2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Introduction
Hyundai doesn’t take “no” for an answer. When told it cannot do something, like become a major player in the American car market, or like guarantee powertrains against defect for 10 years or 100,000 miles, or like build and sell a luxury car without a luxury brand, the ginormous Korean automaker simply goes ahead and does it, flipping an enormous finger at naysayers and the establishment.
I like that attitude. And it’s one reason I like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Don’t confuse the Genesis Coupe with the Genesis Sedan. While the two cars are built off a common rear-drive platform and share certain components, the 4-door model is a far more refined and luxurious vehicle than the rough-around-the-edges 2-door model. The result is a car without direct competitors.
Several models do, however, pass within the Genesis Coupe’s orbit. The Hyundai is book-ended by two-seaters in the form of the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins and the Nissan 370Z, and could be considered a Korean translation of the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang.
To keep its sport coupe fresh, Hyundai made several changes to the 2013 Genesis Coupe, not the least of which involved increasing horsepower, torque, and performance. The car receives new styling, an upgraded interior, and available Blue Link telematics service. Additionally, a new 8-speed automatic transmission debuts, suspension and steering modifications aim to improve ride and handling, and the stability control system now offers three different stages, including full-off.
I don’t recommend choosing that setting, unless you’re on a broad, flat piece of pavement without, say, parking blocks and light fixtures. Get my drift?
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: About Our Test Car
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is sold in 2.0T and 3.8 model series, the former equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the latter featuring a 3.8-liter V-6 engine. The Genesis Coupe 2.0T is available with Base, R-Spec, and Premium trim levels, while the Genesis Coupe 3.8 is offered in R-Spec, Grand Touring, and Track trim levels.
For this review, I drove a 2013 Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec painted White Satin Pearl and wearing a base price of $27,395 including a destination charge of $895. To the Base version of the car, the 2.0T R-Spec adds 19-inch aluminum wheels with staggered-width high-performance summer tires, a track-tuned suspension, a strut-tower brace, Brembo performance brakes with red-painted calipers, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. A front camber adjustment bolt is also included for this model, providing the ability to adjust the front struts to a maximum of 1.5 degrees of negative camber in order to improve corner turn-in and reduce understeer. A six-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission choice for the R-Spec.
Red seats with leather bolsters and cloth inserts are also standard, and to this my test car added carpeted floor mats and an iPod cable. The grand total came to $27,515.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Styling and Design
The updated 2013 Genesis Coupe has a more aggressive look than the softer-styled original, and this car turned heads wherever I drove it. The 19-inch aluminum wheels fill the wheel wells and give the car a proper stance, and the red-painted brake calipers serve as indicators that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill Genesis Coupe. Earlier this year, Autobytel contributor Lyndon Bell expressed displeasure about the new front-end design, and I agree that the wide-mouthed grille is off-putting, but I also think the restyled nose gives the car some much-needed attitude.
Inside, the car’s affordable price point is reflected in the plastics, trim, and leather quality, despite evident upgrades for 2013. Cloth-wrapped windshield pillars, exposed stitching on the instrument panel, soft-touch upper door panel and dashboard trim, and contrast-color door panel inserts help to richen the cabin, but while this coupe shares its name with Hyundai’s entry-luxury sedan, the two cars clearly play on different levels of the game. I do, however, love the red seats that are included on R-Spec models.
Given the Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec’s affordable price point – it cost less than a Civic Hybrid I tested the same week – shortcuts with regard to materials can be forgiven. However, my test car had a loud and persistent buzz when the engine revved at a steady 2,750 rpm and the car was traveling between 30 and 50 mph. I couldn’t track it down, and it was loud.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Comfort and Quality
If you buy a Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec and expect to be comfortable, please consult your health insurance coverage prior to getting your head examined. This is not a comfortable car. It is a stiff, loud, somewhat confining car designed to look good and go fast. That’s it.
Stiffly bolstered, the front seats do a really good job of holding the driver and passenger in place, unless the driver and passenger are my size, in which case they are sitting on the bolsters as much they are in between them. The driver’s seat offers a manual height adjuster but not a separate seat cushion adjuster, so you can sit low in the car with good thigh support or you can sit high in the car without thigh support.
Front passengers don’t get much in the way of choice. That seat is mounted close to the floor, and moves both fore and aft while offering a recline function. Seat track travel is ridiculously generous, though, so tall people fit quite nicely.
The rear seat looks inviting, but this space is good only for children. For a 2+2 sports coupe, the back seat sits high off of the floor, which is usually a recipe for comfort even if leg space is lacking. Unfortunately, the Genesis Coupe’s rakish roofline forces adults to bend their heads forward at a very uncomfortable angle. Plus, there’s no room under the front seats for bigger feet. Kids under the age of 10, however, fit perfectly. And they can see out.
Though it looks like it might have a hatchback design with folding rear seats, the Genesis Coupe is a traditional 2-door with a 10 cu.-ft. trunk. The rear seat, which some might deem useless, folds down to expand space for carrying long objects or additional luggage.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Features and Controls
Given its lack of technology, the Genesis Coupe is refreshingly simple to operate. The only rocket science required pertains to Bluetooth phone pairing, and this is a simple process.
One thing I couldn’t find while driving the 2.0T R-Spec in dense fog – the kind of fog where 30 mph seems a little bit dangerous – was a button for the fog lights. Guess what? It turns out that you can’t get fog lights on the Genesis Coupe 2.0T.
Know what else you can’t get on the track-ready 2.0T R-Spec? A premium sound system, a navigation system, Blue Link telematics service, a power sunroof, Xenon headlights, LED running lights, and more. Additionally, shouldn’t a vehicle so obviously built for weekend auto-crossing have a tire pressure monitoring system that monitors pressure at each individual wheel? Or is that just my thing?
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Safety Matters
If you’re looking for crash-test data for the Genesis Coupe, you won’t find any. Aside from receiving a 5-star rollover resistance rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Genesis Coupe hasn’t been assessed for crashworthiness.
Safety equipment is pretty sparse, aside from a standard package of features that nearly every new car offers. For example, Hyundai doesn’t provide a reversing camera for this car, and it sure could use one. Rear parking assist sensors are available, but only on the 3.8 Grand Touring model. Even Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, which includes useful safety-related features like SOS Emergency Services, Speed and Curfew Alerts, and Geo-fencing, is limited to the 2.0T Premium, 3.8 Grand Touring, and 3.8 Track models.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Driving Impressions
I love me the turbocharged engines, and Hyundai’s sweet 274-horsepower, 2.0-liter is one of my favorites. Usually, turbocharged engines rely on broad swathes of torque to make up for small displacement and meager horsepower figures, but Hyundai manages to extract plenty of ponies from this 2.0-liter engine, in combination with 275 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. Installed in a car weighing as little as 3,362 lbs., this translates to a real thrill ride.
I also love me the manual transmissions. That’s why it kills me to report that what the Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec really needs is the 8-speed, paddle-shifted automatic transmission that is optional for other trim levels.
My test car’s hair-trigger clutch and high clutch take-up proved disappointing. For me, it was very difficult to smoothly launch this car, and the clunky shifter seems twice as tall as it ought to be, with throws twice as long as they ought to be. Compounding problems, if I didn’t keep revs up when the clutch snapped up, the car instantly bogged down, falling victim to turbo lag.
Look, I’m no stranger to manual transmissions. I’ve continuously owned a car with a manual gearbox since 1986, and my current vehicle has a turbo that works like an on/off switch, so I’m used to finessing a stick for maximum effect. I sure hope it’s not advancing age that caused my consternation with the Genesis Coupe’s manual gearbox. I will note, however, that the car’s pedals are set up for easy heel-and-toe downshifts, so it’s got that going for it.
The few times I managed a clean launch, the Genesis Coupe rocketed to speed. On testing day, the local mountains were shrouded in fog, and the cool, dense air made the Genesis Coupe’s turbocharged 4-cylinder feel particularly strong and responsive. As usual when it comes to Hyundai products, however, my as-tested fuel economy average in a mix of driving fell short of the EPA’s estimates for this car. I got 20.8 mpg. The EPA thinks I should have achieved 24 mpg.
Still, 20.8 mpg in a vehicle with this kind of acceleration and what proved to be outstanding corner carving capability is a happy result. The R-Spec’s quick steering, rapid turn-in, and unfailing grip made quick work of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Brembo 4-piston front brakes took all of the abuse I could throw at them. Occasionally, the stability and traction control systems kicked in, but there’s plenty of room to play without shutting them off and needlessly endangering yourself, or others.
As might be expected of a sports coupe tuned for the racetrack, ride comfort is an oxymoron. Around town, the Genesis Coupe is firm, but not brutally so. Keep in mind that I live in a region paved over with smooth blacktop. On the sectioned concrete freeway near my home, however, the ride was atrocious. Yep, this car has a track-tuned suspension. No question.
Plus, the Genesis Coupe 2.0T is loud inside. In particular, there is little isolation from engine revs, which makes it hard for the driver to enjoy the car’s appropriately raspy exhaust note. Get out onto the highway, and both road roar and wind whistle join engine drone as your ever-present companions. At least the basic stereo puts out decent enough sound, helping to drown everything else out as long as you’re willing to crank the volume past 20.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sports Coupe Quick Spin Review: Final Thoughts
Hyundai provides plenty of performance value in the stylish and affordable 2013 Genesis Coupe. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of choice when it comes to buying one, and that means buyers are forced to compromise.
As you may have surmised, the Genesis Coupe I’d be interested in buying is the 2.0T R-Spec with an 8-speed automatic, Xenon headlights, LED running lights, fog lights, rear parking assist sensors, a power sunroof, a premium audio system, and Blue Link telematics. I’d be willing to pay around $32,000 for this kind of Genesis Coupe. Sadly, this car will never exist.
As the famous Seinfeld episode goes: “No soup for you!”
However, just because Hyundai doesn’t build the right Genesis Coupe for me doesn’t mean driving enthusiasts can’t find something to like, or even love, in this genuinely appealing package that serves as a credible alternative to the sports coupes that everybody else buys.
Hyundai provided the 2013 Genesis Coupe for this review
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec photos by Christian Wardlaw
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