2009 Kia Spectra

#32 in 2009 Affordable Small Cars Overall Score: 6.7 / 10
2009 Kia Spectra View More Photos »
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$5,183 - $6,345
$13,550 - $17,450

2009 Kia Spectra Overview

The 2009 Kia Spectra is an adequate commuter car, but others in the class have better performance and safety scores, as well as nicer interiors.   











See full 2009 Kia Spectra specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of cargo space in hatchback and sedan
  • Well-made interior
  • Poor safety scores
  • Lackadaisical performance
  • Cramped second-row seats
  • Front seats need more cushioning

Notable for 2009

  • Final year in production
  • EX trim received standard cruise control and optional sunroof

Kia Spectra Rankings and Research

The 2009 Kia Spectra ranking is based on its score within the 2009 Affordable Small Cars category. Currently the Kia Spectra has a score of 6.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 43 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 6.7
Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.8
Cost to Own: N/A
Safety: 7.8
Reliability: 2_0

2009 Kia Spectra Pictures

2009 Kia Spectra Review

By U.S. News Best Cars Staff May 19, 2015

The 2009 Kia Spectra is an adequate commuter car, but others in the class have better performance and safety scores, as well as nicer interiors.   

When it first came out, reviewers called the 2009 Kia Spectra a decent commuter car thanks to its low price and long warranty. Many reviewers said the cabin is made well for a car in its price range, though like many small cars, the Spectra’s base model comes with few standard features. Options when it was new include air conditioning, cruise control and power windows and door locks, as well as anti-lock brakes. However, electronic stability control isn’t available on any model.

Test drivers said that the front-seat cushions needed more stuffing. They liked the back seats a little more, but didn’t think passengers will be happy during long trips. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes with all models, and while reviewers weren’t disappointed with the Rio’s soft, pleasant ride, its unexciting performance is forgettable and much of the competition is more fun to drive. 

See the full 2009 Kia Spectra specs »

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers thought the 2009 Ford Focus had more engaging performance than the Spectra, and they were also impressed with its interior tech features. It stands out with the available Ford Sync voice-activated infotainment system. The Focus also has more standard safety features, such as anti-lock brakes.

The 2009 Toyota Yaris is smaller than the Kia Spectra, but if a reliable subcompact is all you need, the Yaris shouldn’t disappoint. It comes with standard features that the base Spectra doesn’t have, like anti-lock brakes and air conditioning. Inside, the Yaris’ second row is tight, and the sedan’s trunk has about as much space as the Spectra’s. The Yaris hatchback doesn’t have as much cargo space as the Spectra5.

Compare the Spectra to the Focus and Yaris »