The Hyundai Genesis, now in its fourth year, is growing up. This affordable, good-looking rear-wheel-drive sport coupe gets a refresh for 2013, including a redesigned front end, more powerful engines, a new 8-speed automatic transmission and a longer list of standard features.
The most significant update is under the hood, where a choice of two engines and a larger intercooler help to achieve even more power. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that comes standard in the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe gets a 30-percent horsepower jump to 274 hp. The V6, which is now direct-injected for better efficiency, goes from 306 hp to 348 hp.
The 2013 Genesis Coupe is available with a new 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which replaces the previous 6-speed automatic. A 6-speed manual gearbox carried over from the previous model remains available.
A retuned suspension goes along with the 2013 Genesis Coupe, as well as improved handling in the form of sharper steering.
While gains in power are impressive, improvement in fuel economy is modest. Even with the new 8-speed automatic, fuel economy improves by only one mile per gallon in most cases. The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0 gets an EPA-rated 21/30 mpg with 6-speed manual, 20/31 mpg with 8-speed automatic. The V6-powered 2013 Genesis Coupe 3.8 is rated 18/27 mpg with 6-speed manual, 18/28 mpg with 8-speed automatic. All models require Premium gasoline.
In the cabin, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe gets a redesigned center stack and gauges, including electroluminescent lighting. The steering column now offers a telescoping adjustment, which is a welcome addition for those drivers who are particular about exact steering wheel placement. Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system is now offered on upper trim levels, which offers voice text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation and monthly vehicle reporting, and can be compared to General Motors' OnStar service.
Along with these upgrades in power and features is a jump in price. Buyers will have to shell out $2,000 more for most 2013 Genesis Coupe models, and more for high-performance trims. But despite its higher price, this sport coupe still remains a great bang for the buck.
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a stiff competitor to the American pony cars: the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Hyundai's rear-wheel-drive platform also makes it a toothier alternative to the Mazda MX-5, a perennial spec-racing favorite. While the Genesis Coupe is still a top choice in this segment, more competition has come with the introduction of the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe comes in two basic models: Genesis Coupe 2.0T and Genesis Coupe 3.8. Each model has three trim levels: The base 2.0T ($24,250); 2.0T R-Spec ($26,500); 2.0T Premium ($28,750); 3.8 R-Spec ($28,750); 3.8 Grand Touring ($32,000) and 3.8 Track ($33,000).
The 2.0T comes with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The 2.0T R-Spec comes only with the manual, and the 2.0T Premium only with the automatic. Similarly, the 3.8 R-Spec is strictly manual, while the 3.8 Grand Touring comes with the 8-speed automatic. The 3.8 Track comes standard with the manual and offers the 6-speed automatic as an option.
The 2.0T comes with fabric upholstery; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; leather-wrapped shift knob and manual tilt steering wheel; and a six-speaker multi-media stereo. XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth capability are also standard across the line. Premium adds power driver seat, automatic climate control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with compass and programmable garage/gate remote, a 360-watt multi-media stereo with 10 speakers including woofer, touch-screen navigation, power tilt-and-slide moon/sunroof, and proximity key with push-button start/stop.
The 2.0 Premium includes 18-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, proximity key with push button start/stop; power, fabric upholstery with leather trim; power driver's seat; air conditioning, full power accessories; cruise control; leather-wrapped shift knob and manual-tilt steering wheel with audio controls; 360-watt, 10-speaker Infinity audio system with AM/FM, HD radio, satellite radio and CD player, iPod/USB/auxiliary jacks, satellite radio capability and Bluetooth connectivity; 7-inch touchscreen with navigation.
The 2.0T R-Spec is a performance model that deletes some trim from the base 2.0T, as well as the base model's automatic headlights and cruise control. In exchange, the R-Spec adds 19-inch wheels with 40-series summer tires (instead of all-season tires), a Brembo braking system, track-tuned suspension, limited slip differential, black leather seats with red cloth inserts, and matching cloth and leather inside door trim.
The 3.8 lineup begins with R-Spec trim, plus fog lights. The top-of-the-line Track adds the sunroof; cruise control; automatic climate control; the 360-watt stereo; folding and heated features to the outside mirrors, which include integrated turn signals; automatic xenon HID headlights; aerodynamic front wipers; a body-color rear spoiler; aluminum pedals and other metallic trim. Heated front seats are upholstered in black leather with power adjustment for the driver.
The 3.8 Grand Touring shares most of the Track's luxury features, but deletes some of its performance equipment (including the Brembo brakes and stiffer suspension) while dialing back to 18-inch wheels and tires. It also sports a backup warning system, brown leather seats and other unique trim inside and out.
Safety equipment includes frontal, side-impact and side-curtain airbags. The front seats have active, anti-whiplash head restraints. All four passengers get three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters. The rear seat comes outfitted with child safety seat anchors. Active safety features include antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and tire pressure monitors. A backup warning system comes on the Grand Touring model.
Rarely does a mid-cycle update get new sheet metal, but designers of the 2013 Genesis Coupe refashioned the front hood and grille to with faux air inlets and a larger, big-mouth grin. The design gets mixed reviews from experts and enthusiasts, as some prefer the sleeker lines of the first generation. New fog lights and LED daytime running lamps also debut on the revised front fascia.
In back, there are new LED tail lights and chromed dual exhaust tips, as well as a blacked-out rear diffuser panel. From the side, the Genesis Coupe keeps its signature Z-shape character lines.
There are several new race-inspired exterior colors, named after famous racetracks and turns, including Becketts Black, Catalunya Copper, Circuit Silver, Gran Premio Gray, Monaco White, Parabolica Blue, and Shoreline Drive Blue. Wheel styles are also new.
Interior materials have been upgraded on the 2013 Genesis Coupe with a variety of soft-touch materials. New color combinations are available for 2013, including tan leather, red cloth and leather combos, and gray cloth and leather pairings. Cars equipped with leather upholstery also get a leather-wrapped parking brake lever.
However, some interior materials weren't up to our expectations, such as the plastic bezels and lenses on the three gauges near the bottom of the center stack. Though they were designed to look sporty, they end up looking more like an 80s Swatch. And though Hyundai touts the genuine stitching on the dash, it's plastic-y looking and flat. We had to ask a rep to slide a needle under the stitches to prove it wasn't pressed on. We found some fit and finish issues with interior panels near the driver and passenger knee areas, too, although Hyundai reps tell us the preproduction cars we were driving won't necessarily be identical to the versions that will go on sale.
The front seats are comfortable but sufficiently assertive to hold the backside in place during spirited driving, especially in the 2.0T with its basic black cloth. The 3.8's leather is a nice touch of semi-luxury. The back seats are only for small children and, in some states, lower insurance premiums.
The steering wheel feels good, with just the right rim thickness and cross section. On automatics, the column-mounted shift paddles are easy to reach. But on manuals, the rectangular shifter might feel awkward to those used to a round shift knob that fits nicely in hand. The foot pedals are where the driver's feet expect, although placement isn't ideal for those who like to heel-toe.
The center stack layout, while we aren't a fan of the three plastic gauges near the bottom, are easy to use and intuitive. The 7-inch touch screen that comes with the 2.0 Premium trim is sufficient but not spectacular.
Front-seat roominess is very good by coupe standards. Front-seat headroom in the Genesis Coupe tops that in the Mazda RX-8 and BMW 3 Series coupe (both outgoing models) by about one inch, while legroom bests those two by at least an and inch and a half. Hip room in the Genesis Coupe's front seats is wider by almost three inches than in the RX-8's seats.
If rear seats must be added to the chart, the Coupe does not fare well, trailing in head room by two inches, in leg room by two to three inches or more, but eking out a win by one inch over the RX-8 in hip room. But what do you care? You won't be sitting back there. Drivers who want rear-seat room may want to opt for the Genesis sedan.
With 10 cubic feet of cargo space, the Genesis Coupe holds more than the Mazda RX-8 (7.6 cu. ft.), a little less than the BMW 3 Series coupe (11 cu. ft.). The rear seat of the Genesis Coupe folds down to increase cargo capacity, but the opening is small.
With the increase in power, the 2013 Genesis Coupe's 2.0T engine accelerates with ample aptitude. In the previous model, driving at higher speeds made for some unpleasantly rough feedback through the steering wheel. But thanks to the revised suspension, the 2013 Genesis Coupe feels more in control.
On the track, both the 2.0 and the V6 versions were a delight and felt nicely balanced. On 3.8 models, the Genesis Coupe channels engine noise into the cabin, which gives the driver and passengers increased aural satisfaction at higher revs.
With the previous engine, we found power lacking in situations like passing on a mountain road. But with the new hearty bump in horsepower, the 2013 Genesis Coupe had enough oomph to maneuver with relative ease. As with the previous incarnation, power delivery in the 2.0T was linear with virtually no evidence of turbo lag. Shifts in the automatics were smooth and precise. In manual mode, upshifts are controlled solely by the driver, which makes for a closer car-to-driver interaction.
The ride was comfortable on well-maintained interstates, showing some rough edges only on weathered urban roads, where broad expansion joints and broken pavement sent jolts through the suspension hard points. Road and tire noise was mostly muted, as was wind noise, even at Interstate speeds.
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe offers upgraded features and track-worthy performance at an attainable price. Despite its higher price tag, the Genesis Coupe still offers competitive power and fuel economy with both the four-cylinder and V6 engines. Coupled with Hyundai's unmatched five-year warranty, the 2013 Genesis Coupe is tough to beat.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Laura Burstein contributed to this report after her test drive of the Genesis Coupe near Las Vegas. Tom Lankard contributed to this report.