2008 Hyundai Tiburon

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2008 Hyundai Tiburon Review


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'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 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.

What's New for 2008

The Tiburon receives a 220-watt Kenwood sound system and XM Satellite Radio with a three-month free subscription.

Driving the Tiburon
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.

2.7-liter V6
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.

2008 Hyundai Tiburon Details

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.


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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

2.7-liter V6
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)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?