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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Review - "Rear Drive Rules"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Hyundai Genesis

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Review - "Rear Drive Rules"

Mac Demere
August 6, 2009

Mac Demere
http://www.autoMedia.com

The cars in every major racing series are rear-wheel drive. And so is the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Similar to a rear-wheel-drive racecar, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T is quick, responsive and fast. The standard engine is a 210-horsepower, turbocharged, four-cylinder that makes 230 lb.-ft. of torque at a very low 2,000 rpm. For comparison, that's five more horsepower and only 60 pound-feet less torque than a 1984 Corvette. Importantly, pricing for the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T starts at about $23,000.

The main purpose of front-wheel-drive, contrary to popular misconception, is to increase interior room. (And, if you haven't heard, additional weight is not "road hugging.") With a front-drive car, the front tires must do all of the acceleration and steering and about 80 percent of the braking, while the rear tires' main job is to keep the gas tank from dragging on the pavement. This means a front-driver has more difficulty simultaneously accelerating and turning (or turning and braking). With a rear-drive car, the rear tires concentrate on putting power to the ground, while the fronts focus on turning and/or slowing down. The bottom line: A rear-drive car will always beat an otherwise identical front-driver around a dry racetrack or up a mountain road. Not to mention, a rear-wheel-drive car can do things no stock front-drive car can do: drifting powerslides and hooning, smoky burnouts. ("Hoon" is an Australian or New Zealand word translates to anti-social behavior and driving irresponsibly.)

The Genesis Coupe is also available with a 306-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. While the Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6 is notably quicker at the drag strip, the turbo four is the more enjoyable version of the car. Reasons are many: Much of the V6's extra 100 pounds is carried on the nose, which tends to overwhelm the front tires. The four also has much lower first and second gears in its six-speed manual transmission. The combination of big torque and low gearing gives the four cylinder strong acceleration in the speed range that can be used on public roads without entering the Highway Patrol's Frequent Offender Program. It also offers enough torque to squeal the tires leaving the line and on the one-two upshift.

The V6 moves the Genesis Coupe into a different realm. The V6 feels much less nimble than the four. Also, the V6's manual did not react well to performance-oriented shifts, responding with harsh drivetrain shocks, as if we had never driven a manual. Also, the linkage of both manual transmissions suffered from an extremely annoying buzzing. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to sample either of the automatics: five-speed with the four or six-speed on the V6.

The Genesis Coupe 2.0T will go head-to-head with the likes of the Honda Civic Si and the V6 Ford Mustang. The four-cylinder turbo is rated at 30 miles per gallon in the government's highway driving cycle and 21 mpg. The V6 gets 26 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the city, when equipped with the six-speed automatic.

Both engines are available in a "Track" configuration, which includes 19-inch-diameter wheels with very sticky Bridgestone Potenza RE050A summer tires and stiffer suspension springs and anti-roll bars, as well as Brembo brakes. The summer tires will help the Coupe's street performance but the stiffer suspension will be difficult to live with every day in pothole-plagued areas. Unless you're really going to the track, stick with the regular model. There's also a "R" version that removes some standard features, such as the sunroof, to reduce weight.

Safety features include six airbags, active head restraints, standard electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. Included is a 360-Watt, 10-speaker Infinity sound system. Inside, the Genesis Coupe offers good quality materials and commendable fit and finish. This is one reason that the average residual value after 36 months for a Hyundai has improved to about 43 percent currently from 37 percent in 2005. All is not perfect as the blue on black digital information center is difficult to read, and the speedometer and tachometer are offset away from the center of vision, making them a bit difficult to follow.

The Genesis offers minimal rear seat room. Five 17-year-old girls would fit just fine, but the Genesis Coupe is a two-seater for big or tall adults. It has a hefty trunk with a pass-through for long items. Here's the take-away: Rear-drive rules. Strong horsepower, low gearing and a low purchase are nice, too.

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