Hyundai recently pulled off a major feat: the Korean car maker sold more vehicles in January of 2009 than it did in January of 2008. The car market has been pretty tough in the past year, and constant news coverage of Detroit’s Big Three in Washington D.C. hasn’t inspired much confidence. So what did Hyundai do right that most other car companies didn’t? They offered exceptional value at a lower price tag than the competition, a perfect example of which is the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
What makes the Genesis Coupe so exceptional? Let’s start with some numbers: 3.8L V6 engine producing 306 horsepower; fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 26 highway, some of the best figures for the class; 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds, a little behind others in the class, but still respectable; and it uses 87 octane gas, instead of the 91 octane required for most other cars in the class.
Pretty impressive numbers, right? Well, the most impressive one is yet to come: a base line Genesis Coupe powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine starts at $22,750 and the V6 model starts at $25, 750. For comparison, here’s the starting prices of some other models in the class: Nissan 370Z, $29,930; Mustang GT, $28,845; BMW 1 Series, $29,400. Also, the add-on packages are more modestly priced on the Hyundai as well. Equipping a Mustang GT with a sport touring package could drive the price up to around $36,000, while the comparably equipped Genesis Coupe Track model only runs about $30,000.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the way all these numbers come together. After all, there have been a lot of cars that sound great on paper but don’t deliver once you get behind the wheel. The drive quality of the Genesis Coupe is surpisingly good considering the price tag. Hyundai engineers were given the task of creating a competitive sports coupe. Realizing that sports coupes are as much about handling as they are about power, they looked to the BMW M3, regarded as a wonderfully handling coupe, and tried to improve upon it. They succeeded when it comes to body rigidity, claiming a 24% increase over the M3, and that increase is evident when you take the Genesis Coupe around a corner. You can zip around corners with ease and the wide, stable stance of the Genesis Coupe keeps the car flat and secure against the road, even in the bendiest of turns.
Of course, there are some downsides to the Genesis Coupe. The body rigidity that lends itself so well to taking corners doesn’t provide the most comforting ride, and anybody who lives in an area with abundant potholes will has better use that handling to avoid them, or else suffer the consequences. The automatic transmission is fairly solid, but the manual transmission is a bit unimpressive. It does its job, but doesn’t feel nearly as responsive on those found in other models in the class. Also, while the engine does produce 306 horsepower, it doesn’t feel that way when you’re behind the wheel. The Genesis Coupe is definitely a quick car, but it doesn’t provide the exhilirating drive found in other models like the 370Z and BMW 1 Series.
In all, the 2010 Genesis Coupe provides an excellent array of features and performance for the price. Those who flirted with the idea of picking up a 370Z or 1 Series, or other comparable model, but want to save a bit of money would do well to take the Genesis Coupe for a test drive.