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2005 Kia Spectra/Cerato



  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255
    Here's the latest two "Spectra Easter Eggs" I've found:

    - Heat and A/C ducts for the rear passengers are under the front driver and passenger seats. There's a small forked two-orifice duct under each of the front seats.

    From what I could see, it only blows out air when the floor setting (and probably the mixed/split setting as well) is used. The upper vent setting does not appear to route air to these ducts.

    - The sun visors extend when flipped to the side. So if the sun is in the rear corner of the window, the visor will slide back on the rod to block it. My wife found this by accident, thinking she broke the visor. But the driver's side does it too, and it doesn't feel broken or flimsy when extended, so this is definitely a feature. The owner's manual doesn't mention that this exists.

    Other cool things I've found along the way:

    - The dome light dims slowly when closing the last door and the ignition's turned off. Close the door when the car's running, and it snaps on and off immediately.

    - The dome light comes on when you unlock the doors with the key FOB.

    - The front doors have "puddle lights" built into them.

    - When unlocking either front door with the key, you can unlock all four doors by twisting the key one additional time. Lock the door with the key, and all four doors lock.

    - I thought the glove box didn't have a light the first time I opened it up at night in the driveway, which sort of disappointed me. Later my daughter up the glove box (while driving at night with the headlights on) and there was a light! I now know that the light is tied into the headlight circuit. An unorthodox approach, but I guess it makes sense for the most part.

    - The lighted power lock and windows buttons on all of the door panels is convenient at night.

    ..... more to come
  • Hi Pavel!

    Here's what I observed with the Spectra's 4-speed automatic programmed to U.S. specs:

    - Engine RPM at 60 mph = 2300 rpm in 4th gear
                   100 kph = 2500 rpm in 4th gear

    - Gentle acceleration 1-2 shift 3100 rpm
                         2-3 shift 3100 rpm
                         3-4 shift 3100 rpm

    4th gear rpm was 2000 at 50 mph (the average speed I drive on non-highway roads)

    - Even gentler acceleration caused the first shift at about 3000 rpm, the second at 2700 rpm, and the third at 2500 rpm. This type of launch is too impractical though in regards to staying out of the way of oncoming traffic in the same lane.

    - For fast starts, the rpm range was all over the map depending on how hard you floored it. Bury the accelerator and you can get 1-2 shifts at almost redline (6100 rpm), and then the next two start coming at successively 1000k lower rpms.

    Press the accelerator only moderately hard, and you get something like the gentle acceleration model above, only now it happens at 4100 rpm vs 3100 rpm.

    So far I'm pleased with the day-to-day drivability of the car acceleration-wise. I was previously driving a 3.0 V6 Plymouth Acclaim (great car btw!), and it had very good acceleration. The primary benefit to the V6 that I can see is that it didn't have to spin as many rpms (under normal start-up), thus you didn't tend to hear the motor as much. But that only makes sense, right?

    Let us know if you purchase a Spectra, and what tranny you pick.

    Also... the automatic trans is rated higher fuel efficiency-wise than the 5-speed manual trans here in the U.S. I've read online that this has to do with the gear ratios of the manual being set up for better performance than fuel-mileage.

    It would be interesting to know whether the European spec manual transmission is speced differently.

  • Hi Spetraman,

    thanks a lot for you observations! The gear ratios according to KIA specs in Europe (I guess they are same in the US) are as follows:

       Manual | Automatic
    1: 13.19 | 10.71
    2: 7.49 | 5.76
    3: 5.08 | 3.77
    4: 3.87 | 2.68
    5: 3.05 | -

    The RPM can be computed as:
    rpm = speed[mph] x ratio x 14.7

    It can be seen, that the 2nd gear automatic is nearly same as 3th gear manual, 3th gear autom. same as 4th gear manual and the 4th gear autom. something like 6th manual. Here is some comparison of the RPMs at 100 kph:

    M-3: 4600 |
    M-4: 3500 | A-3: 3460
    M-5: 2800 | A-4: 2460

    So the final result is, that the automatic has much lower RPMs at the 4th gear that makes the traveling at highways at higher speeds much more comfortable due to lower RPMs (at 100 mph 3900 A compared to 4500 M). However the dynamics could be a little worse.
    So maybe if you can do one more experiment for me, I would appreciate it very much :-) If you drive let say 90 mphh on the highway and then there is a big hill in front of you, the question is if the engine has the power enough to keep the speed going up the hill or if it looses it and needs to gear down.

    By the way, this car is sold in Europe under a different name: CERATO ( and I'm going to order the 5-door variant.

    Thnaks a lot again and have much fun with spectra (btw have you seen this video ?

  • He Drove, She Drove 022

    Kia's Spectra grows up

    By Paul & Anita Lienert / Special to The Detroit News

    One of the first Korean vehicles we reviewed nearly 10 years ago was the original Kia Sephia, a cheap  and cheap-looking  compact that received rock-bottom scores from us in nearly every category.

    What a difference a decade makes. Kias redesigned 2004 Spectra, the direct descendant of the Sephia, was introduced earlier this year in North America, and is one of the best-looking compacts  and one of the best values  on the market today.

    We tested a nicely equipped Spectra EX sedan, priced at a modest $16,030, including a $540 destination charge.

    SHE: I had so much fun when we went to the Beijing Auto Show in China this summer and checked out the concept cars covered in white fur with smiley-face lights all over the dash. The quality of the Chinese cars was pretty bad. So Im really looking forward to reviewing a Chinese car like the Beauty Leopard or the Big-Footed Beast when they finally come over here. Theyll give me grist for my automotive comedy mill. In the meantime, theres no way to make fun of a great product like the new Kia Spectra. You can only shut up, show lots of respect and give it five stars. I cant think of too many entry-level cars that combine value, style and safety as successfully as the 2004 Spectra.

    HE: I dont think weve given top marks to very many Korean products over the years, although we have noticed that, in general, the quality of materials and workmanship has improved dramatically. The Spectra is a case in point, where nearly every aspect of the vehicle, from engine performance to overall fit and finish, is a significant leap forward from the previous model. This new Spectra starts at around $13,000 and is well-equipped, with a twin-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine thats one of the most powerful in the class. Its coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox thats smooth and easy to shift. From the cockpit, the controls and displays are simple and straightforward. And the cabin itself has a fresh, modern appearance that belies the cars entry-level pricing.

    SHE: I think the new Spectra has a really cute profile that resembles that of the Jaguar S-type. It looks a lot more expensive than it is. And Im always happy to see a little bit of chrome, in this case on top of the grille, to dress up the car. If youre shopping in this size and price category, a dramatic side-by-side comparison would be Spectra vs. Saturn Ion. The Spectra looks classier, more grown up and more substantial. I was also very pleased with the Spectras two-tone cabin, and I was surprised by the seat fabric and even the thick carpeting covering the floor in the trunk.

    HE: Kia also managed to bolster the ride quality of the Spectra, which sits on 15-inch Goodyear tires. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, but you have to pay an extra $400 for antilock. On the plus side, Kia makes side air bags and front and rear side-curtain bags standard, which is unusual in this class. The Spectra comes with one of the best warranties in the business  five years or 60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 10 years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain.

    SHE: Its not like we didnt have any complaints about the Spectra. And believe me, we went over it from top to bottom, looking for flaws. I, for one, am not a fan of seat releases located in the trunk and not on the backs of the seats, where its more natural and intuitive. I wish the Spectra had little amenities like lighted vanity mirrors. And there were one or two throwbacks to the old Korean way of doing things, such as a ticket holder for the drivers visor that was made of such cheap and thin plastic that it looked like it would rip after a few months use.

    HE: While most of the trim pieces fit together tightly, I noticed a few little flaws. The plastic air bag cover on the steering wheel was a different color and texture than the rest of the wheel. The carpeted floor mats were also a different color gray than the rest of the carpeting. But I think those are minor things that are easily fixed.

    SHE: The Spectra is a good value for a wide range of people  first-time buyers or older buyers looking to down-size. I think anybody shopping in this category will be blown away by what they see and what they get in the 2004 Spectra.

    Anita and Paul Lienert are partners in Lienert & Lienert, a Detroit-based automotive information services company.


    2004 Kia Spectra EX

    Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger sedan

    Price: Base, $14,290 (inc. $540 destination charge); as tested, $16,030

    Engine: 2.0-liter I-4; 138-hp; 136 lb-ft torque

    EPA fuel economy: 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway

    Where built: South Korea

    Key competitors: Chevrolet Cavalier, Dodge Neon, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sentra, Saturn Ion, Subaru Impreza, Suzuki Forenza, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta

    12-month insurance cost, estimated by AAA Michigan: $1,561 (Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage and driving record.)


    Vehicle rating: 5 out of 5

    Likes: Really cute profile. Nice seat fabric and two-tone interior. Super safety stuff. Outstanding warranty. Deep trunk with thick carpet. Driver seat height adjuster. Rear seat has net-style map pockets and two cup holders.

    Dislikes: Engine sounds like it's straining in fifth gear at highway speeds. No lighted vanity mirrors. Ticket holder on driver's visor looks like it would rip easily. Rear seat releases in trunk.


    Vehicle rating: 4 out of 5

    Likes: More stylish than a Corolla, more powerful than a Civic. Lots of features for $16,000. Dramatic improvement over predecessor. Simple, straightforward controls and displays. Fresh and modern cabin with high-quality materials.

    Dislikes: Excessive engine noise at 70 mph. Engine runs out of steam above 3500 RPM. Small imperfections in plastic trim. Air-bag cover doesn't match color or grain on rest of steering wheel. Antilock brakes cost $400 extra.
  • I just Kia Spectra 5, 2005....

    It is handling very good,,,,

    Have great power (2 liters, 138hp)...torque low...
    Full of equipment...

    Very quiet....and plesant to drive..

    I like it very much

    If you want to know more, feel free to contact me..

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Did you just buy one, or drive one? There is little known on the Spectra5, so please tell us more. How does it handle compared to other cars? Did you compare it to a Spectra sedan? How is the ride? Is it compliant and not too firm? How's the storage space? Do the rear seats fold flat? etc.
  • 2004.5 Spectra EX Update:

    I discovered that the rear LED stoplight in my Spectra's spoiler had two of the cells (or bulbs) not lighting. The remainder of the light was still working, so overall driving safety was never really affected. Car's odometer reading: 1,100 miles.

    Satisfactory repairs were made within two weeks of taking the car in for an initial diagnosis and ordering of the necessary part.

    The dealer provided me with an employee driving an Amanti who took me back to my home so that I could use one of my other vehicles to continue on to work. They also washed my car and gave me a complimentary new tire pressure gauge (which was on my list of things to buy for the car).

    The work was done by 2:30 pm in the afternoon, and I picked the car up before the dealership and the service department closed at 6:00 pm.

    This interaction provided me with a chance to see how the dealership truly treats warranty-work customers, and so far I'm very pleased.

  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    Thanks for the 1st forum test drive on the Spectra5.
    Did you get it up to speed, 70mph+ ? Some people say the engine is really revving and noisy at this speed. Was it a 5-speed? Was it still quiet at high speed? Thanks for any more info you can provide. They seem to be holding off on the intro here in California so they can unload the old hatch.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    just days away from it's American release. It looks great in it's Car and Driver review. Tight and sharp and impressive.

    spectraman, yes, my Kia dealership experiences have both been very positive. The original Kia dealer I bought from was located in Anacortes, WA. Just before I moved out of Washington state to Missouri, they moved their Kia dealership to Burlington, WA, my old hometown. That dealership also sold Buick's and Chevy's. They decided to go with Kia's stand-alone dealership opportunity. I think they made a wise choice as the little Korean car that could is picking up momentum as fast as the Seattle Seahawks are this coming fall in their search of the NFC title and the SuperBowl. My dealings with that dealership in Washington state were close to flawless. Everything I brought up was addressed and fixed to my satisfaction. There were loaner cars available if I needed them. The one experience at the Springfield, MO, Kia dealer I chose was flawless as well. It even included a ride to Barnes and Noble bookstore while my Sportage 4x4 received it's safety inspection. That's a Missouri law-every car must get a safety inspection at new registration(or state switchover)time. My tab renewal date is August 2005 for my Sportage 4x4 so I'll find out then if the little truck will need a safety inspection again. It passed with flying colors(in August of 2003).

    To receive intelligent treatment from your dealer and their service department wins over customers. I have been pleased as punch with my Kia dealership experience and that is only one reason I will stay with the Kia automobile brand. Oh, there's this 4x4 SUV that's also part of the equation!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Is an automatic transmission available for the Spectra5? What colors can it come in?
  • The Spectra5 is featured on The Canadian spec model can come with an automatic transmission. I guess the US model will as well I just wonder why the US website hasn't been updated about the Spectra 5. The lack of information is annoying.
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    There is a new test drive of the 5 in Canadian Driver.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I noticed that crash test results for the "new" Spectra are now on I was very surprised by the results:

    Front driver: 4
    Front passenger: 4
    Front side: 4
    Rear side: 3

    Note that these ratings are not as good overall as those for the Spectra's older cousin, the Elantra:

    Front driver: 5
    Front passenger: 4
    Front side: 5
    Rear side: 4

    This is shocking, especially the side scores, considering the Spectra has SACs and is a newer design.
  • I wonder if the rating scale is consistent to compare vehicles from one year to the next?

    I mean, is it possible that a "5" from 2 years ago could equal a "4" today due to the scale sliding upwards due to other new innovations?

    I'm aware that each "star" represents a certain percentage of certainty for a serious injury. Supposedly a "5 star" rating says that you have a 10% chance or less of getting injured in a 35mph crash, a "4 star" gives you an 11-20% chance, etc. I wonder if the severity of the test crashes has changed in any way to make the results worse?

    If the current Spectra rates worse than the current Elantra.... now THAT would be interesting. I'd have to wonder what the devil did Kia do to the primary Hyundai design to get those ratings.

    EDITED POST: I just came back from the site, and it does indeed look like they're comparing 2005-to-2005 apples-to-apples. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I wonder if Hyundai / Kia will look into this discrepancy between the two vehicles?

    EDITED POST 2: The picture of the Elantra shown on the nhtsa site matches the picture of a 2004 Elantra on the North American Hyundai site exactly. The VR-360 degree view of the 2005 Elantra on the primary Hyundai site ( however has a very different front end on it. The "still" photo on this site shows a 2004, but the QuickTime 360 view shows a somewhat different car. Is the 2004 and 2005 Elantra truly the same car? Is it possible that they've changed the basic Elantra platform in some fashion in 2005, and a 2004 model slipped in under the nhtsa radar as a 2005? Something's slightly weird here!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    NHTSA tested the '04 Elantra earlier this year because of changes that affect crash protection. To my knowledge they have not tested the '05--why would they, as there are no major changes for '05? However, I don't know of any changes in the NHTSA procedures in the past six months or so that would affect the comparison between the Spectra and Elantra.
  • Here are some additional results for the 2004 Elantra from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website:

    They don't have results for a 2004.5 Spectra, so I'm assuming that these results are the closest there are until an official test is done.

    The results are *not* good when compared to the small cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus. The primary reason for the Elantra's low scores are due to late-firing front airbags. They tested the car three times with similar results, so it doesn't appear to be a fluke. We can only assume that the Spectra's airbag system is using componentry similar to the Elantra.

    The IIHS ratings are supposedly more stringent than the NHTSA ones, so the dismal showing of the Elantra (and Spectra?) does dismay me. What does everyone else think?

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    crash test to decide on that. Hyundai Elantra and Kia Spectra components may differ just enough of a tad to make a difference. I'd love to see how the new-world order Kia Spectra fares in it's crash tests, indeed. Let's get crashing, crash test dudes!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    A few clarifications:

    * the IIHS test results for the Elantra don't really cover 2004 models, so I don't know why they claim to. Notice that the vehicle tested was a '01 GLS. The ratings cover Elantrans manufactured before September 2003. That means they cover few if any '04 Elantras.

    * the IIHS did test a '04 Elantra early in 2004. In that test, a fuel leak was found. A recall was issued for the problem in April 2004. I asked the IIHS why they haven't released the tests on the '04 Elantra yet and they told me they don't give that information to the public.

    * the results on the '01 GLS were due not only to a late deploying driver's airbag, which occurred on two of three tests, but also due to the driver's seat track moving forward. Hyundai redesigned the seat track in 2002.

    * If in fact the Spectra's air bag components are the same as those on the Elantra, we don't know if they are the same as on the '01 Elantra that was tested by the IIHS. A Hyundai representative told me that the '01 Elantra used the same air bag sensors as the Sonata, and that Hyundai couldn't find a problem with the airbags that caused the late deployment.
  • Thanks for the additional input Backy.

    Be sure to post any new findings you discover.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I would take the NHTSA tests with a grain of salt. There seem to be wide variences in those tests, and Im not sure why. For example, Toyota has never altered the rear door structure of the Camry, be it the door itself, or the impact beams. And yet, the 2002 and 2003 Camrys scored a 5 star for rear passengers, with the 2004s scoring 3. What caused the drop? Me thinks its NHTSA's antiquated barrier, antiquated test methodology, etc. Additionally, the NHTSA star rating for side impact does NOT factor in head injury. So, the Sephia basically scores a 3 for rear passengers based on chest/torso protection, and the Elantra scores 4 on that count, again for the rear passenger. But what about the Head Injury Measure? The Kia provides a curtain to cushion the blow, and the Elantra, nothing. Factoring in a Head Injury measure, the Elantra might TRULY only be a 3 star performer, for example, but consumers would never know this if they didnt drill down further in the NHTSA report.

    As to why NHTSA doesnt include its HIC measure in the side impact, is beyond me. Are people's heads inconsequential? I feel like theres a very vital organ in mine, though some would argue...LOL!

    always a pleasure,

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I agree, all these tests should be taken with a grain of salt. But consider the Spectra vs. Elantra side rear results:

    Spectra: HIC 458, TTI 78, Pelvis 109 g's
    Elantra: HIC 540, TTI 69, Pelvis 93 g's

    So the results are actually pretty close, with the Elantra better in two out of three measures--clearly the SACs in the Spectra did help. Maybe the Spectra was at the upper end of 3 stars, and the Elantra at the lower end of 4 stars. But how about the frontal results, where the Spectra didn't do as well as the Elantra? It's just not a good trend. Typically new designs from automakers show improvement over previous designs, not go backwards.
  • Is it just me, or has any one else noticed that there seems to be little or no TV and magazine advertising support for the new Spectra?

    The sales of the Spectra in September '04 belie the quality and fun-of-ownership of this new great little hauler.

              MONTH OF SEPT    YEAR-TO-DATE
      Model      2004    2003          2004    2003

      Spectra     4,480    5,071      33,641    55,114


    Notice this September quote from Mr. Butterfield *omits* any reference to the Spectra:

    "With 70-percent of sales coming from Optima, Sedona, Sorento and Amanti, this richer product mix demonstrates how consumers' view of the Kia brand has dramatically changed," said Peter M. Butterfield, Kia Motors America's president and chief executive officer. "These products showcase Kia's unique ability to deliver high-quality, well-designed vehicles across numerous segments, all at a tremendous value."

    I can only assume that Kia is waiting for production and arrival in the dealerships of the new Spectra5 to happen before they launch a major ad blitz for the Spectra.

    If that assumption *isn't* true, then what are they waiting for?!?!?!?

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Actually, I've seen several print ads for the Spectra, but not much on TV. But then, I haven't seen many Kia ads on TV period. But then, I don't watch much commercial TV. :-)

    There's also been several positive reviews of the Spectra in the auto press. I think the sales volume will come. Consider that the 2003 numbers included the 5-door, which isn't available yet. Even so, the sales for September were pretty close to a year ago.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I finally saw the Spectra5 up close today at my local dealer. They had one, a red automatic with only mats on the options list. Price was $16.6k. I decided not to take it for a drive because I was pressed for time and have already driven the new Spectra. I'll come back someday.

    The Spectra5 is good looking for a wagon-like 5-door, with sharp 16" alloys and a blackout grille with chrome trim (the chrome looks a little out of place on the car, IMO). The interior doesn't look very sporty, and is the same light grey color as on the sedan.

    I also happened to stop by my local Hyundai dealer today to see the Tuscon, and saw the new Elantra GLS 5-door. Unfortunately for Kia, the Elantra GLS offers the same engine as the Spectra5, sport suspension with 4-wheel discs, and a sharp woven cloth interior unique to that model starting at $14.1k. There's also a $1000 rebate on the car, none on the Spectra5 right now. So about a $2400 difference between the two cars. Whether the bigger (alloy) wheels and SACs make up for the price difference will be an interesting question for buyers. For me, I'd take the Elantra and pocket the difference.
  • hathat Posts: 11
    Trying to determine if the ABS option for the Spectra5 will include traction control (TCS).

    Signs in favor: Its cousin, the Elantra, bundles TCS with the ABS option. Also, looking at the pictures on the Spectra5 mini-site, the close-up of the instrument panel clearly shows a "TCS Off" indicator beneath the tach needle.

    Signs against: None of the text or tables on Kia's website mentions TCS, nor does Edmunds' write-up on the car.

    Anyone know for sure?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    It's pretty clear the answer is "no" based on all the evidence: Kia doesn't mention it (and you can bet they would if they could), reviews don't mention it (including's and C/D's), and Kia charges $400 for ABS while Hyundai charges about $600 for ABS + traction on the 4-wheel-disc Elantras. In other respects, their option prices are comparable. Also in the photos of the Spectra5 interior on and the C/D review there is no sign of a "TRAC OFF" button on the dash, anywhere. The Elantra has a prominent button on the dash. The "TRAC OFF" light could be there in the Kia site photo because the feature is offered in other countries. I know Hyundai offers many features on the Elantra in other countries that are not offered in the U.S., so maybe Kia does too.

    If you want to find out for certain, you could call your local dealer or better yet, stop in and look at the car--they have reached the frozen tundra of Minnesota, so they should be available just about everywhere by now.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    From Auto Week, the Sportage replacement will offer a diesel option. They mentioned a price of $18K, which will be a whopping $10K less than the 2005 Jeep Liberty diesel.

    I wish a few more car companies would get on board the diesel train and give us a 3000 lb SUV that was off-road capable and got 25-35 mpg. Such vehicles are all over the place in Europe.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    the U.S., though? I think I read a few months ago that if won't be offered here.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • For you SpectraHeadz out there....

    I was playing around with a free webhosting site today, and decided to throw some pics and info up about my car.

    Here's the URL:

    Take a look and let me know what you think.


This discussion has been closed.