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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review – A Pony Car From the Far East

Tuesday October 6th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: anson

2010 Genesis Coupe
By Anson Tse

Pros

  • Performance and value
  • Solid chassis and suspension tuning
  • Lots of standard features

Cons

  • Manual transmission setup needs more polish
  • V6 seems a bit more powerful on paper

Introduction

Hyundai has been making a pretty strong statement with its products lately. Remember the days of the Hyundai Excel? Well, times have changed. The new Genesis sedan has received accolades for going toe to toe with the best luxury sedans from Japan and Germany. Interestingly enough, Hyundai is on a mission to have pony car drivers watch out for the Genesis Coupe creeping up in their rearview mirrors. Being one of those rear wheel drive fanatics, it was time to see how the Genesis Coupe measures up.


The sport coupe has always been the ideal type of car for young adults. Americans have always had a certain passion for rear wheel drive sport coupes. Figuring out the right formula has been a formidable task for every automaker. The combination of volume and profitability has taken its toll on countless sport coupes. Ford has been the only one to stick with it — the Ford Mustang has been leading the way for over 40 years now. Toyota gave up after the Supra, Nissan is doing ok after it got back in the game with the 370Z, Mitsubishi and Dodge tried it with the 3000GT and Stealth. The Challenger is alive again, as is the Camaro after an 8 year hiatus. The Genesis Coupe certainly has no shortage of competitors to face in this day and age. The question is, does Hyundai have the right formula?

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 308 hp V6

Driving Impressions

The Genesis Coupe certainly has earned its right to partake in the pony car wars. The Genesis Coupe is nimble and light on its toes. Great handling starts with a solid chassis and Hyundai accomplished that by using a shortened version of the Genesis sedan’s. The suspension is tuned to soak up the bumps, yet provide a firm, sporty ride. Those that prefer a softer ride should avoid the Track edition package. The Genesis that I tested was equipped with the Track package which includes a cross-tower strut brace under the hood, 19-inch Gunmetal finish alloy wheels, high performance Bridgestone tires, 4 wheel Brembo brakes, Torsen-type limited-slip differential, and trunk mounted spoiler.

Performance is what you expect from a car thus equipped and it delivers. The Genesis is more refined than the American pony cars — it’s very quiet at low speeds with a subtle exhaust note. This refinement does take a little bit away from the whole experience of a sports car, but I don’t think many will complain. Below 3000 RPM, the engine lacks presence from both an auditory perspective, but also from the butt dyno perspective. This is not to say that the 3.8L V6 is a slouch, rather it just doesn’t make that much torque in the low to mid RPMs. Around 3500 RPM the engine note comes alive along with the power that you were expecting. The Genesis I tested was equipped with a close ratio 6-speed manual that helps overcome the lack of low RPM grunt.

Beneath the hood, you’ll find a 3.8L V-6 that rivals the Nissan’s vaunted 3.5L V-6 for power on paper. The engine is good for 306 HP and 266 lb.-ft. of torque, but the Genesis does lack mid-range torque. The Genesis is also available with a turbocharged 2.0 L I4, which also promises to be a screamer. I expect this to be embraced by the tuner crowed for all the potential that exists there. Transmission choices are a standard 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, or 6-speed automatic made by ZF. Both automatic transmissions are available with Hyundai’s SHIFTRONIC paddle shifters. The 6-speed manual I tested was EPA rated 17 city and 26 highway, I managed to get 23 MPG in my combined driving. Something else that will help at the gas pump is the fact that Hyundai calibrated this engine to run on regular gas instead of premium.

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Brembo Brakes

Build

Hyundai has made huge strides in build quality and the whole Genesis line shows that their work has paid off. In fact, the Genesis sedan has won several awards and compares well with what Lexus has to offer. With the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai went a little but less on the luxury and more on the sporty side of things. There is still a good choice of materials and fit and finish is excellent. The buttons do feel a bit hollow and cheap, there’s not much heft on the control knobs and tactile feedback is a bit lacking, however I recognize that I’m being nitpicky. A solid body structure is hugely important; it directly translates into higher performance and a quieter car. The chassis engineers have a much easier time tuning the ride and handling and the interior engineers have to worry less about rattles and noise. The chassis is rock solid resulting in no rattles that I could detect.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

The interior of the Genesis is done very nicely, in fact I feel that it may be a little bit too well done. In many ways, it actually feels like it belongs more in a premium sedan that a sports car. Hyundai seems like they’re trying to make this more like a G37 than a 370Z, not a bad thing. All of the controls are properly positioned and there’s a good range of adjustment for larger people. Every V6 Genesis comes with leather seats as standard. On the Track Edition, black is the only color. The seats are firm and comfortable, with good lateral support, very closely resembling Recaro seats.

The interior feels quite open and spacious, certainly a different feeling compared to sitting in the new Camaro. As expected there’s not much room for rear seat passengers, only small children would be comfortable back there. The seats fold down providing access to the trunk. With the handling prowess of this car, passengers are sure to notice the absence of a passenger assist handle. Additionally, there are no coat hooks in the rear. All are nice features to have, but you won’t notice their absence until you spend a couple days with the car. It is curious why Hyundai decided omit these things since the Coupe comes with so many other features.

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe interior steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls heated black leather seats

The Genesis Coupe was equipped with many nice amenities like pushbutton keyless ignition, power moonroof, heated seats, polished aluminum pedals, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Xenon headlamps, and fog lamps. There are also a host of advanced technologies like Bluetooth integration with the AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio with a built in CD changer. This is all hooked up to a 10 speaker Infinity audio system with redundant steering wheel controls.

The Bluetooth functionality worked beautifully with my iPhone and the system was fairly easy to set up. There is also an iPod and USB connector in the center console which keeps things uncluttered and out of sight. A touchscreen navigation system with XM traffic’s service is optional.

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2 Responses to 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review – A Pony Car From the Far East

  1. Peter Anastopulos says:

    I really love the looks of the Genesis Sedan but was confused by the the early shots of this car.I thought what was the finished car was a disguised mule.First glance seeing it on the highway 101 near San Francisco it seemed like an over sized Acura RSX with low quality materials.Seeing it in on the dealer lot was even sadder since the body colored materials seem to confuse the design details which is good since they seem to be random.This maybe a good car even a great car .But looks do matter in this class of car and this does not have it.Hyundai stop your cheap ways and hire a great Italian designer. Then this car will be have a chance.As of today I would buy the Camero followed by the Mustang, Challenger, GTI way down the list the Hyundai .Sorry I am shallow but looks do matter.

  2. Auto chart says:

    I also find the choice of the Genesis name curious for this sports car.

    Whatever – I like the car, and I like what it says about Hyundai. I’d like to see a try at a real sports car from the other Korean companies.





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