Some quick thoughts of my test drive of the Gen Coupe R-Spec.
I should point out that the car pictured here is NOT an R-Spec, it’s a standard Automatic 2.0T I shot for Speedhawaii awhile back.
Well, the car has been out an about for over a year now, and I have to say that I still love the way it looks. Dare I say, it LOOKS better than Hyundai’s self-proclaimed target, the Inifiniti G37. The only downside to the exterior for me is the front end, which although nice and wide looking, seems a bit smashed in. And the grille, Hyundai could’ve done better there. I should point out that the R-Spec comes with the 19 inch rollers and Brembo breaks, which add to the appearance IMO. Especially the 19s, they’re so much better looking than the 18s.
This is where I’m sorry to say, the Gen Coupe falls flat on its face. While the layout of the interior is fine, the materials are sub-par at best. Well, that may be a bit harsh, I understand that at this price bracket you’re not getting Audi levels of refinement. Although that being said the VW GTI DOES get Audi levels of refinement at a very similar price. Sure, the main objective of this car is to be a driver’s car, but interior is a huge factor for a lot of people (me included) and it just doesn’t cut it. A 2011 Mustang has a more interesting interior, and slightly better feeling materials as well. I also have to say that while the seats themselves are great for holding you in, the driving position overall wasn’t good. The problem for me was the shifter position, which I felt was too far back in relation to where the seat was for me. I had a hard time getting into 4th or 6th for example, as my elbow kept bumping into the side bolster. Again, these are small niggles, but they DO add up in the end.
I should point out before I start that this was a standard dealer test-drive, so I wasnt really given the chance to hoon the car. I did get some freeway time though, as well as a couple of freeway exits, so that’s where I’m coming from.
I’ll start off with the power. When I read the initial numbers (210 HP & 223 lb-ft of torque), I was thinking it was going to be bloody slow. 210 HP? The WRX and the Mazdaspeed3 make 50 more! But when you’re actually out on the road, it feels like it has more than enough oomph for me. I know there are a lot of other people who won’t like it and need more, but then that’s the whole point of this R-Spec in the first place. Hyundai left a lot of room for tuners to work, and from what I’m reading online work they have! I’ve seen 260 whp easily achieved, so it’s not that big an issue IMO. AND, here in Hawaii, as a daily driver, the 2.0T has more than enough power out of the box to please most. Sure, 210 HP is not much (mind you tests have shown this motor to be underrated BTW), but it’s the torque that makes up for it. It has a lot of low to mid-range grunt, well more than I was expecting anyway. It could easily pull up to speed in 5th gear at freeway speeds. Dare I say, it feels much like a 2.0L WRX in the mid-range…
As for the handling, well the R-Spec package is pretty darn good. I’ve driven a base model before, and almost immediately you can feel the improvement. The R-Spec is really stiff for a factory setup. It is a little on the hard side for daily driving, but I think most enthusiasts will be able to tolerate it. It feels very flat going into corners, flatter than my Legacy with my upgraded springs even (you can thank the difference in curb-weight for that though me thinks). The balance is over-all good, but again as I mentioned in the interior part, the driving position for me killed a lot of the fun. The gear shift as well was a tad funny feeling. I missed third on more than one occasion during my drive. A Honda shifter this is not, but it’s not bad none the less. The Brembo breaks however are excellent, great feel from the pedal. Although it has to be said that my NON-Brembo 4-pots on the WRX were just as good…
So overall, I have to say that it’s a mighty fine car if you put driving feel as an importance when looking at a car. It sticks to the ol Hyundai mantra: It’s one of the best bang-for-your-bucks performance cars out there. Although, while I feel it’s a good car, it’s not a GREAT car. The driving position could be improved (although I do confess that maybe if I played around with the seat and steering wheel a bit more I could have improved it, but not much I think). And that interior, I’m sorry I keep bringing it up, but I KNOW Hyundai can do better. Just look at the Genesis sedan and the new Sonata! Much nicer places to be. Again, I know that in the particular market Hyundai is aiming for the interior is low on the priority list, but IMO Hyundai could have done a little bit better. For me personally, that was the deal breaker. I just can’t live with an interior that low-rent every day. And not to mention the fact that the R-Spec comes with LESS toys than the base (no bluetooth, auto-headlights, tripe-computer, cruise-control to name a few..). Although when all is said and done, I’d take the R-Spec over the base in a heartbeat, the inclusion of the stiffer suspension, Brembos, stickier tires, and LSD make this car a damn good handling package right out of the factory.
So the Gen Coupe 2.0T R-Spec, a great driver’s car for the price, but the overall package is missing a little something something.