Product Type: Hyundai cars
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Sporty & Functional
Hyundai Coupé 1.6i 3dr
Member Name: MHmission701
Hyundai Coupé 1.6i 3dr
Date: 31/01/03, updated on 31/01/03 (4963 review reads)
Advantages: Sporty , Looks, Value
Disadvantages: Cabin Space, Rear Seats
The Hyundai Coupe 1.6i S model released in Europe last year in January, from there to the UK it has only been on our shores from September. There have been merely unnoticeable differences in the models, which starts from the change from Left-hand-drive to right, and the interior which has been redesigned for the UK market, plus some removals of some flashier items that include a strut bar above the engine attached to the chassis and a built in Subwoofer. At first glance the 2003 model Coupe looks a slight different to the regular variation that the Coupe has gone through, that begins with it's new larger headlamps and ends with it's lowered body and smoother lines.
Beginning at the front, you have a set of sensibly large headlamps which are finished off with the orange indicators, which depending on opinion, may look a slight out of place. Following the rather bulky body reminiscent of the latest Aston Martin DB7's it flows quite elegantly toward the slightly bulkier tail, where there are treats to be found along the way. Those include a new Air duct tucked away in the wheel arch, the new longer doors, and a side window that reminds of a grown up version of the Audi TT. Since it's a three door, the side flows much smoothly toward the lower back end, where you'll find a slightly contorted body and the tail complete with rear spoiler and effective brake light systems. The side wing mirrors definitely complement the interior, as are they to the outside, where they are attached via the underside and solid attached to the door. I must admit, some of the lines and particularly the rear end, make it look yet another Coupe from Hyundai, there is not mistaking that set of small wheels that look minuscule to the car itself.
The alloy wheels look much sharper than the curvy ones that featured on the European model - which were much like the previous car. The sporty fro
nt and rear fog lights touch off the front spoiler and rear spoiler. And the change front a flat registration plate to a square one is much appreciated. Not to mention the classy aluminium fuel filler cap. A bit of an ugly mistake, though, is the Radio antenna that is fixed to the rear tailgate.
Particularly effective is the long wheelbase that leaves plenty of room inside for two additional rear seats, but why they even bothered is a serious question. As the interior goes, if you're over 5 feet tall, then you're not likely to get any head room at all. I'm around 6'2 and could barely get into the rear, without having to crouch down or slouch forward. Plus the rear boot window could easily kill you if you had your head out the back when it was open - as the warning indicators on the boot showed.
Amazingly, and we're going to start from the back, the boot is very worthy, I think we'd even fit our Labrador in there too, since it's has the depth and width of our previous car, except a slight lax in the height department. However I reckon that two full sized Suitcases -for those trips to the airport- would adequately find room in the back. Included in there is a cargo net that is oddly attached just above the floor, beneath which is a sliding door where you'll find the spare tire - which sadly isn't Alloy wheels. There is also a decent level of practicality with the boot, you can remove the folding top part and fold the rear seats down that split 50:50. With the seats down there is plenty of space to fit anything from a boxed bicycle to a heavy day's shopping.
The rear seats are positioned slightly centre to the front, which means that you can have some cubby holes either side, one large enough for a CD changer, meanwhile there are also a couple of cup holders. However sitting in the rear - provided you're a short person - will lead to that claustrophobic feeling since the rear s
ide windows are placed far forward and are blocked off by the boot's thick pillar. Plus the fact the car's side is much higher than in previous models, which allows you to have that extra security when in a crash, but leaves you with much view restriction.
The two front seats are a welcome change from the rears, as they are shaped for maximum comfort and security. The mechanism for sliding them forward to get in the rear could have been less aggressive, as the seats spring forward and slide forward at the same time. In the front cabin you'll immediately notice the restricted view, which is on restricted by the roof line which comes down so much that using the sun-block visors -straight down - would totally block the whole front view without a problem. The doors are amazingly very solid, and the shape they have is much like that of a Lotus Elise, although much, much longer. The actual doorframe doesn't have a window frame, but even so, wind noise doesn't seem to be much of a problem. The doors seem to be around shoulder height, and if you're tall enough you'll be able to clearly see the front of the car, with the indented headroom in the roof. However, if you sit too far forward, it'll be harder to get out due to the roofline.
The dash and controls are well laid out, the majority of which are set with big bulky controls that give lots of feedback. The rotary knobs for the Air conditioning are slick to use, and the radio's large display is helpful. The radio/CD player can accept a CD changer and is the usual removable type. I noticed the aluminium effects that have had reviews saying they look cheap, and to be honest, I though that too. You wouldn't know it until you see it up close, but there's something about dark aluminium that I don't like. The trim around the gearbox was much effective, and the black plastic cabin had that feel of quality. The glove box was almost as big as the boot, and I could
get three quarters of my arm in no problem.
It's a good point to say, that both passengers have a built in SRS airbag, and there are side impact bars for added security. The front section of the car is roomy and feels great, especially since you are no put on the floor that connects you to the road better than regular cars. From the driver's side, you have controls for electric wing mirrors and the two electronic windows; the front dashboard is littered with small cubbyholes. The stack on the roof has a built in set of two down lights and sunglasses holster. While the four buttons looked kind of sporty, it would have been better if two were not blanks.
As for the drivers seat, if you're like me, and like Torque, Voltage, MPG and two digital trip meters then you'll like the Sporty looking display. It of course is just there to make it appear more of a sports car, when in fact it's more of a Coupe. Oddly enough the stuff that's so exciting can't be used on the road, you can't really look at the rev counter except when pulling away. The bright orange LCD screen could become annoying for some. I would have preferred bigger dials for the speed and rev meter, since the counters are positioned in the corners. There is an echo of sportiness from the compact steering wheel and short shift 5-speed gearbox, plus the compact feel and the view out past the wheel. A bad point about the design is that if you need the wheel lowered or raised, you will probably block the view to the dials. I didn't like the hand brake position as it hasn't changed from the left-hand-drive (nearer the passenger seat). Plus the bucket styled seats tend to entrap your arms so you can't use the arm rest. The pedals are pretty solid and can be reached from any position, though there is some gubbins down there that can get distracting when shifting.
The Six-Speaker Radio and CD changer are easy to use and produce a fair level of qua
lity, but the tweeters that are put at wing-mirror height could get annoying. As are the rear speakers which are positioned right next to the rear passengers' arms. If you're after cup holders, be thankful there are one per passenger, but the door pockets aren't really useful for anything larger than a cheque book. Overall the level of quality and craftsmanship is good, although it looses it's edge with the arm rests and some storage space doors that feel a tad tacky. As said the aluminium trim that touches the doors centre console, gear box and steering wheel are a little mismatched, as is the grade of material on the manual gear stick.
It doesn't take long to get used to the Coupe, it handles and responds to the smallest adjustments with aplomb. The 1.6 Litre 4-Cylinder 16 Valve DOHC engine produces a mere 103 bHp at 5800rpm, which is roughly the red line for the manual engine. Though, Torque peaks at a lesser 4500 rpm with 143 Nm, close to half that of the V6 model. With a maximum speed of only 115mph, and a 0-62mph time of 11.6, it's not exactly the fastest car you could imagine. The 1.6 does a combined Mile Per gallon reading of 37.2, compared to 27.2 of the V6. A loss from the larger engines in this model is that you only get one exhaust, and Automatic isn't available. The automatic for the 2.0 and 2.6 V6 engines is a four-speed H-Tronic designed by Porsche, which allows a kick-back for overtaking in the 80mph region.
Driving the Coupe is fairly enjoyable, it is a long car, which means it's better suited to the outer city, since parking the thing requires a good neck to see around the rear boot posts. Also the large wing mirrors can get in the way when looking out at crossroads. Around the country and windy roads it sticks to the road, the suspension gives a lot of road feedback thanks to some great springs and stiff dampers. The power steering is just about right and it gives plenty of f
eedback, plus the front-wheel drive differential gives very little torque steer. Traction control is lost from the upper models, even so, the FF (Front engine, front driven) transmission won't be much to handle on slippery roads. The Anti-lock Braking System works pretty well, although can't be turned off.
The gear ratios are set for a good acceleration from 1st to 3rd and gets slightly wider with the final two, as you're not going to be cruising in 4th at 40mph. Using the clutch and brake pedals give similar feedback, with the clutch you have a large free-wheel gap from the floor to the biting point, and the contact-point is at the very top of the pedal, the braking pedal is a little spongy to touch and gets all tough further down. This leaves you thinking the gears are engaged as you let go of the clutch only to realise there is something left over. The engine gives great response and is easy to control, and has plenty of torque to give maximum pulling power. Wind noise is almost a whisper, and the ride is smooth and refined.
Looks, Value, Sound.
The car is gorgeous to look at, from many vantage points the car looks like a mix of very high-end cars, at one angle it could be a Porsche - with the wrap around Headlight bonnet - from another angle it's long rear window and sharp spoiler remind of the classy DB7, and the side vents give a hint of a Ferrari. The exhaust produces a rather quiet low hum on choke, and the engine's tone can't be described as rough, it sounds much bigger and bolder than it should - there are no high-rev screams. At the price of 12,995 with a 5-year warranty, it produces the sort of value that can't be denied, comparatively speaking, you could fork out an extra £4k on an MG TF, or how about £1,750 for the latest Mazda MX-5.
With all the niceties and functions that you can get in the practical cars, like the oncoming Ford Fiesta, Toyota Celica, or maybe the Honda Civic, plus o
ne of the range's largest boot spaces at well over 15ft cubic. Insurance group is 14.
The Hyundai Coupe 1.6 S, is terrific to drive, practical and very affordable. If you're after a small car that has looks cool and is practical too, the Coupe is a terrific buy.