Thursday, December 18, 2008

KIA Spectra: Worst Roadtrip Car Ever

MANGUM, OKLAHOMA -- Contrary to all appearances and expectations, my wife and I were disappointed to discover that the compact KIA Spectra is a terrible choice of vehicle for a roadtrip -- the main reason being its terrible gas mileage!

We had a car reserved with Enterprise and picked it up at the airport in Oklahoma City the day before this post. We had a subcompact reserved and were offered the Spectra as a free upgrade which, not knowing anything about the car, we accepted. It had a full tank when we headed out on the road for a trip of about 150 miles, and we were surprised to see how quickly it ran down past the halfway mark.

I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and assumed that, being a pretty small car, it just had a small gas tank. Assuming it had a capacity of 10 gallons, for example, it would still be getting a respectable 30 miles-to-the-gallon-or-so. Upon perusal of the onwer's manual, however, I was shocked to discover the tank had a capacity of 14.5 gallons! Almost inexplicably, the stupid little car was only getting about 20 MPG highway.

Beyond its dismal mileage, the Spectra has a number of other features that don't recommend it for a roadtrip, the main one being its frighteningly small size. That is the kind of thing you can live with if it is offset by some commensurate benefit (e.g., good mileage). In the case of the Spectra, this just adds insult to injury.

I am not sure why the Spectra gets such rotten mileage. Maybe it has something to do with the stupid little wheels it is equipped with -- it almost looks like it is running on spare "donuts" -- and all the extra revolutions needed to get it down the road just end up eating the gas. Maybe it would perform just fine for local driving. But we won't ever take one on a roadtrip again, and we recommend you that you don't either. As I like to say -- you've been warned!

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