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Price Is No Compromise With The New Hyundai Coupe

Nov 14, 2007
WHEN it comes to supercar looks for budget money, you've got to admit Hyundai have got it sussed.

Take a long lingering look at the latest incarnation of the Coupe (from 15,575 on the road with its five year unlimited mileage warranty) and I'll defy anyone to say it isn't a bargain. And a very smart bargain into the bargain.Well, it is if you're the size of a Korean taxi driver, and the rest of your family live in Shortsville.Because the most frustrating thing about this sleek sports coupe is the fact that anyone on the wrong side of six foot tall is going to find it difficult to get comfortable behind the wheel. Especially with the electric tilt and slide sunroof that comes as standard on the 2.0 litre and 2.7 litre V6 variants. Nice to have it, but the headroom that it robs you of means you have to compromise on your driving position. When you're trying to attract Europeans to buy it, who tend to be a bit taller than your average Oriental, they're definitely missing a trick here. And while we've got the Victor Meldrew grumpy hat on, why are there no head restraints for the rear seat passengers? With safety high up the agenda these days, and rightly so, it's a bit of a glaring omission not to have them, especially when the car is a genuine four seater. Airbags and ABS are all very well, as is a body strengthened in all the right places, but a bit of protection when someone rearranges the neat rear exhaust pipes and the rear bumper in the morning rush hour could and would be an absolute god-send. And if I'd spent any longer than the few days I had the Hyundai, I'd have probably ended up accidentally breaking off the cruise control arm, because it's attached to the wheel and when you start winding the lock on, it has a habit of coming into close contact with your thighs. And that's annoying.

I bet by now you're probably thinking 'he doesn't like this much'. So let's be positive for a while shall we? New to the SIII is blue instrumentation illumination, first seen in the latest Santa Fe and pioneered across the VW range for years to accompanying plaudits. If anything the Hyundai mix is better, as the main dials are a mix of black, white and blue that works very well indeed. The stereo is ipod compatible with a built-in connector, there's no exterior aerial to be vandalised as its integrated into the rear screen. And the engine in the car we sampled, the 2.7 litre V6, is a corker. It sure is a smooth operator, as are most V6s these days, and while the 24 valve DOHC unit has a seemingly modest power output of 165bhp, its 245Nm of torque endows it with enough forward impetus when needed. 140 can come up on the speedo where it's allowed (Germany, and just about nowhere else) and it'll zip to 62mph in under nine seconds, but it's the overall driveability of the unit that impresses most.

Front and rear disc provide adequate stopping power - not the sort that will see your nose in close proximity with the windscreen but very efficient. And for those who worry about the environment (which should be all of us) the CFCs in the air con system have been replaced by R134a, a new ozone friendly refrigerant gas. A small step in the right direction, but a step in the right direction nonetheless. The reworking of the bodywork gives the Coupe a better all round look - more aggressive but at the same time a smoother look. Opt for leather trim and one of the new colours, do the Man Maths and as long as you're not as tall as me, you'll get a smart car for even smarter money.
In the range the entry level model is a 1.6, which has the benefit for those who want the looks but don't have the money for big insurance premiums of attracting a rating of just 8D.
The 2.7 V6 auto tops the range at 20,585 on the road.
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