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1997 Hyundai Tiburon Overview
You probably won't impress people by telling them you drive a Hyundai. Perception trails reality by several years in the car business, and Hyundai is still perceived as a company that builds small, basic transportation hatchbacks. The reality, however, is that those days are gone. Hyundai now offers a vastly improved and expanded line of cars, and this sporty new front-drive Tiburon coupe is a shining example of Hyundai's progress. The Tiburon borrows its name from a big shark that cruises the coast of Central America. Hyundai's shark is designed to prey on the Nissan 200SX, Pontiac Sunfire, Toyota Celica and non-turbo versions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon. Although the Tiburon doesn't quite have the biggest teeth in this class, it can swim heads up with most of its contemporaries, and we think it's a must-see if you're in the market for an inexpensive sporty coupe that's fun to drive and good to look at. The Tiburon is a totally new car and a much more substantial vehicle than its predecessor, the Hyundai Scoupe. The Scoupe was based on the old Excel hatchback, while the Tiburon is loosely based on the new Elantra sedan. Its handling and response were a pleasant surprise for us, and while only time will tell, its construction quality appears to be on a par with other vehicles in this class. Two models are available. The basic $13,499 Tiburon comes with a 1.8-liter engine, while the $14,899 Tiburon FX is equipped with a more powerful 2.0-liter engine. These prices put both of these well-equipped models under the Eclipse RS, Celica ST and 200SX SE-R. Among the primary competitors, only the $14,219 Sunfire GT Coupe is less expensive than the Tiburon FX. The only visual distinction between the two Tiburon models is the rear decklid spoiler, standard on the FX, optional on the base car.