2007 Tiburon New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Tiburon has been freshened up for 2007, and the SE, our test model, has gotten a suspension that's meant to carry it with the big boys, the European sports cars. The entry-level Tiburon GS, the one that goes for less than $17,000, uses a four-cylinder engine with a five-speed gearbox, but the SE moves up to a 2.7-liter V6 with a six-speed manual.
All Tiburons are equipped with anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitor, side airbags, and a 220-watt Kenwood MP3 sound system; other models or options include a four-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control, electronic stability control, and a 440-watt Infinity sound system.
The lines from the side are rakish, and the 12-spoke SE wheels look great. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, and the instruments are back-lit in a cool blue, with sharp gunmetal accents on the instrument panel.
Hyundai compares the Tiburon to the Honda Civic Si and Scion tC, but we don't see much similarity to those coupes. It seems like the Tiburon is more like the Mitsubishi Eclipse or maybe even the Mazda RX-8, both of which cost thousands more, but also make much more horsepower.
Hyundai is fairly new at the sports car game, but they've done good job, especially considering the price. The V6 engine makes a modest 172 horsepower, but it also makes a nice throaty sound when you rev it to redline, 6500 rpm. When you look into the rearview mirror, the high spoiler reminds you that you're in a sports car.
The engine's torque comes on low, so it's easy to drive. The SE's six-speed gearbox is good, and the clutch is smooth, but the shift lever has too long of a throw to feel tight. Heel-and-toe downshifts are almost possible because of the pedal locations.
The SE suspension is firm, but not uncomfortable. The payoff comes in the corners, as the front-wheel-drive SE grips the road better than the Mitsubishi Eclipse, although not as well as the rear-wheel-drive RX-8. The Tiburon SE also stops well, having 12-inch cross-drilled front rotors.
Hyundai claims its warranty is America's best, with five-year/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000 miles limited powertrain. Tiburon buyers also get 24-hour roadside assistance at no charge for five years.
Hyundai Tiburon comes as four models, beginning with the inexpensive GS ($16,595) which uses a DOHC 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional ($1100) four-speed automatic with Shiftronic manual control. Standard equipment includes power windows, doors and heated mirrors, air conditioning, keyless entry, a 220-watt Kenwood MP3 sound system, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Cruise control isn't standard; it comes in a package with the sunroof.
The Tiburon GT ($19,295) uses a DOHC 2.7-liter V6 with the same transmission options as the GS, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there are black leather seat bolsters with cloth inserts, an automatic climate control system, and cruise control. The optional sound system, with the sunroof in the Sun and Sound package, is a 440-watt Infinity system with six CD player, MP3 capability, and subwoofer.
The GT Limited ($21,595) brings in the luxury, with that Infinity sound system and a red leather interior.
The SE ($21,995) is the 'track-tuned' model. It uses the 2.7-liter V6 with a six-speed gearbox, multi-gauge cluster, high rear spoiler, red front calipers on big vented rotors, aluminum pedals, and the red leather seats with black cloth inserts. The suspension is tuned for hard cornering, and there's electronic stability control with Brake Assist and Traction Control. The standard sound system is the 220-watt Kenwood that's in the GS, and the sunroof is optional.
Safety equipment that comes standard includes anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitor, and side airbags.