Hyundai’s Genesis marks the beginning of Korean styling excellence…and end of American pony car reign

Hyundai Genesis Coupe (courtesy of Hyundai)

While journalists have been throwing praise at Chevy for the 2009 Camaro, Cadillac for the upcoming CTS Coupe, and Dodge for the now-arriving Challenger, the sweetest looking two-door to hit the “coming soon” pages is actually from Hyundai. The Genesis coupe is simply a work of art.

GM, Ford and Chrysler: beware! The 2010 Genesis (due out in 2009) is not destined to be another rice rocket in the mold of the Acura Integra. Hyundai has instead designed it to be an American-like pony car to do battle against the Mustang. Don’t laugh – when it hits dealerships, the rear-wheel-drive Genesis will be available with either a turbo 2.0-liter 212hp four or a high-output 306-hp six-cylinder engine. And no doubt that the V8 Hyundai has in development will be there sooner than you think!

Hyundai has delivered nicely styled cars in the past. Indeed the current Hyundai Tiburon coupe obviously stole lines from the Ferrari 550 Maranello. Unfortunately, the front-wheel-drive Tiburon (as well as other cars from the Korean automaker) has always been a let down in the driving department. The new Genesis, however, has earned praise from the few journalists who have had the chance to do preview drives. Rumors are that power, handling, braking, and refinement are all top-notch for the general price and segment.

What seems most important is that from a style perspective, the Genesis doesn’t seem to steal from any other car. It is fresh and devoid of all the foolish, tacky add-ons all too familiar on American so-called performance cars. There are no non-functional fake air intakes, nor are there creases or edges that are there just to maintain a corporate look or theme. In fact, the Genesis shows no evidence that the designers were out to make a unique-appearing Hyundai, rather one that would point to the future, not the past.

So as GM goes to 1969 for the design of its 2009 Camaro, Dodge’s Challenger steals entirely from its 1970 version, and Ford’s Mustang soldiers on with a pastiche of 1965, 1967 and 1969 Fastback ‘Stang cues, the Hyundai Genesis proves that being new can be done without looking old. Furthermore, the Genesis will remain fresh for years to come.

With better pricing and all the power of American pony cars, it’s possible that the Genesis’ show and go will translate to stealing sales not only from Mustang, Challenger and Camaro, but also from Infiniti G, Acura TL, Pontiac G8, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Evo, and Cadillac CTS. Who knows, maybe even a few Bimmer or Audi drivers will wonder why they’ve spent $10K-$20K more than they had to?


3 Responses to Hyundai’s Genesis marks the beginning of Korean styling excellence…and end of American pony car reign

  1. Sam, I agree with you 99%.

    I’ve watched the Koreans coming from behind like Fangio at the ‘Ring in ’57. They are leap-frogging other marques with stunning cars with excellent build quality.. and yet, a mere decade ago they were the 90’s equivalent of a Yugo! I imagine that in 2050, when we are like England and there are no more true domestic auto manufacturers (seriously, by then GM will be a niche truck maker and Ford will be owned by Tata. Chrysler will be like Packard… a distant memory) I won’t be surprised if the Koreans are at the top of the heap.

    The 1% I disagree on? The sweetest looking two-door to hit the “coming soon” pages is the Alfa Romeo 8C. It is, without question, the finest looking car in the last 40 years.


  2. Chuck,
    I agree that the Alfa 8C is the most gorgeous coupe “coming soon”. Sometimes I forget to think of top-tier exotics when writing stories…other times I neglect to include them due to a lack of relationship to the primary topic. While there’s little to compare between the inexpensive Genesis and the 8C, I’ll admit that the Alfa just plain skipped my mind!

  3. mycarlady says:

    Hi Sam,

    Nice post. I eagerly await the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and the 8cyl. sedan. It will be a great day when drivers recognize the quality and driving experience value ratio before worrying about what their neighbors will think. I call Hyundai “SMART MONEY COOL”.
    sarah lee,

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