The 2009 Kia Spectra puts less emphasis on sharp styling than other basic economy cars.
The Detroit News sums it up succinctly: "It's a nice looking compact hatchback." The SX models are further distinguished visually by their black mesh grille, fog lights, rear spoiler, and larger 16-inch wheels. Kelley Blue Book notes that the 2009 Kia Spectra has "large, jewel-like headlamps that highlight sharply styled sheet metal in a vehicle that in no way resembles Kia's first entry in this country [the Sephia]." According to Cars.com, the company promotes the Kia Spectra's "sculpted appearance and the more aggressive look it has over many of its rivals" with "large, angular headlights [that] flank the grille" and "full-length body creases [that] are meant to impart a sense of motion." This, according to Edmunds, is an improvement over previous models: "The current [Kia] Spectra sedan and Spectra5 four-door hatchback counterpart have moved up the scale considerably in terms of style."
The Detroit News says the 2009 Kia Optima's interior is "fairly Spartan...interior decor includes metal-finish trim and sport-cloth seats with matching door panel inserts." Kelley Blue Book's main complaint concerns a design flaw: "Aesthetically, the only blemish is an AM/FM/CD player that isn't physically or stylistically well-integrated into the otherwise cohesive interior." The 2009 Kia Spectra interior sports a very basic design lacking the lustrous materials and cohesive styling that's now par for the course, even among bargain-priced rides. The only Kia Spectra interior decor worth noting, according to Cars.com, is the SX’s "perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, aluminum pedals and metal-finish trim"—all of which is optional.