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Kia Spectra Sedan



  • Merry Christmas Everyone!


    Does anyone know if there is any *real world* injury data published online?


    It would be interesting to reconcile the IIHS "ratings" to real-life injury data on ANY particular car, just to see how accurate their injury projections are.


    Please post the URL to any such info if you know it.




  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Actually, look at earlier ratings. The Mirage was rated poor due to dummy kinematics and right leg injury measures that were rated poor. Otherwise, it did ok injury measure wise. The former Dodge Neon was rated poor due to poor right leg and dummy kinematics. The head/chest was rated good. Every car that has been rated poor was due to being rated poor in more then one independent area. I didn't see one other car that was rated poor with marginal/acceptable ratings. If the head injury was rated poor, like the 01-03 Elantra was, then of course it deserves a poor rating. But it wasn't and none of the other injuries were rated poor, so I think the overall poor rating was a bit much. They don't base the ratings by comparing it to the performance of other cars. They base it on preset boundaries. The Spectra's performance was definitely a disappointment but not quite poor.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    I've already given my opinion on the Lund survey. I'm not saying it's tainted I'm saying it's of limited use in the real world. It's slightly biased, too, or maybe biased isn't the right word. It's jumping to a conclusion that isn't totally true, to the detriment of a car that does have 4-wheel disc brakes and front, side and rear curtain airbags standard equipment. Like I said right after the test, more data to compare is required. Ingtonge's post above affirms what I was thinking about the frontal crash test that was thrust upon us the other day. Like I've said, I wouldn't let that result stop me from buying a new world order Spectra, nor would I let it upset my enjoyment of the nice new sedan or the new Spectra5. They have way too many positives to let a rotten apple spoil them.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Just curious, have you ever realized that some criticism of any make and model of car is reasonable and warranted? The fact of the matter is that the new Spectra performed poorly in comparison to every new small car launched in the past 4 years.


    Putting the overall rating aside, look at the category measures for the Spectra against any of its major competitors. There's no comparison. Kia undelivered. The "rotten apple" comment is really curiuos to me. Why pick the Kia over a better performing, lower priced, higher rated Elantra? Simply because of the logo?


    My only point is that not all of criticism/negative results/tests of Kia's products are unwarranted, though you seem to dismiss most as biased, not representative, or irrelevant.




    PS- Happy Holidays to all!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    It's not a "survey", but a test conducted under controlled conditions. It's not someone's opinion, but a rating based on test results and pre-determined, published criteria.


    Kia blew it, just like Hyundai did with the '01-03 Elantra. Try to get over it. The good news is, Kia can fix it if they want to.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    I'm just curious why Mr.Lund couldn't resist tossing rotten potatoes at Kia when other rigs he lets go. Kind of like the officer who pulls over the cars he chooses while others he decides to let travel on.


     Ingtonge said "I didn't see one other car that was rated poor with marginal/acceptable ratings. If the head injury was rated poor, like the 01-03 Elantra was, then of course it deserves a poor rating. But it wasn't and none of the other injuries were rated poor, so I think the overall poor rating was a bit much. They don't base the ratings by comparing it to the performance of other cars. They base it on preset boundaries. The Spectra's performance was definitely a disappointment but not quite poor."


    Couldn't have said it better myself. Like I've said, Kia should probably respond to this crash result and fix what they decide to fix. I feel that the Kia Spectra is fortified enough to drive as it is and wouldn't put off a Spectra purchase if that was what I wanted, based on the Lund Report. It was indeed pick and choose "ticket writing" crash-testing IMO. Brings to mind a possible Clodsumer Retorts connection of some kind, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "It was indeed pick and choose "ticket writing" crash-testing IMO. Brings to mind a possible Clodsumer Retorts connection of some kind, eh?"


    Seriously, did you ever consider that MAYBE, just MAYBE, the cars are evaluated based on performance, and they just don't measure up?

    Any way you look at it, the Kia is NOT the equal of nearly all the other cars in its class for the frontal offset, whether it got a Poor OR a Marginal overall. (I dont consider the Cavalier a competitor any longer, and even with a Marginal, the Kia would only be as good as a lowly Neon).


    Off to festivities..



  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747


    All the crash photos and crash details clearly indicate that this is for the new model, manufactured AFTER 11/03.


  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    yeah, I figured it was the new Spectra. I saw the crash test on TV, too. He is a "gung-ho" type salesman and I did get a brochure on the rig I'm interested in, the 2005 Kia Sportage. Go to the 2004 or 2005 Kia Sportage thread here on Edmunds if you want to read my post after yesterday's visit. That SUV is crammed full of standard safety equipment, it really is. But this thread is about the Kia Spectra, and of late about how it didn't perform up to par with the rest of the crop of subcompacts.


    I think Kia needs to either tell us what they're going to do to repair the problem with the new Spectra, or issue an explanation on why they think they shouldn't have to, eh? I noticed that when Ford's Exploder was under scrutiny on a wider scale(because of higher Exploder sales than new Spectra sales, affecting a lot more drivers)with their tire problem they were very quiet about their own investigation of the problem. I saw the new Spectra sedan and Spectra5 yesterday. The Spectra has some nice brushed aluminum on the dash and nice interior seat material and the new Spectra is a handsome one...the best looking one I've seen in the Spectra lineup so far. Still, Mr.Lund's crash test showed some deficiencies on that frontal 40mph test that are disturbing. I just wonder if one of the bags didn't open fast enough or something. It would be nice if the manufacturers would study it and find a fix and publish it. Demand a retest. Isn't that what Hyundai had to do with the Elantra a while back?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Yes, Hyundai demanded a retest after the first frontal offset test in '01 resulted in greater leg injuries than Hyundai measured in their own tests (yes, you can bet the automakers run the IIHS and NHTSA-style tests many times before those organizations do). The unfortunate thing for Hyundai was that in the retest, the driver's airbag failed to deploy at all, which was the major contributor to the '01-'03 Elantra's "Poor" rating. Hyundai's official approach on this was to state that, based on their testing, they could find no problems with the airbag and thus make no fixes. It's unclear whether the driver's side airbags were changed for '04-'05 or just the passenger side (with the OCS sensor that shuts off the passenger airbag under some conditions). Also, Hyundai redesigned the driver's seat rails in '02 to make them stronger and longer, but, according to an internal Hyundai source who used to frequent the Elantra discussion, they put the new rails only on Korean-market cars back then. So it's unclear whether the '04-'05 Elantras have the modified seat rails. Whatever Hyundai did, it was enough to finally, after 3 years, get a "Good" score on the frontal offset test. I really hope Kia responds faster than Hyundai did. It would be a shame for buyers to not consider this fine small car only because of the IIHS' rating.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    You also need to be better informed because a good number of cars have the same problem of the dummy's head striking the steering wheel through the airbag. We have been seeing more of this since the reduced power airbags came out. This problem also occurs on much more expensive cars then the Spectra, including the Chevy Malibu and Infiniti G35. These cars were both rated good and the Infiniti even earned a best pick. So the Infiniti is a darn safe car but you still have a higher chance of whacking you head on the steering wheel. I guess you would consider the G35 a scary car as well....
  • This article spells one possible set of future consequences SHOULD the Spectra truly prove injurious in real-world driving.



    ".....What makes the failure shocking is that car manufacturers know how the IIHS tests and should be able to build the cars to ensure minimal damage to the dummy.


    Kia currently stands by its product, according to the story above, but the IIHS test is usually regarded as a gold standard. If Kia does not go back to the drawing board and remediate the Spectra's problems, it should know that a litigation flood will follow, and its settlement costs will skyrocket."


    This scenario may be what motivates Hyundai/Kia to consider a retro-fix and retest. Time will tell.


    ( See.... I'm NOT just a cheerleader. I can post non-positive Kia content too! :-)


  • Here's another interesting article that supports the IIHS (in an offhand manner) by analyzing their studies' impact on owner purchasing habits.



    The article basically claims that the IIHS is functionally IRRELEVANT in modifying buyer's purchasing habits even though their data IS accurate.


    While I'm in agreement that all of the online evidence I've observed to date supports the basic scientific measurments and assessments of IIHS data, I DO want to float this premise out for the sake of discussion.


    If an organization's primary function was to provide information that was routinely ignored by the purported consumer (as the above study implies),


    AND this organization's "product" (safety reports in this case) were only released sporadically and thus having limited opportunities to catch the consumer's attention,


    AND the current report contains no *truly* horrific and newsworthy data to reveal (I'm thinking as if the Kia had received a more logical "marginal" rating here based on the 3 acceptables and 3 marginal scores -- NO poor sub-category scores at all),


    AND the affected automaker is one of the "weaker sisters" of the automotive industry and thus less likely to have political and legal influence on said organization




    it is remotely possible that such organization could (I repeat COULD) be motivated to raise their national and global visibility by subjectively issuing a much MUCH more newsworthy 'poor' rating on a car that under similar and earlier circumstances probably would have only garnered a much LESS newsworthy (read: continued obscurity for the publisher) 'marginal' rating. Just 'Google' the terms 'spectra crash' and the amount of indexed global web pages (obviously touting the IIHS) are phenomenal! I really doubt that there would even be 1/8 the amount of web pages indexed on this topic had none of the cars been awarded an overall 'poor' rating.


    I know, I know! The facts are that the Spectra is much less safe than its competitors, and I need to get over it. 'Nuff said. Agreed.


    But having grown up in the Watergate era and being a student of human history, I am a believer that politics, power, and self-preservation are major contributors to everything we see, hear, and touch around us.


    "The Truth Is Out There....." <tm>


    ( grin )


  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Yes, and we all know that the Cigarette-Smoking Man killed JFK, not Lee Harvey Oswald.


    Re-read the IIHS' press release. Note how little extra attention they give the Spectra's results. The headline doesn't scream, "Kia Spectra rated Poor on latest IIHS tests!" They talk all about how well the Mazda 3 and Elantra did before they give the details on the Spectra.


    Also look at some of the other recent press releases from the IIHS and you'll notice they don't over-emphasize "Poor" ratings, but also don't avoid pinning them on the "big boys" of the auto industry, e.g. the "Poor" rating they assigned the Ford Escape w/o side airbags, in the side impact crash test.


    The facts are that the Spectra is much less safe than its competitors, and I need to get over it. 'Nuff said. Agreed.






    That's 2001, not 1991, for the last "Poor" rating on the frontal offset crash test.

  • Backy posted:

    "The headline doesn't scream, "Kia Spectra rated Poor on latest IIHS tests!"


    I don't have a printed copy of the "report" in front of me, BUT you can't say that IIHS isn't making some "hay" with this story. Just go to their website ( ) and look in the upper right-hand corner of their homepage! The word 'Kia' isn't there, but there's definitely some "light yelling" going on in this graphic!


    Here's the a link to the graphic that's there:


    Me thinks that graphic ALONE negates your stance to some degree.


    -S(moking)M(an) Heh heh heh.


    ( I just noticed the coincidence! )
  • Ingtonge18, no, I don't need to be better informed because I wouldn't buy one of these cars either. They may have been rated good overall,but the injury measures are what's important concerning this issue.


    Ingtonge18 says: "So the Infiniti is a darn safe car but you still have a higher chance of whacking your head on the steering wheel." You use the term "whacking your head" rather loosely. How about "broken jaw" or WORSE. Yes, the G35 is scary after reading the test results, and I would opt for something safer. But if you want to buy one, go ahead...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Are you saying that a car scoring the first "poor" in a frontal offset crash test in over three years is not newsworthy? People tend to play up bad news vs. good news; e.g., notice how many headlines lately did NOT say, "Hundreds of millions of people are safe after tsunami strikes Indian Ocean." That's not a conspiracy, that's current journalistic practice, whether we like it or not.
  • Intongue says: "We have been seeing more of this since the reduced power airbags came out."


    Why don't they just FIX THE PROBLEM. a novel idea, isn't it?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    the old speed airbags would actually cause more injuries because they overdid it. I think that Kia ought to go back and make a retrofit to the frontal airbags and/or the seatbelt pretensioners and test it until it works correctly. Look at it as a challenge and fix it. With all of the publicity it would help them in the long run(not to mention the people it might help who have already bought a new world order Spectra or who intend to buy one). I'd love to hear from Kia Motors in South Korea on this issue, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • More evidence that KIA needs to fire the side airbags simultaneously with the front ones to help alleviate the head-into-the-B-pillar issue.


    Here's a snippet from the IIHS review of the Saab 9-3 that received major safety kudos:



    RESTRAINTS/DUMMY KINEMATICS: GOOD Dummy movement was well controlled. The side curtain airbags deployed, as intended by Saab (even for frontal impacts). After the dummy moved forward into the frontal airbag, its head brushed the side airbag and its fabric cover. The dummy continued to rebound into the seat without its head coming close to any stiff structure that could cause injury.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    I really wouldn't sweat this one. I kind of doubt a real person's head would bounce around like the one in Mr.Lund's test. Having said that, I also feel that it only makes sense to fire the side airbags and curtains in a frontal offset crash. I just am not sure that man can simulate a crash that acccurately with a crash test dummy and slingshot and barrier. Would that exact result happen again with the new Spectra as last test? I'm not so sure and if I owned a new Spectra I wouldn't be losing any sleep over the IIHS tests.

    If you guys wanna chew your nails down to the stubs over that "test" go right ahead.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Your denial lives on and the crash test issue is pretty much dormant, but its worth noting that aside from the Elantras myriad issues with airbag deployment, the many versions of the current model that have been tested have remarkably similar deformation measurements, which speaks to the repeatability of these tests. Additionally, the IIHS uses pretty advanced test dummies, moreso than those used in the NHTSA tests, so your assertion that real peoples' heads do not "bounce around" in actual crashes remains unfounded unless you can provide information otherwise. All other things being equal, would you not prefer the dummy to NOT 'bounce around' as much, since the dummies dont 'bounce around' as much in other cars? (This is what the 'Kinematics' assesment is for, so you seem to be completely devaluing it). I dont think anyone is chewing nails or losing sleep over this test, but basically every other entry in the market is better than this Kia when it comes to frontal offset crashworthiness, one component of vehicle safety that most manufactures introducing new models make the effort to NAIL, on the first try. Not so Kia.


    I promise, Im done.

  • I can now pronounce the new Spectra to be very capable in adverse driving conditions.


    The weather in Michigan has been downright ugly the past few days (and some days in December) and my new EX is proving to be very predictable and trustworthy on slushy, icy, slick roads.


    The only option my car didn't have was ABS, but from what I'm experiencing, I really don't miss it. The 4 wheel discs grab so well that the car has been stopping straight and true with very little pumping of the pedal.


    The standard heated mirrors are proving their worth too these days! :-)


  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    is most welcome news. That is the type of report that I put more value on. Remember, man can be bought off. Not all that he says is accurate nor does it have good intentions. The IIHS "crash test" is smelling of stinky gym socks to me. I kind of like the new Spectra and the IIHS test results wouldn't stop me for a full second if I wanted a Spectra. After all, driving is about decisons. Some are made fast, some are made slower and are more thought out.


    Spectraman's "real world" driving report in inclement weather in which he reports his new Spectra 4-wheel disc brakes stopping him on a dime mean a lot more to me that a simulated test in which impure motives "may" be to blame. Mind you I'm not saying don't question Kia on this. I've stated before that my favorite car maker probably should have released a press statement on this matter and they haven't. They are going to handle it on a case-by-case basis.


    I recall my '99 Kia Sephia to be a safe and reliable rig that never stranded me and was very maneuverable in dangerous driving conditions. I will continue to look for real people's driving reports with their Kia Spectra's and put a lot more stock in those reports. Ya ever noticed how honest people can be about their car's performance? I've read it all about Kia throughout the past few years on the net yet reading all of them and combining them with my own Kia experience I still find them to be a viable and logical choice for automotive excellence.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Fair enough, as everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but in that case, and in my opinion, you have a very strange definition of excellence and evaluating it.


  • Nice online article that sums up the virtues of the new Spectra fairly well.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    ever notice how the Kia brand is given more respect in Europe? Kia is really gaining ground in Europe, and, reading articles on the foothold Kia is gaining there are so refreshing to read compared to the moronic American press, who, for some reason, have this proverbial anti-Kia bias stick up their, umm...unmentionable. I am so sick or reading this American schlop about Kia that just reaks of GM And Ford and Toyota bias. I skim over most American press clippings about Kia. Actually, the automotive writer for the St.Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a really positive article about the new Spectra several months ago. Nice to see. Enjoy your new world order Kia's!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • See full article here




    With several well-established choices thriving in the same economy or compact class, the Kia Spectra will likely have a difficult time finding its way among legions of Honda, Toyota and Ford counterparts.


    But the Spectra, at least during my weekly test drive of the well- equipped and stylish EX model, should not be overlooked as a formidable option as a well-appointed, four-door sedan in the $15,000 price range.


    Introduced well into 2004 calendar year, the new Spectra's exterior has well-designed, clean lines resembling more expensive vehicles rather than inexpensive cars that reek of cheapness.


    As such, the Spectra's designation as a compact is a misnomer. Its sleek exterior warrants design compliments and the interior provides spacious surprises.
This discussion has been closed.