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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: On the upswing

Posted by Bill Griffith  August 7, 2009 02:37 PM

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(All photos: Bill Griffith/

The plan was to make a legal U-turn in front of my house.

The street is so wide that I'm almost able to make the swing without backing up; unfortunately there's not quite enough room.

At this pivotal point - in both the turn and in getting used to today's test car, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - I discover that it's not so easy finding reverse in the six-speed manual transmission. Oh, I know where reverse is but moving the gearshift lever through the spring-loaded gate, especially on this maiden trip, isn't so easy.

The Hyundai engineers must have had the same trouble because once reverse is found, the car reacts audibly, not with a crunch of gears but with a beep. The sound is much like the reverse alarm on a school bus or big dump truck.

Fortunately, driving the Genesis Coupe isn't about reverse or U-turns. It's about using those six speeds to go forward, whether they're attached to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four or the available 3.8-liter V-6.

Our test model is the 2.0T Track, the top of three trim levels with this four-cylinder engine. Base sticker price: $26,750. Hyundai tacked ALL the available options on this tester — an iPod cable ($30) and signature Genesis carpets ($95) — plus the obligatory destination charge $750 to get a final price of $27,625. One more option — a navigation system — is scheduled to be available later this year. So, too, is an R-Spec version of the coupe aimed at the tuner market.


Prior to the Genesis coupe, Hyundai's last sporty offering was the Tiburon, a funky vehicle that found its niche. However, that niche was too small to keep it viable.

The Genesis Coupe shouldn't have that limitation.

For those who like to catch things on the upswing, this may be the vehicle. It has the feel of something special, possibly being one of life's beat-the-crowd victories like picking the next hot college, getting in on the ground floor of a stock that takes off, or being among the first to have what's going to be a hot-selling car.


The coupe follows the successful debut of Hyundai's Genesis sedan, which was named North American Car of the Year and topped the list in J. D. Power and Associates first-ever Inaugural Vehicle Launch Index, a measure of new car quality, marketing and sales.

So, if you've driven the sedan, you think you know what to expect in the coupe, right?


Hardly. Hyundai calls the coupe the sport sedan's "evil twin." The term is apt because where the sedan bespeaks comfort and luxury with a bit of sportiness, the coupe is mostly about performance, handling, and styling. Our "track" model has 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a spoiler, sport-tuned suspension, xenon lights, fog lights, limited-slip rear differential, aluminum pedals, and red cloth inserts in the leather seats.

The coupe uses the same basic platform as the sedan. The difference comes with big shoulders (bulging fender wells), strong sides and wide stance. I see hints of Mustang, Solara, Porsche and others, but the result is clearly a new vehicle, though a view from above shows that, when parked alongside a 2004 Solara, a coupe is a coupe is a coupe.


"Like a lounge," said Mrs. G of the curving interior design with red cloth, black leather and vinyl, and silver-toned plastic. "The seats are really comfortable and there's lots of legroom."

A different view? "I think the seats look hideous," said my daughter, "though they are comfortable."

My take is that they make a statement and it certainly isn't understated.

The Genesis hits the market at a time when two nice coupes - the Solara and Pontiac G6 - are being discontinued. It will compete with other newcomers such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, and the redesigned Nissan 370Z. The Hyundai plan is for the V-6 version to compete with the Infiniti G37, but we feel the 2.0T will be a strong seller at a significantly lower price point.

One point to consider in buying (or reviewing) a vehicle is "Does it have a lot of bang for the buck?" The Genesis Coupe does, especially in this configuration.

Fit and finish is fine, and the trunk space seems enormous. While the coupe technically is a four-passenger vehicle, be advised that the rear seat is only for the very limber or tiny folks. We climbed back there to take some photos of the dash and could have settled in for a short ride, if necessary — but it wouldn't be a joyride.


The instruments are lit with "Hyundai blue," a nice match with blue lighting playing off black and white background and red needles.

Mrs. G pointed out a curiosity. The vanity mirror had a light, but one had to switch it on manually instead of having it switch on automatically when the mirror was opened.

For the driver, Hyundai has a plug at the bottom of the center stack that accommodates the keyless entry fob. That works fine if you don't have it on a ring with other keys. If you do, they sprawl over the console and would be destined to scratch the plastic.

We averaged 24.5 miles per gallon in local driving and feel that we'd have done significantly better on a real road trip. At night, the xenon lights brightened a wide swath, a welcome feature on summer nights with lots of pedestrians around town.

Many of those pedestrians gave the Genesis Coupe a second look, no doubt caught by a combination of the styling and nice tone from the twin exhaust tips. Others asked in surprise, "That's a Hyundai?"

The answer is "THAT's a Hyundai."

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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26 comments so far...
  1. I want one! BUT I bought a civil car that was economical and can't get "cash for Clunkers". Instead I get to underwrite those that bought gas guzzlers with MY tax dollars!

    Posted by XENOPHONIC August 7, 09 04:27 PM
  1. I just bought a 2009 Hyundai - my first one I've ever owned and the second afrer borrowing a buddy's 88 Excel way back in the day. I remembered how much I hated driving it - but the one I have is Loaded and ebony black with chrome accents. I mean, I was a Toyota guy, my last car was a Camry that I absolutely loved - but this Sonata changed everything I thought about Hyundai. They DID it! They actually made a car that was worth driving! The only complaint I have is the suspension - it's loud and needs dampering. Other than that, I thought I was driving an Accord - still not anything like my Camry, but certainly a good #2. The Genesis is way overpriced though. If you're going to spend 30K for a car, make sure it's a good one. PS: Don't go to Route 44 Hyundai if you want to buy a car. Trust me you'll be glad you didn't.

    Posted by TheRevHortonHeat August 7, 09 06:36 PM
  1. I must be going blind. The writer tells us about finding reverse, the options the car came with and the fact it is a coupe,,, oh and gas mileage. But no where does he write about how the car drives. How the brakes are, how the engine feels, road feel and so on. Oh, and TheRevHortonHeat is right about Route 44 Hyundai. Stay away from those people.

    Posted by Ken August 7, 09 08:37 PM
  1. Hyundai continues to generate good (if not somewhat derivative) vehicles that are a great value in the marketplace. As their reliability numbers continue to work their way up, they will rightly shed the "cheap Korean" reputation once and for all. I have now had several Hyundai's as rentals (sonata, azera, and elantra) all impressed me with no-fuss solid execution. One last plea - keep it up with the naming of your vehicles and don't fall for that alpha-numeric crap. lexus/infinity/acura should be as worried as honda/nissan/toyota.

    Posted by WVW in West Newton August 7, 09 09:16 PM
  1. The Genesis is way overpriced?

    Genesis Coupe is most affordable 300+ hp car in the world.

    Posted by J August 8, 09 12:30 AM
  1. it is an amazing car! wish i was in the market for a sporty coupe right now. i'd also shop this against the RX8 along with the 370z.

    from Hyundai, no less!

    Posted by mikeybigboy August 8, 09 01:26 PM
  1. @TheRevHortonHeat

    You obviously know little about luxury/sport car lines. $26,000 for this baby's a steal. It's like comparing a Lexus to a Corolla.

    My advice: Go do some research before laying your own assumptions.

    Posted by johndoe August 8, 09 06:34 PM
  1. The new 2010 Camaro Coupe comes with a 304 HP V6 standard and starts at $22k MSRP. The Camaro is sweeter IMO, but the Hyundai isn't bad.

    Posted by bigt August 9, 09 07:32 AM
  1. I'll keep my Nissan Altima Coupe, thank you, which Hyundai's designers seem to have "borrowed" quite a bit from.

    Posted by Truefaith August 9, 09 03:12 PM
  1. I just traded my Hyundai XG 350 in for a volvo - the volvo is nice but I miss the power that the XG 350 had,

    Posted by MeMe August 9, 09 06:59 PM
  1. I'm starting to warm up to the new Genesis coupe. It really is one of a kind.

    I preffer the Tiburon's styling but the Genesis has the performance to match it's look.

    If you have a chance to get up close to one notice how squared the side door mirrors are. Somehow it works with the rest of the body.

    Posted by Andy August 10, 09 09:17 AM
  1. I don't believe Honda should be worried at all, I have never heard anyone say they did not like a Honda product and after putting on 140K on a civic and its book is still almost half what I paid for it. You just can't beat them.

    Posted by Redhead August 10, 09 09:35 AM
  1. @Redhead:

    I think you'll find the quality is deteriorating on the more recent Honda cars (that's what I've been told by a few Honda owners). Plus, it seems like 90% of people drive a generic Honda or Toyota. Very boring if you ask me.

    Posted by Jules August 10, 09 01:18 PM
  1. I just got my daughter a Genesis 2.0T Coupe. For the money, it's the best driving car out there, with great 4 cyl. turbo power and economy, and the best warranty. This car is a winner.

    Posted by Steve Buffington August 10, 09 01:50 PM
  1. Steve Buffington, will you adopt me?

    Wow that's generous! Not just a car but a cool one. I hope she understands what a cool dad you are and doesn't take it for granted.

    Posted by Andy August 10, 09 04:30 PM
  1. I love the genesis coupe and am thinking about buying one with the 3.8L V-6 but it costs more than the V-6 chevy camaro and i am having a very tough time deciding.

    Posted by Frank August 10, 09 10:36 PM
  1. You have a proximity key, you don't have to take it out of your pocket to enter or start the car!

    Posted by Reneir August 11, 09 08:43 PM
  1. It is not very hard to choose between the camaro and the gencoupe. Don't worry about all the more important stuff like frontal crash test ratings.. (camaro got a 4 out of 5).. or about the warranty (all hyundai's have 10yr 100k miles)... better quality (look up list of failures on new 2010 camaros), just pick the one that looks cooler, transforms into a really cool out of space robot alien, and is owned by the goverment. :P

    Posted by Jennifer August 11, 09 08:52 PM
  1. @Steve Buffington

    You should post your story about getting your daughter the car at


    Posted by Galbi August 11, 09 10:50 PM

  1. 0-60 mph records in Car and Driver magazine (June 2009)

    Chevrolet Camaro LT: 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds
    Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8: 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds
    Chevrolet Camaro SS: 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds
    Infiniti G37 Sport: 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds
    Acura TL SH-AWD: 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds
    C/D MazdaSpeed 5: 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds
    BMW 328i: 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds

    Posted by H August 12, 09 05:40 AM
  1. Yes, the Camaro is cheaper if you are comparing V6 to V6, but I think the interior is hideous! Going retro on the outside is cool and Chevy has largely pulled off a nice mix of retro and modern, but I don't think anybody wants an interior reminiscent of a 1970's car; if they were going to do that, they should have taken out the cupholders!

    Posted by JW Dallas TX August 12, 09 09:54 AM
  1. Oh, one other thing too, if you look at standard equipment on a Hyundai (for Hyundai, standard equipment is fully loaded) and the price of the same equipment on a Camaro, then they are priced within a few hundred dollars of each other. My advice, drive both. I think the Hyundai is much sexier and more sophisticated, if you see one in person, you can really appreciate the curves and the substantial look. If you are a Chevy person to begin with, you are most likely not going to go for a Korean car anyway.

    Posted by jw Dallas TX August 12, 09 09:59 AM
  1. I just bought one yesterday 2010 3.8 grand touring and I am so glad I did it. not only is it fun and sexy but it is so mindful of the times 10yrs with no worries. And for just over 28,000 you can't get anything like it for this price... What a great buy!!!

    Posted by LeAnn August 12, 09 04:29 PM
  1. This new Hyundai is a really nice competitor for the Infiniti G Class at a fraction of the cost. There is a lot of car for the money.

    Posted by Mirak Automotive Group August 18, 09 10:40 AM
  1. I have driven bought models, the 2.0T and the 3.8 Track. Oh God, they are so swwwwwwwweeeeet and fun. if you're thinking of buying a sporty car . this is it :) you will get more for the money. Go try one :) :))

    Posted by pimpek September 7, 09 11:53 AM
  1. I bought it two months ago. Base model, only option was Automatic. All I can say to the researchers is: go test drive it.
    And take your checkbook.
    After a 318i BMW and a 2006 Acura RSX, I can say that this car drives better - handling, power, sound, comfort, and style. Gas consumption is cloase to the city specs, but then again I'm a racy sort of driver.
    Drive it.

    Posted by Viren September 15, 09 06:17 PM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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