When Hyundai introduced the Tiburon sport coupe for 1997, we questioned whether a car built for a working person s budget could really be that much fun to drive. Happily, the Tiburon exceeded our expectations by being a very entertaining little machine. Now with three years of market presence under its belt, it s time for a new millennium makeover. So, is the 2000 Hyundai Tiburon still a most enjoyable four-wheel bargain?

You bet it is! And that bargain just got even better. Because for 2000 the re-styled Hyundai Tiburon, which means “Shark” in Spanish, now surfaces in just one model. Tiburon has been upgraded with many of the features that were available only on the discontinued FX. And yet, Tiburon’s 14-grand base price remains the same.

Tiburon’s makeover starts at the still aggressive front, with four projector beam headlamps, the center ones highlighted by bulging character lines that flow into the hood. The one piece lower facia has a large air dam and lower air intake with integrated fog lamps. Front fenders are also new, and these sharp looking 15 inch alloy wheels are now standard.

The rear has also been reworked with larger taillamps and air vents. The complete package has provoked strong love/hate reactions among our staff, but one thing is certain: drive this shark, and you’ll stand out in just about any school of fish.

And the front drive Tiburon’s performance matches its sporting appearance. It scoots to 60 in just 7.6 seconds, the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds at 87 mph. All courtesy of Hyundai’s 2.0 liter, DOHC, 16-valve, Beta, in-line 4 cylinder engine. This iron block, aluminum head powerplant spits out 140 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. All delivered through either a 5-speed manual, like the one we tested, or a 4-speed automatic.

Through our low speed slalom the Tiburon displays a nice balanced feel with surprisingly little understeer. Evidence of its more rigid body construction. And the independent MacPherson strut suspension, with offset coil springs and anti-roll bars at the front and rear, keeps the car firmly planted during rapid side to side transitions.

Our tester came without the ABS option on the four wheel disc brakes, so we did experience some locking of the rear wheels during our braking test. And we feel that the 137- foot average stopping distance from 60 is a little on the long side. Do yourself and your fellow motorists a favor and order ABS.

Our Tiburon did come with the optional leather trim as part of a freshened interior. The 6-way manually adjustable front buckets are comfy with good thigh support. Although some larger members of our staff found the bolstering on the seat backs a little restrictive.

The steering wheel tilts and fronts a legible cluster of analog gauges. As before, the center stack features a high tech motif with aluminum color accents which carry over to the smooth operating rotary climate controls. Our shark was also outfitted with the optional 100 watt AM/FM/Cassette/CD player stereo and a host of other un-low budget amenities like power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, and cruise control.

Rear seat room is confining for adults. No surprise there. But the split seat backs do fold, expanding the trunk’s 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space and the Tiburon’s versatility.

All this, sans options and freight of course, can, as we said, still be had for a base price of $13,999. Tack on our options, which are part of a larger package costing just under $2500, and the destination charge, and you’re still out the door for just $17,169.

But the real kicker is Hyundai’s excellent warranty package. Bumper to bumper coverage for 5 years or 60,000 miles. 24 hour roadside assistance for 5 years at no extra charge. And original owners get limited power train coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Wow.

Add it all up and the 2000 Hyundai Tiburon makes its pricier sporty coupe competitors look a little bit like shark bait.


  • Engine: 2.0 Liter Dohc 16-valve Beta I-4
  • Horsepower: 140
  • Torque: 133 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 7.6 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.9 Seconds @ 87 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 137 Feet (w/out Abs)