Hyundai Coupe

Makeover attempts to bring new life to ageing Hyundai Coupe V6

Evo rating
from £20,495
  • Decent chassis, smart exterior
  • Dated feel, underpowered, overpriced

Where are a host of appealing cars you can buy for around twenty grand at the moment. The trouble is that most of them have a big boot and Isofix points and scream ‘I do a school run’. So how about a 2+2 coupe for the same money? If you can live with the minor impracticalities it’s much more interesting than a hot hatch. Isn’t it?

This is the new Hyundai Coupe SIII. The exterior has been completely redesigned, and significant changes have also been made inside, or so it says in the blurb. The nose has new, elongated headlights and a ‘more aggressive letterbox-like grille’ – although personally I’ve yet to come across an aggressive letterbox. There are also new side air vents and the rear bodywork has been re-sculpted too.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

From some angles it’s really quite an attractive shape. It’s certainly not offensive. But there’s nothing terribly distinctive about it and details like the big, square door mirrors jar slightly and look like budget afterthoughts.

Inside, a designer has picked up on VW’s cool blue backlighting in a big way. Someone has also decided that if the TT has got round vents then the Hyundai Coupe should have a couple too. Metal-look finishes are also a big theme. Unfortunately, despite these late-’90s design highlights, the interior is pretty woeful. The steering wheel is huge and ugly, the control stalks are fat and made of particularly nasty plastic, and the whole thing is topped-off by the fact that anyone over six foot can’t sit up straight without opening the sunroof.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Golf GTI with its acres of headroom isn’t looking so bad now. Still, a lithe, V6 coupe should have it licked dynamically…

Fire it up with a twist of the key and there are definitely more than four cylinders, but it isn’t a rich or complex sound. Slot ‘D’ with the slightly outsized gear selector – yes, our test car is an automatic, and a four speed one at that – and ease off. The throttle is lively in the first part of its travel, but you very quickly find yourself using the whole length of its travel just to encourage whatever acceleration the Coupe can muster. Hyundai claims 8.6sec to 62mph, and it feels about that unremarkable. The standard-fit traction control hardly seems necessary, and the V6 really needs to be kept above 4000rpm otherwise it tends to just make noise rather than actually creating any meaningful propulsion.

Keeping things on the boil is made slightly tricky, however, by only having that four-speed auto. You can understand why the gearbox doesn’t have any more than four ratios, because it takes so long to swap between them that if it had six you’d end up going nowhere. If you use the selector to change gears then you can click it fore or aft and have your left hand back on the wheel before anything has happened. Downshifts lack any attempt at a throttle-blip and arrive with a palpable jolt.

The Coupe’s saving dynamic grace is a chassis that is supple and benign, if not the last word in edgy thrills. This, combined with the fact that it feels like a small car, turns in well and corners neutrally, allows you to thread it down a road confidently and throw it into corners without any fear of hideous reprisals. The high-speed ride is impressively smooth as well.

But acceptable dynamics can’t save the Coupe. In all honesty, it doesn’t do anything really badly, it just doesn’t do anything really well. Equipped with the six-speed manual it would deserve an extra half star (and cost £1000 less), but the bottom line remains that a 162bhp V6 and packaging that would have been borderline five years ago mean it just isn’t a desirable car, especially for twenty grand.


EngineV6, 2656cc, 24v
Max power162bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque181lb ft @ 4000rpm
0-608.6sec (claimed)
Top speed135mph (claimed)
On saleNow

More on Coupe

Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2014 update

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe gets an update for 2014, before the all-new model is revealed next year. Details here
30 Jan 2014
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai HND-9 coupe concept: official pictures

The wild, butterfly doored Hyundai HND-9 is a 365bhp turbocharged rear-drive concept car
2 Apr 2013
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai coupe concept car

The Hyundai HND-9 is a 365bhp rear-drive coupe concept car with butterfly doors
21 Mar 2013
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Veloster coupe prices and specs

Hyundai releases price and specification details of its funky four-door Veloster coupe. Watch out Megane and Scirocco
14 Oct 2011
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Veloster coupe review

evo drives a pre-production version of the new Volkswagen Scirocco rivaling Hyundai Veloster coupe
11 Apr 2011
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Rallying Hyundai Veloster revealed

The Scirocco and Megane rivalling Hyundai Veloster puts on some smart rallying uniform
7 Feb 2011
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Veloster coupe video

Hyundai unveils its Veloster to rival the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupe. Clever doors. Pictures and video here
11 Jan 2011
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Genesis Coupe

3.8-litre V6 gives new Hyundai the punch to compete with Nissan’s 370Z
16 Jun 2009
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe

We catch Hyundai's four-door Coupe undergoing handling tests in France
21 Oct 2008
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai coupe

The new rear-drive Hyundai Coupe looks likely to make it to the UK after all
7 Apr 2008
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Genesis Sports Coupe

Work continues on the Hyundai Genesis Sports Coupe...
26 Feb 2008
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe: Facelifted Hyundai Coupe arrives

Hyundai gets nose job, tail tweaks and updated interior
22 Jan 2007
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

All Roger Green wanted for Christmas was a brake upgrade and some new seats on his Hyundai...
4 Jan 2007
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

Fuel consumption and tyre wear have been on Roger Green's mind this month.
10 Oct 2006
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe facelift

No need to hide behind the sofa – it's okay!
24 Aug 2006
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

7 Aug 2006
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

The Hyundai Coupe may not yet be king of the track day but it's definitely speeding in the right direction
1 Jun 2006
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

With Project XI well underway, I've effectively got two project cars on the go simultaneously, as I'm also transforming our humble Hyundai Coupe into …
6 Mar 2006
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

It took a good 1500 miles for the Coupe to fully loosen up. The engine felt quite breathless to begin with, seeming to struggle to deliver its promise…
12 Dec 2005
Hyundai Coupe coupe

Hyundai Coupe V6

Hyundai isn't a name that often crops up in the pages of this magazine, but we're no badge snobs and the Coupe shouldn't be overlooked. We gave it fou…
30 Aug 2005