2007 Hyundai Tiburon
2007 Hyundai Tiburon. Click image to enlarge

More Hyundai Tiburon reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

By Chris Chase

The 2003 Tiburon was a major step for Hyundai, as the brand’s first V6-powered sporty car. This second-generation of the company’s compact coupe was introduced in the middle of Hyundai’s transition from a fledgling builder of cut-rate vehicles to the force of nature that it had become around the time 2010 rolled around.

The base engine was a 2.0-litre four-cylinder (134 horsepower) borrowed from the Elantra, and was a carry-over from the first Tiburon. The optional 2.7-litre V6 (170 hp) that originally appeared in the Santa Fe SUV and 2002 Sonata sedan was a first for the Tiburon. A five-speed manual was standard in four-cylinder cars, and a four-speed automatic was optional; V6 cars came off the rack with a five-speed manual as well, with a four-speed auto again being optional, and a six-speed manual could be had in top-end versions.

2003 Hyundai Tiburon GS-R; photo by Grant Yoxon
2003 Hyundai Tiburon GS-R; photo by Grant Yoxon
2003 Hyundai Tiburon GS-R; photos by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

Initially, V6 “Tibs,” as they were affectionately called by their owners, were labelled GT and GS-R (denoting cars with five- and six-speed manual transmissions, respectively), then GT and Tuscani (ditto), but by 2004, all V6 models were known as Tiburon Tuscani but could still be had with either a five- or six-speed stick. Four-cylinder models were labelled as simply Tiburon or Tiburon SE.

2005 models got a very mild facelift; the five-speed manual was deleted from V6 models in 2006, and 2007 models got a more comprehensive restyling that lasted until the Tiburon’s ostensible replacement – the impressive 2010 Genesis Coupe – arrived in 2009.

Powertrains based on those used in more pedestrian vehicles meant the Tiburon enjoyed decent, though not class-leading, fuel consumption ratings. Four-cylinder models were rated at about 10 L/100 km (city) and just over 7 L/100 km (highway) with transmission choice having little effect on the numbers. In V6 cars, five-speed manual and automatic models got similar ratings of about 12 L/100 km (city) and 8.3 L/100 km (highway); six-speed manual cars got the same highway rating but a higher city consumption rating of just under 13 L/100 km.

A VW GTI from the same years will do better (though this car’s turbocharged four-banger and six-cylinder engines require Premium fuel) as will a Honda Civic Si, though only the relatively-rare SiR hatch from these model years comes close to matching the Tiburon’s V6 power. The general consensus among car nuts is that while the Tiburon’s V6 is a nice engine, it’s not powerful enough to justify its relatively high fuel consumption; it also makes the car nose-heavy and prone to understeer in hard cornering. If fuel consumption is a concern, go for a four-cylinder model: this 2.0-litre engine is tough, and responds well to aftermarket performance modifications (for those who have trouble leaving well enough alone).

Connect with Autos.ca