I've had this car (the FX version) since '97. It has approximately 84k miles on it now, and other than the standard oil changes/service, and the timing belt that had to be replaced four thousand miles ago, this car is basically worry-free, compared to a good friend's more expensive luxury car bought the same year that had to have the engine replaced at about 44k miles.
The FX model comes with a 16 valve DOHC rated at 140HP, which is decent for a car of this size/weight (approximately 2800 lbs). It corners on a dime, unless you're in the snow.
This part is important: don't even think about driving this car in the winter if you don't have snow tires. The low ground clearance and lack of winter tires could be a recipe for an accident with this car. I've never been in an accident with mine, and I live in New England, so that's saying something.
As far as other features go, the stereo isn't going to blow your doors off, but it has decent tonal range and the CD player, while not totally skip-free, is pretty good compared to some other stock players I've been privvy to. The cup holders aren't much good, but they're there. The purchase-able options are relatively affordable and pay in spades. The sunroof/moonroof, is great, as are the ABS brakes. The spoiler is a must, because for some reason the Tiburons without it look almost amorphous.
The fog lamps are very helpful, and the cruise control is very steady...great for lead-footers who lose track of how fast they're going.
Now the bad stuff...As I said before, if you don't have winter tires and you live in a snow-prone region, figure your car will look good as a casket to bury your remains in. I spent one winter slipping and sliding in this car, and that was enough. Its time for me to replace my winter tires this year, and I WILL be doing that.
The other main drawback of the car, in my opinion, is that there's a decent blind spot when you try to look back and to your right because of the way the hatchback window/back side windows are situated. This is decently well compensated for by either slowing down or speeding up a little to see what's behind you in the side-view mirrors.
Next is leg room. I'm not a tall person by any stretch of the imagination, but one of my acquaintences is 6'2", and when he gets in the car, he literally has to back the passenger seat all the way up to the back seats to get the leg room/head room he needs.
The car is also noisy at higher speeds (hey, it's a sports coupe with a speedometer that goes to 140MPH, even though it's factory governed at 127MPH) compared to a more expensive sport coupe or luxury sedan.
In my opinion, Hyundai did a great job with this car, and while the brand name of the make may still be in question, I can say I'm glad I did my research on cars in the price-range/genre before buying, because I paid less than I would've paid for a more popular brand name vehicle but still got good performance and reliability, not to mention a really fun-to-drive car.
Amount Paid (US$):
1997Model and Options:
FX model with sunroof, spoiler, ABS, CD/stereo, AC, Pwr W/L