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2002 Kia Spectra

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$518 — $5,582 USED
25
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
28 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Introduced for 2001, Kia’s sporty four-door hatchback offshoot of the front-drive subcompact Sephia sedan earns a restyled body and interior for 2002. These changes also pertain to the Sephia, which alters its name for the 2002 model year to the Spectra sedan. The Sephia is Kia’s oldest model, which first began to trickle into the U.S. market in 1994.

Automatic on/off headlights are new, and the driver’s seat gains lumbar support. Aluminum engine mounts and other engineering changes aim toward decreasing noise, vibration and harshness. Folding rear seatbacks help give the Spectra hatchback more cargo-carrying versatility than the sedan, which has a conventional trunk. Both body styles use the same 125-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

Based in South Korea, Kia is now owned by Hyundai but maintains its own dealer network. Kia has been expanding its presence in the U.S. market with fresh products. The automaker introduced a brand-new midsize Optima sedan for the 2001 model year, following the debut of its mini-sized Rio sedan and the Sephia-derived Spectra hatchback. The newest vehicle in its lineup is the 2002 Sedona minivan, which was launched in summer 2001. Kia sold 98,256 vehicles in the United States during 2000, up from 82,211 units in the previous year, according to Automotive News.

Similar to Hyundai’s coverage, Kia offers a long-term warranty that covers the entire vehicle for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain compon...
Vehicle Overview
Introduced for 2001, Kia’s sporty four-door hatchback offshoot of the front-drive subcompact Sephia sedan earns a restyled body and interior for 2002. These changes also pertain to the Sephia, which alters its name for the 2002 model year to the Spectra sedan. The Sephia is Kia’s oldest model, which first began to trickle into the U.S. market in 1994.

Automatic on/off headlights are new, and the driver’s seat gains lumbar support. Aluminum engine mounts and other engineering changes aim toward decreasing noise, vibration and harshness. Folding rear seatbacks help give the Spectra hatchback more cargo-carrying versatility than the sedan, which has a conventional trunk. Both body styles use the same 125-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

Based in South Korea, Kia is now owned by Hyundai but maintains its own dealer network. Kia has been expanding its presence in the U.S. market with fresh products. The automaker introduced a brand-new midsize Optima sedan for the 2001 model year, following the debut of its mini-sized Rio sedan and the Sephia-derived Spectra hatchback. The newest vehicle in its lineup is the 2002 Sedona minivan, which was launched in summer 2001. Kia sold 98,256 vehicles in the United States during 2000, up from 82,211 units in the previous year, according to Automotive News.

Similar to Hyundai’s coverage, Kia offers a long-term warranty that covers the entire vehicle for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles. Free roadside assistance is included for the first five years.

Exterior
The Spectra sedan is conservatively styled and comes in base and LS trims. Compared to most of its competitors, the Spectra sedan is more reminiscent of import sedans of the past. The four-door sedan rides a 100.8-inch wheelbase and measures 174.4 inches long overall — about the same as the Honda Civic. It stretches 66.9 inches wide and stands 55.5 inches tall.

In addition to having a lift-up hatch instead of a regular trunk, the Spectra hatchback has displayed different front-end styling than the sedan; but the 2002 models more closely resemble each other. Wheelbases are identical, but the hatchback is 2 inches longer overall at 176.2 inches, which is slightly longer than the Ford Focus sedan. Spectra hatchbacks come in GS and the more expensive GSX trim levels; the latter features alloy wheels and front/rear spoilers, for a sportier look.

Interior
Both the hatchback and sedan hold five passengers and are equipped with front bucket seats. The hatchback has a folding backseat that expands cargo volume beyond the minimum 11.6 cubic feet. A larger rear opening on the Spectra hatchback makes it easier to load and unload cargo.

As for the sedan, the LS offers several features that are not available on the base model, including all-cloth seats (instead of the base model’s 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. An optional Power Package for the LS adds air conditioning, cruise control, a tachometer, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Trunk space amounts to 10.4 cubic feet.

Under the Hood
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine develops 125 hp and teams with a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed-automatic transmission. Antilock brakes are optional, and side-impact airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
The Spectra sedan ranks as adequate but not up to the level of its most likely competitors in performance, handling and ride comfort. Driving qualities, in fact, are almost reminiscent of an earlier era. Value is what sells these sedans, even though their reputation for durability cannot match that of comparable Honda or Toyota models.

Even with the manual shift, performance is not a strong suit for the Spectra. Considerable downshifting is necessary to keep the hatchback rolling along — and this is required even more if you happen to be headed uphill for a time. Although the Getrag-designed gearshift is a bit vague and rubbery, it functions with sufficient ease. Acceleration with the automatic transmission sets no records, and the unit sometimes downshifts with a jolt. On the whole, it responds as well as the automatics in most competitors. Engine noise is noticeable during acceleration, but it eases at highway speeds.

What places the Spectra ahead of some of the competition is its smooth ride. Although the Spectra stays acceptably on course on straight highways and through modest curves, it sometimes threatens to become a little unhinged in quick maneuvers. Stabilizer bars at both ends help to keep the hatchback stable.

The front seats are comfortable and well-cushioned. As in most small cars, fitting three people — especially adults — in the backseat can get mighty snug. Headroom is adequate on both sides, and rear legroom is above average for the compact league. Radio controls are a lot better than in past Kias, and gauges are nicely laid-out and easy to read. A glove box that’s bigger than most comes as a surprise.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

3.7
11 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(3.6)
Performance
(3.5)
Interior Design
(3.3)
Comfort
(3.5)
Reliability
(4.0)
Value For The Money
(3.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(1.0)

Not a good car

by Jenn from Columbiana Al on November 18, 2018

It's a 02 spectra, the air bag did not deploy when I had a wreck!! the seats are not good quality, the fueling system is horrible, the interior dash components are poorly built, xxxx near impossible ... Read full review

(4.0)

Good used car

by alf219 from Highland, IN on September 15, 2017

I owned this car for many years. It was my first car and man for being an old thing it really drove and drove. Very reliable. Mostly used for commuting to class but on the few road trips I took with ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2002 Kia Spectra currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2002 Kia Spectra has not been tested.

Latest 2002 Spectra Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Spectra received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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