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Car reviews - Hyundai - S Coupe - range

Our Opinion

We like
It offers very cheap coupe motoring, with a modicum of style
Room for improvement
Sport (or quality, finesse and durability) don't even come into the equation

18 Jun 2003

THE popular Hyundai S Coupe was released in 1990 and aimed at the budget end of the small sports coupe category. It is based on the Hyundai Excel engine, transmission and chassis platform.

The S Coupe filled a market niche for buyers after a small, smart-looking coupe that was cheap to buy and run.

Hyundai updated the S Coupe with major exterior and mechanical changes in September, 1991. The front was restyled with smaller wrap-around headlights and more rounded front and rear bumpers for a softer, more up-to-date look.

At the same time, Hyundai introduced two equipment levels, LS and GLS. Power steering, tacho and four-speaker AM/FM radio/cassette come with the LS. The GLS adds electric windows and mirrors and tilt adjustable steering wheel.

A new Turbo S Coupe completed the model line-up. It had all the equipment of the GLS plus central locking, alloy wheels and sports suspension.

The 1991 S Coupe introduced a more powerful, Hyundai-designed and built four-cylinder "Alpha" engine. This transversely mounted, 1.5-litre, overhead camshaft engine has a 12-valve cylinder head and produces 68kW. The turbocharger increased this to 84kW.

A five-speed transmission was standard equipment with the option of a four-speed automatic transmission with electronic control.

Suspension is by MacPherson struts and coil springs at the front and trailing arms with coil springs at the rear. Stabiliser bars are used front and rear to reduce body roll.

Fuel consumption for a manual transmission will vary between 8.5 and 10 litres per 100km in normal suburban use. Highway driving will return 7.5 to 8 litres per 100km.

Engine and transmission performance for typical city and suburban driving is quite adequate. Outright performance is limited by a lower power-to-weight ratio than its rivals.

Steering and handling are good at moderate speeds. The GLS and Turbo have larger, better quality tyres which improve road grip.

Spare parts costs are an area where the S Coupe has an advantage over its Japanese rivals. Service and maintenance costs are kept to reasonable levels by the S Coupe's straightforward design.

The S Coupe looks smart and can seat four while having a reasonable luggage capacity. Performance and handling lag behind its rivals, but so does the price.

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