Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2004 Hyundai Tiburon Overview
Owning a sports car is almost a right of passage in this country. There was a time when anyone could afford to buy a sporty two door, a car that fit his or her youthful lifestyle. But then sports cars became more sophisticated and with that change, more expensive. Hyundai saw it was time to introduce an affordable sports car back into the market place, one that offered more than just racy wheels and flashy add-ons.
With the Tiburon, Hyundai has adopted all of the necessary sports car attributes while leaving the high price tag behind. The fun begins with the base model that, though powered by a modest 138-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, has all the looks and appeal of an Italian super car. The Tiburon's handsome styling should be all that is needed to make it stand out in a crowd, but just in case it's dark outside, you can always point out the two other factors: its ridiculously low asking price of just $17,539 (that includes destination) and the unbeatable 10-year/100,000 mile standard warranty.
Along for the ride are such standard features as air conditioning, a six-speaker AM/FM stereo with CD, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, cruise control, a tilt wheel, four-wheel disc brakes and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Though no speed demon, the base Tiburon is still a fun ride and certainly won't disappoint when it comes time to tackle long stretches of twisting mountain roads. The standard five-speed transmission is a bit long of throw and not as tight as those found on its competitors, but it gets the job done; you might be happier with the four-speed automatic that features Hyundai's Shiftronic shifter. With Shiftronic, you can still enjoy the thrill of selecting your own gears without the use of a clutch pedal.
Step into the Tiburon GT V6 and you'll get the one element missing from the base model: power. In GT guise, the Tiburon is able to make good on its sports car promise with the addition of a 2.7-liter V6 good for 172 horsepower. For 2004, Hyundai has added variable valve timing to the Tiburon's V6, providing better performance at high RPM and stronger torque at low RPM.
You'll find this engine to be a strong performer, capable of ample low-end torque that provides quick off-the-line acceleration. The Tiburon is powered via its front wheels and under hard acceleration you will encounter some torque steer, though it's nothing a slight easing of the throttle won't quickly cure. The GT also offers the option of a much-improved six-speed manual transmission; if you really like the feel of a manual transmission, we highly recommend going with this choice over the five-speed.
The GT's handling is markedly improved over the base model, with larger front and rear anti-roll bar, stiffer springs and more responsive gas-filled shocks. New for 2004 is the placement of the front anti-sway bars, which is now attached directly to the strut, providing improved roll stability and recovery. You'll likely find that in the GT, the ride becomes somewhat stiff, partly due to the better suspension, but mostly because the GT is fitted with 17-inch performance rubber that leaves very little cushion between road and wheel. The Tiburon's steering feel is spot-on, with good feedback that allows for accurate dial-in as you round sharp turns.
Inside, the Tiburon provides a set of wide front-bucket seats, sculpted in such a way as to hold you in place without pinching a nerve. You'll like the sporty look of the dash with its hooded binnacle and large, legible instrumentation. New this year is a brushed metal appliqu that surrounds the center stack and shifter, bringing a much needed bit of contrast to an otherwise black interior. You'll find that the rear seats are not very useful for carrying passengers but that when folded, provide an impressive cargo area that is easily accessed via the Tiburon's large rear hatch. Beyond its functional virtues, the Tiburon's interior also features a host of standard safety equipment, including standard front side-impact airbags.
For the money, it's hard to argue with all that the Tiburon has to offer. Even when fully loaded with such options as leather, anti-lock brakes, power glass sunroof and Infinity sound system, the Tiburon GT's sticker price barely breaks the $22K mark. That means you could probably add-on about $3K in aftermarket parts and still end up paying less than many stock competitors.