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The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis Coupe faces off against a wide range of sporty coupes—including American muscle coupes like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro—and depending on desires this racy two-door four-seater can be a track toy or a comfortable commuter.
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is attractive, and easy to spot from a distance, thanks to the unique styling using a bold Z-shaped character line visible along the side, plus a dip in the glass toward the rear of the cabin. This dip also serves a functional purpose, helping to make the interior feel more spacious and aids in outward visibility. The interior of the Genesis Coupe is a little more traditional-looking for a sporty coupe—a true cockpit-like layout—though its curvaceousness and control layout take some getting used to. While the dash in particular looked a bit drab in previous model years, Hyundai has added bright chrome trim to the gauge cluster and shift face, plus various soft-touch surfaces throughout the interior that should altogether give the cabin a more upscale look and feel.
The four-cylinder model uses Hyundai's turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which churns out 210 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. Inside the more powerful Coupe 3.8, the engine bay is wedged full with a 3.8-liter V-6 that has 306 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. With both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro getting power boosts from their V-6 engines over the past year, the competition is now more heated than it was, but the Genesis Coupe is still very competitive: Hyundai says its coupe hits 60 mph in about six seconds and can go on to a limited top speed of 149 mph.
Overall, the Genesis Coupe is a joy to drive, with crisp turn-in, great body control, and strong brakes to match the brisk powertrains. About the only thing that editors haven't liked in past drives is a slightly tense, sensitive on-center feel in the steering. Dynamically, the four- and six-cylinder Genesis Coupe models are different animals. The 2.0t feels light and balanced. It accelerates with just a hint of turbo lag, but the car never comes across as flat-footed. The turbo's ramp in power gives the car a bit of welcome personality. The V-6 feels powerful and pulls hard. You'll never mistake it for a V-8, but the car has strong legs that like to run.
It's best to think of the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe as a two-seater; like most 2+2 sports cars, its rear seat is only marginally capable of containing two adults. On the plus side, the front seats of Hyundai's new Genesis Coupe are comfortable, and the interior materials and build quality exceed expectations for this price range. Editors have found the Genesis Coupe's front seats to be quite comfortable, but taller adults will probably find this snug coupe a bit short on headroom. In back, the low, swoopy roofline is another deterrent for trying to wedge adults back there. Most of the time, anyway, you'll be better off folding the back seats forward to expand the ten-cubic-foot cargo hold.
Interior materials and build quality can be a sore point on cars with a base price that hovers around $20,000, but the Hyundai Genesis Coupe manages to avoid this pitfall. For 2011, a host of soft-touch materials have been substituted in—in addition to chrome-finish gauge cluster rings, dark metalgrain accents, and other enhancements, so it's been made even better this year.
In several drives of previous-model-year Genesis Coupes, we've found them to be tightly built and well assembled, with surprisingly little road noise and wind noise. The one down side to comfort is ride quality, which tends toward the busy, choppy side.
Six trims are offered, including three for each engine type, which are designated 2.0T, 2.0T Premium, 2.0T R-Spec, 3.8 R-Spec, 3.8 Grand Touring, and 3.8 Track. Features like USB and iPod connectivity and Bluetooth come standard, while at the top end, the Genesis Coupe can be kitted out with luxury-caliber extras like xenon headlamps, an Infinity premium audio system, fog lamps, heated side mirrors, heated seats, and full leather upholstery.
- Extroverted styling
- Strong powertrain performance
- Good handling
- Solid quality
- Excellent value
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- Choppy ride
- Some awkward interior controls
- Steering feel