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Sweet Sporty Puppy Love
2005 Kia Spectra5
By Alain Gayot

In short: A good little sporty, budget five-door.

Kia and Hyundai are part of the same company now, and the Korean manufacturers have made some significant inroads on the U.S. market since their early days marked by brake defects and other manufacturing problems. In fact they are so confident in their products now that they are backed by a 10 year/100,000 mile limited Powertrain warranty.

Of course, you would only look into purchasing such a vehicle if budget is your main concern. And once you are satisfied with a price tag circa $15,000, you’d want to know what you’re getting (you can get into the sedan for almost $2,000 less). First of all, the Spectra5 is a handsome little car, fully functional and utilitarian due to its 5-door configuration. It’s a perfect first car for college or to have around a house full of kids who will eventually grow up and will need to learn how to drive. The Spectra5 is sexied up to look sporty with a front and rear spoiler, side sills and rear valance. It also comes with a nice set of wheels and tires. Get in and everything is logically arranged and fully intuitive. There is no learning curve at all. Our tester came with the 5-speed manual adding to the sporty climate, but you can get it with a 4-speed automatic with overdrive. Turn the key, and start enjoying the sport-tuned suspension. But don’t go over 70 MPH or things will get rather noisy… unless you crank up the 6-speaker audio system.

Once again, perfect for a first car or if you are on a budget. You’ll have no problems with it in the city, but road trips might be a bit much.

Warranty/Service: 10 year/100,000 mile limited Powertrain warranty,
5 year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty, 5 year/100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty, 5 year/60,000 mile roadside assistance.

Price as tested: $15,535

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder 16V DOHC, 138 horsepower

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Safety: Dual advanced front airbags, dual front and rear side curtain airbags, front and rear crumple zones, front seat mounted side airbags, side-door impact beams.

Top Speed: n/a

Acceleration: n/a

Braking: Power four-wheel disc brakes

Fuel Economy: 25/city, 33/highway

Handling: Power Rack and Pinion Steering, Sport-Tuned 4-wheel Independent Suspension, P205/50R16 Tires, Alloy Wheels

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Photography: Walter Mladina

(Updated: 07/28/08 HC)

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