus I examined, and the carpet panels in the Focus' trunk was really floppy and cheesy looking. The fit of the carpeting in the Focus trunk was very poor. My Spectra's trunk on the other hand shows no signs of any primer/paint issues, and the carpet panels are very well formed and installed. The trunk of my Spectra looks like it belongs in a *much* more expensive car.
This online quote backs my observation up:
"The Spectra looks classier, more grown up and more substantial. I was also very pleased with the Spectra's two-tone cabin, and I was surprised by the seat fabric and even the thick carpeting covering the floor in the trunk. "
If KIA could find decklid struts that last more than a few years, then I'd recommend to them to switch over to the recessed hinges for the Coup de' tat!
#303 of 464 Re: Long-Term Vehicle Quality Study [huntley]
Jun 30, 2005 (5:58 am)
Your point is well taken for owners of 2002 and earlier KIA's. I'd even bet that KIA's long-term dependability scores won't improve dramatically for another couple of years due to Hyundai's influence not being totally realized until all of KIA's new models are rolled out.
The 2004.5 Spectra IMHO is truly the first truly new KIA vehicle to benefit from Hyundai's designs and manufacturing knowledge base. With the recent introduction of the Tuscon/Sportage, and the upcoming Accent/Rio line, those long term quality numbers will *have* to improve due to the Hyundai factor. Read this from the J.D. Powers report:
"Porsche makes the largest percentage improvement in its VDS score, while Hyundai experiences the largest reduction in problems reported by owners. Porsche, which ranks second among nameplates, improves 38 percent compared to 2004-a 91 PP100 improvement. Although still hovering below the industry average, Hyundai records a dramatic 115 PP100 improvement (31%).
"Hyundai experienced similar levels of improvement in the 2002 IQS, when these vehicles were new, which shows a successful effort by Hyundai in translating short-term quality improvements into higher long-term quality," said Parker. "Even though there is still room for improvement, Hyundai is a great example of an automaker that is making strides toward improving vehicle quality by paying close attention to owner feedback and designing products with both short- and long-term quality in mind."
Based on the statement above that correlates short-term quality improvements to long-term improvements, my Spectra EX can be Exhibit A. In nearly 1 year of average usage (12,000 miles), my Spectra has had exactly 1 minor defect.... a bad 3rd brake light LED module. If my car is indicative of the new Spectra's average quality (and I think it is, due to the *lack* of people lamenting about the new Spectra on the various forums I follow), I think it bodes well for other upcoming KIA products and their potential long-term quality. Time will tell.
With KIA having plans to introduce a new Sonata-based Optima and a newly redesigned Sedona (that Hyundai will inevitably have a version of, thus ensuring Hyundai design input), I'd have to say that KIA's long term quality numbers will start improving rapidly with the 2008 report.