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2006 Kia Spectra Trims

EX

Avg. Price: $6,775

The 2006 Kia Spectra EX is the next step up from the base model economy compact sedan, and as such, comes with a lot more comfort and convenience features. It is powered by the same 2.0-liter, 138-hp DOHC I4 engine as the base LX, but has a choice of standard 5-speed manual or a newly redesigned 4-speed automatic. Dual front-side and side curtain airbags for each row are standard, as are automatic headlights. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard. ABS is not offered.

Power windows, locks, and mirrors, air conditioning, heated mirrors, keyless entry, and a tachometer are some of the upgrades you'll get with the 2006 Spectra EX over the LX. It also comes with a CD player, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, 6 cupholders, an overhead console, and 60/40 split-fold rear seats that expand on the 12 cubic-foot trunk. A rear spoiler and roof rack are optional, as with the LX, but the EX can also be equipped with cruise control and remote start. Generally, drivers of the 2006 Kia Spectra EX are pleased with their sedan, praising its price tag, fuel economy, and room. The engine is a nice surprise, though it does suffer at higher speeds. Another downside is that the seats can feel uncomfortable. Owners would also prefer darker interior material, as the light color shows off dirt.

LX

Avg. Price: $6,487

As the base model for a compact economy car, the 2006 Kia Spectra LX is not overly forthcoming in features. It does have a CD player, intermittent wipers, height-adjustable front seats, and a tilt steering wheel, but no air conditioning or power features. Dual front-side and side curtain airbags are standard, as are automatic headlights. ABS brakes are not offered on the LX. Powered by a 2.0-liter, 138-hp I4 engine, the 2006 Spectra LX comes only with a 5-speed manual transmission.

The front-wheel drive sedan sits on 15-inch tires. Rear seats split-fold 60/40, and there are six cupholders (four int the front and two in back). If you want air conditioning or a rear spoiler, you can find those in the options list, along with splash guards and a roof rack. The 2006 Spectra LX can't be beat for affordability, and the engine provides a peppy city commute, say owners. Good interior room is an added bonus. A noisy engine at high speeds, and a light interior that shows off dirt are the major complaints.

SX

Avg. Price: $6,655

In its second year, the 2006 Kia Spectra SX is a sportier version of the compact sedan, with larger 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport suspension, front and rear spoilers, foglights, a black grille and blacked-out headlamps, front sport seats, and brushed metal interior trim. The additions give the driver a more hands-on feel of the road, even though it carries the same 2.0-liter, 138-hp DOHC I4 engine. It won't win any passing contests on the highway, but for zipping around town, the 2006 Spectra SX is a nice surprise. It comes with a standard 5-speed manual transmission, but a 4-speed automatic is available.

Cruise control is new this year on the SX. Otherwise it's much like the EX inside, with power windows, locks, and mirrors, heated mirrors, a CD player, intermittent wipers, a tachometer, and automatic headlights. One difference is a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter. While dual front-side and side curtain bags are standard across the Spectra lineup, only on the SX are ABS brakes optional. A sunroof is another SX-only extra. Owners of the 2006 Spectra SX love the sporty exterior, but wish it had more horsepower to match. A roomy interior and good handling is also a big plus.

Spectra5

Avg. Price: $7,155

The sporty hatchback in the Kia Spectra lineup, the 2006 Spectra5 wagon offers more cargo versatility and a more performance oriented ride. Like its SX sedan counterpart, the 2006 Spectra5 wagon comes with a sport suspension, front sport seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, and leather and brushed metal interior trimmings. However, it is powered only by a 2.0-liter, 138-hp DOHC I4 and a choice of standard 5-speed manual or a more solid 4-speed automatic. This proves nicely perky for city rides, but does have some revving trouble on the highway.

Split-folding rear seats expand the 18 cubic-foot trunk to 58.2 cubic feet in the Spectra5. Dual front-side and side curtain airbags are standard, and ABS brakes are optional. New for 2006 is standard cruise control. This joins power windows, locks, and mirrors, height-adjustable seats, heated mirrors, keyless entry, a CD player, tachometer, intermittent wipers, and a leather steering wheel and shifter. An overhead console and 6 cupholders front and back add to the convenience features. As on the sporty SX, the 2006 Spectra5 can be outfitted with a sunroof. Highlights for owners include the sporty looks, the surprisingly spacious room for a compact, budget-oriented fuel economy (24/35) and price tag, and the safety features. A more powerful engine is number one on the wish list for the 2006 Spectra5.