Initially, the new Hyundai Tiburon was met with skepticism, simply because it’s a Hyundai and the last Tib was not hot; but I’ll tell you this much: I would buy it.
Driving the Tiburon is a hoot. Either mated to the five-speed or six-speed manual transmissions, the 2.7-liter, 181 horsepower V6 engine is simply delightful. Both the six-speed and the V6 are new and welcomed additions; they give the Tib a good edge. Hyundai refers to the Tiburon as a sporty car; essentially, it’s not built to go fast like it looks, but rather, it is meant to be fun to drive, and it does excellently. The body is stiff, and it corners very well.
When Hyundai first introduced the Tiburon in 1997, it was met with a lot of doubt; the design was just too controversial. So, as a result, it was a slow seller with only 8,341 cars purchased in 1998, about 10 percent of what the competition was selling. When Hyundai rendered its replacement, they spent extra time on design; the result was an outstanding performer, not just in looks, but in all categories.
It is quite clear that the design is a copy of the exotic Ferrari 550 Maranello, but Hyundai is not the first to copy a much-desired car, and imitation is the best form of flattery. The interior features expensive-feeling materials in a well-executed fashion. Such high-end amenities, such as, leather Recaro seats and the Infinity sound system are available.
Hyundai realizes its image in America is not the best, so with every new car they sell, they offer a 100,000-mile power train warranty at no additional cost. This is simply peace of mind for their customers, and for them to have offered the warranty, they must have trust in the product. For this reason, I trust them, too.
The interior is very upscale, and the overall car is just magnificent. But the Tib does have its bad sides, as well. The interior is only available in two colors: drab gray and black. And the rear seats are not for your friends, but rather for your books and stuff.
Despite all this, it is still an excellent bargain sports coupe.
The most delightful aspect of the Tib is its price. For a completely loaded Tib, with leather interior, a premium sound system and moon roof included, it is just a few bucks shy of $20,500. That is $5,000 less than a comparatively equipped Toyota Celica.
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