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Car reviews - Kia - Spectra - LS 5-dr hatch

Overview

The 2001-2004 Spectra was based on the 1998 Kia Mentor II

Kia logo4 Sep 2001

By MARTON PETTENDY

THE five-door formerly known as Mentor and Shuma is now sold here as Spectra and takes another step closer to matching the polish and poise of its Japanese and European rivals. Quality and safety issues remain alive and well but the new nameplate has brought important improvements in interior presentation and features, among others. With lots of equipment and performance for the price, buyers are sure to be found - no matter what badge appears on the bum.
Model release date: 1 May 2001 to 1 July 2004

Previous model

Kia Mentor

Released: December 1996
Ended: May 1998
Family Tree: Spectra

The first generation Mentor was one of the models with which Kia debuted in this country late in 1996. It received a less than rapturous review and was rated highly only for its bargain basement price. The range consisted of the two hatchbacks - the SLX and GLX - which shared a 59kW/120Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine. The original Mentor had something of a "hand-me-down" odour about it, being based on a superseded Mazda 323 platform and running gear. The second generation Mentor arrived in May 1998 and continued in five-door hatch form until being rebadged as a Shuma in January 2000 and then the Spectra in May 2001 - the car road tested here. The Mentor sedan continued until June 2000, when it was discontinued.

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