Genesis Looks the Part, but Fuel Economy Disappoints
2013 Hyundai Genesis Review:
Edgy styling gives the Genesis the feel of a top-end sports car; its turbocharged four-cylinder engine leaves its low-end feeling sluggish.
Hyundai’s new Genesis Coupe is sporty, sculpted and sensuous.
Part of that perception of the Genesis Coupe as something special comes from the four creases in the hood and the way they blend into the nose. Helping are two angular air scoops that accent the hood’s lines. Not so subtle creasing of the sheet metal along the sides also makes Genesis look quick, even sitting still.The funny part is that the Hyundai is a fun and fashionable coupe at a modest price. The base 2.0T model with manual transmission begins at $24,250. The tested 2.0T Premium with leather-trimmed seats and such, lists at $28,750 but needed no options added, just an $875 delivery fee to hit $29,625.
For some, the Genesis’s shape will be enough to lure them into a showroom, but there’s more to turn heads. For instance, even the base model packs a 2.0-liter I4 with variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger. Using regular gas it creates 260 horses and with premium fuel will deliver 274.
Ripping up or down a highway entry ramp is where the Genesis really excels as the turbo gives a burst of speed. However, that turbo is late coming to the party at city speeds. You’ll rarely feel it helping as you pull away from a stoplight unless you accelerate aggressively. Folks wanting low-end power may want to consider a V6-equipped model with 344 horsepower. The 3.8L Grand Touring is next up from the test car and starts at $31,828.
Part of the reason for the mild acceleration is Hyundai’s 8-speed automatic that seems unsure of which gear to select sometimes, and it shifts way too often, but that’s by design. It’s supposed to boost fuel economy and create seamless shifts in most cars. Here it’s a bit fickle. Better to use the large paddle shifters behind the steering wheel when you want to control shift points and boost power.
Handling is sporty. It’s easy to put the coupe into a turn at speed and come out the other side with no body lean and little in the way of push from the rear-drive Hyundai.
Steering effort is another matter. Hyundai needs to work harder on this part of its game. The effort here feels artificially heavy, almost like you’re driving a large, 4,000- to 5,000-pound sedan or crossover. Yet in reality the Genesis weighs just 3,425 pounds – not a heavyweight.
At slow speeds the steering effort is particularly heavy, and the coupe’s slick leather steering wheel cover is not much help either.The ride from the four-wheel independent suspension is better than most coupes. Thank a 111-inch wheelbase and Hyundai’s five-link rear suspension for eating up our rough roads and keeping the car from suffering severe rump thumps. Up front you’ll also find a sport suspension with shock tower braces to cut flex and improve ride and handling.
Braking is fine from four-wheel discs, and ABS and stability control are standard.
Inside, the Genesis Coupe’s cozy cockpit is well styled with everything not only looking good, but being well placed for ease of use.
The silver test car featured a black textured dash and doors with gray leather-feel inserts. The bucket seats were gray leather trimmed with black and gray mesh cloth for the seats’ main cushions. These were firm, well formed and comfortable. They also were powered, except the seat back angle, and included a power lumbar support.
I like the brushed metal trim on the door handles and releases and on parts of the center stack and bottom of the tilt/telescope steering wheel’s hub. The blue rings in the main gauges and on the stack’s buttons are classy. There’s a screen atop the stack, and it includes both navigation and a touchscreen for selecting radio channels, including satellite radio. There are iPod and USB hookups behind a small door at the stack’s bottom. All buttons and knobs are good sized and everything is easy to see, read and figure out.
I liked the power window and mirror buttons built smoothly into the driver’s door and located by the door release. The four dash air vents are well placed and it was plenty steamy when I drove this, so I had the fan cranked. Air movement was good to my head and upper body.Overhead is a power sunroof and shade, plus the car has solid visors that flip to the side and include an extender to block side sun. There also are blueLink and HomeLink buttons on the rearview mirror, both standard.
I got a disappointing 22.8 mpg in about 60% highway driving, surprising since this coupe is rated 20 mpg city and 31 highway.
Overall the Genesis is a fun drive and a great-looking car. If power is your main focus, go for the V6. If economy dictates your budget, go the entry-level route with a manual transmission.