Just as a brand cannot do without an SUV-like model these days, there was a lot of demand for affordable sporty models in the 1990s. Especially the Asian brands offered something in this class. Some brands even had several models. Mazda offered the MX-5 and the MX-3 and Toyota had the Celica and the Paseo. Hyundai decided not to pass up the potential success and introduced a sporty coupe in 1996, which was simply called Hyundai Coupé. By the way, the car was called Tiburon outside Europe. In its home country of South Korea, the coupe was known as Turbulence.
Incidentally, Hyundai already supplied the Scoupe for the Coupé, from 1988 to 1995. That was also a (semi-) sporty coupe, but with a more everyday approach than the Coupé that this article is about.
First generation Hyundai Coupé
Completely in accordance with the then car fashion, the Hyundai Coupé had a round, organic design. Although the appearance was sporty, it largely shared its technical basis with the Elantra, a fairly average sedan model. In the Netherlands, the Coupé was available with 1.6 and 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engines. A 1.8-litre four-cylinder was also available in some other countries. The most powerful engine delivered an output of 103 kW (140 hp). Perhaps not very impressive, but in combination with the car weight of just over 1,000 kg, it was certainly enough for sporty performance.
In 1999 Hyundai Coupé underwent a facelift. The 1.6 was dropped and the equipment range was expanded somewhat, but the main difference was cosmetic. The car got four striking red headlights that were slightly ‘on’ the car. The oval taillights were replaced by much larger, almost round ones.
Hyundai Coupe F2 in F2 Evolution
In the United Kingdom, the special F2 version was introduced in 1998. With this, the brand followed up on its participation in the Formula 2 World Rally Championship. The Hyundai Coupé F2 was a limited edition with special equipment, but apart from special rims and slightly modified suspension, there were no technical changes. However, the F2 was available in a model-specific blue body color, Racing Blue Mica, which has never been used for any other Hyundai. The F2 trim also included a special book containing artistic photographs and design drawings of the car. The F2 Evolution was even more exclusive, but did not come with a book.
Second generation Hyundai Coupe
In 2001, Hyundai presented the second generation of the Coupé, which entered the market in 2002. The car was slightly larger and had a sleeker design, but otherwise it was an evolution of the first-generation Hyundai Coupé. The range of engines grew with it: from now on, the sporty driver could also opt for a 128 kW (174 hp) strong 2.7-liter V6. The 1.6 was no longer supplied in the Netherlands, making the 2.0-liter the standard engine here. Technically, the Coupé was still closely related to the Elantra, but on a completely new platform that was also used by the Hyundai’s Matrix and Tucson and some Kia models. In South Korea, the model line was renamed Hyundai Tuscani. Again there were some market-specific special editions, but they were less spectacular than the earlier F2s.
Facelift number one
In 2005, the Hyundai Coupé underwent a subtle facelift, especially recognizable by the headlights with dark housing. The rear lights were also modified, there were more ‘aggressive’ styling elements and the equipment was expanded.
Facelift number two
A second facelift followed in 2006, now much more radical. Those who don’t know any better might even think that this is a completely new model. The design was completely adapted to the new design language of the brand. By some, the facelift model is even seen as a new model generation. The design was slightly smoother and yet more aggressive, with the rear lights now also in a dark housing. The interior was also renewed.
Used Hyundai Coupe
The range of used Hyundai Coupés is relatively limited, but interesting. Like just about all other Hyundai models, the Coupé has proven to be very reliable, making an early second-hand copy a safe choice. Keep in mind that a sporty car is often driven in a sporty way. So pay close attention to the technical condition of the specific item you have in mind. Do you want a Hyundai Coupé with V6? Then you have to search extra well, because due to the lower sales numbers there are already very few copies for sale. Finally, these types of cars are sometimes ‘customized’ by previous owners, although the Coupé seems to escape that dance reasonably well.
2007 Hyundai Coupe
In 2008 it was over and out for the Hyundai Coupé. The model did get a successor, or actually even two. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe first appeared in 2008 for model year 2009. In terms of type of car, it was comparable to the Coupé, but it was positioned higher in the market. As the name implies, the Genesis Coupe shared its technology with the Hyundai Genesis, a luxury sedan that was not delivered in the Netherlands.
The Hyundai Veloster appeared in 2011 for model year 2012. In terms of positioning, it was a more direct successor to the Coupé, but in terms of body shape it did something different. The Veloster is also a coupé, but with a slightly higher roofline so that four people can comfortably fit in it. Also special: the Veloster had a rear door… but only on the passenger side. Regardless of whether the steering wheel was on the left or right: for left-hand drive markets, the entire body was simply mirrored!
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