Verdict The Spectra and the Spectra5 offer a reasonably competitive driving experience for the price. The federal government has crash-tested the 2008 Kia Spectra, and it earned five stars for frontal protection and four stars for side-impact protection. There's quite a bit of seating space, though, with a nicely proportioned height-adjustable driver's seat. Improved exterior styling is a big factor in the recent surge in the appeal of Korean vehicles. More important for everyday driving, the Spectra is a nice little car.
The 2008 Kia Spectra feels peppy with the standard five-speed manual but is also one of the more responsive engines in its class with the relatively smooth-shifting four-speed automatic. The Spectra sedan is listed separately in the Cars. Both the 2008 and the now-selling 2009 model are carryovers. A large rear opening on the Spectra5 hatchback makes it easy to load. In any case, the four-cylinder engine delivers responsive acceleration and enough power to make the four-speed automatic a perfectly valid option. The 2008 Kia Spectra5 gets a completely different body style from the front doors back, with hatchback convenience and a tall roofline that continues almost all the way to the back of the vehicle, yielding impressive cargo space--especially when taking advantage of the fold-flat backseats.
The engine is quiet in moderate driving, but it gets noisier while accelerating. The Spectra and the Spectra5 have carved out a niche in the extremely competitive and largely saturated compact-car segment that includes the , , , , , , , , , , and. If anti-lock brakes are a must on your shopping list as they should be, especially for anyone in ice-storm reach , you might want to take your money elsewhere, as Kia has made it extremely hard to get them. The 2008 Kia Spectra interior sports a very basic design lacking the lustrous materials and cohesive styling that's now par for the course, even among bargain-priced rides. The only Kia Spectra interior decor worth noting, according to Cars.
According to some, these things can be overlooked when you consider the car's sporty appearance -- it has one of the best scores for exterior in the affordable small car class -- and its lengthy warranty. The seats are softly cushioned but provide satisfactory support. Most would find the rear-seat accommodations acceptable for even a longer road trip. The sharp crease running from wheel to wheel adds a degree of design sophistication, similar to the side treatment of Mercedes-Benz's S-Class. Available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatch known as the Spectra5, the Spectra shares its platform with the Hyundai Elantra.
Roominess is another strong suit, road manners are competent, and pricing is tough to beat. The sedan has a regular trunk, while the hatchback has a lift-up hatch. It competes with several models in a growing market of small hatchbacks. Remote start is offered on the 2008 Kia Spectra, but neither a Bluetooth hands-free system nor satellite radio are available. Driving Impressions Maneuverability is a strong point for the Spectra5, which serves as a satisfying urban runabout. But our analysis also shows the Spectra could stand some improvement in some areas.
The 2008 Kia Spectra is a compact sedan--or hatchback, the Spectra5--that has a roomy interior and solid performance at a bargain price. A strut tower bar provides additional torsional rigidity, and the Spectra5 has a fully independent suspension. Introduction The second-generation Spectra debuted in 2005. Test drivers, for the most part, view the sedan's ride as too soft and handling not as precise and responsive as desired. Their wheelbases are identical, but the sedan is about 6 inches longer overall. The 2008 Kia Spectra comes well equipped, but actual interior appointments are a weakness; it's very basic in design, which is fine, but it lacks the lustrous materials and cohesive styling that's now par for the course, even among bargain-priced rides. The most recent design change was made in 2007, when Kia restyled the Spectra's front and rear.
Notable competitors include the Nissan Versa hatchback, the Honda Fit and the Mazda3 hatchback. Front side airbags, as well as side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers, are standard on all Spectras. All versions soldier on for 2008 with Kia's 2. That's a shame, because this little four-door has a lot to offer, including a host of standard safety features that are usually extra-cost options on rival cars. . The hatchback has a folding backseat that can expand cargo volume beyond the basic 18. With the manual transmission, the shift lever functions adequately enough but the action feels awkward and unrefined.
The sedan has a regular trunk, while the hatchback has a lift-up hatch. Kia is owned by Hyundai, and the two manufacturers often share architecture, but under current marketing and engineering strategies, Kia is positioned as the sportier of the two brands. Equipped with a sport-tuned suspension, the hatchback is meant to attract younger buyers. There's quite a bit of seating space, though, with a nicely proportioned, height-adjustable driver's seat. The 2008 Kia Spectra5 gets a completely different body style from the front doors back, with hatchback convenience and a tall roofline that continues almost all the way to the back of the vehicle, yielding impressive cargo space--especially when taking advantage of the fold-flat backseats. It represents one of the best values among compacts, with an impressive list of safety equipment for its modest price. Lower-body add-on components on the Spectra5 reduce the ground clearance of this hatchback, making it an unwise choice on snow-covered pavement.