All-new mouth but no trousers
18 January 2005

The hyundai Coupé’s styling was always one of its strong points and now a couple of tweaks have transformed it from pretty to pretty mean. This mid-life refresh (three years after launch) is purely cosmetic, which is a shame, because the ride remains so hard that it amplifies every road imperfection into a filling-loosening judder.

At least the hard new looks now match the ride, with black headlamp casing and an aggressively angular look to the front air dam and bumper. Other changes are discreet – new side vents, indistinguishably different rear lamps and new door mirrors. The interior has been refreshed, with decent-quality plastics highlighted by flush aluminium. Leather trim is standard on all but the base model.

The three engine options are the same as before: an entry-level 1.6, range-topping 2.7-litre V6 and this, the 141bhp 2.0-litre, which saunters from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds.

The 2.0-litre is probably the pick of the bunch. It’s only a second slower than the V6 to 62mph, but costs £2k less, and has average fuel economy of 35.3mpg. Admittedly the V6 has extra kit, including climate control in place of air-con, but it’s only the six-speed gearbox you’ll really miss, as it would enhance refinement at high speed.

The Coupé is more cruiser than carver, but with good looks and a low £16,795 price tag, it’s no wonder it’s Britain’s fourth-biggest-selling coupé.

Paul Barker

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