The Hyundai Tiburon, meaning “shark” in Spanish, is a coupe sports car that was in production between 1996 and 2008. During this time, it was revamped once in 2003 and has been updated regularly during its lifespan. The car featured the typical aerodynamic sweep of the sports car class, rounded nose, and accentuating headlight cluster, alloy wheels, and a tucked under rear with spoiler for speed.
In an attempt to keep the car's appearance fresh, contemporary, and up-to-date, Hyundai undertook a number of facelifts over the years. As well as completing aesthetic alterations, they also included a number of technological innovations and safety measures. In terms of looks and styling, Hyundai has given the Tiburon an athletic, sporty design and made it obvious that it’s a car meant to be driven.
The raking roof line and spoiler make the visibility through the rear window somewhat limited. There is 759.46mm of rear legroom space, which is a little tight but not really that bad for a coupe 2+2. Underneath the car are MacPherson struts, double wishbone front suspension, and transverse bars on the rear, making a firm ride for its occupants.
The boot too is a little on the small side, but the 50/50 rear split seats expand this by making enough room for your average shopping trips and luggage for weeks away.
There are two trims with the Tiburon, the V6 and the TS. The V6 has a 2.7L V6 engine with a sports car's throaty growl under the sleek bonnet. This is matched up to a 6-speed manual Toscani or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The entry level, second-generation Tiburon still has a 2.0L engine available, but the less powerful 1.8L that was previously offered was discontinued with the design changes that were carried out in 2003.
The safety features such as the extra weight and body stiffness have led to a quiet and comfortable ride in the Tiburon. Noisy vibrations and the roar of the engine are kept to a minimum, and the car provides a nice, enjoyable sports ride.
Acceleration is reasonable and the car speeds from 0-100Km/h in 8.0 seconds. This is perhaps not the fastest for a sports car, but it has a reasonable enough turn of pace. The fuel economy produces a combined consumption rating of 12.6L/100Km.
Standard kit on the Hyundai Tiburon has been increased over the years, so you should find models with such features as ABS, tire pressure monitor, front and side airbags, and a 220-watt Kenwood sound system with six speakers . There are powered windows, 16” alloy wheels, air-conditioning, remote central- locking, heated mirrors, and keyless door locks. The seats are cloth but can be finished in fashionable black leather, and the cabin features an electric lift and tilt sunroof.
The limited edition TS trim came in a fetching luminous blue and has a powered sunroof, perforated leather interior, monogrammed carpets, and special badging and key ring. The V6 is fitted with bigger, 17” alloy wheels, leather trim, and the rear spoiler.
Though driving is the main enjoyment in a car, safety plays a high priority in the Tiburon, and it comes well equipped on these stakes. The car has ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and ESP.
The later models have increased equipment levels to cater for the rapid technological changes and customer expectations that have occurred in recent years, so the Tiburon comes with trip computer and the option of a Bluetooth hands free kit.
The Tiburon’s 2.7L engine generates less power than its closest rivals, the Toyota Celica, Honda Integra Type R, and the Nissan 200SX, and it can feel a little on the sluggish side in comparison. While it does perhaps come off worse in terms of handling, power, and ride, the Tiburon is a stylish looking sports car and is pitched at an affordable price for those keen to break into the sports car bracket.
It proves to have a cleanly designed smart interior, sporty-sounding engine, and speedster looks, even if the engine is a little off the mark set by its rivals. Complaints about rear seat space in a 2+2 are a little redundant, as it applies across the entire coupe sports car range. The same could be said for the small back windows because of the sharply dipping roof, which identifies the class as well.
What the Tiburon brings is sports car capability to everyone, along with reliability and a quality built product.