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15 years ago Hyundai was considered a bit of a joke. Their reputation was in the toilet and it grouped together with brands like "Yugo"! Then, the CEO, Chung Mong-Koo, ordered his managers to make quality and reliability their number one focus when building cars.
Today, Hyundai is winning awards for its reliability and is affectionately known as a "poor man's Toyota". They have announced plans to expand and become one of the 5 biggest car makers in the world. If they achieve this target, then, this will put them in the league of Ford, General Motors and Toyota. So Hyundai are aiming high! So Hyundai need some good cars on the market to achieve this ambition.
The Hyundai Coupe is a sports coupe. It's in a market segement which is full of choice. Its main competitors are the Honda S-2000 and the Porsche Boxster. The Hyundai Coupe will need to stand out in order to carve a place in the market for itself.
I drove the car long distance (250 miles). I was expecting a firm, powerful, pleasant drive. What I actually got was a floppy suspension! The ride was soft. I really would have thought Hyundai would have stiffened the suspension for this sports coupe. However, the Hyundai Coupe is reasonably powerful. When I needed to overtake, the car summoned power and speed without straining the engine and drive. On the whole, I felt neutral about the drive. What the Hyundai Coupe takes with one hand (soft ride) it gives with the other (power on command, without straining).
Fuel consumption isn't too bad either. Official UK figures are around 35mpg, which I achieved on my drive even with my heavy foot!
The exterior of the car looks good. There are certainly uglier cars out there (Renault Megane, anyone?). The interior is where it loses points. Now Hyundai cars all come with a 5 year bumper to bumper warranty, so I'm sure the plastics will last the life of the car, but it all feels cheap and the layout looks a like an after thought. But for the price, I can understand this.
Price is where the Hyundai Coupe shines. Starting from £15772, it is a bargain from brand new, but I recommend that you look at a third party broker like www.autoebid.com or www.drivethedeal.co.uk. However, there is a caveat with this. I have a friend who bought a brand new Hyundai Coupe for £15000. 3 years later, he is struggling to sell it for £5000! I have mentioned this before in my Hyundai Getz review that is one of the problems with Hyundai cars. Brand new, they are fantastic bargains. You get so much for your money. However, when it comes to selling it, the second hand market is already awash with American, Japanese and European cars at bargain prices. So laws of economics dictates that Hyundai cars need to fall a LONG way, in order to be attractive to a potential buyer. Buy a Hyundai car, by all means, but always bear in mind that once you get hold of it, it will start losing money and won't stop. It may be cheaper to have the car through to its death. Incidentally, my friend's Coupe is the 2004 model, but the principles still apply.
Overall, the Hyundai Coupe is a good car, but I just don't think it will be enough to survive the sports car market. It doesn't have the brand strength of a Porsche or Mercedes-Benz, or the quality of a Honda. If one were in the market for a sports coupe, people are willing to pay extra for a decent product. It's just not the sort of car you buy on a budget. That aside, it's strong on the road, has a good warranty and looks good. So it has its strength. But personally, I'd rather save up buy the Honda S-2000.