Replacing the LS sedan is the 2004 Kia Spectra EX, released mid-year and often known as the 2004.5 Kia Spectra. The front-wheel drive economy sedan delivers more power in the form of a 2.0-liter, 138-hp DOHC I4. A 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic remain the transmission choices. Segment-leading six airbags include the new rear side impact bags, and the 2004 Spectra EX also comes with 15-inch wheels. Upgrades from the base LX include foglights, remote entry, full power features, and heated mirrors. A CD player is also standard, along with intermittent wipers, a tachometer, lighted entry, and rear defrost.
Rear legroom has increased by an inch and the trunk gains two more cubic feet of space, for a total of 12.2. Available options on the 2004 Spectra EX include cruise control, a sunroof, alloy wheels, 4-wheel ABS brakes, and a rear spoiler. Fuel economy is attractively rated at 24/32 mpg, and the low initial price tag makes the 2004 Spectra EX a good value buy for first-time owners or city commuters. Good handling, tight cornering, and adequate power make the 2004 Spectra EX a fun drive, according to owners, who also like the exterior looks. Although they live the improvements, drivers say it could use even more legroom and horsepower.