If you are playing a word association game and say "sport coupe," it's unlikely someone is going to shout out "Hyundai!" Yet one of the best such cars on the market is indeed the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, an overlooked but nevertheless impressive two-door for savvy buyers with an eye for both well-rounded performance and good value.
Although it shares its basic structure with the larger and more upscale Genesis sedan, this performance-oriented coupe is smaller and designed to offer significantly sharper handling. In other words, it's a completely different type of animal. With its rear-wheel-drive layout and choice of two engines, including a 306-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, the Genesis Coupe is guaranteed to provide a fun time on a winding road. Plus, its list of available features, lengthy warranty and reasonable price make this Hyundai a smart buy even if you're just looking for an inexpensive coupe.
Frankly the Genesis Coupe is more in keeping with the new wave of American muscle cars than the sedan with which it shares its name. The Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang are also reasonably priced two-doors that provide an awful lot of fun. If handling precision and modern design is more important to you than available V8 power and 1960s nostalgia, the Genesis will actually be the more appealing car. In its pricier V6 guise, this Hyundai is also a solid alternative to the BMW 1 Series and Infiniti G Coupe.
The fact that the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is in the same discussion as any of the above cars should show how highly we think of it. Even if it's not the first sport coupe that comes to mind, it's definitely worth thinking about.
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a performance coupe available in six trim levels: 2.0T, 2.0T R-Spec, 2.0T Premium, 3.8 R-Spec, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track.
The entry-level 2.0T comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, cruise control, full power accessories, a trip computer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
The performance-oriented 2.0T R-Spec loses a few minor convenience items (such as cruise control) but adds 19-inch wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes, a more firmly tuned suspension and a limited-slip rear differential, plus front seats with leather bolsters and red cloth inserts. The 2.0T Premium loses the R-Spec's mechanical upgrades but gains a sunroof, automatic climate control, a power driver seat, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system and an Infinity 10-speaker premium sound system.
The 3.8 R-Spec's standard equipment list is similar to the 2.0T R-Spec with the addition of the 3.8-liter V6 engine. The 3.8 Grand Touring is equipped much like the 2.0T Premium but adds heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The 3.8 Track adds xenon headlights, a rear spoiler and the R-Spec model's performance-related hardware.
The cabin of the Genesis Coupe boasts an alluring mix of eye-catching contours and generally high-quality materials. The dash's swooping curves flow into the door panels, although this interesting design requires an unconventional orientation for the power window and mirror switches.
The driving position is excellent (especially with the available power seats) and offers abundant outward visibility despite the low-slung seating position. However, the lack of a telescoping steering wheel means that a driver with shorter legs might find the wheel uncomfortably close to their chest. The controls are generally intuitive except for the standard iPod interface, and despite being an upgrade, the Infinity audio system generates only mediocre sound.
The front seats are superbly shaped for both enthusiastic driving and long-distance cruising. The rear seat, though, is strictly for kids and cargo. The 10-cubic-foot trunk is surprisingly useful, particularly with the rear seats folded down.
The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis Coupe is powered by a choice of two engines.
The 2.0T models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 210 hp and 223 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped 2.0T went from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the manual transmission, and 20/30/23 with the automatic.
The 3.8 models come with a 3.8-liter V6 that's good for 306 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a 3.8 Genesis Coupe with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Fuel economy estimates stand at 17/26/20 mpg with the manual and 17/27/20 mpg for the automatic.
From behind the steering wheel, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe impresses with its solid handling, precise steering and generally likable ride quality. The firmer suspensions and high-performance tires under R-Spec and 3.8 Track models deliver even more impressive handling, though ride comfort suffers in the process.
Most buyers will find the levels of performance offered by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to provide plenty of fun. That said, we think the rush of acceleration and gutsy exhaust note that come with the 3.8-liter V6 will be hard for many ordinarily level-headed buyers to resist.
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe comes standard with stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, both a 2.0T and 3.8 Track stopped from 60 mph in an impressively short 111 feet.
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe returns unchanged.