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Kia Spectra Sedan



  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    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.
  • mikzkemikzke Posts: 3
    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.
  • 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 :)
  • 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:)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Where did you hear that? That seems preposterous, given that the Spectra is one of Kia's bread-and-butter cars and the current model is quite new.
  • Thanks for your help.
    My friend heard I was buying a Spectra and was doing some research and apparently came across something that said that they weren't making SPectras anymore since they are upgrading the Rio's. IF you happen to come across any info let me know. Thanks a million for your help! :)
  • jjj4jjj4 Posts: 5
    I`m trying to up grade the sound system in my 02 Spectra 4-door.
    I have taken out the two screws at the top of the instrument cluster bezel ( those
    are the only screws I can see) but the trim panel will not come off.
    Are there more screws that I`m not seeing or do I need some type of special
    tool ? Thanks. jjj4
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    When I was at the Kia dealership this week, the sales guy said the current model year for the Spectra will run through November, at which point the 06 Spectras will start. He said they would be identical except for very minor changes to the 05s. There is a new Rio coming out, but it is more like a Toyota Echo/Scion xA micro econobox; the Spectra is significantly bigger than that. I don't think they step on each other's toes any more than the current models of Spectra and Rio do (which ain't much).

    So I redrove the Spectra5. I didn't like it much the first time. It was better than I remembered and I will definitely consider it when I buy at the end of Aug/beginning of Sept. I like the ride and interior (especially leather) on the Elantra better, but the Kia's outside styling and the little storage areas in the hatch area are better than the Elantra. The Elantra's outside is extremely dated and needs to be freshened (which is slated for about a year from now from what I hear). The Kia's 16 inch wheels provide a harsher ride than the Hyundai's 15s. At my advanced age (42), I prefer smooth to sporty.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    I came across some cool new information.

    This news item was on the Kia America website in May of '05 and I missed it. Might be really nice-the cool extras of the Spectra5 in a beautiful Spectra sedan.

    From Kia America CEO Peter Butterfield:
    “We’re ecstatic that Kelley Blue Book has named the 2005 Spectra5 to its exclusive list of ‘cool’ cars under $18,000,” said Kia Motors America president and CEO Peter M. Butterfield. “This reaffirms our belief that Spectra5 delivers style, performance, safety features and value to our customers."

    Here's the new and interesting part for me, the new Kia Spectra SX sedan. Check it out! "And to make sporty driving fun for sedan lovers, we’ve just introduced the new Spectra SX, which has all the special features of the “5” added to the sedan, including sport-tuned suspension, interior tweaks and body kit,” added Butterfield.

    Reading about the Spectra5 today I couldn't believe all of the undercarriage updates the Spectra5 has for a rig that costs just over $15,000! Incredible value, and that is what enamors me to the Kia brand. A front strut tower, even! Sport-tuned suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars. I can't wait to see a Kia Spectra SX sedan with the body kit on and all. More fun research for me! Kia just continues to improve and continues to offer great value to customers, including the wonderful Long-Haul Warranty, which Kia execs have vowed to continue through the 2008 model year. I bet they keep it beyond that even.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Motor Trend did a comparo on small hot sedans in July; one of them was the Spectra SX. They said some nice things about it, but it did not win the comparo. The Mazda3s did.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    Cool. I read in a review ( or maybe here?) where in a long term test, they had to repair the front spoiler because it was low enough that they tore it up on a curb. I looked at a Spec5 on the lot, and it appears that you can simply unscrew the bottom part of the front spoiller and remove it without messing too much with the looks of the car.

    I did the unthinkable, though: I took the car that the Spec5 resembles, the Mazda3 wagon, out for a test drive. Gawd, what a car! The four-cylinder engine pulls like a V6, the suspension gives better feel (like it was on rails) than the Spec5 but is infinitely smoother; the stereo kicks butt and even gets louder with rpms. I fell in love with the car. Unfortunately, I would have to pay probably 20% more the Mazda3, and I don't know if I can swing that right now. Also, this will likely be the car I send my younger son to college with, and I'm not so sure I wanna give him Zoom Zoom! right off the bat.

    The Spec5 is a poser next to the Mazda3 wagon. But for the price, it very well be the best you can get.
  • arizonajoearizonajoe Posts: 123
    Hi all - I have an update for you on my 2004.5 Spectra EX 5-spd.

    I finally got a chance to gauge pure highway mileage. Driving to California, I calculated it at 33 mpg. Coming back to Arizona, it was 36 mpg. This is much better than the 25-27 I had been seeing in the city. I'm now past 19,000 miles.

    One problem I have to report: When I cruise at 80 or so, a loud humming/rubbing noise emanates from the front right wheel well. If I slow down, it goes away. This problem recently got worse, when it started happening even at 70 mph. It doesn't always happen - it usually takes 20 minutes of cruising to pop up.

    Also, I think the dealer is lying to me. They want to replace my fuel filter as part of regular maintenance - they actually wanted to do this at 15,000 miles. Another local dealer said no, the fuel filter is embedded as part of the fuel pump, and is meant to last much longer than 15,000 miles. They said it's a major operation that need not be done so frequently.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Consult your owner's manual on the fuel filter replacement--the maintenance schedule will tell you when you need to change it.
  • johnjrjohnjr Posts: 5
    I just purchased a Kia ES for my daughter. I noticed when driving alone at night the "Passenger Airbag System Off" message is quite bright and annoying. Also the clock illumination is not adjustable and again annoyingly bright for night time driving. Anyone with the same complaints or a solution?

  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    For the bright airbag light, I have an idea: I had the same problem with the rear defroster light on my Ford Aspire. I pulled the instrument panel and painted the light bulb with black paint on the tip, blocking most of the light. Now in bright sunlight, I can barely see the light if it's lit, but I can tell. At night I can see it clearly but it's not a pain in the butt.

    Another solution on the airbag light is to run the wire to a lit switch under the dashboard. Whenever the light is energized, the switch could be lit. But if you shut off the switch, it would shut off the dashboard light. If it's low enough under the dash, all that would be visible at night would be a faint glow.

    Use your imagination...!
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    One idea for the clock light: Hyundai Elantra GT Garage (scroll down to the bottom: "Changing the colour of the dashboard digital clock").
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 11
    I bought my car on july 5th from atlantic hyundai long island, NY. I paid 12,200 plus tax for the car. Sticker was 16,100 or something like that. Options include alloy wheels and cruise control. Since then i've put in 2600+ miles on it. I love the car so far. few complaints i have are of course the drivers seat need more thigh support. after an hour of drive my leg is begging for a break and I am not tall either only 5' 8". Fuel economy is not at all great. So far i have averaged 26 on highway. Since i drive less than 2% on the city i cant really tell how thats like. if anyone is looking for a fuel miser then this is not the car for you. However this car is definetely value. It has great looks, decent stereo, acceptable rear room. seats are actually comfy except for long drives as i mentioned. and also it has a cigerette lighter however it does not come with a DC power outlet which kinda sucks however you can still get by using the cigerette lighter outlet. i will fill in more as i get time... just sharing a few things that i noticed abt my car.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I think the Spectra is a fine small car, but I probably wouldn't buy one because I noticed on a test drive what you have noticed, that is, the need for more thigh support. I wish Kia had not moved away from the dual-knob seat height adjusters that were on the previous-gen Spectra and still on other Kias such as the Rio and Sportage--and on Hyundais too. You can dial the seat cushion just right with those, although it takes a couple of turns of the dials. I am hopeful that Kia will revert to that design on the Spectra in the future.

    On the fuel economy, you should notice it improving as the engine gets more miles. That is typical of that engine. But you should be getting more than 26 on the highway. Is yours an automatic or 5-speed, and what speeds do you run at on the highway? I can get mid-to-upper 30s on my automatic Elantra with the same engine if I stay to speed limits (60-65 in my town).
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 11
    Hi thanks for the reply,

    Mine is an automatic EX. I usually drive 70-80 mph. i dont know my speed has something to do with horrible fuel economy. I wish the car came with an mp3 player. Stock stereo is very good. cant find a dash kit for me to install an after market stereo. any suggestion?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Speed has a LOT to do with fuel economy! When the EPA does its tests, they aren't at 80 mph. I've found over the years I get the best fuel economy at about 60 mph. There's a lot of other things you can do to improve fuel economy. One simple thing is make sure the tires are at least at recommended pressure, or even a few psi above. I set mine at 35 (recommended is 30) and find an improvement in mpg and also handling with no significant degradation in ride.

    Have you searched the Web for dash kits, e.g. Crutchfield?
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Hi all,

    I found this on KIA's media website which shows whats new for the 2006 Spectra.


    LX 4 door model discontinued (allows better price “walk” between new Rio and Spectra)

    Delete fog lights on EX 4-door model
    Delete 15-inch factory-installed alloy wheel option on EX 4-door model
    (available as dealer installed option)

    Delete sunroof option on EX 4-door model
    Add cruise control standard on SX and Spectra5
    Add floor mats standard on all models
    Add cabin air filter on all models

    New 4-speed A/T (except SULEV models in CA, MA, ME, NY, VT)
    New-generation transmission is lighter in weight, more durable and provides improved operation

    Color & Trim:
    New exterior color for 4-door EX models-Deep Ocean Blue (replaces Imperial Blue)

    I really think they made a mistake removing the fog lights and moonroof option from the EX version if this is true. And hopefully the dealers will add on the alloys. Anyway, I think this makes the EX very much less competitive with the competition and the Elantra GLS especially with the removal of the moonroof.

    One of the main reasons why my girlfriend chose a Spectra EX (2005) over an Elantra GLS was because of the fog lights and alloy wheels. Both of these aren't available on not available on GLS until you step into the GT or GLS 5 door. But my girlfriend can't get pass the black side mouldings (it took me a long time) and also wanted cloth. Moving to the SX or 5 is the only way to get everything but it comes with some things we both didn't like - sportier suspension, ground effects (not good for my girlfriend) and rear spoiler (my girlfirend thinks it hideaous looking on the Spectra - I agree it should be more subtle like on 04/05 Elantra GT).

    Glad we bought an 05!

    Happy motoring,

  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Hi all,

    I justed wanted to post my feelings and experiences of the Spectra vs the Elantra. I own a 2005 Elantra GT Auto which I bought in Jan 05. My girlfriend bought a 2005 Spectra EX Auto in June 05. Both are maxed equiped except the Spectra doesn't has ABS/traction control option (couldn't find anywhere in southern CA) and we didn't get the rear spoiler since its hideous looking - I guess its good if your into the rice scene.

    I do get to drive her car every weekend when we get together so I have alot of direct driving experience between the 2 cars.

    OK, here are my experiences

    1. Elantra is definitely the better value. When pricing was done between the Elantra GLS and Spectra EX with the same options using real world prices (quotes from the dealers including any rebates) the Elantra was simply a better value. Elantra GLS was around $1500 less on average. In fact, when I was shopping for my GT in Jan I got 2 quotes that were less than what we paid for on the Spectra EX. And this was a fully loaded GT (moonroof, ABS/traction control, leather, auto). So you are probably wondering why my girlfriend didn't get the Elantra GLS. Mostly because I had a Elantra already and that we didn't want to see 2 of the same cars in my garage.
    2. Its hard comparing the two in driveability since I do have a GT with the firmer suspension. My car is definitely better in the corners and its more sure footed at highway speeds. The Spectra is likely to rock a little by big trucks and large SUVs passing by
    3. The Spectra EX has better road and noise isolation. I always thought the Elantra was probably the quietest small car out there (I owned a 2001 Elantra GLS but traded it for a 2003 Suzuki Aerio SX and now I am back to a 2005 Elantra GT) but the Spectra is now the quietest car I have driven in its price range. Especially at freeway speeds. Even with the moonroof open it is quieter than my Elantra. I am really impressed. Also at idle with windows rolled up there is more vibration coming into Elantra cabin than Spectra but not much.
    4. Fit and finish between the Elantra and GLS are near even. Its really a toss-up here. If I had to give anyone a edge it would be the Spectra. The Spectra paint seems to be extremely thick when compared to the Elantra. My Elantra is Silver and the Spectra is White. When looking at the Spectra Silver on the lots I thought there paint jobs were better than on my Elantra.
    5. I feel safer in the Spectra just on a subjective note. Comparing the slamming of the doors the Spectra has a bit more heft to it. Meaning to me that the side impact beams are probably heavier and stronger - I don't know this for a fact. The side curtain air bags also give me a better feel. One thing is that it took Hyundai around 5 years to finally bring the Elantra to acceptable ratings with IIHS where as it took Kia a little over year.
    6. Interior style though subjective is something I also look at. The Spectra is definitely in my opinion the better one though it does have the edge since its generation is only a year old. Its the more modern looking interior. They use more contrasting plastics to give it a higher class look like a very light gray in the lower sections of the door and dash console trim to a dark gray on the top of the door armrest and dash console. Everything is well lit on the Spectra for night driving. Maybe even too glaring for some. Compared to my Elantra at night it looks depressing. This is probably because of the color they chose to light up the interior of the Elantra - purple and green compared to the white of the Spectra. Another thing is the radio. The radio in the Spectra is a 2 DIN unit which I really like. Buttons are much bigger and easier to use. I like having the 2 DIN unit because it doesn't make the car appear as though it is missing something or an after thought. I wish they had put a cover in the Elantra like they did with the 04 GT when they had the Kenwood radios in them.
    6. Since I am not an audiophile I can't say much about the radio. The Spectra seems quite flat on FM channels compared to the Elantra. However, on the Spectra on the FM channels it seems more livelier - more base and treble. Both are equal on the CD front.
    7. Gas mileage. I would never have suspected this since they both use the same engine and pretty similiar transmissions (if not the same) but the Spectra gets better gas mileage. Remember both are autos. The Spectra is averaging arounding 29 MPG with 75% hwy and 25% city. This is with 2100 miles so it should get better as we approach 15K miles. My Elantra is getting around 26 MPG with same hwy/city spread. And sadly to say I am a very conservative driver compared to my girlfriend (probaly has to do with my age difference with her- 20 years older). My Elantra has 8500 miles on it. We use the same gas from Costco here in Southern CA. I measure everything at the pump. The GT has a MPG indicator that is the most inacurate. It always shows me being at 31.0 MPG. Though I have never come close obtaining that by the measuring at the pump method. Highest I ever recorded was 29.5 mpg
    8. Spectra seems to have much better pickup/acceleration than the Elantra. The Elantra seems very slugish at times when I step on it. Maybe the programming between the 2 are different.
    9. Exterior looks, like the interior look, is subjective. I like them both. The Spectra was kinda of weird to me when I first saw it but its one of those designs that looks better in person. Anyway, a tossup here.

    Hope you enjoy and happy motoring.

  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255
    For all you current generation (or potential) Spectra owners out there:

    Check out how a WheelSkins "EuroPerf" leather wheel cover looks on my car:


    WheelSkins allow you to custom order the style and color(s) of your cover, and it is custom fitted to your wheelsize.

    Just put the word "wheelskins" into Google, and you'll find a bunch of outlets online. Not all of the pricing is the same though. The same cover that the actual WheelSkins site listed for 54.99 (plus shipping) only cost me $39.99 (plus shipping) at an authorized "E-tailer".

    The cover is very high quality, soft and comfortable, and went on like a glove. The standard Spectra wheel has a fairly rough surface (which probably isn't a bad idea for enhanced gripping), BUT this cover adds the finishing touch to a very classy interior. It definitely feels like I'm driving a much more upscale car. :-)

  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255
    Well... there's more than one way to skin a cat!

    Here's the same photo from another free server provider:


  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    looks good, the steering wheel cover, and the rest of the interior I could see there.

    Question for ya: is your 2004 1/2 Kia Spectra sedan a color Kia calls Violet Mist, BTW? My 1999 Kia Sephia was Violet Mist, a color that wasn't my first choice but looked really good, though. It looked lighter or darker depending on the way it was reflecting or not reflecting sunlight. This question goes back to the last shot you put on Edmunds of your Spectra that showed the spoiler and rear view. If it's not Violet Mist, what color is it? Thanks in advance and keep enjoying your Spectra!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255
    Hey there iluv!

    My car is actually KIA's "Sand" (gold) color.... with the photos taken at dusk the night there was a really cool sunset in my neck of the woods. Everything had a rosy glow that night.

    It's a really nice color, with very nice metalflake. It really looks good in the direct sunlight.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,237
    what ya mean, there. Which brings to thought the happy thought that Kia paint jobs are really pretty good and hold up well. Which reminds me, I bought some wheel cleaner for my Sportage 4x4 and need to shine them up. Enjoy your Spectra and everyone everywhere enjoy your Kia's. I just like them more all the time! :D

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • kenzie1kenzie1 Posts: 1
    was on way home from work when engine lit came on when got gas was sure cap on tite 3 time turned it had it cked by sonin law couldnt find why it was on can you suggest what it could be and what to do they are closed its sat thank u cant take in to monday and will it be under warrentee thanks all help appreciated
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 11
    4500 miles now. fuel economy got a little better its upto 28 now. but not anywhere near 34 that the epa thinks it should get. Had my first oil change done at a local quick lube. As i was watching the guy take the oil filter out the oil dripper all over the rear inside end of the bumper. the bumper is open ended and oil filter is located right on top of it making a mess at every oil change. only a korean engineer can design something like this. anyways the problem with driver's seat not being able to push back to the rear is just taking its toll. my leg is aching even after a 20 minute drive. this car is recommended only for those with short legs or short in general. Not good for anyone over 5'5".
  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255

    Is your driver's seat broken and can't be pushed fully to the rear, or are you saying that it just doesn't go back far enough? Is your car a U.S. or Canadian spec? I take it that you have the 5-speed too, right?

    I'm 6' with a 31" inseam, and I find the legroom in my EX just fine when pushed completely back on the track. Does the driver's side go back as far on its track as the passenger side seat does?

    Thanks for the info about the oil filter configuration. I just had my oil changed at the dealer and I'll have to look and see if they cleaned that area properly.

This discussion has been closed.