2009 Kia Spectra LX
They're siblings, and everyone likes a little sibling rivalry, so let the competition begin. Today at AllSmallCars.com, we're going to pit the compact four-doors from each brand against each other--the outgoing Kia Spectra versus the Hyundai Elantra.
Since Kia was the number-two Korean car company in Korea when the two companies merged, lets start our competition with the 2009 Kia Spectra. The Spectra comes in at a base MSRP of $13,200 (according to TheCarConnection.com). That price is one of the lowest in its class, and comes with a nice list of standard features. Available in three different trim levels, LX, EX and SX, the Spectra gives a good number of choices to the consumer. The SX is will liven up things for those looking for a sportier edge and coming with a sport-tuned suspension that answers the soft suspension complaints from the LX and EX models. The Washington Post said that the SX impressed them in the city by being nimble and easy to park.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 138 hp and 136 pound-feet of torque and achieves 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Edmunds gives the 2009 Kia Spectra good marks for having “enough muscle and a healthy amount of torque delivered right off the line.” And TheCarConnection.com gave the 2009 Kia Spectra a 6.4 out of 10, with U.S. News and World Report rating it as 21 out of 35 in their lineup of affordable cars. Bottom line? The Kia Spectra has decent styling, a good set of standard features and a “surprisingly high assembly quality,” according to Car and Driver.
2008 Hyundai Elantra GLS
So this begs the question… why are they rated so different? Part of it comes down to brand identity. Hyundai's the top-dog brand in the company, and Kia is more the value brand. At a certain level the two cars are almost identical, but the Elantra is more modern and more buttoned-down, while the Spectra is more conservative and a good deal less exciting, though it's cheaper.
The game changes this fall when the Spectra is replaced by the 2010 Kia Forte. Stick around--this rivalry's not done. In the meantime, you can get complete reviews, pricing and more right here at allsmallcars.com.