Our Four Seasons Hyundai Genesis sedan blows me away every time I drive it. There’s literally nothing in its price range that offers such a combination of luxury, refinement, and performance. This Genesis coupe, in contrast, is a little underwhelming.
Undoubtedly, the coupe follows in the Genesis and larger Hyundai tradition of offering a whole lot for not much money. $30,375 buys you a loaded track model (19″ rather than 18″ wheels, stiffer springs, etc.) with a 300-hp V-6, leather seating, Bluetooth, and plenty of other gizmos. The Genesis coupe also looks good, and it probably caught more stares in the ten-minute drive to my apartment than all the cars Hyundai has previously built combined.
But there are issues. The 3.8-liter V-6 grunts and howls with a dissonance that vibrates the dashboard at high revs, the shifter is a little balky, and the ride is jarring. There were also a few unnerving squeaks, particularly in the sunroof area, although it’s worth noting that we drove an early-build test car that’s no doubt seen lots of hard use.
None of these faults are deal-breakers, but in a segment as competitive as that for $25,000-$35,000 sporty coupes, they’re enough to make you wonder whether the Hyundai is really worth the same money as a Nissan 370Z, a Ford Mustang, a Chevrolet Camaro, or even a Subaru Impreza WRX.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I couldn’t wait to drive this, after seeing it on the auto show floor. What a wild thing! And the production Genesis coupe is really just as stunning. I loved our test car’s screaming Interlagos yellow paint and the red Brembo brakes peeking through the ten-spoke wheels. I also liked the engine roar in every gear, all the way into sixth.. I found the steering almost leaden, the six-speed a tad notchy. But it’s the buckboard, slam-bang ride over rough roads (and the speed bumps in the parking structure – ouch!) that would make it pretty hard to live with.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
Returning from a quick trip to Las Vegas, where I test drove several Corvettes equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 radials, I could not help but notice how much better the seats were in my next ride, the new Genesis coupe. How could a Korean immigrant costing barely $30,000 top the seating comfort of America’s much-loved $50,000-$105,000 sports car? By providing vastly superior lateral location in both the bottom cushion and the backrest, that’s how. Crappy buckets are the final frontier for improvement in the Corvette and, by comparison, a job well done in the Hyundai. Painted screaming bonkers yellow and decked with cool nineteen-inch wheels and the requisite spoiler, the Genesis coupe was a major head-turner in my neighborhood. The rough-around-the-edges nature of its powertrain is just the character needed to feel at home with the domestic pony cars the Genesis coupe mimics.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
Hyundai has done a good job of differentiating the Genesis coupe from the sedan. Of course, the bright yellow exterior color of our test car (not one I particularly care for, by the way) helps to announce the coupe’s more sporting intentions. Once inside, the seats are quite comfortable, and, as in the sedan, you notice interior materials that are well fit and feel nice to the touch. Several of the controls are placed differently in the coupe, like the power-mirror adjusters, the steering-wheel-mounted controls (and the steering wheel itself), and the center stack. Once underway, you notice the difference even more, as the sedan’s luxury-oriented demeanor has been completely set aside for a much more rough-and-ready character. Clearly, Hyundai is going for two completely different sets of buyers with the sedan and the coupe – my guess is that the coupe skews toward younger buyers with a larger percentage of them male. Perhaps that’s why this fifty-year-old woman prefers the sedan.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
It may not be the most refined, but the Genesis coupe’s powertrain is quite fun. The shifter doesn’t offer the best feel, and the engine can be a bit coarse, but when you’re aggressive with the gas pedal, you get a great response. The Hyundai is a bit easier to drive than the Nissan 370Z, thanks to a clutch that offers more feedback as it engages.
The suspension is where the two really coupes really separate themselves. The Hyundai is downright rough, trundling over bumps and heaving back and forth or side to side. It seems like unnecessary harshness that doesn’t provide any tangible benefit to handling.
I do prefer the Genesis’s looks to those of the 370Z. The proportions give it a longer and lower look, and I appreciate the shapes of the kink in the window behind the doors and the arcing trunk lid.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
The Genesis coupe is a really great effort by Hyundai. Like Zenlea, I noticed a lot of people checking it out. It’s far less generic-looking than the Genesis sedan and has some original exterior details that give it some personality, like the cool downward kink in the rear side window. It looks great, plus it increases the rear side-glass area giving back-seat passengers a little more light, never a bad thing in the typically cramped rear seat of a small coupe. The cabin is comfortable, and it didn’t take long for me to feel right at home. My only complaint is that the steering wheel didn’t adjust for reach. The majority of the interior materials look and feel really good, and fit is excellent. The multimedia screen is a bit small, but the plastic shroud surrounding it, while not overly attractive, did a good job of reducing the annoying glare that can happen on a sunny day.
The Genesis is quick when pushed, but first and second gear give out – and get excessively loud – well before the redline. Throw it in sixth gear on the highway, though, and the revs stay low and engine noise is restrained to acceptable levels. Unfortunately, quite a bit of tire noise that makes its way into the cabin; this is especially true on wet roads. Driving on the highway through small puddles after a hard rain, I was convinced that a window was open on several occasions. The Genesis coupe’s biggest flaw is its poor suspension tuning — at least in the stiffer Track model we sampled. Over the weekend, I drove on some of the worst roads the City of Detroit has to offer and nearly came away a few teeth short of a mouthful; the ride is downright brutal over broken and potholed pavement. Even the smallest imperfections and minor undulations unsettle the Genesis coupe.
The underlying coarseness of the Genesis coupe brings to mind our Four Seasons Infiniti G37 coupe. While the G37 is infinitely more poised over rough pavement, the Genesis actually has a smoother action to its manual transmission and less engine vibration and harshness. The Hyundai’s steering has a better weight to it, too, and it’s more direct and communicative than the Infiniti’s. Plus, throttle and clutch feel are also much better in the Genesis, making shifting smoothly a far easier task than in the six-speed-manual-equipped G37.
As with the sedan of the same name, Hyundai got a lot of things right on the Genesis coupe but stumbled a bit when tuning the suspension. A more compliant, controlled ride would make the two-door Genesis a much more enjoyable car on our rough Michigan roads.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
Jason Cammisa hit the nail on the head with his initial review of the Genesis coupe: Fans of domestic pony cars will not be interested in this new Hyundai, even though it shares so many specs with those Big Three poster children. No, the people who’ll find themselves signing up for a Genesis coupe will probably most commonly be those who lust after the likes of the Infiniti G37 or the Nissan 370Z but can’t quite come up with the $36,000 for the four-seat G or the $30K for a basic two-seat 370Z. The $22K-base-price, four-cylinder Genesis coupe certainly offers a solid alternative to those Nissan products, but I’d personally save my pennies for the G37 (itself an impersonator of the BMW 3-series). I’d definitely like to try a four-cylinder Genesis coupe with the standard suspension, rather than this $30K six-cylinder model with track suspension.
My biggest issue with the two-door Genesis is its ride quality. The Genesis sedan (which is barely recognizable as a relative to this car) struggles in this regard, but this “track-tuned” coupe is darn near intolerable. That’s OK in an out-and-out sports car, but the Hyundai coupe lacks that mission, which makes the rough ride annoying above all else.
Thankfully, the handling and steering are sufficiently sporty, and the somewhat buzzy engine at least sounds pretty ballsy and provides a decent amount of oomph. The gearbox is better than that of the G37, too, but it’s still a bit wonky and too notchy. Also, the clutch has a pretty small, grabby engagement point, which makes smooth driving a bit tricky.
I do quite like the two-door Genesis’s interior design, and the build quality in the cabin is very good as well, even if there are some cold, hard plastics here and there. The exterior’s overall styling isn’t my cup of tea, nor is the bright yellow paint, but at least this car makes an effort to stand out from other Korean cars. And I definitely admire Hyundai for boldly jumping into this supercompetitive, low-volume category. Keep ’em coming, Hyundai; you’ll have a Mustang-fighter before too long …
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
We’ll have to drive a V-6 Genesis coupe into the office that is NOT equipped with the optional Track package, so we can see if its ride quality is dramatically better than our test car’s. But overall, despite our few niggles, we’ve come away as impressed by the Genesis coupe as we were by its sedan sibling when it debuted last year. The Genesis coupe feels very well screwed together, has lots of power, and is just a little rough around the edges. It’s a welcome addition to the rather modest list of affordable, rear-wheel-drive sport coupes.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track
Base price (with destination): $30,250
Price as tested: $30,375
Carpeted floor mats $95
iPod cable $30
17 / 26 / 20 mpg
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Size: Horsepower: 306 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Weight: 3397 lb
19-in aluminum wheels
225/40YR-19 summer tires