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2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe ReviewThe Good
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe continues to establish its reputation as a fast, fun-to-drive and affordable alternative to more expensive sport coupes, with an exterior design sure to turn heads and a strong list of standard features.The Bad
Build quality issues plague the 2012 Genesis Coupe, the rear seat remains tight for taller adults and many current owners complain about the fuel economy numbers they're getting out of their vehicles.
The CarGurus View
The sport-oriented 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe delivers a capable mix of power, handling and attractive styling, and while it doesn't quite reach the levels of performance offered by some of its competitors, it's fun to drive and offers good value for the money. Add in a choice of two well-reviewed engines, a variety of well-equipped trims from which to choose and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the Genesis Coupe has a lot to offer buyers who are looking for something a little more exciting than the typical family sedan. However, due to build quality issues, buyers should pay particular attention when test-driving the vehicle at their local dealer.
At a Glance
Now in its third year of production, the sport-oriented Hyundai Genesis Coupe remains unchanged for 2012 after receiving a number of updates for 2011, including new interior materials and components, as well as a new high-performance 3.8 R-Spec trim. Although it shares a name and a platform with the Genesis Sedan, the 2-door, rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe differs from its 4-door sibling in a number of ways. The Sedan, for instance, has an overall length of 196.3 inches, while the Coupe measures just 182.3 inches, making it more than a foot shorter than the Sedan. It also displays different exterior styling, with a sportier wide-mouthed grille, blacked-out lower front fascia, sculpted hood with air intakes, swoopy sidelines and a tapering roofline, giving it a more aggressive, muscular appearance.
Hyundai again offers the Genesis Sedan in six trims, including the 2.0T, the 2.0T Premium and the 2.0T R-Spec, all powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, and the 3.8 R-Spec, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track trims, which come equipped with a 3.8-liter V6. The Genesis Coupe shares its V6 engine with the Genesis Sedan, but Hyundai also offers the Sedan with a 5.0-liter 429-hp V8, which unfortunately is not available for the Coupe. However, the Coupe does get a sport-tuned suspension, and the R-Spec and 3.8 Track trims are upgraded to a track-tuned suspension with stiffer springs and unique shocks, providing a firmer ride for more spirited handling.
All Genesis Coupes receive projector-beam halogen headlights except the 3.8 Track, which gets HID headlights. All except the 2.0T R-Spec and 3.8 R-Spec have automatic headlights, while all 3.8 trims add front foglights. The 2.0 trims, as well as the 3.8 R-Spec, come equipped with power exterior side mirrors, while the 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track upgrade to heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals. In addition, the 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track come equipped with a power tilt/slide sunroof, while the 3.8 Track also receives a rear spoiler as standard equipment.
The 2012 Genesis Coupe faces off against a number of formidable competitors, including such rear-wheel-drive sport coupes as the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, Nissan 370Z and Scion FR-S. In addition, Hyundai has specifically positioned the Genesis Coupe as a direct competitor to the the Infiniti G37, a rival rear-wheel-drive luxury-oriented sport coupe. The V6-powered Genesis Coupes put out 306 hp, compared to the G37's 330 hp, and both post similar 0-60 times of around 5.7 and 5.4 seconds, respectively. Many testers prefer the G37's more comfortable interior and polished performance and handling, but prospective buyers should note that the V6-powered Genesis Coupe can be had for under $30,000, while the G37 comes with a ticket price of over $40,000, prompting many to point out the Genesis Coupe's overall affordability in its market segment.
Two engines, unchanged for 2012, power the various Genesis Coupe trims. The base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which drives the 2.0T, 2.0T Premium and 2.0T R-Spec trims, features a twin-scroll turbocharger, a large intercooler and continuously variable valve timing (CVVT). In the base 2.0T, Hyundai pairs the engine with either a 6-speed manual transmission, which comes standard, or an optional 5-speed automatic with the Shiftronic manual-shift feature and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Fuel economy numbers check in at 21 mpg city/30 highway with the manual shifter and 20/30 with the automatic. The performance-oriented 2.0T R-Spec trim comes only with the 6-speed manual shifter, while the more upscale 2.0T Premium receives only the 5-speed automatic.
The 3.8 R-Spec, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track trims continue to receive a 3.8-liter V6 with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT), which help provide good low-end torque and plenty of power for aggressive driving maneuvers, as well as overall efficiency. The V6 generates 306 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. In the 3.8 Track, the V6 mates to either the 6-speed manual transmission, which again comes standard, or an optional 6-speed ZF automatic transmission with Shiftronic and paddle shifters. Fuel economy numbers drop to 17/26 with the manual transmission and 17/27 with the automatic. The 3.8 R-Spec comes only with the 6-speed manual transmission, while the 3.8 Grand Touring gets only the 6-speed ZF automatic.
Both engines provide good power for all types of driving situations, although critics say they don't provide the level of performance delivered by the Mustang, Camaro, 370Z or even the Mazda Miata, a smaller sport coupe. Some reviewers complain of turbo lag in the base 4-cylinder engine, and some testers say the 6-speed manual transmission lacks crispness and at times feels sloppy and imprecise. In addition, the V6-powered trims don't provide the quick responsiveness and aggressive power of some rivals, according to testers. On the plus side, both engines run on regular unleaded fuel.
Ride & Handling
The 2012 Genesis Coupe gets mixed reviews for its ride and handling. Overall, reviewers like the Coupe's steering and braking systems, and many say the Coupe's suspension delivers agile handling and a comfortable ride. But according to others, the vehicle's handling and ride don't match the best in the class, especially during aggressive maneuvers. Some testers note minor body lean in corners, but most agree the Coupe holds the road fairly well. For the most part, typical everyday drivers will find no faults with the Genesis Coupe, but sport-oriented drivers who push the vehicle to its limits will note a few minor flaws. Those drivers might want to opt for the 3.8 R-Spec and 3.8 Track trims, which feature upgraded shocks and springs for a tighter, firmer ride.
In its base configuration, the Genesis Coupe rides on a sport-tuned suspension with a MacPherson strut dual-link arrangement and a 24mm stabilizer bar in the front, and a 5-link independent setup and 19mm stabilizer bar in the rear. On R-Spec trims and the 3.8 Track, the stabilizer bars upgrade to 25mm in the front and 22mm in the rear, while the 3.8 R-Spec and 3.8 Track receive track-tuned shocks and springs. The 2.0T R-Spec, 3.8 R-Spec and 3.8 Track also get a front strut brace and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Quick-ratio hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering with engine-RPM sensing comes standard on all Genesis Coupe trims. All Coupes also receive Brembo brakes with 4-piston calipers in both the front and rear.
The 2.0T, 2.0T Premium and 3.8 Grand Touring trims ride on 18-inch Euroflange alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires, while the 2.0T R-Spec, 3.8 R-Spec and 3.8 Track get 19-inch gunmetal-finish alloy wheels with high-performance summer-compound Bridgestone Potenza tires.
Cabin & Comfort
Naturally, with its shorter overall length, the Genesis Coupe doesn't provide as much interior space as the Genesis Sedan, nor does the quality of its interior materials match its sedan sibling's. Reviewers also say the Coupe's cabin doesn't quite match those of some competitive vehicles. However, most owners will find the Coupe's cabin comfortable and well-equipped.
Like many sport-oriented coupes, the Genesis Coupe offers seating for four in a 2+2 arrangement. All but the tallest passengers will find adequate headroom and legroom in the front, but the rear seat will feel cramped for many adults, due to the sloping roofline. Reviewers like the layout of the Coupe's cabin, and praise its easy-to-read gauges and well-designed controls. However, critics also note the presence of some cheap-looking materials and components. Cargo space in the trunk checks in at 10 cubic feet, and a rear-seat pass-through enables owners to carry some longer items.
All Genesis Coupes come well-equipped with a long list of standard features, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering-wheel-mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, air conditioning with an outside temperature display, dark metalgrain and chrome interior accents, remote keyless entry, driver's lumbar support and power windows and door locks. However, the R-Spec trims eliminate a few convenience items, such as cruise control and some interior accents, to reduce weight and cost.
The 2.0T, 2.0 R-Spec and 3.8 R-Spec trims also come equipped with a 6-speaker AM/FM audio system with a CD/MP3 player, SiriusXM satellite radio, iPod port and auxiliary input jack. The 2.0T R-Spec and 3.8 R-Spec add black leather bolsters with red cloth inserts, while the 2.0T Premium includes such upgrades as a touchscreen navigation system, a power driver's seat, push-button start, automatic temperature control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a 10-speaker, 360-watt Infinity audio system with a subwoofer. The 3.8 Grand Touring adds leather upholstery, while the 3.8 Track gets black leather upholstery and aluminum pedals, in addition to the other upscale features found on the Grand Touring.
The NHTSA awarded the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 5 out of 5 stars for protecting passengers in rollover crashes. However, the NHTSA has not tested the Coupe in other categories, including frontal, side-impact and rear crashes. The IIHS has not safety-tested the Genesis Coupe, but it named the Genesis Sedan, which features the same platform but a different front end, a Top Safety Pick for 2012.
Hyundai equips the Genesis Coupe with 6 airbags, including front seat-mounted and side-curtain airbags. Electronic stability control and antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution also come standard on all Coupes.
What Owners Think
Owners find a lot to like about their Genesis Coupes, but also say the sporty vehicle has some build-quality issues. Owners especially like the Coupe's attractive exterior styling, and some compare it to iconic sports cars like classic Jaguars and even Ferraris. They also give good marks to the Coupe's quick acceleration, agile handling and solid braking system. Many owners prefer the manual shifter to the automatic transmission, which some say needs an extra gear. Owners also note some turbo lag from the 4-cylinder engine, but most say it's minimal and not an issue. In addition, several owners find the track-tuned suspension on the 3.8 Track trim too harsh for daily driving and suggest a lower-end trim with a more compliant suspension.
Owners like the Coupe's interior layout, but find fault with interior build quality. A number of owners have reported squeaks and rattles from interior components and have had problems with the sunroof, driver's seat, steering wheel and hand brake. Owners have also commented on some cheap interior materials, which they find unacceptable in this price range. In addition, many owners would like to see better fuel economy from their Genesis Coupes. Overall, owners give the Coupe mixed reviews, since they like its styling and performance, but wish it had better reliability and build quality.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.