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Average User Score
3.7 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 12 reviews
2002 Kia Spectra Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 12 reviews
It's hard to say goodbye, but in 2002 Kia's first American model, the Sephia sedan, was no more. Actually, it was rebadged as the 2002 Kia Spectra sedan, joining the Spectra hatchback as the economy compact offering in the Kia lineup. The 2002 Spectra sedan came in base and LS trims, which mirrored the GS and GSX trims of the sportier hatchback. For 2002, both models received new front and rear lights and a new grille, with the LS getting additional grille chrome accents. Foglights were now standard on both the LS sedan and GSX hatchback.
The powertrain remains the same -- a 1.8-liter, 125-hp DOHC I4 engine and standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic. Both the base sedan and hatchback are sparsely equipped, with 14-inch tires, intermittent wipers, power steering, and a cassette player. Opting for the LS or GSX adds power features, air conditioning, cruise control, alloy wheels, a tilt steering wheel, and adjustable seat cushion for the drivers. The GSX hatchback also adds a rear spoiler, rear window wiper, air dams, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, to give the impression of a sportier ride. Seats in all models split-fold 60/40. On the outside, both cars look very similar, and it's hard to tell which is the hatchback. A slightly more sloped roofline and the rear hatch opening are the telltale signs. The hatch liftgate offers a cubic foot more of cargo space than the sedan.
The backseat is cramped for adults, but the 2002 Spectra makes a good personal starter car or first family car. The base price and long-term warranty are the biggest highlights, but owners also say the handling and steering are surprisingly agile and smooth. Front seats are comfortable, gas mileage is good, and the hatchback cargo space is large for a compact car. Downsides include many mechanical and electrical problems. Poor quality materials get scratched and dented easily, and flaking paint is unattractive. The trunk release sticks and the tires are not big enough for the car and therefore wear quickly.
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