Hyundai has had a pretty strong run the past few years. It started with the Genesis, then went to the Genesis Coupe, and continues with the new Sonata. All are low cost vehicles that put up a very strong fight to their more expensive competitors in terms of quality, reliability and even performance.
If you head back to the year 2002, you will find a different story. The cheap feeling, cheap driving and completely rubbish Accent and Elantra were both laughable economy cars that made sense only to complete idiots. However, their ascent into respectability was beginning with the Tiburon GTV6.
Performance wise, it isn't something that is going to stop the world dead in its tracks. The chassis isn't as focused as it should be, and they had to cut corners somewhere. Once you look past that, this car does have some good parts and charm to it that will improve how someone who owns it will look at it.
First off, you did get a lot of equipment on these for a small price. The GTV6 came with leather standard, and you could get a booming Infinity sound system. Of course, turning it on will completely block out the quiet sound of the 2.7-liter 181 horsepower V-6 up front. The engine might not make enough noise, but it does make just enough oomph so you feel fast, but you're not threatening to kill yourself. It even has just enough power to cause a little bit of torque steer, which gives you an impressive sounding bit of automotive jargon to impress your friends with, even though it means the car doesn't have the right kind of suspension for the power it makes.
The best part about these cars is the 6-speed gearbox. Its clickety-clack action makes changing gears easy and satisfying, and guarantees you will be rowing your own for years to come. It shows that Hyundai did put some sort of effort in to making the car enjoyable, and single handedly redeems it for being Korean.
All in all, the Tiburon GTV6 isn't a blow your face off performer. But, if you are the kind of person who is looking at V-6 Mustangs from the same time period, this is the better choice by a distance as far as from here to Jupiter. Plus, its name comes from the Spanish word for "shark," which is much cooler than some dumb old horse.