2003 Kia Spectra Reviews and Owner Comments

2003 Kia Spectra owners review and rate their 2003 Kia Spectra.

2003 Kia Spectra (6 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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I paid $5000 cash for this car with 19,000 miles. It has been the best car i have owned. I changed all tear and wear parts at approximately 125,000miles as preventive maintenance. I changed the breaks at 130,000 and the clutch at about 150,000 (the mech said clutch was still good). At the time I bought this car, I had also bought a dodge truck.... Big difference in quality. I had to change all of the suspension parts and breaks on the truck at 60,000. The only problem with the kia is that the dashboard is delaminating and peeling back at the defroster vents. Also, the upper catalytic converter goes out at about 190,000miles(common in kias). Currently my kia has 251,000 miles and still going strong. I did change the battery at about 160,000m. Excellent car. Would buy another one except they jacked up the prices!!
My car has 101,000 miles and has been very mechanically dependable with only minor issues. I had to replace a $30 fuel pressure damper (easily done myself). The belt occasionally squeals on cold mornings even after tensioning it. The interior and exterior is very poor quality. Paint chips easily, body dents easily, knobs and switches fall apart, dashboard comes apart, etc. But for a cheaply made car, I've been pleasantly surprised by it's mechanical reliability, which is much more important to me than cosmetics.
Bought this car new in 2003 and it now has over 100,000 miles on it. I have had to replace the driver power window motor, a battery, tires and brake pads. That's it. This little car has run like a top. I lived in Missouri and drove it to Kentucky, Ohio several times, and California. Since I've been in California I've made several trips back to Missouri to see family and it has never failed me. For a cheap little car (about $12000 when we bought it) I have more than gotten my money's worth out of it and I will try to keep it going as long as I can. It has handled well in Wyoming snow storms when making my trips back and forth from California to Missouri, and has yet to fail me.
I purchased this car for my 18 year old, and I now know why I have never owned a Kia. It has 161258 miles and has been an electrical nightmare since the extended warranty expired. Basically IF YOU must purchase a CHEAP( not inexpensive) vehicle then buy a KIA, they are inexpensive because they are CHEAP in every way. The brakes fade after 10 -15 mile of driving in the city and always have(even when new) the maintenance is VEEERRRY expensive. think Lexmark (printers) it will cost you nothing to purchase, but will be very costly to keep. No to be biased but Korea is doing us no favor by making these CHEAP cars in America. They are perpepuating the stereo type of poor American workmanship.
All in all, this 2003 Kia Spectra has done well for us. Check Engine light comes on / goes off intermittently, and had to replace exhaust flex pipe; otherwise, just normal maintenance. Body fit and finish is main complaint. Reasonably roomy, good mpg, quiet and smooth running.
Has been very dependable car, but body is weak--you look at it crosseyed and it scratches and dents. Side door bumpers are placed too low so neighboring cars put dents and scratches just above the bumpers.