When the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe debuted I was actually pretty excited. The coupe was Hyundai’s first real entrant into the sports car marketplace and seeing all the hype that the car was getting actually started to pump me up. Hyundai touted the Genesis coupe as something that you could take from the dealership directly to the racetrack and begin to rip it up with the big boys. In fact the commercials they aired during the 2009 Superbowl were nothing short of inspiring.
For the last few years Hyundai has been coming on very strong as a automobile manufacturer. They’ve been desperately trying to shake their low buck, low quality image of the 1980’s and early 90’s by offering such cars as the Sonata, Elantra and now the beautiful 4 door Genesis sedan. Make no mistake, these cars are reliable, get decent fuel economy are well built and at the end of the day, offer a good value for your dollar. The new Genesis coupe was thrown into the mix to add a performance element to line-up. The question though is, did it succeed?
I just want to preface this post by stating that I am reviewing this car from the perspective that this is a performance coupe which is capable of seeing shared time on the street as well as the track, so keep that in mind as you read this. The Genesis that I was given was the 2.0-liter turbo R-Spec with the track pack. That means the car comes standard with a 210 hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, Brembo brakes, 18 inch wheels and a 6-speed manual transmission. It also comes with an as tested price of $24,600.
From a visual standpoint the Genesis Coupe is an attractive automobile with nicely sculpted lines. It’s nothing that is going to bring home the Oscar for design, but it’s a nice looking car, I wasn’t too sold on the red paint though. The interior of the car offers up exactly what you’d expect from Hyundai, meaning it’s nicely appointed but in no way overdone. The gauge cluster includes a speedo, tach, fuel and temperature gauge with the center dash taking care of your audio and climate controls. A crappy looking black and white digital screen keeps you apprised of audio settings and outside temperatures but looked to be more of an afterthought than anything else.
The front seats, although comfortable really should have more bolstering. While throwing this thing through the corners I actually felt myself sliding around, something that is not supposed to happen in a track oriented vehicle. The backseats aren’t even worth talking about so just consider this thing a two-seater, ok. Otherwise the interior materials used are what you’d expect from Hyundai, meaning they’re a little on the cheap side, but nice enough so that your friends won’t make fun of you if you decide to buy one.
Here is where I need to be a bit harsh. I understand that I wasn’t driving the 306 hp V6 version of the Genesis coupe, but even still, from a performance standpoint this car was a GIGANTIC let down. The 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder just didn’t feel like it produced anywhere near the claimed 210 advertised horsepower and felt completely out of steam by 5500 rpm. Revving the little mill past that simply felt like an exercise in futility. Hell, I actually became frustrated with the car because I couldn’t get any more power out of it. I sincerely hope the 306 hp V6 version feels like it has more grunt. Transmission wise the 6-speed manual, although having a short shift, felt notchy and a bit flimsy, meaning that if this car had more power I don’t think the transmission could handle it. Who knows, maybe I just got a clapped out car but with under 5000 miles on the clock I highly doubt it.
If there was a bright spot to the Genesis coupe it would have to be the handling and brakes. Tossing the Genesis into a corner was met with a smile as the car felt totally compliant. There was no sense of understeer and due to the lack of power, oversteer was not really an option. Quick back and forth transitions were no problem either as the car always felt planted and reserved. Bringing the Genesis to a stop was also a cinch thanks to the big 60mm Brembo’s.
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis 2.0T R-Spec is really only half the car it could potentially be, and who knows, maybe when equipped with the 306 hp V6 my thoughts would be different. However, with the 2.0T I felt like I was only getting half a car. It’s got good suspension and fabulous brakes, yet no power or transmission by which to really utilize them. The other issue is that the car cost over $24,000 and when there are cars out there like the Mazda Speed3 and VW GTI for the same money, the Genesis Coupe simply gets outpaced. Now if Hyundai dropped the price to say $20,000 then they would have a nice little car that would make a decent beginner track vehicle. Until then though, I would say that this car is not much more than a nice daily driver with a little bit of a performance edge to it… nothing more.