13 September 2013

Countless Smiles per kilometer with the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0L

Words by Leo Lim | Photos by Christopher Kho

2013 hyundai genesis coupeSo with a smile as wide as a mile I trekked off to HARI’s office to pick up my soon to be love for the next five days. As soon as I arrived, the test unit was already parked up front and was already whispering soft nothings in my ear; profoundly, a short chat with the HARI representative seemed to be ages and I simply wanted to drive off with the Genesis.

I took in the visual sight of the body mesmerized with the lines that flowed from front to rear; the hood vents that added contrast to the front fascia. And Before I forget, it came in my favorite color, RED.

Barely five feet out of the driveway as I was backing up did I hear a compliment “Nice car sir” and all I could muster as a response was thank you. Fast forward to a kilometer of driving, it finally dawned on me that there is something different with the car I’m driving. Well, I never thought that I’d get a lot of stares and heads turning in my direction and frankly speaking, ten minutes worth of seat time made me feel like a celebrity. With the attention I’m getting, I forgot the traffic and enjoyed the looks I got from pedestrians and my fellow motorists.

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Still wearing that big smile I pondered; the Genesis certainly makes me smile when stationary let’s see if it has the same appeal when my right foot does the talking.Everything about it is soft and compliant cradling its driver from the world as if it were a luxury coupe. Looking at the interior, you’ll see no cheap Korean plastics but soft touch plastics across the dash and sidings. A touch of pseudo elegance is also present with Hyundai mimicking stitched leather on certain parts of the dashboard; not a bad in my opinion.

As you slide into the seat you’ll be greeted with well bolstered seats and red leather upholstery which was very well made. I even took time to actually run my fingers on the stiches on the doors and seats not believing that such quality reserved for German cars can be attained by something made in Korea. The colour tinge also follows the same elegance with a bright red against black and grey motif; the red seats is particularly highlighted by the fact the test car I was driving had red paint.

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Since we are in the subject of seats, the rear seats are actual seats that can be used by an adult. This is quite a rarity in the 2+2 design that most sporty cars adhere to. The Hyundai Genesis surprisingly can seat 4 adults comfortably for short trips in and about the city, anything above 30 minutes maybe challenging for your averaged size Filipino but if you’re 5.4 feet below then you’ve got it made.

The instrumentation is nothing worth being simple and practical; I however, would love to see the three middle gauges for Boost, Throttle Position and Oil Temp a little higher. It’s positioned so low that it is hard to read unless you literally move your head to look down at the readings. If only Hyundai could’ve switched the position of the gauges and radio then it would’ve been perfect.

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Performance, on the road, the Hyundai Genesis apart from its looks is a very timid animal. Forget your donuts and drifts as this car will need to be nudged hard to show its teeth. Even with the traction control off the car still has a built in code in its DNA for safety and will still offer its driver some concessions for stupidity.

Acceleration is also quite dull and you’ll have this feel that the engine is unwilling to rev and even see the boost cut happens on the tachometer. I was starting to lose hope that the Genesis can be a driver’s car till our friends at Speedlab dangled something so hard to resist. Friendly discussions with their in house tuner led me to the dynometer to affirm or negate my sentiments.

Again, the Hyundai Genesis dropped a nasty surprise. The reading showed a maximum of 238 horsepower on 6100RPM while peak torque of 278lbft is achieved at a low 2800RPM. Sounds reasonable you might think, well, wait till you see the graph and understand how the engine makes power.

dsc08298dsc08345dsc08349dsc08353dsc08356Close inspection of the graph for torque shows a sudden drop mid-way of the RPM range while the horsepower curve continues to rise all the way till redline without a hiccup or drop. To the uninitiated, the engine still has a lot of oomph available but somehow the ECU seems to be holding it back. No wonder it was sluggish when pushed. If only it can be released I wonder how much fun the Genesis will be to the drive. Hint Hint!

It only takes a while before some aftermarket shop capitalizes on this and hack the ECU. By then I believe we have a new “tuner” car at our hands. By then I’m a hundred percent sure that the Hyundai Genesis will be growling like a wild animal hungry for a prey.

Now that we’ve established that the Hyundai Genesis can go fast, the question is will it stop? With the Brembo package the whole car hauls to a stop with no complaints. In fact you’ll be short changing yourself if you don’t get the Brembo brakes once you sign your name up for a unit. With the Brembo brakes, the car just inspires confidence for those late braking manoeuvres; you’ll hardly even feel the 1500KG bulk of the chassis.

So don’t cheap out, go get it.

On corners the chassis is pretty stable and will initially understeer on entry and provide neutral handling with the right steering input. And even with the traction control off there are no sudden surprises. It will be something that a novice can easily enjoy on the track without getting into any trouble. It could probably use stiffer sway bars as icing on the cake, but as stock, the Genesis is a perfect balance between comfort and sporty driving. The car is setup in such a manner that you can easily drive it for hours at a time without getting tired whilst knowing that you still have that capability to throw it in corners when the opportunity arises. Heck, I can even use it as a daily driver if given the opportunity.

Overall the Hyundai Genesis accomplishes its intended purpose. A sporty car built for the masses, it may not be as sharp or as fun to drive as other models but it has all the hallmarks of a basic sports car.

Looks – Check

Power –Check

Tunability-Check

Drivability-Check

Comfort-Check

As I return the car back to HARI; I can’t help but take the longest route possible to extend the quality time that I had with the Hyundai Genesis.