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It may not appeal to everybody, but the Tiburon is a decent enough ride that looks like nothing else on the road.
Aggressive styling, comfortable interior, zippy engine, good handling.
Aggressive styling, lots of squeaks and rattles from rear hatch, plenty of noise, vibration and harshness intruding upon cabin.
Following last year's freshening, the Tiburon sees only minor trim changes for 2001, such as redesigned wheels and the addition of a rear spoiler as standard equipment.
Several years ago, Hyundai displayed a mouth-watering concept car at national auto shows -- the HCD-II. Show-goers could hardly swallow the fact that the same company which produced the dowdy Excel could, or would, dream up something like this futuristic sport coupe. Hyundai execs promised that a production version of the show car was on the drawing board.
The following year, HCD-III arrived and contained an innovative sidesaddle rear seat that a passenger could sit in sideways and stretch out. Excellent concept, Hyundai. Young consumers drooled in anticipation of the forthcoming HCD production car with the cool backseat.
Alas, it was not meant to be. The Tiburon arrived as a compromise between federal regulations and designer fantasy. Still, its swoopy sheet metal and sporty interior got it noticed. It sports large bold quad projector-beam headlights, a standard rear spoiler and distinctive styling that you either love or hate.
A 140-horse four-cylinder engine propels the Tiburon's front wheels and can be mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Acceleration is lively, and thanks to a sport-tuned suspension, cornering is one of the Tiburon's favorite activities. Ride quality, however, is somewhat harsh, and the steering is not exactly accurate. Brakes operate with authority.
Thanks to its hatchback body style, Tiburon offers outstanding utility when the rear seats are folded flat. Standard equipment includes 15-inch alloy wheels, power door locks and mirrors and four-wheel disc brakes. Option packages can get you leather trim, a power sunroof, AM/FM stereo with CD/cassette and antilock brakes.
Hyundai customers will be delighted with the company's buyer-assurance program, called the Hyundai Advantage. With the purchase of any Hyundai vehicle, consumers will receive an awesome 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. If the car is sold within those first 10 years, the new owner will still be entitled to the balance of a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Also part of the program is 5-year/100,000-mile corrosion coverage and a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. Additionally, the program offers free 24-hour roadside assistance for 5 years, which includes towing and lockout service.
The Tiburon's target market is the same young, style-conscious, financially impaired bunch that buys the Ford Focus ZX3, Honda Civic Coupe and Pontiac Sunfire GT. The stylish Tiburon competes well and, with the Hyundai Advantage warranty backing up the Tib's credentials, many young buyers may look at this coupe with newfound enthusiasm.
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