Used 2003 Hyundai Tiburon Hatchback


2003 Hyundai Tiburon

2003 Highlights

Completely redesigned for 2003, the Tiburon has progressed from a sporty economy hatchback to a legitimate sport coupe. And it's the sleekest Hyundai we've ever laid eyes on -- more than a few journalists have compared it to the Ferrari 456GT. The previous generation's 134-horsepower inline four will still power the base coupe, but Hyundai predicts that the volume leader will be the 170-hp Tiburon GT V6. Of course, this Tiburon will cost more than its predecessor, but you can still get into a GT V6 for less than 20 grand. Available features include a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch wheels and a seven-speaker Infinity sound system. Note that the engines were originally rated for 140 hp and 181 hp, respectively; Hyundai downgraded the output for both in September 2002 (along with all of the other models in its lineup). To compensate, the company is offering owners (of 2000 models and newer) three options: 10 years of roadside assistance, 6-year/72,000-mile basic warranty coverage or 12-year/120,000-mile powertrain coverage.


Pros

  • Elegant styling, available V6, available six-speed manual, generous standard equipment list, reasonable price, great warranty.

Cons

  • Weighs a lot for a sport coupe, lacks the athletic powertrain and handling characteristics of other sport coupes.

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Features & Specs

GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 4A)GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 5M)2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 6M)2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
MPG2020231923
Seating44444
Transmission4-speed shiftable automatic5-speed manual4-speed shiftable automatic6-speed manual5-speed manual
Fuelgasgasgasgasgas
Horsepower170 hp @ 6000 rpm170 hp @ 6000 rpm134 hp @ 6000 rpm170 hp @ 6000 rpm134 hp @ 6000 rpm

Top Consumer Reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Hyundai Tiburon

(315)

Consumer Rating


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GREAT SPORT LOOKING CAR FOR THIS MONEY!
I bought 2003 2.7 V6 Automatic transmission Tiburon in 2005 for $14,000.00. There was only 13000 miles on it. Leather, sunroof, 171 hp, Michelin Tires, "dual" exaust, "premium" sound. And it was sporty RED :) The main reason i bought it because i wanted my car to attract attention and not pay too much money :) There was no single person who didn't ask me "What car is that?" One lady even asked me: "Is it Ferrari?" it was so funny. I have 88K on it and it still doesn't have major problems. Please dont' expect Toyota or Honda quality though. I had about a dozen of small issues half of which was taken care of by the warranty.
Most reliable, fun, sexy car
I bought the car at 54k miles, and it got totaled at 80k miles in one year. I drove their car for 32 hours straight from Jonestown, PA, to El Paso Tx. My "Tibby" had nothing wrong with it but general maintenance. The person who owned it previously took as great of care of the car as I did. Once you own one, it is hard to replace it. My Tibby's battery was beat for 2 months, and I just pumped the gas a little, and it never once refused to start for me. The car turned heads wherever I went, and the engine is very well built. I had plans to add pink interior lights, paint the emblems pink, and add a windshield "Tiburon" decal in pink. My car had after-market rims, and a sweet sound system.
Worst car I've ever owned
I bought this car brand new with all the options, high spoiler etc. I took extremely good care of the car and really babied it. I loved the look of this car, but had a lot of trouble with the electric windows. I tried to lemon law the car on two occasions. Even the clutch had to be replaced at 12,000 miles. I'm currently in a class action law suit over the issue. You couldn't pay me enough to own another Hyundai.
More About This Model

Hyundai is at a crossroads. It's firmly established as a solid company selling affordable cars carrying an epic 10-year warranty. But selling on low sticker prices and expensive-to-support guarantees isn't a formula for fat profits. Chunky bucks in the car business come from products that sell on their own merits without discounts or far-horizon service commitments. Hyundai needs a car that people would buy even if it were priced like a Honda (or, even better, a BMW) and backed by nothing more than a slightly moist handshake. Is the new third-generation 2003 Tiburon coupe that car? Is this the Hyundai buyers actually want, and for which they don't just settle?

Probably not. But it's yet another nudge closer for Hyundai to the automotive promised land.

Based (loosely) on the same platform as the compact Elantra front-drive sedan, the Tiburon has a 3.1-inch-shorter wheelbase (down to 99.6 inches) and is 4.1-inches-shorter overall (at 173 inches) than that car. Not surprisingly, the Tiburon shares the Elantra's 140-horsepower 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve four as the base powerplant backed by either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. And, like the Elantra, the Tiburon keeps its nose in the air with a MacPherson strut front suspension while the hind end stays up with struts in an independent system. But the essence of the Tiburon isn't what it shares with the Elantra, but where it differs.

From an engineering standpoint, the most exciting addition to the Tiburon is the 181-horsepower 2.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 from the larger Sonata sedan. Available in the Tiburon GT V6, this V6's advantage is further pushed by Hyundai by the company's backing it with a five-speed manual, four-speed automatic or, for the first time in a Hyundai, a six-speed manual transmission. The V6 and transmission combination gives the Tiburon a real advantage over other more expensive sport coupes like the Acura RSX (no V6), Toyota Celica (no V6) and Mitsubishi Eclipse (no six-speed). So attractive is the V6 that Hyundai expects up to 80 percent of Tiburon sales to be so equipped. Putting a big engine in a small car isn't particularly innovative (see every muscle car ever made) but it's also proven effective (ibid).

Also in the great muscle car tradition, Hyundai has cribbed the styling from Ferrari. Much as the '70 1/2 Camaro was a lift of the classic Berlinetta Lusso, the new Tiburon is a mini-me clone of the 456GT. From sculptured flanks to greenhouse, the Tiburon's resemblance to Ferrari's current V12-powered four-seater is unmistakable. Frankly, if you're going to steal your styling, it pays to steal from the best, and in profile and general shape, the new Tiburon is contemporary, attractive and distinct from its competition (if not from the 456GT). Considering Hyundai's history of awkwardly proportioned machines, the new Tiburon counts as a breakthrough of sorts.

But the designers at Hyundai didn't quite know when to stop. Instead of leaving the shape to speak for itself, they added surface excitement and embellishments where they're just not needed. There's not one, but two non-functional side vents in each front fender. The headlights are compound projector beam units that don't need blisters on their leading edge, too. And while there's something inherently wicked/cool about fuel doors that look like quick-fill receptacles, it seems a distraction on this car. If they'd cut the overblown details down by, say 43 percent (leaving those side vent gills — after all, tiburon is Spanish for shark — but cutting back on some of the lower body cladding, for instance) those that remain would be better appreciated.

The Tiburon GT V6's innards continue the themes established by the exterior with thickly bolstered front seats, a rear seat that's not much more than an afterthought and a hooded instrument binnacle under which lives an oversize speedometer and tach circled in silver paint. The six-speed shifter sticks straight up from a silver ring in the center console, imparting a certain appealing gravitas, and the pedals are covered in an aluminum finish. The GT V6 carries air conditioning, a CD player, cruise, power everything and even leather upholstery as standard (the stuff-that-used-to-moo is deletable).

However, as on the exterior, there are discordant elements inside, too. Hyundai's designers apparently never decided whether the dash vents should be square or round, so there's some of both. The steering wheel's airbag is big, in GM circa-1991 style, and it sometimes seems that for every switch aboard there's a block plate where another switch could go. Anyone who hasn't driven a Hyundai in five years will be startled at how much the interior materials have improved, how satisfying almost everything is to the touch and how logical the ergonomics are, even though the cockpit as a whole feels a half-generation behind Toyota or Honda.

With 177 pound-feet of torque available at just 4,000 rpm, driving the Tiburon GT V6 is quite different from piloting high-strung fours like the RSX Type-S or Celica GT-S. The character of this V6 isn't particularly sporting or eager, but it's confident, composed and produces a sweet note from the dual exhaust. It's easy to break the optional P215/45R17 Michelin tires loose (P205/55R16 Michelins on 16-inch wheels are standard) on launch, but torque steer wasn't particularly apparent in our initial drive. With an engine this friendly and flexible, the six cogs available seem almost like overkill.

Down a straight road, the Tib's ride is composed and quiet over most surfaces. It's in corners where the Tiburon's limitations become apparent. With the weight of the V6 on its nose, and rather slow, numb rack-and-pinion steering, the Tib's front wants to plow furrows like a Farmall. The four-wheel disc brakes (ABS optional) can be used to balance the chassis somewhat, but the athleticism of the RSX or Celica just isn't there. We haven't driven a four-cylinder 2003 Tiburon, but doing so may enlighten us as to the source of the GT V6's profound understeer.

That the Tiburon can be mentioned as a plausible alternative to the RSX or Celica purely on its merits as a car indicates how far Hyundai has come. Factor in that prices start at an almost absurdly cheap $15,999 and peak at just $19,997, and that long warranty, and this coupe becomes even more viable. But is this Tiburon good enough to break the Hyundai curse of miserable resale values? In early February 2002, 2-year-old 2000 Tiburon, which sold for $13,999 new, is now worth $7,429 as a dealer trade-in according to Edmunds' own True Market Value (TMV®) research . In contrast, a 2000 Honda Civic DX coupe, which carried a $12,680 sticker when new ($1,319 less than the Tib) is now worth $7,608 as a trade-in ($179 more than the Tib). Smart buyers keep that depreciation in mind when shopping for cars, and the relatively low residual value of Hyundai's limits them from being attractive lease candidates.

Our expectation is that the rising tide of Hyundai quality is lifting the resale of all its models and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The next car Hyundai introduces may be its Accord — the car that propels the manufacturer to the forefront of the automotive consciousness. The new Tiburon may not be that car, but it shows that Hyundai is capable of building it.

Used 2003 Hyundai Tiburon Hatchback Overview

The Used 2003 Hyundai Tiburon Hatchback is offered in the following styles: GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GT V6 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 6M), and 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

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