Hyundai Tiburon

A compact sport coupe, the Hyundai Tiburon made its North American market debut in 1997. Hyundai introduced the Tiburon as a replacement for its previous compact sport model, the short-lived Scoupe. The Tiburon enjoyed a production run of more than a decade and saw modest sales. Hyundai eventually discontinued the model in 2008, replacing it with the more impressive Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

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About the Hyundai Tiburon

The Tiburon was significant in that it represented Hyundai's first attempt at providing more than just bland economy cars. The stylish-looking, two-door hatchback maintained the affordability drivers came to associate with the Hyundai brand while offering more in terms of looks, performance and interior comforts. The Tiburon was also one of the first cars produced by Hyundai to offer the extensive warranties and generous list of standard features that have played a major role in helping the Korean automaker rehabilitate its image as more than a manufacturer of affordable but somewhat disposable economy cars.

Hyundai Tiburon Features

2008 was the last year in which Hyundai produced the Tiburon. In this final year, the Tiburon was available in four different trim levels: GS, GT, SE, and GT Limited. The base model GS was equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglamps, power accessories, air conditioning, a Kenwood stereo system with six speakers, satellite radio, CD player and mp3 capability. Stepping up to the GT model brought the addition of 17-inch alloys, automatic climate control, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, and cloth upholstery with black leather inserts and chrome accents.

While the SE trim level featured manual climate control, it also had a higher spoiler, stylish red leather upholstery inserts, and aluminum pedals. The GT Limited model featured a sports suspension, red brake calipers, a sunroof, full red leather upholstery, and automatic climate control. Sunroofs were available as options on other trim levels.

The GS model was powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder that was rated at 138 horsepower. However, the GT, SE, and GT Limited versions were all powered by 2.7-liter V-6 engines that were rated at 172 horsepower and capable of producing 181 lb-ft of torque. GS and GT models were available with either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The SE was solely available with a six-speed manual transmission while the GT Limited was only available in the automatic.

Despite its sporty, eye-catching profile, the Tiburon was never quite the performer it was purported to be. The car's V-6 engine, while smooth, lacked power and could be outclassed by four-cylinder engines found under the hoods of many competitors. The 2008 Tiburon also came up short in terms of handling with its soft suspension.

While it may have lacked power and performance, the Tiburon performed much better when it came to safety. The SE was equipped with features such as side airbags for front occupants, antilock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control. The 2008 Tiburon earned a five star rating for driver protection in frontal impacts as well as four star ratings for front passenger and side crash protection.

On the inside, the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon is about as stylish as it is on the outside. Controls and gauges are laid out in a straightforward manner and generally easy to operate. The car's comfortable, supported sport seats help maintain occupant stability during aggressive cornering while a large speedometer and tachometer made it easy to check speed and RPMs on the move.

With even the V-6 version of the 2008 Tiburon being somewhat underwhelming, reviews indicate that the four-cylinder model was even worse. The SE version, with its sport-tuned suspension, earns the best marks for handling. The steering was also rated as being a bit slow to respond.

Hyundai Tiburon Evolution

When it was first introduced as a replacement for the Hyundai Scoupe in 1997, the Tiburon was available in two trim levels: base and FX. The base trim model was equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that was rated at 130 horsepower. The FX, meanwhile, was equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that was rated at 140 horsepower. Both models were fitted with a standard five-speed manual transmission. However, there was also the option of a four-speed automatic. The following year Hyundai made the stronger engine standard for all models of the Tiburon.

The FX trim level was dropped in 2000, but at the same time, features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows, power locks, and mirrors were made standard on the base trim level. That same year Hyundai also redesigned the Tiburon's body. The first generation of the Tiburon lasted until 2001. While there was no 2002 model, Hyundai introduced the second and last generation of the Tiburon in 2003. During the final five years of its production life, there were few changes made to the Tiburon and models produced from 2003 on are very similar to the 2008 described above.

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