I’ve got to admit that the seduction began right from the start. The minute I laid my eyes on the Hyundai’s 2010 Genesis Coupe with its sleek exterior lines that arc so gracefully from the rear quarter panel to the front, I was smitten. Then I stepped inside and was dazzled by an interior that felt luxurious and commanding.
The two-door, four-seat Genesis test vehicle I drove was the grand touring version (there are six models in all, ranging from $22,000 to a $30,500). This coupe has a 3.8L dual overhead cam V6 engine, rear-wheel drive and sport suspension.
The push-button start with proximity “key” (device only has to be within a certain distance of the vehicle to start it) was a constant reminder that the Korean-made car is flush with consumer-friendly technology.
The ride was smooth, and Genesis delivered nicely on all those aspects one evaluates during a test drive: acceleration, braking, handling, cornering, cabin comfort and degree of road noise.
The Genesis can be driven as a true automatic with no shifting or as a modern-day six-speed manual, in which one shifts gears without stepping on a clutch. In fact, there is no clutch, which is a big plus for those who like shifting gears but whose legs tire. Apparently this duality has been around for a while, but it was new to me. And the Genesis has paddle shifters located on the steering wheel so the driver can press the one of the right to shift up and the one on the left for downshifting. My only complaint was the difficulty when making a turn and the shifters are upside down or on an angle. During this maneuver, I had a hard time finding the paddles and being sure that I was pressing the right one. The good thing is that the solution is easy, keep the car in automatic mode.
I slipped into the backseat for a minute and found that while there was adequate legroom for a person of my 5-foot-4 stature, someone taller would likely be less comfortable because the slope of the ceiling might touch such a person’s head as it was just inches from mine. But let’s face it, a coupe focuses its attention on driver and front-seat passenger, and here the Genesis doesn’t disappoint.
This vehicle gives an all-around luxurious driving experience with its leather seats, heated front seats with lumbar, heated mirrors, automatic temperature control, door sill plates (a nice touch), 10-speaker audio, all standard features. Also standard is HomeLink, a system that lets owners turn on lights, open garage doors and deactivate alarms in their homes while still in their vehicles.
Features I especially liked included the Xenon headlights that lit the road so brightly with a cool white/blue beam that I kept thinking I had the brights on. I also found the beep-beep sound of the backup warning system helpful whether there was a curb or vehicle behind me. Also the instrumentation was sensibly arranged. It didn’t take long to get used to the location of the controls for audio, phone, climate, etc.
Drivers can expect to get 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
Considering that the Genesis is Hyundai’s debut into the coupe market, they’ve done an exceptional job of combining style and performance in a vehicle priced at $30,000 and less.
Stats: 3.8L DOHC 24V engine, rear-wheel drive powertrain, five-link independent suspension, 18-inch wheels, backup warning system, electronic stability control, front/front side/side curtain airbags.
Pricing: Manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the Genesis Coupe is $29,000, however, the test vehicle, which included two optional features—an iPod cable and carpeted floor mats—ran $125 more.
For more information, visit www.hyundai.com.