Used 2008 Hyundai Tiburon

2008 Hyundai Tiburon
List price range

Pros

  • Clean interior styling, affordable price, long warranty.

Cons

  • Handling not as sharp as most rivals, weak engines, dated design.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though affordable, the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon's age, lack of power and tame handling put it near the bottom of our list for a sport coupe.

vehicle overview

In Spanish, Tiburon means "shark." In Hyundai speak, Tiburon is a compact sport coupe that does what the Korean carmaker is best known for -- offer a generous warranty and a lengthy features list at a low price. Beyond these aspects, though, the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon is a mere sea bass in an ocean filled with more competent, vicious predators.

That's not to say the Tiburon isn't without merit. Appearance counts for a lot in the sport coupe world, and the Hyundai Tiburon has the sort of sharp lines that make a car stand apart from the pack. In profile, it's especially eye-catching, with a rising beltline, scooped outside detail and a sweeping roof line. The Tiburon's upscale look is topped off with side sculpting and slick alloy wheels shod with performance tires. Sadly, a midlife styling refresh robbed it of its nifty sharklike side gills.

The current-generation Tiburon debuted back in 2003. This is a fairly long time for sport coupe design; as a result, the Tiburon can't keep up with newer sport coupes. Its suspension is on the soft side, resulting in lackluster handling that driving enthusiasts will certainly notice in a simple back-to-back test-drive with other sport coupes like the Honda Civic (especially the Si), Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mini Cooper and Saturn Astra. For those who value comfort over performance, the Tiburon's ride is rather forgiving, but those buyers may find the also-comfy Scion tC provides them with a more complete package.

A more serious problem is engine power, as even the Tiburon's V6 is now outclassed by the four-cylinders of many competitors. And though standard equipment is plentiful, you're not going to find some of the more recent high-tech features like Bluetooth or navigation. Given these weaknesses, we think shoppers would be better served by the competitor coupes, which have a lot more bite than this aging shark can muster.

trim levels & features

The 2008 Hyundai Tiburon is a compact coupe available in GS, GT, SE and GT Limited trims. Standard equipment for the GS includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglamps, full power accessories, air-conditioning and a six-speaker Kenwood stereo with CD/MP3 player and satellite radio. The GT adds 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, cruise control, a trip computer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth upholstery with black leather inserts, and chrome interior accents. The SE reverts back to manual climate control but gains a higher spoiler, red leather upholstery inserts and aluminum pedals. The GT Limited adds a sport suspension, red brake calipers, a sunroof (optional on other trims), full red leather upholstery and automatic climate control.

performance & mpg

The GS comes with a 138-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4. Step up to the GT, SE or GT Limited and you'll get a 2.7-liter V6 rated at 172 hp and 181 pound-feet of torque. Although smooth, the V6 is considerably down on power for this segment. The GS and GT are available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while the SE can only be had with a six-speed manual. The GT Limited comes only with the automatic. Fuel economy for an automatic-equipped V6 2008 Tiburon is 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

safety

All Tiburons come standard with side airbags for front occupants and antilock brakes. Traction control and electronic stability control are standard on the SE, but aren't available on other models. In government crash tests, the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon earned a full five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. The Tiburon earned a four-star rating for side crash protection.

driving

The four-cylinder engine provides barely adequate power for this 3,000-pound coupe, so upgrading to the V6-powered GT, GT Limited or SE is strongly encouraged. When the Tiburon is driven hard, it lacks the athleticism of its more nimble competitors. The SE offers a sport-tuned suspension for more responsive handling and a tauter ride, but even that Tiburon is not as light on its feet as the class leaders. The 2008 Hyundai Tiburon is confident but not eager, and its steering is a bit slow and numb. However, when driven in a relaxed manner, this Hyundai performs capably and delivers a smooth ride.

interior

The Tiburon has a simple but handsome cockpit. At first glance, it's evident that the interior designers wanted to impart a high-quality look and feel to the cabin. Everything is laid out in a straightforward fashion, free of gimmickry. Fiddle with the climate-control knobs and the silky fluidity with which they move would do a Honda proud. Bolstered sport seats help keep occupants in place during enthusiastic cornering, and the large speedometer and tachometer are easy to read at a glance.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon.

Most Fun Lil' car I ever Owned!
itztoofun, 9/1/2011
I checked several other cars that had the same 'Look" ,small and sporty Look , without the High price tag! This was by far , the best deal for my money! If you just want to cruise with the top back, have the sport car feeling, and not the high insurance cost! I bought the 5 speed GS model with a sun-roof. I have had more compliments on this car than I have ever had with ANY other car I've owned! Not planning on 'racing' with anyone, just enjoying the ride! Have not had any problems with the car in 3 years !!
Love it so far
Tyler Turner, 6/15/2016
I bought the 08 Tiburon GT Limited with 39,600 miles on it. Haven't been driving it for too long but i am loving it, it's definitely way better than the 99 Saturn SL i had before i got my Tiburon. All the reviews i read say it's a pile of junk, clutch goes out, weak engine, etc. I can agree that the engine isn't as powerful for a V6, however i didn't buy this car for racing, i bought it for everyday commuting that has a bit more power than the average car. I can see myself putting some more horses under the hood in the near future. I like the red leather seats, it adds a little more flare to the cars already good looks. Only issues i have is that the previous owner put quite a few scratches on it as well as the American Racing alloy wheels they added to, the sunglasses holder falls down a lot, and the amount space to see next to you and behind you are minimal...but i am used to it now, and like i said before the engine could use some more power. If you're looking for something that's faster than buy another car, don't complain about something you should've done some research on.
Good car great price!
sandor68, 2/22/2014
Bought a 2008 in January 2014 for $4000. It has over 200,00km. Was looking for second car to drive around instead of my thirsty SUV all the time. I test drove a whole bunch of small cars and at the end it came down to a 2006 Mazda3 and the Tiburon. It all came down to looks and price. Love the Ferrari look and it was $1500 cheaper than the Mazda. Good all around car and handles and brakes better than the Mazda. Love it!
Suprisingly fun and a great buy!
Importguy84, 5/29/2010
I purchased this vehicle just a couple months ago to replace my 2001 Accord 5- speed. To my surprise this car drives better than most reviews I have read and is far better on gas. Power is not breath taking but I will say it is more peppy than its specs would suggest. I drive about 50% of the time on the highway and the other in the city. I average about 28 MPG, not bad at all. The very slight lack of power of this vehicle is made up for in the corners. This car can really hold its own in the corners. People are amazed by the look of this car and I always turn heads at the traffic light. Interior is bright and really makes a statement. Overall great car, if you haven't driven one, try it out!
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Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 4
4-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
4-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
172 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
4-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
172 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2008 Hyundai Tiburon features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon
Used 2008 Hyundai Tiburon Overview

The Used 2008 Hyundai Tiburon is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include GS 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GT 2dr Hatchback (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GT Limited 2dr Hatchback (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GS 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GT 2dr Hatchback (2.7L 6cyl 5M), and SE 2dr Hatchback (2.7L 6cyl 6M).

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