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2003 Hyundai Tiburon Photo
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2003 Hyundai Tiburon GT V-6 by Bob Hall (2/4/2002)2002 Hyundai Elantra GT by Bob Hall (10/15/2001)... Read more »
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subscribeLAS VEGAS —You can bet that this city that lives on the promise of good luck wishes it could match Hyundai’s winning streak. While Vegas continues its post-9/11 hangover, Hyundai basks in the glow of a 42-percent sales increase (over 2000’s fabulous results) to a record 346,235 units sold. Among its honors, the Santa Fe SUV was ranked “Best in Class” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Good Housekeeping ranked the mid-size Sonata sedan first in dependability, quality and safety; and as a brand, Hyundai was second only to Lexus in Strategic Vision 2001’s Total Value Index.

But despite that success, “Hyundai’s still a brand in transition and gaining credibility,” according to Finbarr O’Neill, the President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America (HMA). “The only sure bet for me in Las Vegas is the new Tiburon.”

His confidence is well placed, for the restyled 2003 Tiburon is longer, wider and better equipped than the car it replaces. There is no 2002 Tiburon; and the big story on the ‘03 is the availability of the 2.7-liter V-6 (as found on the Sonata and Santa Fe) and a six-speed manual transmission. (A five-speed is standard on both four- and six-cylinder Tiburons, with a four-speed, Shiftronic automatic available as a $900 option.)

2003 Hyundai Tiburon

2003 Hyundai Tiburon

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Considering that the GT V-6’s starting price of $17,999 includes sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilots, a 360-watt Infinity sound system and leather seating surfaces, you’d have to agree that Tiburon meets O’Neill’s mandate that every Hyundai must offer the best value in its class. And it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that HMA expects 70 percent of Tiburon’s 28,000 projected buyers to opt for the GT V-6, which is the model name. A four-cylinder car is just a “Tiburon,” starting price $15,999. It gets 16-inch alloys with Michelin MXV4 rubber and no six-speed option.
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