By KBB.com Editors
Hyundai created a winner with the last year's redesign of its Tiburon sports coupe, which certainly qualifies it for the fun-to-drive description. As part of Hyundai's efforts to update and upgrade most of its current vehicles, the 2008 Tiburon excels in providing the driver with an exhilarating, exuberant ride and the upper-end SE model, in particular, delivers an exceptional package. Three other trim options include the base GS, a refined-performance GT and the more fully-equipped GT Limited.
You'll like this car if you want to kick over the traces, knife through six manual gears, crank up the acceleration and enjoy a dose of sporty performance. If you like plenty of dials, gauges and leather-accented seats, you'll like the SE model.
You may not like this car if you need more rear seating, since legroom back there is minimal; but, if that's the case, you should probably be shopping for something else anyway.
The Tiburon receives a 220-watt Kenwood sound system and XM Satellite Radio with a three-month free subscription.
Driving Impressions The 2008 Hyundai Tiburon SE's powertrain of a responsive V6 teamed with a six-speed manual transmission delivers crisp performance, and the chassis matches that with precise handling. Enthusiastic driving shows...commendable balance and the capability of the new suspension, even though the increased stiffness does result in some harshness over bumps and potholes. With handling and braking stability optimized by the multi-link suspension, tighter spring calibration and anti-roll bars, this sports coupe should satisfy the enthusiasts.
The SE's 2.7-liter V6 engine and six-speed manual transmission are a great combination for those who enjoy spirited driving. The short shifter, positioned far enough forward to avoid hitting your elbow on the center armrest, delivers reasonably smooth action and takes little effort to change gears with ease and accuracy. The deep-throated engine growl stays consistent through all six gears.
Hyundai's warranty coverage, including a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, five-year/60,000-mile new-vehicle warranty and five-year/unlimited roadside assistance program, is among the most generous in the U.S.
A vertical display panel holds a blue backlit, gunmetal-trimmed instrument cluster that includes gauges for torque and instantaneous fuel consumption, as well as a voltmeter. The tachometer, speedometer and trip meters are located in front of the driver and the short, tab-like cruise-control switch on the steering wheel is handy to use. Visibility is substantial despite the rear spoiler that divides the view through the large hatchback window. Gunmetal trim on the doors coordinates with the dash design, presenting an integrated and thoughtful environment.Exterior
Most of last year's changes occurred at the front end, with projector headlights, a more muscular-looking hood and the front fenders and grille area having a slightly more aerodynamic and sleek appearance. The rear, with its hatchback, received new taillights, a rear diffuser and dual chrome exhausts. The rest of the exterior is styled to roadster tastes without the ragtop. Wedge-shaped, the silhouette is classic sports coupe.
The Tiburon SE, the sportiest version, has a lot of standard equipment that often costs extra on the competition, such as air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry with alarm, 17-inch alloy wheels and four airbags. Convenient features that are standard on the entire line include a Kenwood AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, a timed rear-window defroster, heated and powered outside mirrors, tire-pressure monitoring system, fog lights and anti-lock brakes (ABS). The mechanical components are what set the SE apart: Six-speed manual transmission, electronic stability control, a track-tuned sport suspension and cross-drilled brake rotors. Standard on the GS, GT and GT Limited is a five-speed manual transmission.
The Tiburon's optional tilt-and-slide sunroof allows in fresh air and sunshine. Aside from floor mats and a cargo net for the trunk, few other options are available on the SE, but little else is necessary. However, the GT and GT Limited are available with a four-speed automatic transmission and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.
The SE, GT and GT Limited are fitted with a 2.7-liter, V6 DOHC 24-valve engine with 172 horsepower. The Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) spreads the power broadly, although the SE's EPA fuel economy of 16/24 city/highway doesn't match some of Hyundai's more economical models. The GS has a 2.0-liter, 138-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
2.0-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb.-ft. torque @4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 20/27 (automatic)
172 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
181 lb.-ft. torque @3800 rpm
EPA city/highway: 17/24 (5-speed manual), 16/24 (6-speed manual), 17/24 (automatic)
By mypet on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive"
Cons: "cd/casset premium sound system, cold AC"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"car shows some wear to the paint on spoiler, would not take much to remove it and have it re-painted, drivers side door handles needs repair, other than that its a very sound, fun car to drive, we just need to fine a small truck for he weather in Maine, Car was purchased in Va had only been diven in ME for 1 1/2yrs no rust"
By mickey on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "stylish, fun to drive, body kits look amazing"
Cons: "as mileage, hooking up a sound system was a pain,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I wasnt looking into import cars because ive always had muscle. This one caught my eye. The transmission (6spd) was a bit clunky but I got used to it. The hp wasnt thst great but with a bit of money an a body kit (sc-5) it is a beautiful an very fast car. I run 11.3 in a quarter which is plenty fast for me. I get people asking me all the time, what kind of car is that? Always getting honks an thumbs up while on the beach. My true opinion of the car....its reliable, can take a beating an for 5 years was my daily driver. Nothing major replaced. Regular maintenance, kept everything smooth. Only problem was a the tps (throttle position sensor) needed to be replaced 3 times in 7 years. Thats really my only complant. I love this car!"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By waterdg on Sunday, June 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A CLASSIC STYLING MASTERPIECE"
Cons: "Hyundai undeserved quaity reputation -"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Hyundai designers unabashedly stole this style from a bit earlier Pininfarina Ferrari. In my opinion the resultant Tiburon coupe is one of the most beautiful styled cars of all time. Mine is black with tinted windows,dark gray 19" wheels and most decorative chrome removed. The low, square stance and shark influenced front end just scream ULTIMATE STEALTH. We're both tall and over 75. Not he typical very young Tib owner. Yes the car sits so low it's hard to get into but once in, I would compare the fit to a worn relaxed tight glove. No excess headroom but comfortable fitting seats and ample legroom. Yes the back seat is useless. But we're retired and don't invite passengers but this space will accommodate the occational grandchild. We keep the back seats almost permanently folded down. The interior back cavern makes a perfect bass speaker surround. Our engine is the inline 4, and luckily have the less problem prone automatic transmission. No It's not neck snapping power, but pretty peppy and torquey. IT is a delight to drive and not be seen in transmission"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By young driver on Tuesday, April 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, fun, sporty, looks amazing, comfortable."
Cons: "Super awesome in the snow( sarcasm), gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car in 2014 with 12,850 miles on it and I'm planning on keeping this car for a long time! Plenty of power and speed to get pulled over. Torque at 3k rpm puts you back in your seat! Comfortable and sporty seating, great features, feels like a higher end car than it really is."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Richard on Sunday, March 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty Fun: Quick; Agile; Reliable; Comfortable."
Cons: "Middling dash, middling mileage; a bit noisy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"A very fun car to drive. Good looking, and at 70K more than satisfactorily reliable. As a city driver I get 18 mpg driving non-aggressively, about which I will not brag. It is a second car which is why I have no highway mileage and why my wife and I are considering whether we really need it (I am recently retired). The seats are sporty and quite comfortable, it has all necessary bells and whistles, but is not stuffed with extras. Our other car is an '06 Grand Prix GT, the interior of which I would be loathe to part with, and wish every auto-interior designer would borrow from. The Pontiac, while much bigger and heavier, is supercharged and loaded with extras so it's the keeper. Also it's just about to kiss 60K."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Dylan on Friday, March 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I don't get all the high review scores for this car. It looks sporty and has a good little engine, but the positives end there. On our Tiburon the paint is peeling, the headlight covers have frosted over, and little things have broken and stopped working. Hyundai customer service was also poor. They refused to fix under warranty the light illuminating the transmission shifter assembly after it went out. They blamed it on my dad. Yeah, like an 82-year-old man who is not a mechanic is going to dismantle the transmission shifter assembly when the car is under warranty. It is also a pain to fit inside this vehicle if you are >5' 10". Basically, this vehicle is poorly made. Hyundai won't get my money the rest of my working life regardless what they want to say about themselves."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful