2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Sharp handling, livable ride from sophisticated chassis, capable engines, sporty cabin design, good value.
Manual transmission's lack of smoothness and precision, lackluster stereo performance.
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is all-new.
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe shares its name with the Genesis sedan, but that's effectively where the sharing stops. Yes, the Coupe's uplevel 3.8-liter V6 is similar (though not identical) to the sedan's base engine, and yes, the cars roll on the same basic platform. Drive them back to back, though, and you'll think they might as well be from different planets. While the Coupe is laudably comfortable and refined, it has none of the sedan's plush, isolated character. It's a genuinely sporting car that can run with its benchmark, the Infiniti G37 coupe, in all respects save straight-line acceleration. If you're looking for a stylish coupe with serious performance, the Genesis Coupe is one of the best deals on the market.
The Genesis Coupe's 2.0T trim levels come with a 210-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Considering the car's affordable base price and the presumptive ease with which horsepower can be increased by aftermarket tuners, the 2.0T will likely be the trim of choice for young hot-rodders. Should you wish to keep your Genesis' warranty intact, the turbo-4 is adequate right out of the box, and the uplevel 3.8-liter V6 provides burly acceleration with an exhaust note to match. The only powertrain lowlight is the shifter/clutch tandem on manual-transmission models -- the shifter lacks precision, and neither it nor the clutch likes to be rushed.
There's very little wrong with the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe from a style or design perspective. The exterior sheet metal is handsome and sporty -- calling the coupe the best-looking Hyundai ever would be a perfectly reasonable statement. The cabin is particularly impressive, boasting an enveloping cockpit-like environment. The rear seat is useless for adults, but you can fit a couple kids back there in a pinch. We've often said that Hyundai's models are "nice for the price," but the Genesis Coupe is just a nice car, period.
Note that the Genesis Coupe does have a clear rival in the bang-for-the-buck category -- the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, which offers a sophisticated 300-hp V6 at the Genesis Coupe 2.0T's price point, and a honking 422-hp V8 priced opposite the top-of-the-line Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track. One could also consider the retro-themed and enjoyable Ford Mustang GT a competitor for the 3.8 Track model. But no other coupe can match the Hyundai's combination of style, refinement and performance for the price. The BMW 128i comes the closest, but its polarizing exterior design hurts its case, and the Nissan 370Z is too single-minded in its sportiness to present a real challenge. We weren't sure we'd ever be saying this about a Hyundai performance car, but the Genesis Coupe is the real deal.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a performance coupe available in seven trim levels: 2.0T, 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Track, 2.0T R-Spec, 3.8, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track.
The base 2.0T comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, a tilt (but not telescoping) steering column, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a CD/MP3 stereo with USB/iPod connectivity and steering-wheel-mounted controls. The 2.0T Premium adds a power driver seat, keyless ignition, an Infinity audio system, a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 2.0T Track piles on 19-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, foglamps, a limited-slip rear differential, red cloth seat inserts and aluminum pedals.
The 2.0T R-Spec is essentially a 2.0T Track with a minimum of weight-inflating luxuries; it slots in right above the base 2.0T pricewise and includes all of the Track's go-fast hardware but sacrifices items like Bluetooth, automatic headlights, cruise control, the trip computer, chrome interior accents and steering wheel audio controls. It also features a set of front strut camber adjustment bolts for tailoring handling response to the driver's taste.
In addition to the 3.8-liter V6, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 comes with the base 2.0T's standard equipment plus foglights, chrome front fascia accents, metal door sill plates, automatic climate control and black leather upholstery. The 3.8 Grand Touring adds rear parking sensors, xenon headlights, foglights, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition, a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats and the Infinity audio system. The 3.8 Track is equipped similarly to the Grand Touring and also gains the 2.0T Track's performance-related equipment.
Options are limited to carpeted floor mats and an iPod/USB cable except for 3.8 Grand Touring and Track models, which are eligible for a touch-screen navigation system with music storage and Bluetooth streaming audio.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis Coupe is powered by either a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (in 2.0T models) or a 3.8-liter V6 (in 3.8 models). The four generates 210 hp and 223 pound-feet of torque, while the V6 pumps out 306 hp and 266 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is standard across the board, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the 2.0T and 2.0T Premium (the 2.0T track and R-Spec are manual-only), and a six-speed automatic is optional on all 3.8 models. Both automatics feature paddle shifters.
In performance testing, we recorded an impressive 5.9-second sprint from zero to 60 mph for the 3.8 Track model, We've also tested a 2.0T with the manual transmission, and that car accomplished the same task in 6.9 seconds, which is about average for a sport coupe in the low $20,000 price range.
EPA fuel economy estimates range from 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway for the manual-shift 2.0T to 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway for the manual-shift 3.8.
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe comes standard with stability control, antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Genesis Coupe's cabin boasts an alluring mix of eye-catching contours and generally high-quality materials, though the silver-painted plastic on the center stack is clichéd. The dash's swooping curves flow into the door panels, necessitating an unconventional sideways orientation for the power window and mirror switches. The driving position is excellent, with abundant outward visibility despite the low-slung seating position; however, the lack of a telescoping steering wheel means that drivers with shorter legs may find the wheel uncomfortably close to their chests. Controls are generally intuitive, but navigating through the stereo's tonal adjustments is too labor-intensive. Despite being an upgrade, the Infinity audio system generates only mediocre sound.
The power seats that come standard on higher trim levels are superbly shaped for both enthusiastic driving and long-distance cruising. The rear seat, though, is strictly for kids and cargo. The 10-cubic-foot trunk is surprisingly useful, particularly with the rear seats folded down, but the folding procedure requires an awkward reach deep into the trunk.
On the road, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track is virtually a dead ringer for its Infiniti G37 inspiration. Hyundai even aped Nissan/Infiniti's trademark baritone exhaust note for the V6. Body control in quick transitions is excellent, steering feel and responsiveness are all-time Hyundai bests, and the sophisticated ride quality won't beat you up over broken pavement. The 2.0T Track model combines these ride/handling characteristics with even better balance, thanks to its lighter-weight engine; on the downside, acceleration from the turbo-4 is merely adequate for this segment. Non-Track models feature a more compliant ride at the expense of all-out handling ability.
The biggest performance issue lies with the manual transmission. The shifter lacks the direct, positive feel one would hope for from a car of this caliber, and the high-strung clutch requires too much attention in aggressive driving.
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