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First drive: Tiburon marks time

Re-style: Latest Tiburon gains subtle body revisions, standard stability control, side airbags.

Hyundai Tiburon gets a makeover, improved safety and handling, no more performance

28 Mar 2007

THE ageing Hyundai Tiburon has been given a nip, tuck and mild tweak.

With South Korea’s first real attempt at a sportscar not due for replacement for at least another two years, the coupe has been given a makeover to keep it rolling.

Launched this week and now in showrooms, the facelifted Tiburon has revised steering and suspension, while safety levels have also been upgraded.

There are also some styling changes, equipment upgrades and a limited-edition TS model.

Hyundai has not upgraded the Tiburon’s engine, deciding against fitting its sportiest model with the 173kW Lambda 3.3-litre V6 that is currently available in the Sonata and Grandeur family cars. Instead, the front-wheel drive Tiburon will soldier on with the same 2.7-litre Delta V6 it launched with back in 2002.

The quad-cam engine generates a modest 123kW and 245Nm of torque and is the only powerplant available. That means the manual Tiburon takes 8.2 seconds to go from 0-100km/h, which is not scintillating for a sportscar. The fuel economy figures stand at 9.7L/100km for the manual, when tested to the ADR81/01 cycle.

Prices for the facelifted Tiburon rise by $2000 to $34,990 for the six-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic costs another $1790. The other main option is a $1500 factory-fit sunroof.

1 center imageHyundai has added electronic stability control, front-seat side airbags to the dual front airbags and ABS brakes that were already offered on the Tiburon. Standard equipment includes cruise control, cloth sport seats with leather bolsters, electric windows and mirrors, air-conditioning, a trip computer and a leather steering wheel cover.

Exterior styling changes include a new front bumper that continues the crease line that runs down the side of the car from above the rear wheelarch. A new bonnet features raised lines that run down to a ‘letterbox’ slit that runs across the front of the revised front bumper which features two horizontal bars with a foglight at either end.

There are new headlights with four lenses with black surrounds which are not actually projector lights, but look like it. The tail-lights have been redesigned, along with the rear bumper and the two flat-bottomed tailpipes.

It might not go any faster than the previous Tiburon, but the new model has a bigger rear wing. Hyundai has also given the Tiburon new 17-inch alloy wheels which are fitted with 215/45-series tyres.

The basic suspension set-up of the Tiburon, with MacPherson struts and Sachs gas dampers at the front and a multi-link rear, remains unchanged but damping rates have been altered and there are new lower control arms and bushes.

On the inside, Hyundai has changed the trim and headlining as well as making other minor revisions including a brushed alloy centre dash panel and steering wheel spokes, while the instrument lighting is now blue. There is also a new, upgraded sound system with an auxiliary jack so it can connect with portable hard-disk music players.

Hyundai hopes the updated Tiburon will stimulate interest in the two-door that peaked at 795 sales in 2005, but dropped off to 482 sales in 2006.

A limited-edition TS model priced from $37,590 is available at launch and comes with a sunroof, black leather trim and TS badges. The TS is available in one colour, a light metallic blue.

2007 Tiburon range pricing:
Tiburon $34,990
Tiburon (a) $36,780
Tiburon TS $37,590
Tiburon TS (a) $39,380

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