2005 Kia Spectra
Kia's Spectra SX may be small in size, but its sporty character gives it a higher entertainment quotient than the base model without leaving your wallet empty.
The SX is the sedan version of the Spectra5 hatchback. It has a base price of $15,250 for the five-speed manual and $16,225 for the four-speed automatic. A rear spoiler, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, metal finish throughout the interior and new seat fabric complete the package.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, power heated outside mirrors, rear wiper/washer and a height-adjustable steering column. Options include cruise control, sunroof and ABS brakes.
Key to raising the SX's fun-to-drive factor is the tightened-up suspension, larger stabilizer bars and 16-inch wheels. A strut tower brace on manual transmission models enhances the body's structural rigidity, which in turn yields better performance on twisty roads.
The power rack-and-pinion steering feels good because it has more assist at low speeds and less at high speeds.
The SX is powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC engine that produces 138 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. Continuously variable valve timing and multi-port fuel injection contribute to the engine's ability to accelerate cleanly at both low and high speeds. A little more midrange torque would enhance city driving. The Environment Protection Agency's mileage rating is 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission is optional. The test car's shift linkage was light to shift but a little vague.
The Spectra has six standard airbags, including full-length side-curtain airbags. That's a first for this segment, according to Kia.
The redesigned Spectra is larger and more powerful than its predecessor. It sits on a 102.8-inch wheelbase. Its styling is lean and crisp. A pointed nose and flared front fenders give it an energetic look that sets it apart from most compact sedans. Little details, such as the concave character line that runs down the side, add a nice touch.
Inside, nice textures on the instrument panel and pleasant materials throughout the interior make the Spectra feel more expensive than its price would suggest. To make the car feel spacious, the lower sections of the dash and door panels are light like the seats. Darker colors on the upper part of the instrument panel cut glare. Large, simple climate control knobs grace the center stack of the dash along with an audio system that has a black faceplate. The gauges are also black with white numerals.
I strongly recommend adding the optional anti-lock, four-wheel disc brakes.
When you factor in the five-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Spectra SX has a lot to offer.
The test car's base price was $15,250. Anti-lock brakes, cruise control and a power sunroof brought the sticker price to $17,140.
Five years or 60,000 miles. The powertrain warranty is 10 years or 100,000 miles.
To get in touch with Tom Strongman, send e-mail to .com.
Engine: 2.0-liter, 138-hp 4-cyl.
Wheelbase: 102.8 inches
Curb weight: 2,826 lbs.
Base price: $15,250
As tested: $17,140
Mpg rating: 25 city, 32 hwy. At A Glance
Point: Pumping up the Spectra SX with a beefier suspension, rear spoiler and sporty interior makes this compact even more appealing to young buyers who want a zippy sedan. The interior is nicely finished, the engine gets good gas mileage and the warranty is one of the longest in the business.
Counterpoint: More midrange torque would be good, and the manual transmission linkage could be firmer.
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Kia Spectra
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.