When you hear someone talk about a car being "fun to
drive" they could be talking about any number of factors; like good handling, tons of
power or, and most preferably, a combination of the two. The new Tiburon is fitted with
the V6 engine from the Sonata and has a fully independent "sport-tuned"
suspension, a combination that makes driving your favorite twisty road more anticipated
The first thing you notice about the 03 Tiburon is the redesigned exterior. Gone
are the round, almost spider-like, low and high beam headlights and bulging fenders of the
previous car. What you get now is a front-end design that resembles a classic Ferrari; two
headlight clusters divided by an opening for cooling and airflow through the engine
compartment and it looks very cool.
The rest of the car maintains the same basic shape of the previous model, but has
morphed itself into a more sophisticated and modern automobile. Inside, the Tiburon is on
the small side, but what GT coupe isnt? We were extremely impressed with the fit and
finish and the general quality of the materials. The leather on the seats and steering
wheel were top notch and fit their respective objects like a glove, which made driving it
all that much easier.
One other thing about the cockpit, we found there to be plenty of good sightlines from
the drivers seat. Being a small fastback shape usually means large blind spots on
either side of the car, but with our mirrors facing out enough, the blind spots were
Plus there were plenty of cubbyholes to store your stuff including a rather large one
situated seat-level with the right rear passenger. This one was deep enough to swallow a
six-pack of your favorite beverage with some room to spare.
We also liked the Infinity AM/FM/six-disc in-dash CD changer stereo but found the same
problem we had with the Acura RSX, not enough BASS coming through to the cabin from the
trunk mounted subwoofer. Though the Tiburons radio did have a bit better sound
dynamic than the RSX.
Speaking of dynamics, after driving the Tib, we wanted to go find an American car
engineer and shake him up a bit and ask why cant American companies make cars like
this? Out on the highway we noticed that the suspension, which was flawless in the
twisties, reminded us that it was meant for smooth blacktop by reverberating nearly every
road imperfection and expansion joint we drove over. But overall we found the ride to be
nice and tight and sports car like. Another big thank you to the Korean engineers.
Our Tiburon GT V6 based at $17,999.00 and had a ton of standard features like power
everything, disc brakes all around, a handy rear wiper, heated mirrors, front and side
airbags and air/cruise/tilt, along with keyless remote entry.
The as-tested price toped out at $20,492.00 after adding the Ultra Sport Package 3 that
contained the six-speed manual transmission, aluminum foot pedals, a spoiler out back, ABS
and power moonroof ($1998) and the obligatory destination charge ($495).
We loved driving the Tiburon and would recommend this car to anyone under five feet ten
who likes great handling, powerful cars with good design, attractive looks and are
inexpensive to own. The 2003 Hyundai Tiburon GT V6 is a winner in all these categories.