Screencap via Regular Car Reviews
Screencap via Regular Car Reviews

There is no true defining characteristic of the 2003 Kia Spectra, especially in beige. It blends into the background so much that people often just run into it. It’s the official car of “I’ve made some bad choices in life.” If there’s anyone who can break down this exceedingly normcore car, it’s Mr. Regular himself.

Sure, its standard features would have all been high luxury in the 1970s, but of its own time and place, the Spectra was just an unloved turd of basic adequacy.


It had four wheels. It had an engine, and an automatic transmission that kept that engine to a loud din with no power. It will reliably move you from point A to point B.

That’s not what America wants, though, especially not for $12,235 new in 2003. Even Subaru panned the Kia’s tendency towards unremarkableness by dressing up another, equally invisible model, to mock as the “new 2011 Mediocrity.” Kia soon replaced these models with flashier, sexier sheet metal that stood out for a change, and shot up in respectability accordingly.

Let’s savor this blast from Kia’s unlovable past before they all inevitably get fed to the crusher. If you need a good, cheap car, you, too, can pick one of these up for less money than Doug DeMuro did.

Contributor, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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