The Hyundai Tiburon Was a Quintessential Affordable Sporty Coupe

There was once a time where one could walk into a dealership and find another kind of car. A kind of car that is currently nonexistent. A car that we couldn’t help but sort of love, even if it was goofy and impractical. A kind of car that we should never forget—the sporty coupe.

And while we think fondly back on sporty coupes, we have to remember the short lived, multi face-lifted life of the Hyundai Tiburon, a car so cool, you could customize it and drive it on Need For Speed Underground.


The Tiburon began its journey in 1996 as a front-wheel drive coupe with the Elantra’s structure and 1.8L 130 HP engine. Earlier models even had a Porsche-designed rear suspension. Front-wheel drive aside, this all seemed decently promising. So what happened?

Hyundai axed the Tiburon in 2008, after two generations. Not long after, the Hyundai Genesis coupe came into being, but of course, that was killed too in favor of a line of sedans, which would later break off into Hyundai’s sister company, Genesis.


So, all in all, the Tiburon was an experiment that didn’t quite make the mark. Did it fail because nobody wanted a sporty coupe? Or maybe because it wasn’t rear-wheel drive? We may never know.

Video Producer for Jalopnik. In a committed relationship with her 2007 Nissan Sentra named Layla.


Hayden Lorell

Did it fail because nobody wanted a sporty coupe? Or maybe because it wasn’t rear-wheel drive?

It failed because it was an absolute pile of dogshit. My ex bought one of these turds brand new in 07, and I was staggered by how cheap and gross it was to sit in, how badly the V6 drooooooned all the time. What a pile, I couldn’t understand why you would buy one over any of its Japanese rivals, except for a need for a sluggish V6 or price?

Even looking at its closest competitors, the Eclipse, Scion TC and Acura RSX, it just couldn’t compete. Not to mention the fact that the first gens were ugly as sin, and the second gens went the opposite way, and were so boring that it looks like it was designed, by a committee of people that collect stamps.

This car does not deserve a second thought.