The Kia Sephia is a compact car manufactured and marketed by the South Korean multinational car manufacturer Kia Motors between 1992 and 2003. The first generation Sephia was badged Kia Mentor in some markets and as the Timor S515/S516 in Indonesia. This convention continued on with the second generation version, which was also badged Kia Shuma and Kia Spectra.
History of the Kia Sephia
First Generation Kia Sephia (1992–1997)
The first-generation Kia Sephia is the first car that was actually designed by Kia with its own chassis. Engines available were the B-series engines, with the 1.5L, the 1.6L, and the 1.8L BP engine. The car was presented in September 1992 to replace the aging Capital, which was rapidly losing market share. The Sephia proved quite successful, selling over 100,000 in its first full year in the home market (1993). A total of 472,920 Sephias were sold over the life of the original Sephia. In the United States, sales began in late 1993 for the 1994 model year. This was the first Kia to be exported to the US. An update came in the 1995 model year when the grille and tail lights were restyled and all US-market Sephias except California-market RS/LS models got upgraded to the new 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder BP engine as used in the Mazda Familia (BG). Kia licensed the engine design from Mazda, but manufactured it themselves. Kia presented a conceptual convertible version of the first generation Sephia, which was named "Kia Sephia Cabrio" at some auto shows.
Second Generation Kia Sephia (1997–2003)
In 1997, the Sephia was completely redesigned as a four-door sedan and five-door liftback, this time in-house by Kia itself with help from Mazda. Kia used a DOHC 1.5L and its own new DOHC 1.8L engine (the T8D engine, originally developed for the Kia Elan) and an improved air conditioning system. In South Korea, the Sephia label was retired in 2000 and replaced by the Spectra. The Sephia production totals were 628,168. The North American market received the Sephia sedan for the 1998 model year.For the 2000 model year, the liftback variant was launched, sold under the name "Kia Spectra". The Sephia (sedan) and Spectra (liftback) continued to be sold alongside one another until the 2002 model year updates were introduced.
Other Sephia Versions
Sephia Taxi (DC; 2003–2022)
Some models of the first generation Kia Rio were sold in certain countries of South America, such as Colombia, as "Sephia Taxi" already prepared with the legal requirements to work as a Taxi cab, including the yellow body paint. The Sephia Taxi came with a smaller displacement engine for that body (1.4L) and manual transmission.
Sephia Taxi (JB; 2005–2011)
The second-generation Kia Rio is also sold in certain countries of South America as a "Sephia Taxi".
Grand Sephia (RD; 2008–2012)
Some models of the Kia Forte were also prepared to be sold as taxi cabs for certain countries of Latin America. The Grand Sephia has the smaller displacement engine available for that body (1.6L), and manual transmission.
Sephia Taxi (2020–present)
The Sephia nameplate once again is used as a taxi nameplate in Colombia, this time it is based on the Chinese-built Kia Pegas/Soluto.
The price range for a used Kia Sephia varies based on the trim level you choose. Starting at $450 and going to $9,100 for the latest year the model was manufactured.
Specs and Performance of the Kia Sephia
- 1.5 L B5-DE I4 (gasoline)
- 1.6 L B6 I4 (gasoline)
- 1.8 L T8D I4 (gasoline)
The Kia Sephia's 1.5L engine delivers 87 hp (65 kW) at 5,000 rpm and 100 lb-ft (135 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm. Kia marketed the Sephia as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 5-speed manual transmission. Kia Sephia accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0–97 kph) in 12.5 seconds with a top speed of 112 mph (180 kph). Dimension-wise, the Kia Sephia sedan measures 4,510 mm (177.6 in) long, 1,700 mm (66.9 in) wide, and 1,425 mm (56.1 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,560 mm (100.8 in) and has a curb weight of 2,509 lbs (1,138 kg).
The Kia Sephia made waves in the car industry when it was first released by Korean multinational manufacturer, Kia Motors, back in 1992. This compact vehicle gained enormous popularity and remained a fan favorite until its retirement 10 years later.