Last post on Oct 17, 2006 at 5:51 AM
You are in the Kia Spectra/Spectra5
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Kia Spectra, Sedan
#299 of 464 Consumer Reports
Jun 21, 2005 (5:10 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 (6:51 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 (1:58 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 (6:58 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.
#304 of 464 Heck, I'm still driving my 1995 Kia (Ford Aspire)
Jul 04, 2005 (9:45 pm)
It's got 115k miles and I've put maybe $1200 into her in terms of non-routine repairs (clutch, minor transaxle problem, new struts, timing belt, that sort of thing) over 10 years. That seems like pretty good long-term quality to me.
I'm looking at the Spectra as well as several others (Elantra 5 dr, Scion, Focus, Suzuki Aerio & Reno) to replace my Aspire as a daily commuter and weekend Home Depot hauler.
One option I'm considering is driving my Aspire until the wheels fall off. Maybe I can get another couple years out of her. Honestly, every day I just turn the key and she runs flawlessly. The worst thing that's happened in the last 25,000 miles is that I needed to replace the spark plugs (for the first time with 90,000 on the odo).
I've worked professionally with Korean engineers. Here is how they tick, as a corporate culture: They are smart- very smart- people. They honor the old ways, however, and are reluctant to innovate. This, however, is balanced by a willingness to imitate. While it takes them a while to figure it out, they eventually do, and they reap the benefits. This is true of trying to produce western-style food and Japanese-style cars. I honestly believe they are now coming into their own. Those of us with an open mind will benefit from this; those of us who like Japanese cars will be paying too much for the same quality.
#305 of 464 Re: Wasn't the Pride the Festive/ Mazda 121? [csandste]
Jul 05, 2005 (6:43 pm)
My 88 Festiva still brings back fond memories. I wouldn't call it ugly, but spartan and purposeful. Donated it 170,000 miles. Teaching a 16 year old to drive was making the synchros notchy and it needed a complete brake job, but I often wish I'd kept it...
So here I am with *MY* Kia Pride (aka Kia Avella, aka Ford Aspire) on the edge of selling it for about $500 to buy another Korean car. I am ready for something new, but I already know I'm gonna miss it, especially since my wife requested the next car have an AT (my Aspire is a stick).
But, yeah... Pride = Festiva, and the aero update of the same chassis: Avella = Aspire.
#306 of 464 engine races
Aug 02, 2005 (10:17 am)
My 2003 Kia Spectra's check engine light has come on several times. The dealer says that the code pointed to a throttle problem. They allegedly fixed it, but I was at a stop in traffic with my foot on the brake. The engine suddenly raced to over 3,000 rpm. I nearly hit the vehicle in front of me. Does anyone know of any problems like this. The dealer says they can't diagnose a problem if it is intermittent.
Aug 02, 2005 (8:27 pm)
Hey, I was wondering if anyone knew if this was true.
I heard that Kia wasn't coming out with a 2006 spectra and that the 2005 spectras are the last kind of that model? is this true. I am looking at buying a Spectra EX and I want to know if this is true or not. Let me know. Thanks
#308 of 464 Re: engine races [mikzke]
Aug 02, 2005 (8:30 pm)
I don't have a spectra.. but when my mystique did that.. my car guy said it was my spark plugs and wires were bad. Once he changed those it was fine. Hope this helps:)