2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: A Hardcore Hyundai

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2-door 3.8L Man Grand Touring Angular Front Exterior View

Not long ago, Hyundai was to sports coupes what the CIT Group is to investors--a poor performer. With its new turbocharged, rear-drive Genesis coupe, that has changed. It apes Nissan's 370Z and Chevy's Camaro.

Base price is attractive. Add the racetrack performance package and Hyundai asks $28,000. You get a 210-horse, four-cylinder car with a stout, short-throw six-speed manual transmission, high-effort clutch pedal and hefty on-center steering. It's a sporting machine with good cornering grip and quick turn-in response.

When you drive the Genesis, the buzz-prone mill rewards an assertive right foot; power is found at the upper end of its rev band. Upshifting early blunts performance. Competent cornering is offset by weak feedback; steering effort suddenly drops when you tackle turns. In grip and traction control, one trusts and you can.

Pedal placement and front seating are righteous. However, further refinement of its Houdini-inspired parking brake/shift lever and center console is required.

While other Hyundais are soft riders, the Genesis trots. Choppy highways jolt the saddle. When tossed, the stability control unexpectedly clamps the binders. On the track, its good, but probably too hardcore for everyday street-car use. Driveline lash is noticeable, as is its propensity to tramline.

At the asking price, the interior's pieces are serviceably designed. They're nicer than Mitsubishi's Lancer but not the finest. And while the speedo and tach are legible, the odometer/trip computer display is easily obscured.

The back seat is merely a suggestion and trunk room is tight. Plus this Genesis rear lid hinges crunch luggage. The rear seat folds so you can go postal--thru its mail-slot opening. Mileage: EPA says 21 mpg city and 30 hwy I got 25.

There are several sport-coupe parties. One emphasizes rear-drive high jinks and another front-drive efficiency. Both have fans. Hyundai, yes, Hyundai has nailed the former.

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