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2005 Kia Spectra/Cerato



  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    It'll probably come up on next week's report - we try to stay consistent with the Future/New vehicles pages, but thanks for the warning. I'll keep an eye out for the switch.


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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    Anyone seen a new Spectra hatchback in the Midwest yet, specifically the Twin Cities? I have yet to see any dealers advertising it. I won't be able to get to the Twin Cities auto show until next Saturday (am in Asia until then).
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,243
    website now they have a separate presentation set up for the all-new Spectra for 2004. Click on it and you are taken to a video presentation and you can later color the new Spectra how you like and spin it around, etc. Features and comparo's are there as well. Sure looks sweet to this Kia fan.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    I finally saw the new '04 Spectra at my local auto show this past weekend. They had one LX and one EX sedan. I was very impressed by the interior of the LX, which was a two-tone tan and very classy looking, IMO as good as anything in its class. But I didn't like two things about the interior: a single seat-height lever vs. the dual knob adjuster on the current car, and a very small center console with almost no storage space. The single-lever adjuster does not allow the myriad of adjustments that the dual-knob system does, e.g. you can't raise the front edge independent of the rear edge. I was not able to adjust the seat to a just-right position. I don't know why Kia had to change something that C/D has called the best in the industry (in their review of an Elantra that had the same dual-knob adjuster as the old Spectra).

    I was also not impressed by the value proposition of the Spectra, compared to its cousin the Elantra. The EX costs about the same as an Elantra GT, but the Spectra has far less equipment, and the Elantra has much bigger incentives right now. The dash is nicer on the Spectra, but not enough to justify the higher price IMO. The only major advantage the Spectra has over the Elantra IMO is the standard side curtains. However, the Elantra has received solid side-impact test scores, so that may be a case of a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

    A Kia rep at the show said the hatchback would be available in a couple of months.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They're showing the Cerato hatchback at the NY Auto Show. I debuted at Geneva but it'll make its US debut in NY in April.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "The only major advantage the Spectra has over the Elantra IMO is the standard side curtains. However, the Elantra has received solid side-impact test scores, so that may be a case of a solution to a problem that doesn't exist."

    I understand where you seem to be coming from HOWEVER, curtains are very desirable for this little known fact: the NHTSA side impact test scores that you see presented as a star rating DOES NOT factor in head protection, even though dummy measurements are taken. There are many cars that receive 4 stars in the side impact test but have perilously high HIC figures (near 1000, the threshold for severe injury.) Check out the 2004 Honda Accord sedan to see what I mean.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    The Accord had a rating of 882 on the front side impact, and 515 for the rear. It is not clear whether SABs or curtains were tested. Usually the test results matrix indicates if SABs were tested; there is no indication of that for the Accord. The Elantra has standard front side airbags. The HIC for the front is 192, and 540 for the rear.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They test the cheapest model, so if the base Accord does not have it it's likely the tested model does not.

    They will re-test a 2nd model if the manufacturer provides it for free. Honda usually does not, but Ford usually does.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You're just slightly confused. You perfectly described the IIHS side impact testing policy, not the NHTSA's, who don't have any type of policy publically outlined with respect to testing vehicles with Side Impact Airbags.

    backy- your post gives me no indication as to whether or not you understand the point I am trying to convey. So heres my thesis, in case I did a poor job of elaborating before (sorry!)With an HIC of 882, its impossible that NHTSA factors head injury into its side impact rating, as an HIC of 882 would prevent a vehicle from being assigned 4 stars.

    Thus, in relation to the Elantra and new Spectra, despite the fact that the Elantra does well in side impact HIC for both front and rear occupants, it is nonetheless, all other things being equal, better to have extra protection for the heads of the rear passengers (which the Elantra does not currently offer). However, one would not know this given the high star ratings that the NHTSA seemingly haphazardly doles out.

    That said, I really dont think the new Spectra is priced too high, as you seem to think, backy? Also, given that you havent driven the car, how do you know it is not dynamically superior to the Elantra?

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    I understand the point you were trying to convey. I was only giving you some detail on why I don't consider the lack of side curtains on the Elantra to be a big issue. I still think the Spectra is overpriced vs. the Elantra, given that there are $3000 in rebates availble to me right now on an Elantra plus hefty discounts. I can get a loaded Elantra GT automatic with ABS/traction and moonroof for about $13,000 + T&L. That's thousands less than a comparable Spectra. The value proposition just isn't there for me yet on the Spectra. When the inevitable discounts and rebates come, maybe it will be.

    No, I haven't driven a new Spectra yet because they haven't been in my local dealerships. Maybe they are now. Since they use the same chassis as the Elantra, I would expect the ride and handling to be comparable, but that remains to be seen. Anyway, since the Spectra hatchback isn't available in my area right now, and that's the type of vehicle I'm interesting in buying at this moment, the Spectra is a no-op for me until it's time to turn over the keys of my Elantra to my oldest son in a couple of years.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Saw it, didn't drive it.

    I thought this was the next gen. Elantra available as an '06 and that Kia was springing it a year early because of the sorry state of the present platform. If so, I'm a bit dissapointed. Not sure why they marketed the base car without air or automatic windows/locks. Interior looks a bit barren too.

    Stark difference in marketing compared to Hyundai. Also, why are they calling this an '04 Spectra...almost like Volkswagen used to do.

    Isn't it time to put this in the sedans forum???
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747

    Yes, I also believe that this is based on the NEXT Elantra, which is why I asked for the distinction between "seeing the car" and driving it. However, I'm not sure why you're correlating the next generation platform/structure to standard features, as the two are entirely not related, but this seems to be why you are disappointed with the vehicle. I apologize, I just dont get the thesis of the last post.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    Does anyone know for sure whether the new Spectra uses the platform from the current Elantra, or the platform that will be used for the next-gen Elantra? I had heard that it was the new platform, but then someone else told me I was wrong, that it's the current platform.

    Re the "drab" interior, I thought the grey interior (EX) was a little drab looking, but the tan interior of the LX was quite sharp, with a more distinctive two-tone treatment similar to pricier cars like Camry or Passat.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I really expected this thing to be on the cutting edge. At least as nice as the Mazda3-- not sure it's any better than the current Elantra (which I own and like a lot).

    I recently went shopping for a low end TV for a friend's kid and was kind of surprised that the prices have risen since last summer. I guess the dollar's getting cheaper in relation to the won and that's resulting in decontenting all around. Don't know why anyone would buy the EX when the a/c brings it almost in line with the LX as to price. Maybe people in northern Maine or something. At any rate, it looks like a big marketing departure although I know the Elantra had more on the base car than the last gen. Spectra did.

    (Just checked dollar dropped against the Won 1156 today, 1248 last year. Not big but it does represent about 8-9 percent.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    I drove a '04 (need to change the title I guess) Spectra today--the New '04 Spectra vs. the Old '04 Spectra (that will be interesting to sort out in the car ads and pricing guides). It was an EX 5-speed with mats as the only option, MSRP $14,370. Silver with grey interior.

    Inside and out, the new Spectra is lightyears beyond its predecessor. The exterior reminds me of a plumped-up Protege, especially the rear deck. The interior is tastefully done, with quality comparable to Honda and Toyota. Quality of the plastics on the dash and trim panels is very good. The seat material, a light grey plush, is a little boring, however. (Personally I prefer the tan interior, with more contrast between the plastic trim and fabric.) The controls have a precision feel, with rotary HVAC controls similar to the '04 Elantra's. The center console has a padded armrest, but the storage compartment is small. There is only one 12V power point (at least that I could see). The plastic wheel has a comfy thick rim. However, it was difficult to adjust the wheel such that it would not block the speedo or tach, or both. (I am blind in the right eye, that may have something to do with it as the tach is in the left corner of the instrument cluster.) The driver's seat has a single-lever height adjuster, instead of the dual-knob adjuster used on the previous Spectra and on other Kias and Hyundais--more on that later.

    The engine is quiet at idle and growls under acceleration. I didn't press the new engine but power seemed more than adequate. The shifter is precise, just a bit notchy (it might loosen up with time if it's anything like the Elantra's shifter). The shifter knob is big and round, easy to grip, with a tasteful shift pattern emblem on top. The clutch action is smooth.

    The ride is good on the highway, with expansion strips creating a mild thump. The suspension seems a little firmer than an Elantra GLS or Corolla, but less firm than a Civic. Handling seemed in between an Elantra GLS and GT--it took cloverleafs at 35 mph with no problem and there was no sway on turns or lane changes. The car is quiet at cruise, except for some wind noise (65 mph) from the driver's side and a rattle in the driver's B pillar. I noticed the rpms are a bit higher than on an Elantra with the same engine--about 2250 at 50 mph vs. 2000 on the Elantra, in 5th gear.

    Rear seat comfort was very good (5' 10", 32" inseam), with good leg room and head room. There is good toe space under the front seats, much more than cars like the Elantra and Mazda3. It's a 60/40 split rear seat but with no center armrest, which the lower-priced Forenza has. Two cupholders pop out of the center console.

    Which leads to the one major problem I found with the car: the driving position. As noted, the seat has a single-lever height adjuster. It moves the seat cushion up and down along one axis. So when I raised the seat such that the front edge was the right height, the rear felt too high, and when I lowered it to correct that problem, the front edge was too low and I felt I was going downhill. The steering wheel was also difficult to adjust so that it was comfortable and I could see the gauges. I think it's unfortunate that Kia didn't carry over the simple but effective dual-knob seat height adjuster from the previous Spectra. Because of that one flaw (or feature), I have to rule out the Spectra, just like a similar problem with the Corolla knocks it out of the running for me.

    Other than that, I think the new Spectra is a well-executed small car that is at least the equal in most respects to the class-leaders: Civic, Corolla, Focus, Mazda3, and Elantra. It doesn't have the fuel economy, reliability history, or resale value of the Civic or Corolla, but beats them on power, price and warranty. It can't match the Mazda3 for power, but again has the price and warranty advantages. It is similar in many respects to the Elantra, with the same engine and chassis (?), but has a more upscale interior than the GLS and offers standard four-wheel disc brakes (available only with ABS on the Elantra) and standard side airbags and curtains.

    I think the Spectra will get its toughest competition from its cousin the Elantra. The Spectra has a small price advantage in MSRP, with the Elantra at $14,467 but without rear discs or the side curtains. However, the Elantra has a $2000 rebate plus other incentives, which IMO tip the scales in favor of the Elantra until Kia addes similar incentives.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    Spectra EX MSRP with cruise is $14,570, a bit more than the Elantra GLS with package 3.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Knew it had to be head and tails above the old car...
  • robinsrobins Posts: 2
    Hi Backy
    This is my very first post for the town hall, so please excuse any imperfections.

    I was told by the dealer that this car has the same platform as the hyundai tiburon.

    I had the opportunity to keep the 2005 Spectra overnight thus giving me a chance to drive it alot. I really love this car! It drives and handles very well. It has a lot of pep for a little car. This car is quiet when driving on the highway as well as around town. I am not an expert on vehicles just a person looking for a new car. I also drove the Toyota Corolla and the Elantra but overall I liked the interior/exterior style of 2005 Spectra more than the others. The Spectra's motor was much quieter than the Toyota when accelerating and driving. The Spectra's dash is much more pleasing than the Elantras. My dilemma is I am quite apprehensive about buying a Kia product.
    PS I also drove the 2004 Spectra... absolutely no comparison to the new 2005! I wouldn't even consider the 04 model.
    Thanks Robin
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Welcome, Robin, promise we won't bite.


  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,911
    Personally I'd take the comment by the dealer with a grain of salt, as not all dealers have deep insider knowledge. But in this case there may be some truth to it. The previous generation Tibby used the same platform as the Elantra, but in the current generation I've read that the two platforms have diverged somewhat. Still there is enough similarity that, for example, some Elantra owners have been known to use the Tibby's rear sway bar on their cars. If the new Spectra does in fact use the same platform as the Tibby, then there must have been a lot of suspension tweaks made to the Spectra, because the Tibby rides much more firmly than the Spectra.

    I prefer the dash on the new Spectra to the Elantra's also--a much more upscale look. Elantra won't be able to catch up until the next redesign for the '06 model year. However, I do like a lower cowl, and the Spectra's dash is higher than the Elantra's.

    I also don't see any big advantage that the Corolla has over the Spectra, at least from a driving standpoint. The Corolla still has the advantage in fuel economy and in predicted reliability and resale value; it will take awhile for the Spectra to build a comparable reputation. For example, the Elantra has had a solid reliability picture for over five years now, but that still hasn't translated into higher resale values (in part due to the large incentives offered on new Elantras). At least the Spectra has the long warranty. If you like the car but are apprehensive, you might want to go for an extended warranty to give you peace of mind (and also will increase the resale value).
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