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2008 Kia Spectra5

$2,447 — $7,795 USED
Hatchback
5 Seats
26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?
(4.2) 5 reviews

The Good

  • Maneuverability and driving ease
  • Passenger room
  • Ride comfort
  • Quietness
  • Fuel economy

The Bad

  • Engine noise on hard acceleration
  • Rear legroom for tall passengers
  • Minimal ground clearance
  • ABS not standard
  • Resale value

What to Know

about the 2008 Kia Spectra5
  • Hatchback body style
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Manual or automatic
  • Six standard airbags
  • Sport-tuned suspension

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Kia's Spectra5 hatchback heads into 2008 with only minor changes, since it was restyled for 2007. It competes with several models in a growing market of small hatchbacks. Notable competitors include the Nissan Versa hatchback, the Honda Fit and the Mazda3 hatchback.

Equipped with a sport-tuned suspension, the hatchback is meant to attract younger buyers. One version of Kia's Spectra sedan, the SX, features equipment that's similar to the Spectra5's. The Spectra sedan is listed separately in the Cars.com Research section.


Exterior
The Spectra sedan and Spectra5 hatchback body styles are similar in appearance, but Kia promotes the hatchback's "more extroverted personality [and] athletic stance." Like the SX sedan, the Spectra5 features arches at each front fender and a sharp crease below the greenhouse. The sedan has a regular trunk, while the hatchback has a lift-up hatch. Their wheelbases are identical, but the sedan is about 6 inches longer overall.

The Spectra5 has what Kia calls an "assertive" front end, which features a black mesh grille. Fog lamps are installed. A strut tower bar provides additional torsional rigidity, and the Spectra5 has a fully independent suspension.


Interior
Inside, there's a center console with dual 12-volt power outlets and metallic dashboard accents. An auxiliary jack is included with the audio system for interface with iPods or other MP3 players, and a six-CD changer is optional.

The Spectra5 can seat up to ...
Vehicle Overview
Kia's Spectra5 hatchback heads into 2008 with only minor changes, since it was restyled for 2007. It competes with several models in a growing market of small hatchbacks. Notable competitors include the Nissan Versa hatchback, the Honda Fit and the Mazda3 hatchback.

Equipped with a sport-tuned suspension, the hatchback is meant to attract younger buyers. One version of Kia's Spectra sedan, the SX, features equipment that's similar to the Spectra5's. The Spectra sedan is listed separately in the Cars.com Research section.


Exterior
The Spectra sedan and Spectra5 hatchback body styles are similar in appearance, but Kia promotes the hatchback's "more extroverted personality [and] athletic stance." Like the SX sedan, the Spectra5 features arches at each front fender and a sharp crease below the greenhouse. The sedan has a regular trunk, while the hatchback has a lift-up hatch. Their wheelbases are identical, but the sedan is about 6 inches longer overall.

The Spectra5 has what Kia calls an "assertive" front end, which features a black mesh grille. Fog lamps are installed. A strut tower bar provides additional torsional rigidity, and the Spectra5 has a fully independent suspension.


Interior
Inside, there's a center console with dual 12-volt power outlets and metallic dashboard accents. An auxiliary jack is included with the audio system for interface with iPods or other MP3 players, and a six-CD changer is optional.

The Spectra5 can seat up to five. The hatchback has a folding backseat that can expand cargo volume beyond the basic 18.3 cubic feet. A large rear opening on the Spectra5 hatchback makes it easy to load. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob plus metal pedals are standard.


Under the Hood
The Spectra5 is powered by a 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that teams with a standard five-speed manual gearbox or the optional, revised four-speed automatic transmission. In five states, the Spectra5 equipped with Kia's old four-speed automatic has an environmentally friendly SULEV rating, but that engine produces 136 hp.

Safety
Antilock brakes are optional. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags are standard.

Driving Impressions
Maneuverability is a strong point for the Spectra5, which serves as a satisfying urban runabout. Unlike some small cars, it can be fun to drive and it easily heads wherever it's pointed. Most drivers won't try to push this hatchback too hard through curves, but it handles well for everyday motoring. On straightaways, the Spectra5 tracks well with little correction needed.

Ride comfort is reasonably good — slightly above average — for a small car. Performance with the manual shift is eager but not exactly action-packed. Except for some clanking, the gearshift behaves as adeptly as those in many sporty cars. The seats are softly cushioned but provide satisfactory support. Space behind the backseat is modest.

The engine is quiet in moderate driving, but it gets noisier while accelerating. Lower-body add-on components on the Spectra5 reduce the ground clearance of this hatchback, making it an unwise choice on snow-covered pavement.


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.2
5 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.4)
(4.0)

Good car for the price

by Kim's Kia from Centennial on May 16, 2017

Never had any issues with this car. It's always been reliable and fun to drive. Cleans up nice and has lots of cargo room. Read full review

(3.0)

Wheel Bearing Trouble before 60K miles

by kia owner on June 19, 2013

Until 40K miles this was a good car - no troubles with it. We keep it well-maintained so expected to go at the very minimum past 60K without trouble. However, while on a trip across country (of course... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2008 Kia Spectra5 currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Kia Spectra5 has not been tested.

Latest 2008 Spectra5 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 Spectra5 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