2007 Hyundai Tiburon TS Road Test

$6,000 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
    N/A
  • Engine Power
    102kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    N/A
  • ANCAP Rating
    N/A

2007 Hyundai Tiburon TS Road Test



With a starting price of $34,990, not only is it arguably the best looking two-door sports car (under 50k) but the Hyundai Tiburon also delivers unbeatable value for money!

CarAdvice rating:

Recommended Retail Price: $37,590

Where it sits: The TS sits above the standard Tiburon. With a sunroof and black leather seats, it's worth the extra $2,590.


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. Interior comfort
  6. The look
  7. Safety features & Cost of owernship

A bit of history:

When I sat in a Hyundai Tiburon at the Brisbane Motorshow earlier this year, I quickly shrugged it off as just another car at the show, yes it looked good, and yes the leather seats, sunroof, and the interior felt good, but then again, it was just a Hyundai Tiburon! Why on earth would I want to buy that?


When the call came in to pick up the Tiburon for a week I quickly remembered my thoughts of the Tiburon back at the motorshow, "Yes its nice and all, but I wouldn't buy one". After all, a Hyundai sports car doesn't exactly roll of the tongue.

As I drove towards Hyundai headquarters, I saw an older model Tiburon drive past me, it made me realize just how far the Tiburon has come in only 5 years.

Hyundai introduced the car to the Australian market back in early 2002. Initially priced from $36,000 for the 2.0-litre four cylinder (and $42,000 for the 2.7-litre V6) the Tiburon failed to make an impact and in 2003 Hyundai dropped the price by $6,000 for the 2.0-litre and $8,000 for the V6. Not exactly a winner as far as depreciation goes.



In 2004 Hyundai ditched the 2.0-liter altogether and after some more turbulence, the Tiburon has now finally come of age.

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How it goes


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it handles
  3. Behind the wheel
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

Driving out of Hyundai headquarters I noticed one big problem straight away, I don't exactly fit in the Tiburon, the steering wheel only goes up so much and my knees made contact on every gear change - and I am only 179CM tall! It was going to be a long week.


First things first, a sports car needs to be fast, after all, you can look like a 5 second car but if it takes 10 seconds to hit 100km/hr, something is missing. To put it simply, the Tiburon is not a fast car, it takes 8.2 seconds (pushing hard) to get from 0-100km/hr. The 2.7-litre V6 only manages 123kWs of power and 245Nm of torque.

There are a very few select sports car that can get away with being slow, such as the Mazda MX-5 (given its brilliant handling). Is the Tiburon one of them? To cut a long story short, the answer is yes. In this day and age of draconian speed limits and the men in blue hiding behind every tree with a speed gun, it's worth considering if you really need more power?

The Tiburon doesn't actually feel slow, there is a great amount of grunt for overtaking and it struggles on take-off with noticeable amounts of torque steer in first, and a hint of it in second (Anthony who also had the Tiburon for a week tells me this must have been an isolated issue with my test car as he did not experience the same thing).




The Tiburon's 2.7-litre V6 engine sounds exceptional with a very pleasant growl. Putting your foot down in first or second, the engine revs freely to 6,500 RPM and the higher the revs go, the better it sounds.

The ESP system (standard) has just the right balance of fun and safety, it doesn't interfere when there is minimal traction loss but go hot into a corner and ESP will save you the embarrassment. The close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox can take a little while to get used to, but it works in perfect harmony with the 2.7-litre engine. The car might lack guts on paper, but you can be in sixth at 80km an hour and it won't miss a beat.

Launching the Tiburon is a little difficult, even with the ESP turned on, the car struggles for grip in first gear but really gets the power down come second. You will hit third around 80 and its smooth acceleration from there. I noticed that although it lacks some power from 0-100, there is a good deal of grunt at higher speeds.

As for the brakes, with 280mm ventilated disc at the front and 258mm solid discs for the rear, coupled with ABS, EBD and BAS (brake assist) the Tiburon provides excellent stopping power, although the brakes tend to get hot (and ineffective) after some enthusiastic driving.

At the end of the day, the Tiburon isn't about serious performance, there are lots of aftermarket kits available that will either supercharge or turbocharge the car, but it's not worth the hassle, if your after straight line speed, this isn't the car for you.

Nonetheless, there is much more to a sports car than straight line speed....


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it handles
  3. Behind the wheel
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

How it handles

  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. Behind the wheel
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

If Nissan were still selling the 200SX, I would be less enthusiastic to recommend the Tiburon, but given the current market, the Tiburon really has no competition for the price. Other manufacturers have neglected the sub 40k two door sports car segment. If the Tiburon had 170kW+ of power, it would have some serious street cred.




Although the 0-100 times are nothing to rave about, there is more to a sports car than straight line speed. I usually wouldn't stick my head out for a Front-Wheel-Drive sports car, but the Tiburon really does impress around corners. There is next to no body roll yet the suspension doesn't break your back.

My first few days with the Tiburon were spent getting to know the car and I was a little reluctant to push it hard around bends, however come day 5, I took the car for a drive up Mt Nebo here in Brisbane. There is something to be said for a well balanced front-wheel-drive car, the Europeans and Honda have been doing it right for over a decade and it appears the Koreans have now caught up!

Of course there is a limit to how much you can push a Front-wheel-drive. Around Mt Nebo the Tiburon felt solid around even the tightest turns. I didn't toy around with the Tiburon, I drove it up a few times at reasonable pace, and by the end of it the car was really starting to impress me, I just could not believe how well this thing corners!

With ESP turned on you can almost be forgiven thinking you're driving an AWD, the balance and handling is on par with the Honda Integra Type S. On top of that, its so easy to drive I think even my folks can manage!




On the last run up the mountain I decided to turn ESP off, surely ESP doesn't make that much difference? It must be all me? Isn't it amazing how driver aid technology can boost your confidence!

Hard cornering without ESP leaves the steering wheel feeling as jerky as George Michael in a public toilet, and that's not fun.




With the ESP off light flashing in the dashboard, the car feels a little edgy and rather uncomfortable to drive - I believe the problem is weight balance, the front seems to take it all, the engine, the drive train, the driver etc, while the rear has little to no weight making it misbehave considerably.

This is a sports car, no doubt about it, but unless you find yourself on a race track, the ESP system is better left on.


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. Behind the wheel
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

Behind the Wheel

  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

I don't fit in the Tiburon, the steering wheel only goes up so far and my legs touch on every gear change. I eventually managed to find a balance of steering wheel height and seat adjustment that allowed for a semi-comfortable drive.




Of course then there was the steering wheel. Nothing says sports car more than a sleek design, aggressive looks, big wheels, flared guards, bucket seats and a nice steering wheel. Although the Tiburon has most of what it takes, the steering wheel is a big disappointment.

The Europeans have spent millions designing the best steering wheels in the world, be it Audi/Volkswagen or Volvo, they have got it down pat. The Koreans however, have so far neglected this critical aspect. The Tiburon's steering wheel is near identical to the Hyundai Accent - and thats not good enough.




If you ignore the steering wheel for a second, you can admire the hard work gone into the dashboard. With a great trip computer that shows KMs to empty as well as a great display system, the interior of the Tiburon puts some of the more expensive European/Australian cars to shame.

The sleek aerodynamic design of the Tiburon shares some similar downsides with the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 I was in earlier this year, you can't shoulder check. There is just no point, all you see is the slick rear windows. The Tiburon can really make use of Volvo's Bliss system (which uses tiny cameras to check for cars in your blind spot).

All the negative aside, driving the Tiburon is an enjoyable experience, there is little to no play in the steering wheel and everything is exactly where you'd expect it to be. More importantly, sitting behind the wheel is sure to please, not only because you have bought a feature packed car for a bargain price, but with the sunroof open, windows down, and heads turning as you drive past, you can't help but smile.


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Interior comfort
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship


Interior Comfort

  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

The Tiburon TS variant comes with black leather seats and a sunroof as standard. I am not a fan of leather seats, especially in winter when leather seats get freezing cold, so unless they are heated leather seats, I'd given them a miss.




The actual shape and design of the seats were quite impressive. Although comfortable for all shapes and sizes, the seats also provide excellent hold around corners (even though the leather is a little slippery at times). Some might discourage long trips in this car, but for me at least, I could almost sleep in there, it's that comfortable!

The CD player needs to go, despite MP3 playback and the works, the look of the system is rather prehistoric. With a blinding blue, basic one line LCD screen, the Hyundai branded system leaves a lot to the imagination for a near 40k car.

Thankfully though, it is not integrated and you can easily find a $300 headunit in your local car audio store to replace it.

Come night time, you are greeted with an almost overwhelming amount of blue lights inside. My first impression was that it doesn't really work that well, but it really started to look good by the 4th day. I would have to buy the Tiburon in blue as the interior lights do not change to reflect the colour of the car!

As for the rear seats, where can I start? If you have recently ate, I would highly recommend sitting in the front or walking to your destination as the rear seats are not comfortable - but who cares?




You don't buy a Tiburon to carry a family around, and the back seats are just perfect they way they are. If you want to drive 2KMs from one nightclub to another, then you can easily fit the random stranger you met in the back, and essentially that is the point, practicality for short and quick journeys.

When I put my girlfriend in the car, she instantly noticed one big problem, there are no passenger handles to hold on to! To compensate, Hyundai have installed gigantic door handles that you can't help but to grab.

As for the sunroof, a touch of a button will open the roof up in less than 5 seconds. Like the power windows, the sunroof only opens automatically, you actually need to hold the button down for it to close, this is a safety feature (which is becoming standard across most manufacturers) so no one loses a finger in there, but although it sounds good on paper, in reality, having to hold down a button for 5 seconds can be very annoying and potentially dangerous.

If you want luxury in a sports car for less than $40,000, you simply can't go past the Tiburon.


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. The look
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship


The Look

  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. Interior comfort
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

Drive past a crowded trendy cafe district and watch as the heads slowly turn to admire what is surely one of the best looking sports cars on the market today.




The looks alone sell the Tiburon. Even if the interior was made out of used plastic bags and you had to sit on a milk crate, I would still buy this car, it simply looks stunning.

While Koreans have designed some of the ugliest cars known to man (SsangYong anyone?), the Tiburon is arguably the best looking sports car out of Asia today (sub 50k). Looking at the Tiburon for the first time, there is little to say this car comes from Korea. Hyundai have obviously hired some of the world's best designers and it just goes to show how good looking Korean cars can be.




The Tiburon has learnt a lot from the Nissan 200SX (S15). The aggressive headlights coupled with a perfect curve on the bonnet and a slick side profile really push the right buttons, and that's just the front. From the back, the twin exhausts and the rear lights make the Tiburon look twice the price. I simply cannot fault the looks on this car.

My only complaint is the lack of Xenon lights. The standard lights are weak and don't even mention high beam, this leaves for an almost uncomfortable drive at night.

The bonnet is embedded with a massive T and there is no sign of a Hyundai badge from the front.




If you're worried that friends and family will ask you why you bought a Tiburon, simply take them for a drive and let them experience the luxury and head-turning characteristics of the car (make sure to open the sunroof), once that's done, gently remind them that it only costs $37,500 and watch their jaws drop.

You don't buy a Tiburon for raw performance and handling, you buy it because it looks good!


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. Interior comfort
  6. Safety features & Cost of owernship

Safety Features & Cost Of Ownership


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. Interior comfort
  6. The look

With ABS, EBD, BAS, and ESP as well as two front airbags and two side airbags, the Tiburon scores a four-star safety rating in overseas tests (NCAP). The car is yet to be tested here in Australia, but the results should not differ.




As for cost of ownership, Hyundai are offering a 5 year unlimited KM warranty across the entire model range, second only to Mitsubishi's 10 year drivetrain warranty.

It is somewhat surprising that the manual variant uses more fuel (10.3L/100km) than the four-speed automatic (10.2L/100km). The car has a 55L tank.


  1. A bit of history
  2. How it goes
  3. How it handles
  4. Behind the wheel
  5. Interior comfort
  6. The look

    Alborz Fallah