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Kia Spectra steps up

New identity: The Spectra's new-look front end clearly distinguishes it from its Shuma predecessor.

Kia is gearing up for a renewed assault on the small-car segment with its new Spectra

2 May 2001

KIA will this Friday launch its new Spectra small-car, which replaces the Shuma - formerly known as the Mentor.

The newcomer will compete against the likes of the Nissan Pulsar, Mitsubishi Mirage, Holden Astra, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra.

Pricing starts at $19,990 for the manual, rising to $21,990 for the four-speed automatic. The auto is claimed to deliver better performance and economy than before.

Standard equipment includes air-conditioning, CD player, driver airbag, power windows and mirrors, central locking and power steering. Metallic paint is the only option offered - adding $150 to the price.

Under the bonnet lurks a 1.8-litre, twin-cam, four-cylinder engine that produces 82kW at 5000rpm and 152Nm at 4500rpm - figures that put it on par with most of its rivals.

The new car stands apart from the Shuma by its restyled face, which features a BMW-like headlight cluster, along with a revised grille and front bumper.

Kia says the Spectra offers better ride quality and handling than its predecessor thanks to new springs and dampers and a low-speed compression control valve in the front suspension.

In addition, improvements have been made to engine and suspension mounts to reduce noise and vibration from the transmission.

Safety levels are said to be improved by front seatbelts with pretensioners and a 25 per cent increase in brake pad area for greater stopping power.

Kia says the bodyshell has also been strengthened and new features built in to spread accident loads.

Inside, the Spectra has a metallic finish instrument and control panel, as well as a folding front centre armrest and sports upholstery.

It also gains a twin cup-holder, sunglasses holder, larger interior storage areas and door pockets, new multi adjustable sun visors, six-second delay on the interior lights and map lights.

Leaving the headlights on by accident will not result in a flat battery as a program automatically turns the lights off after the ignition is switched off and the doors are closed.

The electronic system also maintains power to the windows for 30 seconds after the ignition has been turned off so that they may be closed after the engine has been switched off.

The fuel system is a returnless one that reduces the likelihood of a fire in the event of a frontal accident.

The outgoing Shuma/Mentor has been a steady performer for Kia, notching up 1552 sales last year and 2447 in 1999. Demand for the car has slowed this year, with only 157 sold until the end of March.

"While the Rio will remain the biggest seller for Kia in Australia, the Spectra has the ability to cut itself a good slice of the sector above our top-seller," Kia Automotive Australia managing director Ric Hull said.

GoAuto can help you buy a new Spectra

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