2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 13, 2014

Everyday comfortable, yet track-ready, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis is one of the better performance-car picks if your budget is tight.

Now in its fifth model year, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is edging ever closer to being a real sports car. Last year's refresh and updating--which included retuned steering and suspension, stronger engines, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission--brings it to the point where it could almost rival performance models that start at far more than its starting price below $27,000.

Now, for 2014, Hyundai has continued to update the Genesis Coupe--making it that mch more attractive to enthusiasts. Four-cylinder models have a new engine-intake sound-induction pipe for a sportier sound inside the car. Automatic models now include rev-matching on downshifts. And those on top of the new styling and increased feature set from last year's improvements make it just that much sportier.

As it stands, the Genesis Coupe remains a pretty bold move for Hyundai. Not only did it mark Hyundai’s entrance into an area of the market that Japanese automakers had long since abandoned (rear-wheel-drive sport coupes); it also runs an interesting side game along the brand's strategy as a maker of practical, high-value crossovers and cars.

Review continues below
Visually, the Genesis Coupe covers some new ground for Hyundai while combining the brand's 'Fluidic Sculpture' look of recent years with a lot more aggression and extrovertedness. With last year's redesign, it got an injection of extra power and performance, as well as more of a bolder face, better detailing, and more of a premium sports-car look inside.

Hyundai also last year made some major progress in adding the sort of precise feel and finely honed dynamics that some of the competition had but the Genesis Coupe was originally missing. The 2.0T engine—a 2.0-liter in-line four—has a twin-scroll turbocharger and larger intercooler and now makes 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, with peak torque reached at just 2,000 rpm; and a new 3.8-liter direct-injection V-6 in the 3.8 models makes 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. With either engine, you have a choice between a standard six-speed manual or Hyundai’s new eight-speed automatic, with rev-matched downshifts and steering-wheel paddle-shifters.

If you've been around many sports cars, think about how classic Japanese sports-car models like the Nissan 240SX or Toyota Supra might be today, and you won't be far off the mark with the Genesis Coupe. Thankfully, very few of the driving characteristics from Hyundai's front-wheel-drive cars carry over into the Genesis Coupe. Shift action is clean and precise, clutch takeup is neat and, most importantly, the steering is a tried-and-true hydraulic system, tuned just right.

While the Genesis Coupe is a sports coupe first and foremost, it's still pretty impressive inside. It takes good care of front-seat occupants, and with a spacious trunk and a reasonably refined cabin experience—plus improved interior materials—it’s as good for long weekend hauls or the commute as it is for the racetrack. The exhaust note of the 3.8 has been made more urgent (and sonorous) with a soundbox; and for 2014, they've applied a similar strategy to the four. This year, R-Spec models get better seat bolsters for their sport seats, and manual versions get a Hill-Start Assist feature. 

Features have been improved on the 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, although prices have been raised more than $2,000 so there's no claiming there's a bigger bang for the buck. Those higher prices bring standard fog lamps, cruise control, an auto-dimming inside mirror, and heated mirrors to all models--on top of Bluetooth, an iPod/USB interface, keyless entry, A/C, and a trip computer--and Hyundai Assurance Connected Car telematics are now included for three years if you get BlueLink services on upper trims.

Step up to the R-Spec and you get a track-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels on summer tires, Brembo brakes, a Torsen limited-slip diff, as well as appearance extras.

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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Styling

Ripped and refined, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe stands out, while also looking just mature enough.

With last year's redesign, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe didn't get a reformulation; rather it became more focused, better detailed, and more visually appealing in all the ways that the original car released a few years earlier had promised but didn't quite deliver up close. In short, it's as if Hyundai were presenting a higher-resolution version of its sports coupe.

On the outside is where the Genesis Coupe saw the most change last year. Overall, the new exterior looks smartly at home next to sedan models like the Elantra or Sonata—or even the new Veloster coupe—yet there's no mistaking that this is the assertive, slung-back profile of a rear-wheel-drive coupe.

With its blacked out grille and lower air dam, combined with all-new lower aero work, running lamps, and fog lamps, the Coupe got a visually wider look in front (without the dimensions actually changing much). Enhancing those visual tricks are headlights have been reshaped and detailed, and a recontoured hood with dual air intakes up by the cowl.

From the side, two rising ripples in the sheetmetal almost meet to create a Z-shaped component at the back of the side doors, while the window line itself, which drops just a slight bit at the rear window (and actually meets up with one of the ripples).

Taillamps are now packed with LEDs, and they have new contouring, but in back the Genesis Coupe has changed the least. And there's an all-new lineup of 18- and 19-inch wheel designs that are more (and more deeply) styled. The Genesis Coupe's color palette has been revamped, too, with five new exterior colors and a new cloth interior scheme.

Changes were a little less dramatic inside, but it arguably didn't need it as much there. The cockpit-like layout of the 2014 Genesis Coupe and a hooded gauge cluster set a serious mood, while a neat center-stack design, soft upper dash pad, and piano-black finish altogether keep the ambiance upscale.
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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Performance

The 2014 Genesis Coupe delivers stunning performance on a budget -- with better steering and dynamic prowess than any other Hyundai product to date.

The 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe offers something that's relatively rare today, outside of pony cars or vehicles with a luxury badge: It's a rear-wheel-drive performance coupe, with a choice between high-output turbocharged four-cylinder or naturally aspirated V-6 engines. And it's more performance-focused than anything else in Hyundai's lineup.

Last year's refresh brought stronger engines and a new eight-speed automatic. We can say that with these changes, whether you choose the 2.0T base engine or the 3.8 (V-6), you can't go wrong. With either engine, you have a choice of a standard six-speed manual or Hyundai’s new eight-speed automatic, which includes paddle-shifters. And with the eight-speed automatic now getting rev-matched downshifts for 2014, we anticipate that the slow, laggy shift behavior we didn't like about it before has been mostly excised. The manual is a safe bet for true driving enthusiasts, though.

The 2.0-liter turbo four makes 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, with peak torque reached at just 2,000 rpm, and the 3.8-liter direct-injection V-6 in the 3.8 models makes 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Thankfully, very few of the front-wheel drive Hyundai driving characteristics carry over into the Genesis Coupe. Shift action is clean and precise, clutch takeup is neat (new carbon-coated synchronizer rings should make manuals even quieter for 2014) and, most importantly, the steering is a tried-and-true hydraulic system, tuned just right.

As with many of the newer turbocharged fours with twin-scroll turbo arrangements, the 2.0T doesn’t have much if any lag, or require you to work it the way that you had to in earlier Genesis Coupes; you can simply roll into the throttle and tap into a wave of torque that takes you all the way up the rev range. The Lambda V-6 engine in 3.8-liter versions responds to the throttle much quicker—and more energetically, of course—than its predecessor. It’s not intensely torquey down low in a muscle-car sense, but it’s an engine that you ‘get’ right away, with a nice build of power and torque up the rev range.

Also adding to the 3.8 models’ appeal—Hyundai hopes—is that it’s added a sound box essentially to make the V-6 more vocal inside the car (by literally piping some of the engine sound into the cabin), without making the neighbors irate. This sounds a little boy-racerish—and we were skeptically expecting something along the lines of old Chevy Eurosport resonators—but it's well executed, with a rich, sonorous note not kicking in especially vocally until you're deep into the throttle or in the engine's upper ranges. Hyundai has added a similar feature to 2.0T models for 2014, but we haven't yet sampled it there.

And in a nod to Hyundai’s frugal, practical side, both engines can run on regular gas if you so desire, and it only cuts output to 260 hp/260 lb-ft for the four and 344 hp/292 lb-ft for the 3.8.

Hyundai made tremendous gains in both performance and dynamic prowess last year, and handling remains a Genesis Coupe high point. Forget about the iffy, unrewarding steering of some other Hyundai models; here, the quick-ratio hydraulic steering and well-tuned suspension—along with tweaks for this year’s model—give the Coupe better, more predictable body control and better control over rough surfaces. The layout—a dual-link MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link independent rear, with a Torsen limited-slip diff in R-Spec and Track models—is carried over, however, with staggered-width tires helping to maintain this model’s poise at the limit.

All Genesis Coupes come with four-wheel disc brakes; while base cars come with single-piston floating calipers, R-Spec and Track models get strong Brembo brakes (four-piston and ventilated, front and rear). These stoppers are fade-free, as far as we could tell from an early track experience, and ready for performance driving. And a traction mode for the stability control system, introduced last year, still allows anti-lock braking if you get too far out of line yet doesn’t cut engine power if you get the tail out; track-day purists will like it.

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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Comfort & Quality

The 2014 Genesis Coupe has more cabin comfort than its low profile and boy-racer sounds suggest.

While the Genesis Coupe is primarily a sports coupe, it's still pretty accommodating inside. It takes good care of front-seat occupants, and with a spacious trunk and a reasonably refined cabin experience—plus improved interior materials—it’s as good for long weekend hauls or the commute as it is for the racetrack.

Last year brought serious change and improvement, but the packaging hasn't changed all that much. The Genesis Coupe remains a low-profile two-door, with the back seat seemingly designed in as an afterthought. While it’s a bit easier to get back there than in some other coupes, thanks to a useful mechanism and long doors, it’s strictly kids’ territory, as adults will likely have issues with headroom even if they can splay their legs to the side and get in.

Provided it's the front seat you're talking about, you'll have no problem getting comfortable. Taller drivers will want to set the height-adjustable seats (power for the driver on upper trims) to their lowest position, given the rather low roofline. You can now also adjust the steering telescopically—a feature that was lacking, and certainly a comfort-related issue, in last year's model.

Those front seats could use a little more side bolstering, but they’re likely proportioned the way they are to accommodate wider hips as well. And this year, R-Spec models get better seat bolsters for their sport seat.

One ergonomic nit-pick: Across the model line, there are also big auxiliary gauges, for torque level (3.8) and boost pressure gauges (2.0T); but they’re located a bit too far down in the line of vision.

Four-cylinder models also, for 2014, get the soundbox system, which pipes intake sound into the cabin. We've noted that in V-6 models, which got it last year, that cruising was relatively quiet while they have a more strident note when accelerating.

The Genesis Coupe’s suspension improvements for this year, incorporating a new damper design as well as slightly smaller stabilizer bars for some models, also should help ride quality, especially when cornering over rough surfaces. Overall, the Genesis Coupe handles rough pavement surfaces a bit better than some other performance coupes like the Infiniti G37 Coupe or Nissan 370Z, with less humming and booming in the cabin. In four-cylinder cars, the engine is quite isolated from the cabin, except when you’re accelerating hard.

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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Safety

The Genesis Coupe ranks as one of the safer sports coupes in its price range, going by features and safety ratings.

The 2014 Hyundai Genesis ranks as one of the safer sports coupe picks, although there's not quite enough information to declare it the safest pick in its class.

So far, the Genesis Coupe has only been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and while it's earned top 'good' results in most categories, it still hasn't been tested in the tougher small overlap frontal category.

All the safety equipment is here, though, including anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist for maximum braking performance, front seat-mounted side airbags, side air curtain bags, and active front head restraints.

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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Features

The 2014 Genesis Coupe has several guises -- from stylish commuter to track-ready tuner special or refined grand tourer -- but with prices edging upward it's no longer the bargain it was.

Features have been improved on the 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, although Hyundai has arguably been pulling off a lot of 'price creep' the past several model years. Just this year, prices have been raised more than $2,000 so there's no claiming there's a bigger bang for the buck.

Those higher prices bring do bring more features, however, including standard fog lamps, cruise control, an auto-dimming inside mirror, and heated mirrors to all models--on top of Bluetooth, an iPod/USB interface, keyless entry, A/C, and a trip computer--and Hyundai Assurance Connected Car telematics are now included for three years if you get BlueLink services on upper trims.

On top 3.8 Grand Touring and Track models, as well as 2.0T Premium models, there's a seven-inch navigation system on offer; it includes the Blue Link suite of services, as well as HD Radio, XM NavTraffic, Bluetooth audio streaming, and integrated audio and climate controls.

The 3.8 Grand Touring is the pick, as the name suggests, for those who plan to tour in comfort; it adds full leather upholstery, heated seats, push-button start, a power driver seat, a nav system with live-traffic functions, and a backup warning system. Top-of-the-line 3.8 Track model, with the automatic transmission, only edges slightly above the $35k mark.

Step up to the R-Spec and you get a track-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels on summer tires, Brembo brakes, a Torsen limited-slip diff, as well as appearance extras.

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2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Fuel Economy

Considering the sharp performance delivered by the 2014 Genesis Coupe, it's quite fuel-efficient.

The 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe delivers pretty respectable gas mileage numbers--even though we'll concede that it might not be the priority for a lot of buyers.

On the other hand, the Gen Coupe could add up to a decent daily driver for those not in the snow belt. Numbers for the 2.0T model range up to 21 in the city and 31 on the highway, depending on the transmission; and V-6 models are just a little thirstier.

Although we still haven't had an extended drive with the Genesis Coupe since last year's redesign, we're assuming that the engine improvements, along with the wide span of ratios afforded by the eight-speed automatic, should result in impressive real-world mpg.

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