Ex-Mazda man Gordon Dickie said his major goal was overhauling the Spectra's suspension in order "to bring road feel, balance, handling" to Kia vehicles, leaving this writer wondering what Kia was trying to do with the suspension in the first place. Also added to the 2004 Spectra (Kia is not changing the model year) is a healthier list of standard features, including six airbags, two of which are of the side curtain variety, a six speaker AM/FM/CD player, and 60/40 split folding rear seats, all of which are found on the $13,160 base LX model. Taking another cue from Mazda, the Spectra5 hatchback is slated to be released this summer, with a few additional sporting touches, including, you guessed it, stiffer suspension.

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