A high clutch engagement point, a wonky gear lever, and abrupt power delivery make the Hyundai Genesis coupe 2.0T a tricky car to drive smoothly. After a day or two behind the wheel, it gets easier, but the powertrain certainly isn't as silky smooth as that of a Volkswagen 2.0 TFSI manual. I commend Hyundai for including this car -- and this powertrain -- in its lineup, but refinement is not one of the Genesis coupe's strong points.
I can't imagine that Hyundai expected to sell that many of these coupes, so it's easy to look at it pessimistically and say, "Why did they even bother when the Ford Mustang is all the sporty coupe most people want?" Hyundai tells us that the Genesis sedan/coupe split is about 60/40, which works out to about 20,000 coupes last year. That's more than I would've guessed, although it's still only about half the volume of the Dodge Challenger -- unquestionably the third-place player in the pony-car segment.
But good for Hyundai for selling a car that might not make very much business sense but that gives enthusiasts an alternative to the status quo. The Genesis coupe also presents an interesting bridge between the usual American suspects and the new Scion/Subaru coupes.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The Hyundai Genesis coupe seems to send out some sort of dog whistle that only young men can hear. As I drove through the area of Ann Arbor where college students live, as I do every day, I noticed lots of turning heads. I also got a few of those slow, "do-you-wanna-race" fly-bys from teenagers in older imports. The irony in all this is that the Genesis coupe makes me feel like a teenage driver, and not in a good way. As Rusty Blackwell notes, the controls are so clunky and poorly tuned that it's very difficult to drive it smoothly. When the turbo comes on in first gear and tosses my head back, I can almost hear my dad lecturing my sixteen-year-old self on the importance of smoothness. Of course, my sixteen-year-old self probably would not have discerned or cared about the excess heaviness of the steering, the peakiness of the engine, or the binary nature of the clutch. I'd have gone wild over the styling and dreamed about torching people at stoplights. The coupe's reasonable price (and the ten-year Hyundai warranty) bring it within reach for high school and college kids with indulgent parents. Grown ups would do better to consider V-6 versions of the Camaro and Mustang or the new Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Hyundai really went out on a limb with the Genesis Coupe, a performance-minded rear-wheel-drive coupe didn't exactly fit with the rest of the brand's portfolio. The original wasn't a very good car, but the upgrades for 2013 are significant. The car looks much wider and more aggressive now and the 2.0-liter turbo engine is far more powerful than the original turbo four. There's still some refinement lacking, but it's amazing how far this platform has come in a few years. With a better-sounding exhaust note and a smoother shifter, the Genesis Coupe would be very compelling at $25k.
Unlike my colleagues, I prefer the Genesis Coupe to a six-cylinder Mustang or Camaro. The Camaro has pretty horrific visibility and a cheaper interior than the Hyundai. The Mustang isn't as ergonomically optimized as the Hyundai, especially the relationship between the seat, steering wheel, and pedals. I'd like the Mustang's exterior design with the Genesis Coupe's interior. At least the Genesis Coupe looks more mature this time around, the original looked a little too much like the old Tiburon with a few of the latest Hyundai design cues tacked on.
When you take into account pricing, performance, and content, the Genesis Coupe is pretty compelling. There are sporty cars that ride better, but I'm not sure how much that matters to potential buyers. The Genesis is reasonably well composed and ride quality isn't as harsh as you might expect for a Korean performance car on 18-inch wheels. Although the Genesis is Hyundai's best sports car ever, it still isn't the best rear-wheel drive sports car at this price.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
I took similar issue with the clutch and steering of the Genesis coupe, but overall, I am impressed with the improvements made to the black sheep of the Hyundai family. The increased power of the 2.0-liter four helps legitimize comparisons to the base Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pony cars, but to me it's still a very different beast. I think its coarseness, stance, and harsh ride instead draw comparisons to the Nissan 370Z. The Z is obviously in a totally different league in terms of performance, but the similarities are hard to deny. When the modern Z was first introduced, it was priced in the mid-$20,000s. With the Nissan's prices now starting in the low to mid $30,000s, the $25,000 Genesis coupe 2.0T is nicely poised to fill the vacancy at the low end of the market as a sort of poor man's Z. What's unfortunate is that the Subaru BR-Z and the Scion FRS are also aiming for this hole in the market and even from my brief drive of the FRS, I can say that the Genesis coupe isn't likely to jump to the head of this segment any time soon.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms