I’m not sure any female car enthusiast would ever be happy with the name Sephia. Just saying that name alone can induce ugly flashbacks for prior owners and dealers. Sportage rhymed with ‘shortage’ and had parts that may have indeed come directly from plastic soda bottles and aluminum foil. Then there was this plain wretched thing…
Rent: I bought the 2004 Spectra GS for $1650 back in tax season. A time when dealers gleefully pay too much money for crap that nobody wants. I thought a late model Kia would be an easy sell since everyone’s dog now wants a small car with great MPG’s. The Spectra delivers on that count alone. But pretty much has lost it quite literally on everything else.
The top of the steering wheel had whittled to nearly half it’s diameter thanks to Kia’s use of cheap leftover rubbers. Or was it hardened play-doh?
The Tonka rivets that had kept the door handle assembly together had somehow melted to gristle. Not even a rattles worth of their past existence. Or the three cent grommets that had been glued to a leftover post-it note to hold the rest of it in place. I had to position three large screws from an old TV set just to keep the thing attached to the door.
Lease: Then there was the dashboard. Those who have old beater Tauruses in arid climates will be familiar with the gaping holes between the dash and the instrument cluster. As the vehicle ages the glue holding the two together gives out. Leaving a corroded glue gaping mouth as a painful reminder of Ford’s cost cutting.
In the Spectra this ‘mouth’ wasn’t measured in centimeters but BIG gaping inches. Enough space to serve as CD storage for an aftermarket stereo that was no doubt recycled from a Clinton era pawn shop.
Sell: Truth be told the Spectra has only two things worth mentioning. The mileage and the price. With 115k miles some folks would assume that the vehicle has another 70k to go. It does if it gets recycled into something else. I’m not saying this car is complete garbage. The replacement engine is quiet and the second (or third) clutch does the job.
But there is no joy here. It’s as if Kia had aspired to create a Corolla and came up with a colonic. I have received over 50 interested parties since February and with each test drive came the ubiquitous words, “Do you have anything else?”. Or “I just wish this car had…” usually finished with a disparaging remark about it’s quality levels. Which over a brief seven years have left this Kia as somewhere between Soviet and third world.
Keep: I may have to keep it until the next ‘tax season’. While the 1985 Cressida sold in a matter of hours and a 1991 Volvo 240 was bought within minutes of it coming on the lot. This Kia may indeed be the ‘unsellable car’. Joining three door minivans, V6 powered Mercury Cougars, and the Chevy Corsica as permanent fixtures in wholesale heaven.
Certain vehicles tend to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at the auctions. The wrong car with the wrong build quality, and the wrong features, and the wrong color. Let’s visualize: just imagine an old beater with peeling brown paint and some ‘authentic’ quality quirk. No door handle. A ball of rubber bands serving as the top of the stickshift. Maybe some pliers in place of the steering wheel. That car of imminent crusher fodder may indeed be more sellable than this Kia. I screwed the pooch on this one.