Sport coupe gains finesse under the hood and a head-turning exterior
By Nina Russin
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis coupe isn't a car for everyone. Nor is it simply a two-door version of the sedan. When engineers updated the platform for the 2013 model year, they targeted driving enthusiasts looking for sports car performance in a more practical package.
The steering is heavy, the suspension is stiff, and the exhaust note is loud. A strut tower brace minimizes body flex for better steering response, while gas-charged monotube shocks provide quick rebound during aggressive driving.
The car rides on 18-inch wheels with low-profile tires. Large four-wheel disc brakes stop the coupe on a dime.
The 3.8-liter V-6 direct injection engine is the larger of two available blocks. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox, and a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic. Its powertrain technology alone makes the Genesis coupe a bargain at $32,000.
But in typical Hyundai fashion, product planners didn't stop with engineering updates. Standard equipment includes keyless entry and start, leather seating, automatic climate control, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth interface and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. An $875 delivery charge brings the price out-the-door to $32,875.
While its sticker represents a tremendous value, the Genesis coupe's MSRP is about $5000 over today's average vehicle transaction price. To do well in the marketplace, the sport coupe couldn't be a toy. It needed to handle the daily commute with the same proficiency as corkscrew turns on a racetrack.
In this writer's opinion, the two-door Genesis should accomplish that mission with aplomb. Acceleration off the line is excellent, thanks to 295 foot-pounds of torque. Drivers will have no problems merging out of toll booths, or onto the highway from two-lane entrance ramps.
Because the B pillars are located behind the driver, over-the-shoulder visibility to both sides is excellent, making it easy to monitor traffic in adjacent lanes.
Although the steering feels heavy, there's enough assist at low speeds for parking or maneuvering through crowded parking lots. A 37.4-foot turning circle makes U-turns a possibility on wider streets.
High-speed response is excellent. I was able to maneuver through a decreasing radius cloverleaf ramp without touching the brakes. Emergency evasive maneuvers at any speed are a non-issue.
The larger engine can't match the fuel economy of the two-liter turbo, but the V-6 averages 28 mpg on the highway, and can run on regular 87 octane gasoline. Average fuel economy is 22 mpg, according to the EPA.
The coupe's low coefficient of drag helps to minimize wind noise around the vehicle. Engineers did a good job of isolating passengers from road noise as well. The only exception is the coupe's throaty exhaust note.
Test drive in Arizona
I put about 100 miles on the Genesis coupe this past week, on surface streets and highways around Phoenix, Arizona's east valley and the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. I kept the car in fully-automatic mode while driving through traffic, and used the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the two-lane road outside of town.
The dual-clutch automatic transmission produces the crisp gear changes that drivers associate with manuals, which makes performance in the fully-automatic mode much more satisfying. Shifting manually keeps the engine in its peak torque band, and enables the driver to use engine braking on steep hills. The eight-speed box reduces the distance between gears for seamless performance.
Gas-charged shocks make it virtually impossible to bottom-out the chassis on pitchy hills, while the four-wheel independent suspension offers enough compliance for motoring around town.
Standard daytime running lamps make the coupe more visible to other vehicles it shares the road with, especially on narrow canyon roads or in low light situations.
Hyundai made some important changes to its interior design with the new car. Key among them is getting rid of the digital displays on light blue backgrounds. They were impossible to read in bright sunlight. Both the gauge cluster and center stack display on the new Genesis coupe show up quite well.
I was surprised to find that a rearview camera monitor is not included in the standard equipment, considering the other convenience options that are. There is a warning system which produces audible alerts, but the camera would make it easier to monitor cross traffic in parking lots.
Aside from that, the interior is a home run, with nicely bolstered sport seats up front, and easy-to-use electronic adjustments. The standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with formula-style shift paddles is the perfect diameter, with strategically placed redundant controls to minimize driver distraction.
Center stack controls are easy to reach from either front seating position, and intuitive to operate.
Analogue gauges in the center console give the driver information about fuel consumption, oil pressure and instant torque readings.
A large glovebox and center console bin provide storage for the front passengers. There's also a covered bin at the base of the center stack with auxiliary and USB ports, which is large enough to hold an iPod or MP3 player.
A standard sunroof brings abundant ambient light into the interior, creating an aura of spaciousness.
The rear seats don't have a lot of leg or headroom, but they'll work in a pinch on short trips.
The trunk is long, but not particularly deep due to the car's aero-profile. A lever at the lip of the trunk folds the rear seats flat, extending the cargo floor for long items.
The Genesis coupe comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, active front headrests, antilock brakes, traction and stability control. Hyundai's ten year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty protects buyers against mechanical breakdowns due to manufacturing. The factory warranty includes five years of complimentary roadside assistance with no mileage cap.
Hyundai builds the Genesis coupe at its Ulsan, Korea assembly plant.
Like: A stylish, fun-to-drive sport coupe with a great powertrain, and a high level of standard convenience features. The Hyundai Genesis coupe offers buyers an exceptional value.
Dislike: Rearview camera is not standard equipment.
Model: Genesis Coupe 3.8 Grand Touring
Base price: $32,000
As tested: $32,875
Horsepower:* 348 Hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 295 lbs.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Comment: Horsepower and torque ratings are calculated using premium fuel.