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2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

4dr Sdn Manual

Starting at | Starting at 23 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $9,995 original MSRP
Printable Version

2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

Printable Version

2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

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2000 Kia Sephia

Source: New Car Test Drive



This Korean sedan shines in a crowded field of compacts.

by Bob Plunkett

Base Price $9,995
As Tested $14,184

Funny thing about the latest Asian compact sedan to reach North America: Punch the throttle after stopping at a traffic signal and, unless you meter the pedal willfully, the tires will squeal and tread will peel onto pavement. A compact economy car has enough spunk in a stoplight derby to leave rubber? It does when it's the new Sephia by Korean automaker Kia.

Kia Sephia (pronounced kee-ya sehfee-ya) is strengthened this year in a tight structural package with a twin-cam four-cylinder engine producing 125 horsepower. Good gear ratios in the manual transmission and engine torque slanted to excel at lower speeds quickens the action. So the Sephia really zips away from a stoplight start. It also acts forcefully at highway speeds, which builds confidence for passing.

Recent attention by Kia's engineers to tame engine vibrations and stifle sound from entering Sephia's five-passenger cabin has resulted in an enriched experience for riders and elevated the quality and tone of this car. It no longer feels or sounds like an unsubstantial tin box. Factor in the spark of Sephia's powerplant and some attractive price points skewed for several thousands of dollars below Japanese competitors like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and the Sephia shines in a crowded field of compacts.

Model Lineup

For 2000, the Sephia segments into three tiers organized by content of interior equipment: For $9,995, the base Sephia is the price-leading bargain edition.

Sephia LS ($10,995) comes with more equipment, including a tilting steering column, a split back for the folding rear seat, driver's seat cushion tilt adjustment, a day/night interior rearview mirror, and a passenger-side vanity mirror.

Sold as a separate model, Sephia LS with Power Package retails for $13,325. Power Package includes power windows and door locks, power for exterior mirrors, cruise control, and an audio system with CD deck and door-mounted tweeter speakers. Air conditioning is optional ($900) for both the base and LS trim but comes with the LS Power Package.

All Sephias use the same four-cylinder powertrain. All models come standard with a five-speed manual gearbox; a four-speed electronically controlled transmission adds $995 to the price of all models.

Walkaround

Although the assembly of Sephia occurs at Kia's production facility in South Korea, styling for exterior and interior elements was filtered through Kia's American design studios in Irvine, California. As a result, the overall appearance of Sephia seems familiar in a shape and format similar to other compacts on American roads. Of course, this is the class of cars where conformity in design and homogeneous styling become assets for a non-radical approach that blends into mainstream tastes. To that extent, the Sephia makes a subtle statement with shapely sculpting of what essentially is the three-box form of a small sedan, but with some upscale twists that add eye appeal.

At the nose, for instance, Sephia shows an unobtrusive narrow grille with body-colored bumpers and moldings yet a corner pair of clear-lens headlamps typically found only on more expensive cars.

The bowed hood has flanking notched creases which pick up curving contours of the grille and move these lines rearward to the A-pillars, where they melt into rolled shoulders of side doors. Side panels look flat, interrupted only by delicate bulges of soft flares ringing each wheel well. Door handles, side mirrors and various protective moldings match the body color on LS models as upscale accents. The superstructure above the doors shows more glass than sheetmetal, with a gentle arched line apparent from narrow roof pillars running front to rear across a flat roof.

In back, a high trunk deck rolls over the trailing edge in blunt descent to color-keyed bumpers. A sporty decklid spoiler may be attached as an option to any trim of Sephia, although it looks incongruent with the understated design.

Interior Features

Sephia's interior arrangement maximizes personal space for passengers and delivers more room for heads and legs and shoulders than the class-leading competitors. Twin bucket seats appear in front separated by a center console, while the three-person rear bench in LS models has a seatback that folds to expand cargo space in the trunk.

Also, there are a number of comfort features and perks aboard that are usually not available in this price range. The driver gets a footrest on the left side, for example. The driver's seat cushion on the LS tilts for a better fit, as does the steering column. Front seatbelt anchors on B-pillars adjust vertically for comfort.

The audio system, available as an option across the board, mounts high above the center console for better access, with control knobs and dials enlarged to fit American-size fingers. Dashboard instruments include an analog speedometer with white-on-black face, with a tachometer installed for the LS power package.

Sephia is nicely trimmed even at entry level. Fabric covers all seats as well as inserts in door panels, which have low map pockets. Twin sunvisors and cupholders are provided for front seats, along with two front air bags and three-point seatbelts. Windshield wipers offer two-speed intermittent operation and remote releases control the front hood, fuel door and trunk lid.

Some small cars skimp on safety features, but Sephia matches the class leaders with air bags and adjustable three-point seatbelts. Its chassis structure features integrated front and rear crumple zones, steel bracing in each side door, a collapsible steering column, childproof rear door locks and rear infant seat restraint anchors.

Driving Impressions

Take a Sephia out for a test drive and it sells itself with zippy acceleration and precise road manners. It particularly impresses with tight control for steering and the independent suspension. The suspension keeps body roll in check and maintains a relatively flat stance through a set of curves.

We played with a Sephia LS on winding strips of blacktop strung around granite ramparts in the pine-clad Black Hills of South Dakota on a cold and windy day. The narrow roads, cleared of summer's crush of vacationing tourists as well as speed patrols that would otherwise challenge our forward line, were best suited for nimble sports cars geared for aggressive action. But our Sephia romped through the mountainous terrain and transformed a morning's run into an exhilarating driving experience.

Sephia behaves well because it contains good equipment. To create its mechanical components, Kia teamed with noteworthy names from around the world for subsidiary automotive systems. Lotus Engineering of England was involved in the design of Sephia's four-wheel independent suspension system, while Germany's Getrag worked on the manual five-speed gearbox. Kelsey-Hayes devised the anti-lock brakes and Bosch LH Motronic did the engine's fuel system.

The suspension, with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link design in back, incorporates front and rear stabilizer bars to check the body roll. Installing sway bars in this economy class of compact sedans may be unusual but they're a welcome addition because they allow Sephia to handle the curves with confidence and comfort.

Brakes are conventional with front discs and rear drums linked to power assistance, although engine-speed variable assistance comes with the LS upgrade. ABS may be added to LS models for $800.

Power for Sephia comes from an iron-block engine originally developed by Mazda, which once owned a piece of Kia. The plant, now produced by Kia in Korea, delivers more horsepower than Civic and Corolla as well as most other compacts in this class, with lively acceleration in lower gears. However, fuel economy figures for Sephia's engine do not score nearly as high as the Honda or Toyota.

A manual five-speed gearbox is the standard transmission and shifts easily through a short-throw stick. The electronically controlled four-speed automatic is available for $975 at every trim level but saps some of the engine's bonus power points.

Final Word

The Sephia makes most sense in barest form, where the bottom line at $9,995 clearly becomes an advantage amounting to several thousands of dollars.

However, even the top Sephia with additional power equipment and comfort features carries the cachet of a bargain when measured against competitor compacts. The Koreans have obviously figured out how to develop and build a nice Japanese-style compact sedan without the mark-up inherent with Japanese pricing. The fact that these new models lock out vibrations and noise makes Sephia an even better selection this year.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std
Printable Version

2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Kia Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

120-months/100,000-mile Powertrain warranty from original in-service date
Age/Mileage Eligibility up to 5 model years old w/ less than 60,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 10-Year/Unlimited Mileage from In-Service Date
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2000 Kia Sephia Sedan

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