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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I drove the Elantra's almost-twin, the Kia (sorry about that nasty acronym, even worse than Hyundai Automotive Group's HAG) Spectra.
There are three sedan models and one hatch/station wagon, known as the 5SX.
The sedans come in LX, EX, and SX. To me, the significant differences are the LX comes with front disc/rear drum, the EX disc/disc, and the S(e)X and 5SX have available ABS with their four shiny frisbees.
The two lesser Honda-model-name-copycats, the LX and EX, come with 195.60.15 tires with steel wheels (hopefully from Pittsburg), while the SX/5 and SX get 205.50.16s separating the alloy wheels from ground contact.
The SX and 5SX get "sport-tuned suspension," which will take some time at Kia websites to dope out the exact meaning.
Mechanically identical (except no CAI at the top/front of the engine bay) to the Hyundaiii! Elantra with its 2 liter 138 HP @ 6000/ 136 TQ @ 4500 inline four-potter, the EX automatic I drove displayed good pep. At 60 MPH it was ticking over at about 2200 RPM, and it was smooth and quiet. It had sufficient punch to move right up to 70+, and the ride seemed snubbed down tighter than cousin Elantra.
Both lines have available a SULEV version posting 132 HP and 133 TQ figures at the same RPMs.
During evasive maneouveurs on surface streets, there was little lean and this car placed between the previously-driven Suzuki SX4 sedan and the Elantra regarding overall suspension behavior. Sort of the threesome's Baby Bear, with the Suzuki being Pappa Bear and the Elantra filling Mamma Bear's role. Sounds like something out of Hogan's Heroes secret radio transmissions, what?
Power heated mirrors, supportive manual 6-way seats, power windows and locks with remote, the EX comes with all the typical amenities expected in today's finer motor carriages.
While I have a fast rule against buying anything without ABS, the way these 4Wdiscs felt could give me cause to consider breaking that rule. A country road session getting the machinery up to smelling speed should tell me how well they are dialed in as far as one-for-all and all-for-one status.

The local Kia dealers have 1500 cash on the Spectras, and fire sale ads are everywhere. And with a little fudging with the model's spelling, you have Spectre, which is either a group of organized ne'er-do-wells located in the late Ian Fleming's imagination, or the fearsome AC-130 Hercules gunships which proved their mettle in the last war run by idiots in neckties.
 

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:lmao:

I'm tearing up my subscription to "Everything Else" Monthly and soley relying on your guidance to tell me exactly what is good or not. Please don't ever buy a car else the education stops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you kamkiM, you have unparallelled taste regarding test writeups.

There's an error in my above post, in that it was an SX I drove rather than an EX. Drove an EX today, but it was all snowy and slushy and my wife was aboard and Bondurant-ish maneuvers tend to make her a bit skittish, so I kept it sane and nane.
There's a lot of KIA--I prefer to call it VIK--cash on this leftover 2007 black EX, and we might just pick this puppy up along with a Rondo!, which is Italian for "You wantta yoo-a olives on the side-a with-a spaghetti-O?"
While I've never actually studied Italian, my cousin lived in Italy for a few years when her husband was stationed there driving Ferraris amd flying whirlybirds. So I think I'm pretty qualified to talk about olives.
At any rate, this EX is going for about twelve-five plus the slick little add-ons like lifetime sealed muffler bearing bear grease, free five-year membership in The Ad-hoc Committee for Peace, Freedom, and Empty Hope, a free participatory in the Curtis Turner Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Cruise with Brock Yates as Curtis Turner, document fee, finance guy's lake house mortgage fee, and dealer balloon fee.
I will keep the breathless ones out there posted regarding progress on the new wheels, which BTW are equipped with some of the worst-rated tyres produced by any earthling manufacturer known to Art Bell, Goodyear Eagle LS in the 195.60.15 size. Anyone who wants to work a swap, send me a Vibe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You spelled Pittsburgh wrong.
Thank you kindly for your speilcheck.

I needed the H for LAMRONH.

And the H is silent, much like the P in Psmith from the PG Wodehouse books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
A little follow-up now that we've had the caah a couple of weeks.
The automatic short-shifts with the best of them. It will shift as low as 1500 RPM, and with the VVT there is plenty of grunt low-down, in relation to its 121 c.i. displacement at any rate. I'd rate this engine a shade more flexible than the VVT 2.4 in my 2003 Accord.
The four-speed auto kicks down on command, and will run up to about 6000 at WFO for shiftouts at 38 and 75. It will kick down at 65, not leaving you flat-footed if the need to merge becomes an adrenaline imperative. I had a 2001 Accord 2.3 with four-speed auto that would leave you hanging when it shifted out of second at around 67, just the wrong place for No Power, No Torque Drill Sergeant!

It took forever to burn down to 1/2 tank, or 50% of 55 liters/14.5 gallons US-American. When I topped off, we had burned 7.4 gallons of non-ETOH 87 proof over 270 miles, for a net of 36.6 MPG. And that's not trying for Mobil Economy Run figgers. Hopefully this is not a fluke, and such MPG numb3rs will continue or improve.
While a fun and agile Town Car, the Spectre really shines on the highway. It's almost instinctive, perhaps because of its lightness, surefootedness, and agility, but the road at 50 to 80 is a simple task for this compact that fits like a good pair of jungle boots.
Reasonably quiet, very stable, powerful brakes, quality-feel controls in natural places, an easier drive than the 04 Impala. This was not what I expected, I figured my bigger cars would be better cruisers.
I finally found a space-hole for the Valentine 1, the only place it will fit is near the mirror. Another 1/4" in height and I'd be looking to hang it from the overhead light.
So far at 500 miles, no funny noises, no grouchy roaring or vibrating at 70 MPH despite what CR or CD and other experts may say,.

Just an inexpensive, well-put-together, does-it-all-right, 12,000 ($16,745 sticker) dollar car with a long warranty.

edit: A couple of items I forgot: The instruments lack good contrast, they are black on a grey background and the mileage numbers and sometimes the speed can be hard to read in certain lighting conditions. An odd oversight. The headlights are incredible, something I haven't seen lately in a modern car. Better than the Impala with Silverstars. I was going to look for Silverstars for this car, but with the reach out low beams and long-distance high beams, I see no need given current driving conditions. If we move to the country, that might be a reason to upgrade.
 

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Why did you purchase a KIA?

Why not a Hyundai? Chevrolet/Pontiac/Saturn? Toyota/Scion? Honda/Nissan? Mazda?
Are you hurting for money and needed a cheap good deal or what?
Can you post pictures please?

CobaltSS

Seriously, I really want to know why someone buys a KIA!

EDIT: Just saw this from you: "Just an inexpensive, well-put-together, does-it-all-right, 12,000 ($16,745 sticker) dollar car with a long warranty"

So my question is why not a model year old Aveo, Cobalt, Mazda3, Civic, Rolla (especially 08 when the 09 is revised model), G5/ASTRA, Versa/Fit, Yaris?...or even the Hyundai version?
 

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GM 100k powertrain and Chrysler has the Lifetime warranty. Hyundai carries same warranty as Kia to my understanding...

I'm just shocked when I hear people buying Kia's. First thing that comes to mind (and this is not a personal attack, and I'm glad you're enjoying your purchase L.)

Kia=Yugo of 2008.

Sorry, and whenever I see a KIA driver pass me, my head gets filled with these: "?????????????????????? WHY????!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!????????? NO!!!! WHY??????"

CobaltSS
 

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I read somewhere that Kia is actually ahead of where Toyota, Honda and Nissan were at this stag of their existence. Kia's quality now also ranks among the best in some comparisons. The Sedona minivan is quite nice and the Amanti is nothing to kick at. I would also think the Rio or Spectra woulod be a great commuter-type car.

I always look at GM products first, but when I look the other way, Kia will probably get a look if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
GM 100k powertrain and Chrysler has the Lifetime warranty. Hyundai carries same warranty as Kia to my understanding...

I'm just shocked when I hear people buying Kia's. First thing that comes to mind (and this is not a personal attack, and I'm glad you're enjoying your purchase L.)

Kia=Yugo of 2008.

Sorry, and whenever I see a KIA driver pass me, my head gets filled with these: "?????????????????????? WHY????!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!????????? NO!!!! WHY??????"

CobaltSS
I am sorry your head gets filled with ????????????????????WHY???????????????? .
Since you're in nursing school, maybe one of your instructors could help diagnose the intracranial question marks. Something like automotive superquestion disorder, perhaps.

I did not want a Toyletta. A friend asked about Civics (he's happy with his Accord, his first Asian/US-American car) so off to the Hun-duh dealer I went. The saleshomie was such an arse-whole I really got turned off regarding any further pursuit of what I know is a good car.
Here we go: "These Civics are just marked up a couple of hundred dollars. They pretty much sell for sticker." "They have a 3/36 warranty. Hondas never have trouble. All we do in our shop is oil changes." I was going to biotch-slap the MF, but I left rather than gather charges for salting the battery of the mentally unarmed.

You just don't see many KIAs, the same goes for Suzukis. They are quality vehicles, but you don't see yourself every two minutes driving down the street.
That wasn't the overriding deal-maker. I got a car for 12 grand that, for similar stuff on another lot, would have cost 14-17 grand +.
When a good deal knocks on my door, I answer.


Thank you for not assaulting my Neanderthal existence. Neanderthals have feelings too.

KIA=Hyundai. Same parent, same shared chassis and engines and trannies.

Frankly KIA was not even on my radar 5 weeks ago. Like Suzuki and Saturn and some others off the screen, I didn't expend a lot of brain electricity ruminating about them.
What are the relative merits of a South Korean car with a bad acronym?
And what the hell is a Sorento, anyway?

My 95 Chrysler project went bad and got into the red in an unfortunate sort of way. My wife and I discussed a cure, but we couldn't get Mikmak to come by at 3 am and "borrow" the car, so we considered slightly used stuff like Grand Prix, Impala, Malibu (drove a new 2007 Maxx they were selling for 16,5).

One fine day, as the song goes, I sore an ad for a Suzuki SX4. I had no frikkin idear what an SX4 was, but I drove over and looked at it while the LHS was getting a rebuilt Mopar trannie (with a 3/100K warranty [follows-VIN, not person, BTW]) inserted into its wounded innards.

The SX4 is a great little drive, all the power I need and quick handling and a unique view out with a well-designed ****pit (see test elsewhere in this section).
There's lots of Suzuki $$ on the hoods these days and the warranty is 7/100K 3/36 B-B fully transferrable, unlike some others. For about $14,700 I could have droved off in the 'zooki.

Knowing IROCNROL1's fascination with, nee addiction to, the mighty Elantra, and since they are also on sale now, I drove one of them. Having a local dealer helped, the Suzuki is 25 miles away.
Nice car, lots of equipment, OTD for 15 grand (GLS) or 16 for the SE model with ESP, tilt/telescope, trip computer, brake assist (not sure I want that), 16" alloys, XM, and a few other gadgets.
Since Elantras and Spectras are virtual twins (I believe the Spectra uses the last-gen Elantra chassis--XD2 for 04-06, vs HD for 07+ Elantras) and use the same engines, and I sore KIA ads for cheep cars, I went out and drove one. Very nice car, and as I point out in a more extensive write-up, it fit nicely between the SX4 and the Elantra.
The Chevy dealer had no Cobalts on the lot, just one or two Aveos and the Avs are a bit too teenie for my tastes. I wasn't interested in a Calibre or whatever the Neon replacement supposedly is, and like most Fords, the Focus is off the radar (no pun intended).
edit: With GM's constant name-changing, the only Pontiacs I think about are GPs, Bonnevilles, Vibes, and occasionally the G8. I would probably have driven a 2008 Sunfire, but I really don't know what a G5 is and I really don't care, either. If makers want to keep moving the target, that's fine, but my interest in that game is trumped by my interest in good quality at a good price. And if the G5 is half as ugly as the G6 then fuggeddaboutit.

Oddly, most Spectras on the lots (I'd guess 70%) have stick shifts, and we needed an automatic. Found a white 08 Spectra coming off the truck, but the sales mgr at that particular dealer was not cool and gave my wife a bad case of the creepies.
Meanwhile we'd been shopping the lot one mile up the road. The people there are very nice, my sales guy had been selling for like 15 days and had just sold his first car.
They had a new 07 EX on the lot and offered it at 12 grand. The EX model has all the toys excepting ABS. ABS is a 98% sure requirement for me, but the 4Wdiscs feel like pretty bulletproof snubbers so I made an exception to policy.

We also needed a vehicle for a relative, ended up getting a leftover 07 Rondo EX 2.4 four. Rondos were even further off my radar (since I'd never heard of them), but it's a great little package hardly any longer than the Spectra but with relatively huge space inside.
edit: Rondos are competitive+ with the RAV4 and the Vibe and others of that ilk. Very competitive. Go drive one and price one.

Rondos have all the toys including ESP, ABS, bags up the wazoo, and they were hankerin' to ditch it before the end of the month.
According to reports, there are some Rondos being tested in a NYC taxi fleet.

So the deal was made, we offloaded the now-repaired Mopar and got a toofer deal where the sales AND finance staff are nice and appear above-board (go figure, it has to happen somewhere I guess).

While I realize KIA is not a status word/brand, I don't care what the neighbors or my fellow road warriors think.
I know I wouldn't want a Lexus or MB because those are images I really don't care to have associated with me, i.e. snobbery, are you a doctah?, need for status, Cadillac-driver syndrome, etc.

To me, KIA is up-and-coming. They're hungry, and they build a good car at a good price.
It is essentially no different from a Hyundai. The doors have a quality slam, the car is tight, the styling pleasant, the equipment extensive at the price. The car reminds me of the two 90s Proteges I owned (great, agile cars), and of my old Rover 2000, which was an extraordinary machine.

And thayitt's all I know about thayitt. (Forrest Gump)

edit: CD's take: Highs
Highs: Lots of features for the money, roomy interior, quiet at most speeds, surprisingly high assembly quality. Lows
Lows: Manual shifter vague and rubbery, overly light clutch, seats lack lumbar support.
What's New
What's new: Revised four-speed automatic transmission. Behind The Wheel
Behind the wheel: Over-assisted power steering, suspension tuned for cushy ride at the expense of prompt response, automatic could use a fifth ratio.
Capsule Review
Loaded with features at a great price, the Spectra doesn't feel like a compact economy car. Fit and finish is well above average, and interior materials are impressive for this price class. Roominess is another strong suit, road manners are competent, and pricing is tough to beat.


edit:Oh yes, the lumbar support is badly lacking in the front seats. The back seats have good lumbar, but I usually don't ride there whilst driving.
And of course there's the number-of-gears issue, but I'm sick of harping on that. A four speed works well here, a five-speed would work better, but that's the way it is today.

Oh yes, I'm considering changing the KIA tags. Perhaps I should run a poll:
1. KIA
2. VIK
3. CIA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I guess Cobalt's ????????????????????????WHY??????????????????????? intracranial voices got the best of him.

Take two aspirin and call me in two weeks. :spit:
 

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Nice review, though I am never a fan of Hyundai nor Kia or any imports, despite that I am Korean myself. I just don't have faith in them, and prefer, the good 'ol American cars when I shop for a new car that are bigger.

Well, I DID like Kia at one point, when it was a seperate company before it got bankrupt that Hyundai had to save them. But right now, I can care less about their products. It's also a fact that Kia hasn't improved much in terms of public conception as much as Hyundai did. Hyundai's reputation have gone up really very much, but I don't think Kia's is up much.
 

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Today I drove the Elantra's almost-twin, the Kia (sorry about that nasty acronym, even worse than Hyundai Automotive Group's HAG) Spectra.
There are three sedan models and one hatch/station wagon, known as the 5SX.
The sedans come in LX, EX, and SX. To me, the significant differences are the LX comes with front disc/rear drum, the EX disc/disc, and the S(e)X and 5SX have available ABS with their four shiny frisbees.
The two lesser Honda-model-name-copycats, the LX and EX, come with 195.60.15 tires with steel wheels (hopefully from Pittsburg), while the SX/5 and SX get 205.50.16s separating the alloy wheels from ground contact.
The SX and 5SX get "sport-tuned suspension," which will take some time at Kia websites to dope out the exact meaning.
Mechanically identical (except no CAI at the top/front of the engine bay) to the Hyundaiii! Elantra with its 2 liter 138 HP @ 6000/ 136 TQ @ 4500 inline four-potter, the EX automatic I drove displayed good pep. At 60 MPH it was ticking over at about 2200 RPM, and it was smooth and quiet. It had sufficient punch to move right up to 70+, and the ride seemed snubbed down tighter than cousin Elantra.
Both lines have available a SULEV version posting 132 HP and 133 TQ figures at the same RPMs.
During evasive maneouveurs on surface streets, there was little lean and this car placed between the previously-driven Suzuki SX4 sedan and the Elantra regarding overall suspension behavior. Sort of the threesome's Baby Bear, with the Suzuki being Pappa Bear and the Elantra filling Mamma Bear's role. Sounds like something out of Hogan's Heroes secret radio transmissions, what?
Power heated mirrors, supportive manual 6-way seats, power windows and locks with remote, the EX comes with all the typical amenities expected in today's finer motor carriages.
While I have a fast rule against buying anything without ABS, the way these 4Wdiscs felt could give me cause to consider breaking that rule. A country road session getting the machinery up to smelling speed should tell me how well they are dialed in as far as one-for-all and all-for-one status.

The local Kia dealers have 1500 cash on the Spectras, and fire sale ads are everywhere. And with a little fudging with the model's spelling, you have Spectre, which is either a group of organized ne'er-do-wells located in the late Ian Fleming's imagination, or the fearsome AC-130 Hercules gunships which proved their mettle in the last war run by idiots in neckties.
Please get a job at Motor Trend or Car & Driver.......hilarious writeup! :clap: :clap:
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Please get a job at Motor Trend or Car & Driver.......hilarious writeup! :clap: :clap:
Eldo, a youthful dood feeling old but not yet a quarter-century, has hit on an age old Trvth! Thank you.

Unfortunately YHN has made some disparaging comments regarding CD's Pat Bedard and his Good Pat-Bad Pat personality fracture. This concerns his spot-on commentary regarding assorted globaloney-warming-like BS such as Traffic Scameras, vs. his unfettered I Love You! I Love You! feelings for inanimate metal Hondas.

Such probing analysis is rarely appreciated in today's world, where Narcissism is the fastest-growing, most-dangerous contagious disease.

Now, if Bedard would only alert the CDC about that revelation.
 

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LAMRONH, you are a hilarious writer! My favorite parts are your colloquial phonetic misspellings.

I'll have to get my hands on a a Geo (oops, Kia) Spectrum to investigate it sometime this year.
 
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