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By Rick Popely
December 1, 1999
Vehicle Overview Kia's subcompact sedan returns unchanged from last year, including the base price of $9,995. Kia is now owned by fellow Korean automaker Hyundai but maintains a separate dealer network in the United States. Kia currently sells the front-drive Sephia and the Sportage sport utility vehicle in the United States, but plans to add a smaller subcompact sedan for the 2001 model year. The new sedan, which may be called Rio, could arrive as early as next spring. The Sephia is set for a 2002 redesign, when it likely will become larger and gain a bigger engine.
Interior Sephia comes in base and LS price levels, and the LS boasts several features not available on the base. All-cloth seats (instead of cloth and vinyl), a tilt steering column, a 60/40 split rear seatback that folds for extra cargo room, and a tilt feature for the driver's seat are among them. An optional Power Package for the LS adds air conditioning, power locks, windows and mirrors, cruise control and a tachometer.
Exterior The conservatively styled Sephia comes only as a four-door and measures 174.4 inches overall, less than an inch shorter than the Honda Civic.
Under the Hood A 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 125 horsepower is the only engine choice. There is a choice of transmissions: five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.