Hyundai For 1997
By Carey Russ
Hyundai is back in the sporty coupe market in a big way with the Tiburon. Like the newest Elantra, introduced early in 1996, the Tiburon was developed without assistance from any other manufacturer, and uses the all-Hyundai-developed Beta engine.
Other Hyundai cars are the subcompact Accent, introduced two years ago, and midsized Sonata. The Sonata has major refinements for 1997.
Look to Hyundai for style and performance? Not too long ago, the idea would have been unthinkable. That was before the Tiburon. With styling based on the HCD-II concept car of a few years ago, the Tiburon is an eye-catcher. With sport-tuned fully-independent suspension, two versions of the Hyundai Beta 4-cylinder, dual overhead cam engine, and with optional antilock brakes, the Tiburon is a functional sporty coupe for a reasonable budget.
Two levels of Tiburon are available. The standard model has a 1.8-liter engine. The FX uses a 2.0-liter with 140 horsepower.
The 1997 Sonata has new styling inside and out, more refinement, and a revised suspension. Hyundai is going for a presence in the mid-size market, and intent on competing with the entrenched Japanese and American manufacturers. Three trim levels are offered. Engine choices are a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6. The 4-speed electrically-controlled automatic used with the V6 features adaptive shift logic. All modern safety, and most comfort features are either standard or available depending on trim level.
The Elantra was the new star of the Hyundai line last year, when the current generation of compact sedans and wagons was introduced. 1997 refinements include greater noise isolation. The 1.8- liter, 130-horsepower Beta engine is matched with a standard 5-speed manual or 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission.
The subcompact Accent has more standard equipment for 1997. Available as a 3-door hatchback in 3 trim levels or a 4-door sedan, the Accent has more power than its competitors and fully- independent suspension. The GT hatchback has a dual overhead cam engine and many features rare in the economy subcompact class.