Go anywhere in the world (to a country not named the United States of America) and you'll see that your sports car selection is sparse. If a country is lucky enough to get some American muscle, it's in a watered down form, like the Ford Mustang with a four-cylinder engine slated to go on sale in Europe by 2015. Enter from stage right the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the Korean automaker's first go at a rear-wheel drive sports car. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe shares some of its architecture with the Genesis sedan, but unlike the sedan, the coupe variant is meant to be an alternative to those who want a sports car, but don't have access to the Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros of the world. We recently spent a week with the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec to see how Korea's only rear-drive sports coupe holds up as a daily driver option.
Model and PriceAs it stands, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec will set you back $26,500, but our tester had carpeted floor mats ($105) and an iPod cable ($35) which raised the price to $27,515, including the $875 destination fee. The Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec is a step up the model level ladder from the base 2.0T, and sits below other notable models like the 2.0T Premium and the 3.8 R-Spec. Every other feature included on our 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec tester came standard, including an electroluminescent gauge cluster with a multi-info display screen, Brembo brakes, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Safety and Key FeaturesSports cars need a slew of onboard safety features, and the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec isn't any different in that aspect. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, ABS, electronic brake force, front, front-side, and side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints. As usual with sports cars, we went looking for the stability control button, which we soon located; good news for you smoky-burnout types, it can be turned off quickly by a simple push of the button. When crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec earned a score of five stars in the rollover category. Neither the NHTSA nor Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Genesis Coupe in any other categories.
Family Friendliness and UtilityNewsflash: Sports cars aren't the ideal vehicle if you plan on transporting children in the back seat, or hauling lumber back from the Home Depot. The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec is no different. Pulling anyone from the backseat was an ordeal matched only by getting them back there in the first place. If planning for the future isn't your forte but you have or plan on having children soon, then we highly recommend going with the Genesis sedan, instead. Squeezing a car seat in the back seat of the Genesis Coupe is like trying to ice skate without any ice; it doesn't work. Even still, Hyundai included LATCH points in the back seat of the Genesis Coupe in case you needed to bring a child somewhere. Oddly enough, the LATCH points are pretty easy to reach too, but again, space is limited in the back seat.
Comfort and QualityDuring its weekend stay with us, we took the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec on a three hour journey from Automotive.com's HQ in El Segundo, California, to a campground an hour outside San Diego. Our route there consisted of both freeway and canyon mountain road driving, giving the Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec an opportunity to stretch its legs on the straightaways and get a little more technical on the winding roads up to the campground. The unforgiving asphalt that makes up almost all of Interstate 405 in Southern California didn't really phase the Genesis Coupe, even with its track-tuned suspension. No matter the surface though, the Genesis Coupe kept road and engine noise to a minimum but the exhaust note started to drone on only after a few minutes at highway speeds. The interior, while quiet and easy to interact with, felt dated and the three gauges that sit below the infotainment screen didn't help ease that sentiment.
How it DrivesHere's where our one major gripe of the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec became painfully noticeable. The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine is potent and is responsible for creating 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The engine, while it has a little trouble coming up with said torque thanks to a slow-reacting turbocharger, works well with the six-speed manual transmission. That being said, all of the good feelings conjured up by the peppy engine are quickly forgotten once the transmission is called on. The on-off clutch was dreadful, and nobody on our staff could get the clutch to engage the engine smoothly from a standstill to save a life. It became very frustrating, especially when sitting in heavy traffic on a Friday evening in Los Angeles.
SummaryWith the exception of the infuriatingly uncooperative clutch, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec remains a solid first attempt at a sports car by Hyundai. Once we coerced the clutch to work as designed, it transferred power to the road surface sufficiently and was even a little tail happy if we allowed it to be. The interior didn't bowl us over with the materials used, but the instrument cluster was easy on the eyes both at night and during the day. However, if we were to pick one sports car from Hyundai to drive for the rest of our lives, we'd have to go with the Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec with its V-6 engine and 348 horsepower. That way, if we weren't allowed to swap out the finicky clutch, we'll have some extra horsepower to make it a little more bearable.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $27,515
EPA City: 21 mpg
EPA Highway: 30 mpg
EPA Combined: 24 mpg
Cargo Space: 11 grocery bags
Child Seat Fitment: Poor
Estimated Combined Range: 412.8 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Low
Notebook Quotes"Looks absolutely razor sharp. Great looking vehicle. Not a dull edge in sight. On the outside, I mean. Inside the Genesis Coupe, it looks a little dated--mostly just the center stack and the 2-tone info screen." -Jason Davis, Associate Editor, Photographer
"The engine's plenty powerful, even though it's laggy, and the transmission's gears are pretty well suited to its. Steering is pretty bad though, and I don't like the clutch. The worst part of this car is the clutch, it's impossible to drive smoothly."-Keith Buglewicz, News Director
"When the car got going, it felt so disconnected. The shifter was a bit balky and imprecise. The clutch was like an on-off switch. I only got a few smooth shifts a handful of times."-Jacob Brown, Associate Editor