If you want a car that grabs attention, then stop reading right now and go buy the Hyundai. As we noted in our initial review, the Genesis offers style comparable to a $40,000 Infiniti G37. The flared fenders, dual exhaust, and 19-inch rims (18-inch wheels are standard) all indicate that this is a fast, rear-wheel-drive machine with sporting intentions. No doubt about it: this is the highest-style Hyundai to date.
The Civic, on the other hand, is a Civic. You probably saw (and didn't notice) six of them on your commute to work this morning. Even our test car's bright red paint and plus-size spoiler couldn't overcome the sheer ubiquity of the design. Some of us actually prefer this subtlety, especially when we're driving in a way that might interest local law enforcement. However, we can't imagine many typical import buyers (young, male, desperately wanting attention) choosing restrained and quiet over voluptuous and expensive-looking.
When choosing between the Genesis and Civic interior, one has a choice of either form or function. The Genesis, like its sedan cousin, features very handsome, upscale interior design. The attractive center console, contoured bucket seats with red inserts, and aluminum pedals show little relation to Hyundai's more utilitarian offerings. Our up-level Track model also came with goodies such as Bluetooth and keyless ignition. While everything looked good, we were less impressed with the way it all felt. The dash, armrests, and even the leather-wrapped steering wheel all felt rock hard.
Drivers were more split on the Civic's interior aesthetics. Some love the futuristic gauges and dash. Others found it tacky and cheap, an impression furthered by its similarity to the cabin in our Four Seasons Honda Fit. And yet, we preferred it to the Genesis' cabin for its excellent -- and classically Honda -- functionality. Though most surfaces are hard and plastic, everything the driver normally touches, especially the small-radius steering wheel, is wrapped in leather or soft cloth. The digital gauges are easy to read, and the low dash and expansive windshield provide excellent forward visibility. We also loved the snug, amply bolstered seats. Our only complaint was with the outdated optional navigation system, and the slow radio controls that come with it.