Bored of the usual modern classic coupés? Try something Korean and you might just like it.
Successor to the Scoupe, the Coupe improved upon Hyundai’s first attempts at making a sports car by updating the formula with a new bulging body and free-revving, larger engines. Buoyed by its rallying successes with Alister McRae behind the wheel, the Coupe balanced looks and reliability to make a top-notch bargain coupé, undercutting many of its rivals.
TORQUE 133lb ft@4800rpm
MAXIMUM SPEED 125mph
TRANSMISSION FWD, five-speed manual
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Rear arches can literally fall apart, as can the sub frames due to rust. Watch out for it around sunroof and the front edge of the roof around the screen too. The standard wheels can become porous and leak air so it's worth checking for badly repaired ones. Aftermarket alloys might not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s usually a reason why a Coupe will be sporting them. Sills are worth checking, especially where they join rear arches.
Front wheel bearings have a habit of wearing rapidly. Not tricky or expensive to repair, but definitely worth remembering on a test drive. Also up front, brakes can warp but once again, a fairly easy fix. Handbrakes are one of the biggest sources of MoT failures, their poor design means many of them seize, so make sure it works.
Both 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines are strong and long lived. Both can usually reach up to 175,000 miles with regular servicing, but they burn oil. Nothing to be concerned about, just remember to check the levels regularly. Gearboxes are strong too, as are clutches. A high biting point doesn’t necessarily mean a tired clutch – they all have that and it’s not something to worry about.
Early Coupes are noted for their temperamental electrical systems. Faulty central locking is a common occurrence; so don’t be surprised if you look at one with the central locking not working at all. In many cases, It's simply a case of a replacing an actuator, bought cheaply online. Electric Windows are known to fail, and sometimes become loose in the frame too. Watch out for headlights not working – this is usually caused by the wiring corroding. Electric sunroofs are also prone to failures – replacing the motor usually fixes these issues.
Interiors are generally hard wearing but are becoming harder to find spares for. Earlier dark interiors have weak leather on the seat bolsters, where as later models seem to have stood the test of time better.
Although the Coupe is much loved now, and has several UK based owner’s clubs, at a time it was a bargain basement motor and may have suffered because of it. Check to see the car’s history, has it been maintained at Hyundai garages and specialists or is it missing a significant part of its service history?
The Hyundai Coupe managed to be one of the first cars from Korea that people actually wanted to own, it helped forge the way for the brand to be taken seriously in the UK and its rock hard reliability and swooping curves made it a savvy second-hand purchase. 137bhp, 133lb ft of torque and 125mph is all very good, especially in a car that can be purchased for around £1000. It’s reliable and sporting enough to make it a good buy, and just left-field enough for it to be interesting too.