Kia Spectra opening door to good times

On the road, the ’07 Kia Spectra’s power, ride comfort and general handling is pretty satisfying.


We wouldn’t be very surprised to discover that VW’s last-generation Jetta served as a role model for the 2007 Kia Spectra, for it compares well with the German sedan’s impeccable interior finish, lively steering and comfortable ride.

While it also comes in a versatile 5-door hatchback Spectra5 version, this review takes a closer look at the Spectra sedan which brings a lot of features for not a lot of money to growing families operating on a tight transportation budget.

Within the Spectra’s stylish exterior there are three trim levels to choose from. The $15,995 Spectra LS base model comes very well equipped with tilt steering, dual 12-volt power outlets, 60/40-split folding rear seats, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, remote trunk release, anti-theft ignition immobilizer and variable intermittent wipers, to name just a few of its standard equipment items.

Moving up to the mid-range LX Convenience at $18,195 brings heated power side mirrors, air conditioning, power locks and windows and remote keyless entry.

The $20,345 LX Premium tops the range, adding alloy wheels and 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS to the equipment list.

A workman-like 2.0-litre, 138 horsepower 4-cylinder engine powers the front wheels through a standard 5-speed manual gearbox or an optional 4-speed automatic ($1,200) on both the base and LX Convenience models. The automatic is standard on the LX Premium (no manual gearbox available). For 2007, there is a mid-cycle cosmetic makeover — incorporating the usual lights/bumpers/grille and wheels thing. Interior changes include an MP3 player, auxiliary jack and USB port on the audio, new gauges and centre console.

The Spectra’s cabin room is above average for the class. Overall, this car is built to respond to a young familly’s needs.

Cabin room is above average for the class and the spacious layout feels bright, comfortable and nicely upholstered. The seats offer decent support and there’s even a generous amount of legroom for rear seat riders. But the trunk space is a bit on the small side.

On the road, the Spectra’s power, ride comfort and general handling is pretty satisfying for what is, after all, a small economy sedan. It accelerates to highway speeds with reasonable alacrity while there’s little cabin noise inside and very little audible wind noise.

Thanks to its wide-track, independent suspension layout the Spectra handles well when asked, with little body roll in corners and sharp response from the speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering.

Both the 5-speed manual and optional 4-speed automatic transmissions perform smoothly in normal conditions, although the auto can sometimes shift a little “harshly” when hard acceleration or sudden throttle liftoff catches its by surprise.

But, in most ways, the Spectra is built to respond to a young family’s needs. It has the power to surprise. It’s detailed for the good life … and its strength in safety items has got you covered where it counts.

2007 Kia Spectra

Type: Compact 5-pass sedan FWD

Price: $15,995 - $$20,345

Engine:2.0-litre L4 DOHC

Horsepower: 138 @ 6,000 rpm

Torque: 136 @ 4,500 rpm

Highlights: Roomy, well priced, interior finish, surprisingly well made, comfortable ride.

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