Saturday, April 10, 2010

NYT on the Hyundai Genesis Coupe

"Behind the Wheel" at the New York Times takes a look at the Hyundai Genesis Coupe:
But out of left field, or at least to the left of Japan, a new player has emerged. Even as American car companies crank out a gumball assortment of pony-car revivals — Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger — a warrior from Korea has entered the no-fire zone: the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the kind of rear-drive, road-flogging, date-snaring car that makes young people want to take a second job, or at least plead with the parents.

Starting at $22,750 for the tepid 4-cylinder turbo model, or $25,750 for the more desirable 306-horsepower V-6 version, the Genesis is the only well-priced Asian coupe that won’t shrivel before the American pony-car onslaught. It’s also the only Asian coupe that should matter to people who can’t drum up $37,000 for the Infiniti G37.

As with every Hyundai, including the Genesis luxury sedan on which it is based, the coupe takes its competitive cues from the film “All About Eve.” Sidling up to the G37, the Genesis Coupe is the ingénue, its style and performance seemingly no threat to the big-name star (the Bette Davis character on screen, for readers under 40). But the Hyundai has been slyly absorbing the star’s lessons, including a set of exterior curves that seems clearly inspired by the Infiniti.
It's a very favorable overview of the car, but it's not all sunshiny cheerleading:
The Genesis is also a surprisingly deft handler, powered by a husky-voiced 3.8-liter V-6. In short, there’s a bona fide rear-drive performance car underneath that handsome body.

Compared with the boldness of the exterior, the cabin is straightforward. But it’s also straitlaced; you might prefer more visual assurance that this is a quick car. The controls are simple and well executed; the front seats are stylish and firmly bolstered (though the leather on one test car was showing wear after 10,000 miles). And plastic trim on the dash and doors has the shiny look and knock-knock feel associated with budget cars.

Because of the sloping roofline, any rear passenger who’s remotely tall will find his head polishing the rear glass. The trunk is more accommodating; despite a slender opening, it can accept weekend luggage or a cartload of groceries. But this isn’t a car for fetching a carton of eggs. Instead, the Hyundai’s errand is to nip at, reel in and otherwise pester drivers of more expensive cars — Infinitis, Nissan Zs, BMWs, you name it. At the underdog game, the Hyundai excels.
Here's hoping Hyundai — and Korea Inc in general — never loses that underdog spirit.

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