The Kia Spectra's low-priced base model and long warranty are especially attractive, but there are better choices.
Many of the rival models in this segment have been redesigned more recently than the Spectra's design, which now goes back to 2004.
Although the Elantra shares its engine with the 2008 Kia Spectra, its interior is better designed, and the instrument panel and switchgear feel a step better.
The Mazda3 is the choice among these cars if a frisky driving sensation is a priority, although the Mazda's cabin can be noisy on coarse surfaces and its backseat is rather cramped.
The Corolla is also quite dated and due for a redesign for 2009; it has a ride that's about as soft and compliant as the Spectra's and an interior that seems rather cheap and dull, but it has a long-standing reputation for reliability and durability.
The new Ford Focus is perhaps the most attractive alternative; it was thoroughly refreshed in design, inside and out, this year and offers a great ride along with standout features such as the SYNC communications and entertainment interface.
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|2008 Kia SpectraBrowse Used Listings||2009 Toyota CorollaBrowse Used Listings||2008 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings||2008 Hyundai ElantraBrowse Used Listings||2008 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings|
|23 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||24 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||24 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|4-Door Sedan Manual LX||4-Door Sedan Manual (Natl)||2-Door Coupe S||4-Door Sedan Manual GLS||4-Door Sedan Manual i Sport *Ltd Avail*|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4dr Sdn||4 Door Sedan||2 Door Coupe||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan|
|Manual w/OD||Manual w/OD||Manual w/OD||Manual w/OD||Manual w/OD|