Thursday, May 2, 2013

Used Car Review - Hyundai Coupe (2003-2008)

Our first candidate is a two door coupe that has sports car genes and advocating affordable sports car experience for all. Myk Belmonte investigates this car further.

2003-2008 Hyundai Coupe

Koreans are an interesting bunch, especially for the automotive industry. Due to the fact they churn out numerous vehicles nearly in every categories (save for the pick-up trucks). Hyundai made the smaller Atoz to their humongous trucks, and to balance things, a two door vehicle must be present in the line-up.

The Coupe (Tiburon or Tuscani in other countries) was first available in 1996 and redesigned in 2002 for the 2003 model year. This is not the first time Hyundai attempted in building a coupe, the Excel based Scoupe (pronounced as scoop) was the Tiburon's predecessor. In 2008, this vehicle was chucked in favor of the Veloster, which was made available three years later. This vehicle did not have the Genesis Coupe as its immediate successor, being based on the Genesis sedan.

The local Hyundai distributor brought in the Coupe in late 2003 with just one engine but two transmission options. Updates were done in 2005 to accommodate a V6 engine and a second one in 2007 which had some changes. I'm sorry to say but the Genesis Coupe replaced this in 2009. Besides, where can you find a sporty coupe priced below two million pesos brand new?

Value and Costs
Single and ready to mingle? Your 400k may get you either a second hand Mazda 3, Honda Civic, and throw in a Nissan X-Trail or Toyota RAV4; but how about a Hyundai Coupe? Well, at just between P350,000-P400,000 you can have fun without depleting your bank account. For an interesting hunt, try also scouting surplus units from Korea but try to avoid the weak 1.6 engine, if you happen to encounter one.

Maintaining one, save for the V6, is not to the level of the Europeans. This candidate promises you that he (or shall we say she due to one alternate name) will provide tons of driving fun without sacrificing meals for a year. Although better watch out for some electronic items such as the sunroof, and power windows; you'll love this car more.

Exterior and Interior
With the body courtesy of Giugiaro, sexy curves are present but the steal of the night are some aggressive styling cues such as the wheel arches and a shocker, twin exhaust pipes that can make a Ferrari cry. So damn gorgeous let's not talk about the exterior more since the design speaks for itself.

Word of warning: if you are the official transpo provider of your barkada, hit the back button and read about my review for the Starex. Practicality isn't a suit, since the rear seat has limited headroom. But if the driver wants to have fun, then do keep in mind that you get a humane driving position equivalent to a Japanese sports car and controls are within the drivers reach, similar to the Germans' Ultimate Driving Machine.

From launch, a G4GC 1,975cc from the Beta family which has 140hp at 6,000rpm and 184Nm at 4,500rpm comes standard, and the best part is that, until 2005, you can order one with a manual transmission. But then. due to lack of consumer interest, it was later dropped. The 2005 update brought in a monster, a G6BA 2,656cc coming from the Delta engine dynasty with 172hp at 6,000rpm and 245Nm at 4,500rpm at tap. Either engines would activate your adrenalin rush when driven in the challenging roads the Philippines has to offer. For experience, I recommend going with the 2.7 V6. Although it may use a lot of fuel, it is an experience worth it. The 2.0 is no slouch either, since it strikes a balance of power and economy, in terms of fuel and maintenance costs. So pick wisely among the two engines.

Driving Impressions
Taking this to the twisties, the chassis is well sorted and handling is crisp and provides the driver an excellent feedback. One disadvantage if you are the passenger is the crashy ride, especially that all road bumps and imperfections intrude the cabin and transmit to you. A firm ride comes standard, especially that driving satisfaction is the top priority of this car.

Voting is one herculean task, since your shade can affect the nation. Same goes with buying, your purchase would affect not just you but also the people around you. The Coupe is more geared with the driver than the passenger, so if you want a car that can accommodate you, your girlfriend and her friendships, don't consider this one. Life is full of compromises, so think wisely.

The Good:
  • Sharp looks
  • Strong engines
  • Sports car excitement for less
The Bad:
  • Crashy ride
  • Useless back seat (duh)
  • Somewhat tight interior
The Pick: 2.7 V6 for the full experience

Engines: 1,975cc G4GC I4 and 2,656cc G6BA V6 gasoline
Power: 140hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0 I4), 172hp @ 6,000rpm (2.7 V6)
Torque: 184Nm @ 4,500rpm (2.0 I4), 245Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.7 V6)
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent dual link strut

Price (New): P970,000-P1,370,000
Price (Now): P350,000-P400,000
On Sale: 2003-2008

Hyundai Quezon Avenue - (02) 374-3911
Hyundai E. Rodriguez - (02) 727-6396

Photos courtesy of

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