Fleet News

Hyundai Coupe V6 - 2,726 miles



IN my view, opinions on the Hyundai Coupe seem to fall between two distinct camps. Some, who I call the young posers, instantly dislike cars such as this purely on the strength of the badge on the bonnet.

I head up the older contingent which prefers to take a more measured view of a vehicle and doesn't give a damn about what the neighbours think of my choice of transport.

In its last road test (Fleet NewsNet May 8) – Steve Moody said he felt a fraud driving it and was afraid people might think he was a Ferrari wannabe.

I took over the keys and just to balance the books, I have to say that not once has the sign of the Prancing Horse crossed my mind – this car more resembles a Toyota Celica in my view.

On the looks front, my partner and I stopped off at a country pub the other day and parked between a Porsche Boxster and a BMW Z3. These two cars were clad in dull black and silver respectively and my dazzling red vehicle definitely looked the best of the three. In fact I caught several of the clientele taking a sneaky admiring look at the Hyundai. Inside is typical sports car fare – rock-hard suspension and seats laid back low with figure-hugging sides.

It makes for an exhilarating driving experience, even at 60mph. Tiny side and rear windscreens make reversing a bit of a pain but this model comes with a reversing alarm.

Also to be noted with this car – and all Hyundai product – is that it carries a five-year/ unlimited mileage warranty, so at selling time three years down the line, there is still a hefty chunk of guarantee left.

Like my colleague, I also drove our 2.0 model earlier in the year and felt it was underpowered. Surely the 2.7-litre V6 engine would make up for the deficit? Well, no, it doesn't. I was expecting stronger performance but this motor is a pretty lazy one for its size and pumps out only 165bhp.

I was first alerted to this lack of power when, on my second day behind the wheel, I thought I'd have a bit of fun with an old P-reg Fiat Coupe which happened to be travelling in the same direction on a dual carriageway. I planted my foot on the floor to overtake it, only to be left red-faced in the fast lane as the other driver blasted off into the distance.

The Coupe proves somewhat lacking on cornering ability too. Several times when I hustled round a bend the traction control took over when a car of this calibre should still have plenty of grip left.

There are a couple of minor niggles on the quality front, too. Firstly the plip lock only works when it feels like it. And secondly, there is an intermittent creak from under the dashboard which starts up occasionally and mysteriously stops again later.

But the biggest problem with this car – and any sports car – is the lack of room for passengers. During my two-week stint with the Hyundai, I suffered an agonising 10-mile trip with my partner, her 14-year-old daughter and a friend aboard.

Later I had to cancel a proposed trip with my father as, at 86 years of age and with failing mobility, he simply couldn't get in. So while we have all enjoyed playing with this car, a toy it will have to remain in terms of fleet practicality for many drivers such as myself.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £115 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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