The Hyundai Tiburon (Coupe) is a 2-door sports car made between 1996 and 2009. During this time, Hyundai offered the Tiburon through three different generations. The car is still popular with tuners and affordable sports car enthusiasts all around the world, but is Hyundai Tiburon a good car?
The engines that come with the Tiburon are all gasoline engines with fairly low power output. However, they can be tuned to offer more. The design of the Tiburon is cool, but the 2nd generation of the Tiburon is the most interesting model because of its weird-looking headlights. Some people love these while others, myself included, think that they look too cheap.
The driving experience is enjoyable thanks to a fairly stiff chassis and a relatively stiff suspension system. The car isn’t exactly punishing over bumps, but it also isn’t a comfortable car per se. Reliability is above average which is certainly a good thing, but there are some engine, transmission, ABS, electrical, and handbrake issues worth talking about.
Values of these are really good right now and that is why many people are interested in buying them on the 2nd hand market. Practicality is okay because this is a 2-door coupe, this means that the interior space isn’t really all that accommodating, but the trunk space is much better.
Hyundai Tiburon – The powertrain
1st gen Tiburon is available with two different engine options, a 1.6L inline 4-cylinder with 115hp or a 2.0L inline 4-cylinder with 137hp. Both of these are FWD and come with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The 2nd generation of the Tiburon got the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder with 137hp, FWD, and also a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The 3rd gen Tiburon also offered the 2.0L with 137hp in addition to the 2.7L V6 with 167hp. FWD is also standard across all 3rd gen Tiburon models, but you can get one with either a manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox. You can expect around 30MPG max out of the Tiburon as that is the best you are going to get.
All in all, the engines with the Tiburon are on the weaker side, but the V6 can be pushed to offer upwards of 300hp. Efficiency is okay considering the era while comfort and sophistication aren’t really something most people are interested in with the Tiburon.
Hyundai Tiburon – Design and chassis
The Hyundai Tiburon looks interesting from the outside, that is rather certain. The first generation of the Tiburon emphasizes clean design lines throughout while the 2nd generation of the Tiburon is a bit more daring. The 3rd generation of the Tiburon is by far the best-looking one. As far as the interior is concerned, the Tiburon is well appointed, but nothing special.
The chassis and suspension tuning of the Tiburon is tailored towards stiffness as the car manages to stay fairly level during cornering. It is not a particularly comfortable car which is to be expected since these were never intended to be comfortable and luxurious.
Hyundai Tiburon – Reliability and common issues
The Hyundai Tiburon is a really reliable car overall, but there are many Hyundai models that are even better. As such, the Tiburon is generally classed as above-average when it comes to reliability which is definitely a good thing.
The most common Hyundai Tiburon issues are associated with the electricals, the transmission, the handbrake, the exhaust manifold, and the ABS. The Tiburon is a fairly affordable car to maintain and run which is certainly a good thing.
Hyundai Tiburon – Value and practicality
Depending on the model year, the spec, the mileage, and the condition, you can get the Tiburon for as low as $5,000 while better models go for twice as much. This is certainly a really tempting price for those who are interested as you can’t really find many fun to drive cars at this price range.
Practicality is on par with most 2-door coupes from this era which means enough seating for two, but four are a bit of a squeeze. The car is relatively low to the ground which does hamper visibility, especially rear visibility. The trunk space is okay, more than enough for a weekend getaway. It is not really a family car, but it can be one if you want it to.
Is the Hyundai Tiburon a sports car?
We can’t really say what a sports car is in general so it’s up to you to decide if the Tiburon is a sports car or not. One thing is for certain, it looks sports, it drives sporty, and is typically bought by people who love sports cars. However, the Tiburon is just a FWD car which does make it really un-sporty, especially for a coupe.
The engines on offer are a bit weak for most people, especially today when hot hatchbacks offer up to three times as much power. A 137hp FWD car does not sound all that sports, and that is a fact. However, some people prefer the looks and the way the car drives more than the engine and performance.
How long can a Hyundai Tiburon last?
It is never really possible to say correctly how long any car can last, but most Hyundai models tend to be fairly long-lasting. As such, you can expect the Tiburon to be able to last upwards of 250k miles if you take proper care of it.
If you don’t maintain it well enough, and if you abuse it on a daily basis, it is going to fail a lot sooner than that, but that is to be expected with all cars.
Is Hyundai Tiburon a JDM car?
JDM stands for “Japanese Domestic Market” which means that a JDM car needs to be Japanese, and the Tiburon is a Korean car. You can often see these lurking around famous JDM models, and many believe that they are incredibly similar.
As such, the Tiburon might not be a JDM car specifically because it is not a Japanese car, but if you like JDM cars, there is a great deal of chance that you will like the Tiburon. Some even go as far as saying that the Tiburon is a Korean Toyota Supra.