THE Hyundai Coupe is a two-door sporty-looking coupe that seats up to four adults, and is an eye-catcher, especially in red. Priced at RM128k, it is one of the most affordable two-door coupes that you can get in Malaysia, and it comes with airbags, ABS and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme).
A few units of the 2.7-litre model were brought in but it seems the current distributor has decided to focus more on the 2.0 model, which is a more viable value-for-money package for the Malaysian motoring public.
In terms of looks, the Hyundai Coupe is indeed attractive and eye-pleasing.
The 2.0-litre engine is a 16-valve, four-cylinder unit with CVVT, the Hyundai equivalent of variable valve timing. It produces 143PS at 6,000rpm, and has a maximum torque of 186Nm at 4,500rpm.
This is a respectable figure insofar as 2.0-litre engines are concerned, but not one of the higher figures.
Mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to the front wheels, the performance is adequate, but not exhilarating.
Of course, if you really like the Hyundai Coupe shape and want something better, you could always ask for the 2.7-litre model, which has 167PS from the V6 engine.
We had one test unit courtesy of Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors, and we drove it around Petaling Jaya for a couple of days to get a feel of it.
As far as the power delivery was concerned, the Hyundai Coupe does drive quite well, due to its relatively low final drive ratio of 4.407:1.
The four-speed automatic is, like all current four-speed automatics, a little short in performance, especially when it comes to the gaps in-between gears.
But gear changes are smooth enough, thanks to the excellent electronic controls.
As it was, we managed a top speed of around 180kph on a short stretch of open highway before traffic conditions made it necessary to slow down.
On the road, the Hyundai Coupe is quiet enough when driven at normal road speeds of between 80kph and 120kph.
After that, the engine has to work a little harder, and under hard acceleration, the gears drop down, sometimes to second, and that is when you will notice the engine noise building up as the revolutions climb.
Due to the low ratios, the revolutions will hold right up to the red line at 6,500rpm before the gears change, unless you lift off and release the pressure in the gearbox.
Overall handling is decent, from the four-wheel independent suspension made up of MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
The suspension is set to be on the firm side of comfortable, and driven in anger, the Hyundai Coupe will be able to give a reasonably good account of itself.
However, once the speed builds up, it cruises easily, and you can keep it at around 160 to 180kph the whole day if you so wish to.
Overall, the Hyundai Coupe does offer a viable option for those who want a sporty-looking yet affordable car, and are not looking for brute performance.