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Kia Spectra5

csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
Time to break this one away from the sedan!

Saw my first one today. Gotta say that I like it a lot better than the sedan, although I agree with Backy that the Elantra GLS hatch may be a better deal. Hopefully prices will get closer once the 5 has been out for a while. Very reminiscent of the last gen. Pro5 and a very attractive car. It would definitely be on my short list.


  • 5port5port Posts: 395
    Thanks for starting a discussion about this car. A very interesting piece (esp to Elantra GT owners). Read about it in Autoweek and Car and Driver. Looks like Kia has a winner. It would be on my short list too except it looks a little boy racer for me (so did the P5). One reason I went with the EGT.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    boy racer? I think it looks too dull.

    You can't make a car look sporty when it's taller than it is wide, and the rear-end design doesn't work either.
  • I bought a Silver Spectra5 about 10 days ago. And so far I love it, feels and sounds like a very solid built car. Nothing rattles or makes noises. Unlike my wifes Honda Accord. I have about 500 miles on it so far and its turning heads everywhere. Great Car.
  • 5port5port Posts: 395
    Good luck with the Spectra5! Please keep us informed on how the car performs in the real world (road). Same engine and chassis as the Elantra GT. I get the feeling from the magazine articles that the chassis is tuned a bit more towards performance than ride. Let us know.
  • gnt53gnt53 Posts: 2
    I'm seriously considering switching from a Honda Element @ 23 miles per gallon to a Spectra 5. What mileage are you guys getting?
  • as of right now with 1,400 miles on the spectra 5 im getting about 30-32 miles to the gallon.
  • gnt53gnt53 Posts: 2
    Fantastic! I think Kia may have just sold another Spectra 5.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,234
    that my 1999 Kia Sephia consistently handed me 30-32 mpg. No kiddin'. The Spectra5 is a better rig than my '99 was, too, right?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280

    What did you like about it during the test drive that other cars didn't offer?
  • dekandekan Posts: 7
    I thought the ride was smoother than the Ford Focus and the quietest of all the cars I test drove. The car was very smooth over bumps, and handled better than all of them. I looked at the Focus, Elantra, Cavalier, Neon and a few others but the Kia offered the most on my opinion. I was also treated the best at the Kia dealership and suprising to me Hyundai was the worst. I am not saying that about Hyundai in a general sense, only as my personal experience dealing with one salesman.
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    I was perplexed that a few early reviews said the Spectra5 with the manual trans was noisy after about 75 mph. Other reviews said it was quiet. Do you have the 5-speed and if so, is it pretty quiet up at higher speeds? Congrats again cuz it looks like a winner and that warranty is a real tie-breaker.
  • I actually got the Auto, I live in North Jersey, so driving a stick is kind of a pain in the a** with all the traffic up here. But so far this car is whisper quiet at every speed.
  • dekandekan Posts: 7
    I also purchased the auto transmission. It has been veru quiet for me and the ride is very smooth. Perhaps the noise issue is only limited to the 5speed?
  • dgsdgs Posts: 20
    I was interested in the Spectra5 initially but ended up placing a special order for a 2005 Focus ZX5 SES 5-speed. The Spectra5 seemed like a good deal but when I started doing a comparison of the two cars I started to notice major differences that made the decision to purchase the Focus easy. First of all I want to add that I HAVE NOT test driven the Spectra5 so I guess my decision is not entirely fair, but let me break down why I went with the Focus anyway.

    I'm getting my Focus fully loaded, and I do mean fully loaded. I had to special order the car from the factory to get it that way, and it will be a two to three month wait but entirely worth it. The options I'm getting are leather seats, weather package (heated seats and mirrors), ABS, side airbags, moonroof, traction control, and a perimeter alarm. The Ford dealership I ordered the car from is doing a straight invoice deal minus whatever rebate Ford is offering at the time of purchase. Currently there is a $2,000 rebate from Ford, so if I was to purchase the car today it would be $16,754 plus T/T/L. Not bad for all I'm getting.

    Now here are the reasons I chose the Focus over the Spectra5:

    1. Price - the Spectra5 is $14,995. But I would add the ABS ($400), cruise control ($250), and the moonroof ($700). All of that plus the $540 destination charge would put the total at $16,885. There is a $500 rebate on the Spectra5, and since it's a new model that is the best the Kia dealerships I called would do for me, bringing the price to $16,385. Not a bad deal at all, but not competitive enough compared to the generous level of equipment I'm getting with the Focus for only a $369 difference.

    2. Availability of a Spectra5 with ABS - there is none. I swear I called every single dealership within a 25 mile radius and not one of them had a Spectra5 with ABS. They all said that getting one with ABS in this region of the country (Texas) would be impossible because Kia simply does not ship cars with ABS here. That means I would have to get one from a region of the country like the midwest, and of course that would add a significant transportation charge to the price of the car (I was quoted about $500 to $800 to have the car flat bedded if they found one). Bottom line, I won't drive a car without ABS.

    3. While I think the feature content of the Spectra5 is pretty decent, the Focus pretty much trounces the Spectra5 in that department. Here is a list of stuff the ZX5 has the Spectra5 does not: leather seats, heated mirrors and seats, traction control, 40-60 split rear folding bench, rear heat ventilation ducts, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, audio controls on steering wheel, front and rear cupholders (only front in the Kia), interior air filtration, engine immobilizer, 6 disc in-dash CD/MP3 player, better gas mileage (26/35 vs 25/33 for the Kia), bigger gas tank (14 gal vs 13.2 gal), and it weights 144 pounds less than the Kia, which equates to better performance since both cars have the same horsepower and torque.

    4. Handling and performance - I did test drive a 2005 Focus and I found the driving dynamics to be incredible. The clutch and shifter were perfect, interior ergonomics were perfect, and NVH levels were incredibly low for a car in this class. Again since I haven't test driven a Spectra5 I can't comment with complete authority, but I can't imagine the Spectra5 has anything on the Focus in terms of driving dynamics or NVH levels. Maybe one day I will take a Spectra5 out for kicks just to see.

    I really applaud Kia for bringing over the Spectra5. It's a great looking car, offers good performance for the class, and if you can get it with ABS and the other features is very well optioned for the class as well. The Spectra5 has some wonderful features even the Focus doesn't have, such as disc brakes all around (the Focus has rear drums), side airbags and side curtain airbags, as well as rear headrests for the back passengers (Ford kind of scrimped there). It's a wonderful car, but in the end the Focus proved to be a better deal for me.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    There are a few misstatements in your post, e.g.:

    * Spectra does have standard heated mirrors.
    * Spectra does have a 40/60 split folding rear bench.
    * Spectra does have rear seat heat ducts
    * Spectra does have an adjustable steering column (I don't know if anyone except maybe some really old designs use a tilt wheel anymore)
    * Spectra does have dual front and rear cupholders

    I think it's kind of risky to comment on a car's NVH without driving it. The Spectra is actually very quiet inside, more so than the Focus sedan I drove recently. The Spectra also rides better than the Focus, IMO. The Spectra's ride was much better controlled than the Focus; the Focus seemed floaty in comparison. The driving position of the Spectra was also more comfortable to me than the Focus', although neither car has the drivers seat adjustability of my Elantras. The clutch and shifter on the Spectra were very good, although not quite as good as on a Civic.

    Since you crossed the Spectra off your list before driving it, it obviously didn't meet some of your other needs, and that's fine. Why waste time driving a car if it doesn't have what you want, no matter how great it might drive? By chance did you drive an Elantra GT, which has almost everything the Focus has except heated seats, CD changer, telescoping steering wheel, audio controls on the wheel, rear cupholders, and you have to buy a filter for the air filtration. But it adds eight-way driver's seat and 4-wheel disc brakes, sport suspension and steering, and the longer bumper-to-bumper warranty like the Spectra has. And costs about $3000 less.
  • dgsdgs Posts: 20
    Well, your post just proves that sometimes the car comparison report generated by Edmunds doesn't always get it right. I kid you not, according to the comparison the Spectra5 has none of the above, but looks like the were wrong. The value of the Kia went up even higher in my eyes.

    I'm curious, what year and model Focus did you drive? The 2005 SES is the top of the line for the sedan and hatchback (notwithstanding the ST). The SES comes with 16" wheels/tires, 21mm front and 20mm rear stabilizer bars, and lower spring rates than the entry level S model Focus. If you did not test drive an SES model than comparing it to the Spectra5 would not be fair.

    Yes, I did test drive an Elantra GT. It wasn't bad, but it's missing the features you mentioned. Plus I also found it impossible to find one with ABS and the traction control system that comes in a package. Seems like Hyundai and Kia both pick and choose where they are going to ship cars with ABS. I wish ABS was standard equipment on cars already, this is ridiculous. Even the Focus is practically impossible to find with ABS, necessitating a special order. Lastly, the Elantra GT only comes with 15" wheels/tires that I felt did not do the chassis justice for my test drive. They squealed loudly taking aggressive turns, turning the salesman I was with blue in the face. I also found the sport suspension of the GT tuned more for comfort than sport, more body roll in the corners than the Focus. Lastly the shifter was terrible in my opinion, with long throws, and poor feel. It felt like I was stirring a bowl of oatmeal while moving through the gears. The Hyundai has nothing on the Focus in the clutch/shifter department. The interior did nothing for me either. I did not like the small controls on the radio, and the dashboard is one long piece of hard plastic. Not a bad car for the money, but still can't compare to the total package of the Focus I'm getting. The extra money going into the Focus is well worth it in my opinion for the features I'm getting.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    When buying a car, I've found the data in reviews is frequently wrong. The only way to know for sure is to go look at and drive the car yourself. For example, I doubt whether the Spectra5's gas tank is 13.2 gallons. The Elantra's is 14.5, and the Elantra and Spectra use the same platform. But Kia doesn't publish the gas tank size on their Web site.

    I drove the '04 Focus SE and '04 Spectra sedan, so I think a comparison is fair. But the SES undoubtedly handles better than the SE does, just as I expect the Spectra5 handles better than the sedan.

    I had no problem finding an Elantra GT with ABS when I bought one last March. The dealer didn't have one in stock with ABS, moonroof, and the color I wanted (Rally Red) but found one in the metro area and I had it the next day. I haven't noticed the tires squealing, but maybe I don't drive as aggressively as you do. I usually have some of my kids with me when I drive that car, one of driving age and one close, so I try to set a good example for them when I'm driving. :-) If the Focus SES' suspension is tuned more firmly than the GT, I wouldn't want the Focus--the GT is plenty firm for me; any firmer and it would be harsh. The shifter does have long throws. I know some Elantra owners who have installed a short-throw shifter kit for about $140 that makes a world of difference. I might do that someday on my '01 GLS (my GT is an automatic because my wife drives it a lot). I think it's kind of funny though that you think the Focus' dashboard is nicer than the Elantra GT's--the '05 Focus has perhaps the most boring dash in small car-dom, IMO. But at least it's an improvement over the weird dash of before. And I think the Spectra's dash is much classier than the Focus' or Elantra's.
  • dgsdgs Posts: 20
    "the '05 Focus has perhaps the most boring dash in small car-dom, IMO."

    Yep, it is boring. Personally, I kind of liked the odd angular design of the 2000-20004 models. It had personality. The new dash looks just like any other car. It actually looks more Honda Civic like than funky. Meaning it's boring but highly functional. Interior ergonomics in the Focus can't be beat. Everything is within easy reach, all controls are large and easy to see/use, it all just works. In the $20,000 and under price range we can't be too picky about how nice an interior is, but even though the Focus now is a bit boring, with the heated leather seats, it does make it feel a bit more up-scale. I actually don't think you can purchase a car for under $20,000 that has heated leather seats please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

    Here is a list of cars I either test-drove or was considering in making my purchase decision:

    1. Kia Spectra5 - we've already discussed this.

    2. Hyundai Elantra GT - we've already discussed this.

    3. Suzuki Reno - Nice car, love the 5-door hatchback shape. It drove nicely enough and the LX model is very well optioned, but it has some of the same problems as the others; there are none with ABS in this region of the country, it weights the same as the Focus but has less horsepower and torque affecting performance, gas mileage is not impressive (22 city/30 hwy) compared to the Focus, and it only comes with 15" wheels/tires. The Focus simply has much better performance and feature content for a small price difference. Wonderful attempt at Suzuki to enter the compact hatch market though.

    5. Mazda 3S 5-door - Great car! This would have been my choice over the Focus, but it's simply too expensive with the options I would want. With the moonroof/6-cd package, ABS/SAB/SAC package, and the leather seats the Mazda 3 is $19,930. Edmunds suggests knocking about $500 off that price, which the Mazda dealership I was at readily agreed to. That would bring the price to $19,430. I don't think the Mazda is nice enough to warrant the additional $2,500 over the Focus, so this one came down to price.

    6. Honda Civic Ex 4-door sedan W/side airbags - Test drove a manual transmission and I hated it. Worst car of the bunch. It's a crime Honda is asking $17,660 for this car. That is about $2,660 more than the car is really worth. I wouldn't pay a dime over $15,000 for a Civic. The more useful hatchback body Civic Si is even more of a ripoff, at close to $20,000. The feature content and performance of the Civic is lacking big time compared to the competition. Unforunately not only is Honda unaware of this, but so are Honda dealerships, who don't seem to think the price of the Civic is bad, knocking only $500 off the price for an 05. Not in this lifetime, I don't care how reliable it or fuel miserly, I would be miserable in that car for 2 miles, I certainly couldn't imagine driving it 200,000 miles.

    7. Toyota Matrix XRS - I did not like the way this car drove. It's got tons of interior space, but the shifter/seating arrangement is all messed up. Ergonimics don't make sense. I was never able to find a comfortable position where the shifter fell close to my hand and I was not scrunched up near the window. If I moved too far back the shifter become a long reach for me, forcing me to bend over to shift gears. The ride was harsh over bumps, and noisy at freeway speeds. It also requires premium fuel only, a big minus for me. The lesser Matrix models simply don't do it for me.

    So, there you have it. Besides not test driving the Kia, I think I did my homework here. I'm not one of these people who flips a car ever few years, so it was important to research this purchase decision carefully. In the end I still think the Focus offers the best blend of price, performance, and economy in the class. My wife's 2000 Focus SE has been perfect for the 60,000 miles and four years she's owned. I have no worries about Focus reliability, Ford has ironed out the problems that plauged the Focus launch. I will be very happy with the car for the next six or so years.
  • dekandekan Posts: 7
    Well I have racked the mileage up to 1600 so far and I must say that the car just keeps on getting better for me. This is without a doubt the best car I have ever owned.
  • How much is the Spectra5 actually going for? I still see the sedan in the paper all the time for less than $7k.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Is that the 2005 Spectra, or the OLD 2004 Spectra or the NEW 2004 Spectra? I find it hard to fathom why dealers would offer the new Spectra below $7000, unless it's one of those ridiculous offers that one person in 100 million will qualify for, e.g. "must be a recent college graduate who is on active duty in the military, must already own a Kia and a competitive model, must have suffered damage to home from hurricanes in Florida, must qualify for financing through Kia and have an impeccable credit record, and there must be a full moon. Also must pay $695 advertising fee and $395 document fee, and a $3000 down payment. Invoice #45541 only." I have seen ads like that in other cities with 2-point font at the bottom of the page, and I chuckle and shake my head each time.
  • It's the new 2004 Spectra. This same dealership has it for sale for $6995 every week, but last sunday they also had a new Kia Rio for $3995!!


    You would be surprised by those newspaper ads, you can actually buy those cars - I've done it twice. (and I am not in the military, nor a full time student)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Where do you live, and what is the name and phone number (or email address) of the dealership (I think that is allowed under Town Hall rules)? I'd be willing to fly there and get a new Spectra for $6995, since that is $4000 more than the going price in my town. I could probably resell it here for a nice profit, or just keep it and sell my four-year-old Elantra.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    You can post the name of the dealership, city and state. Phone numbers aren't allowed (we can't verify them...)
  • Well, I went and bought a paper, but that dealership isn't running the ad this week. I will check again next sunday though. - btw, I'm in Los Angeles.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,234
    if you don't mind can you jump back in here periodically and post the goods and bads of your new Spectra5 for us? I kind of like this new Kia Spectra5 and as my nickname suggests I love Kia's! My last rig was a 1999 Kia Sephia and my current one is a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 with 91,100 miles on it. I looked at the new Spectra5's the other day and they look very impressive-fairly large compared to the sedan. I like how they look to be pointing down towards the front-that profile looks awesome on that car. BTW-what did you pay for it and did they treat you generously on your trade-in?


    Enjoy your new baby! I bet it looks great in black!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • The sticker on the car was $17,540.00.

    There was a $500.00 rebate.

    I received a $1094.00 discount from list.

    I received $2800.00 trade-in for my 1998 Sportage EX 4x4 with 133,000 miles.


    The car was a good deal but unfortunately there was no Owner Loyalty Rebate available.


    The car is roomy and has great features. It is very quiet, good power, very stable to drive, and I am hoping for good fuel economy.


    And it does look great in black.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,234
    mileage your 2005 Kia Spectra5 will pull with automatic transmission. Question for ya: Does it lurch as it searches for the right gear sometime, or sort of hesitate on you? Or does it smoothly transition between gears?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I haven't gotten a good check on the fuel economy yet but it looks like it will run between 25-28 mpg in mixed driving and better for interstate driving. The operation of the automatic transmission is smooth with almost no hunting.
  • Hey there ILMS!


    Since you're asking about the automatic, I thought I'd chime in with my experiences with my EX sedan.


    The overall shifting behavior of my car's 4-speed automatic transmission is as good as anything I've ever driven. In fact it is much smoother than the 3-speed my V6 Plymouth Acclaim had (although that tranny never gave me a bit of trouble over 126k miles).


    There's only two things I've noticed that are noteworthy:


    - Occasionally my Spectra appears to start off in 2nd gear from a dead stop and thus not accelerate too briskly unless I kick the accelerator down and get it to downshift. This doesn't happen very often, so it's not too annoying.


    - Last night I had to pull in front of some fairly fast moving traffic, so I nailed it hard from a stop. The car accelerated very quickly. When the car shifted from 1st to 2nd (I'm assuming) it was turning some pretty high RPM's and when it upshifted automatically, it hit *hard*. Actually I was impressed by this. It didn't make any weird or bad noises... it just snapped into the next gear with a quick lurch and kept on going. It felt quite similar to my buddy's hot rod Chevy with a shift kit. Hard, but precise. The next shift wasn't as dramatic, and by then I was easing off of the throttle.


    But to summarize, under normal driving conditions this tranny appears to be smooth and capable.


    FYI.... one of the shop help at my KIA dealer mentioned that he thought the new Spectra autos were the same ones that KIA puts in the Optima. I haven't tried to verify that, but it might be true based on the good behavior it exhibits.


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