2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

Long-term Update 1: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Long-term Intro: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

Review and photos by Chris Chase

Photo Gallery:
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Paul Williams and I had a chat about this car last week, when he came to pick it up to get some seat time in it. The conclusion we came to is that the Genesis Coupe has no direct competition, at least not in the form of a rear-wheel drive car with 250-plus horsepower at a price of less than $30,000.

The car that comes closest in terms of power output (if not price point, but more on that later) is the Honda Accord V6 coupe, with its available six-speed manual transmission. In the outgoing 2012 model (I tested one in July), Honda’s 3.5 L engine makes 271 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque to the Genesis’ 274 hp and 275 lb-ft. Both come with six-speed stickshifts; both are obviously aimed at performance-minded buyers. The main difference is that the Honda, like all Accords, is front-drive, while the Genesis Coupe’s rear-drive layout is arguably the favourable choice for a true performance car.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

Having the Accord and Genesis in my driveway at the same time gave me the opportunity for an informal comparison between these two sporty two-doors.

On paper, the Genesis has the advantage as a performance car, mostly because it’s rear-wheel drive. That’s not the only thing that makes a car fun, however, and this becomes evident as soon as you drive it. As Paul Williams pointed out after a few days in the car, the design of the shift lever itself is great, but its action is not; it’s notch-y and occasionally unwilling to play along in aggressive driving. The quality of the Genesis’ shift linkage was highlighted for me when I drove the Accord, whose stickshift is so smooth it practically shifts itself, whether you’re attacking a twisty road or driving to the grocery store.

In fact, unless you’re 100 per cent dedicated to the art of manual shifting (and you have to be a master of that art to make the Hyundai’s work well), Paul went on to say that the optional eight-speed automatic might be a good choice in this car. (It’s pricey, at $1,800, but Hyundai has to pay for its in-house development somehow, one supposes.)

Both of these cars’ clutches engage abruptly and take serious getting used to. This is not a positive trait in congested city driving, wherein you’ll get tired of having to ease the clutch out so very gently every time rush hour traffic moves forward 20 feet, just so you don’t launch the car into the rear end of the one in front of you (or make it look to everyone around like you learned to drive stick yesterday). I normally love driving a manual in the city (you get to shift more!), but I don’t much enjoy getting stuck in traffic with the Genesis Coupe.

I realize I’m going on about the Hyundai being rear-wheel drive, but this is an important consideration. For a practiced sports car driver, a vehicle propelled by its rear wheels is big fun. Get enough power under the hood, and lurid oversteer events and “drifting” are possible, even on dry pavement. However, for a more casual owner – say, someone buying a Genesis Coupe more for its looks than performance – rear-wheel drive can prove to be a liability, especially when the weather is less than ideal.

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