That’s because back in 1979, I bought a new Mazda RX-7. It was a stylish two-seater that brought me into the era of the modern sports car. It wasn’t a luxury car, but it wasn’t a basic machine. The horsepower was good for its time (1979 was during the dark days for acceleration), and it was a blast to drive.
The Hyundai Genesis reminded me a lot of my RX-7 with two major differences. First, the Genesis has a back seat. But it’s so small and cramped that you might as well consider the Genesis a two-seater. Second, the Genesis has power and plenty of it. My test car had the 3.8 liter that pumps out 348 horsepower. That’s a big jump from the 306 hp in last year’s model. Even the base Genesis with the 2.0 liter turbo has 274 hp which is 30% more than in 2012. Considering the power, my 3.8 had good mileage, 18 city/28 highway.
My test car had the 8-speed automatic. I enjoyed how it used the full rev range. You really got the feeling that when you stomped on the gas the car was working hard to live up to your expectations.
The 2013 Genesis gets a mild facelift. Hyundai knows it has a nice looking car on its hands, so why mess with a good thing. The carmaker has come a long way from that first Tiburon. I’m not sure I like the two plastic fake scoops on the hood, but that’s a pretty piddly complaint.
Inside, the car is probably a little more upscale than my RX-7, but hasn’t quite reached the luxury range. I consider that a good thing. The center console has three gauges that look great, but I’d rather the information were right in front of me. The only thing that actually annoyed me were the power window switches. While they fit smoothly into the lines of the door, their placement was a little awkward. It wasn’t a natural place for your hand to go. (Of course, considering my RX-7 had manual windows, I shouldn’t be complaining). I also wasn’t a fan of the speedometer (the numbers were a little too small). I was, however, very impressed with the size of the trunk. There was a lot of cargo space for a small coupe (especially when you remember the Genesis has a back seat, sort of).
Of course all those picky complaints fall aside when you drive the car. It has a sporty feel that delivers everywhere you need it.
Sticker price for my Ground Touring Genesis was $32,875, although the price for the base Genesis is closer to $25,000. That means it has even more in common with my original RX-7. I remember paying $9,000 back in 1979. When I run that figure through a cost of living calculator, it equals about $28,000 which makes it very similar to the Mazda. Just as I felt I got a lot of value back in 1979, the Genesis delivers plenty of car in 2013.
Bio: Rick DeBruhl is a gearhead since birth. Growing up he had car wallpaper in his room. In high school he spent way too much time in auto shop. After working his way through college at Sears Automotive, he turned to journalism, working as a reporter for more than three decades at KPNX-TV. Of course, he couldn't leave cars behind completely. In the mid-80s he started covering auto racing for ESPN. These days he covers IndyCar for ABC, NASCAR Nationwide for ESPN, and the Barrett Jackson collector car auctions for SPEED. His day job is working as the Chief Communications Officer for the State Bar of Arizona.