2001 Spectra New Car Test Drive
Americans have an aversion to hatchbacks not shared by the rest of the world. The hatchback has acquired a negative perception that has nothing to do with its actual function and that's a shame, because it's difficult to imagine a more practical vehicle for single-car households. What other body style can haul bicycles and skis, furniture or friends, all with equal aplomb? Okay, an SUV can. But isn't a small SUV just a very tall, underpowered hatchback that doesn't handle as well?
How cool is that? So we think Kia deserves major kudos for trying to sell the five-door Spectra to a skeptical American audience.
Spectra's base price at just $10,995. Kia sweetens the deal with a warranty program that extends basic coverage to five years or 60,000 miles, and powertrain coverage to 10 years or 100,000 miles; it also includes five-year/100,000-mile rust perforation protection, and a five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan.
At that rate it's hard not to look into a Spectra, through all five doors if necessary.
The Spectra lineup consists of one body style: a hatchback with four passenger doors and a quasi-fastback roofline.
The base trim model is designated GS and lists at $10,995. Air conditioning adds $900 to that price. Or opt for the $13,195 GSX, which lists air conditioning, alloy wheels, power windows, and central locking as standard equipment, plus a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and an aggressive-looking body kit.
All Spectras are powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine rated 125 horsepower. They come with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission ($975) driving the front wheels.