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Thread: Unlikely Contenders: 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 vs. 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8

  1. #1
    armthehomeless's Avatar
    armthehomeless is offline Rollin deep in a Lincoln
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    Default Unlikely Contenders: 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 vs. 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8

    There are many good reasons why we're comparing the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, two cars that seem so different in style and purpose. Really, there are. Among them is the fact that both are tremendously popular with you, our readers.

    You could say that Mazda's recently revised Mazdaspeed 3 the second generation of Mazda's ass-kicking hatchback needs a serious contender to challenge its utter dominance of our comparison tests.

    And you could argue that the Genesis Coupe might just be that contender. By offering a rewarding mix of rear-wheel-drive handling, serious power and knockout styling, it's been blowing off the pricier competition in the sport coupe segment without so much as a labored breath. It's quick, it's gorgeous and it'll do powerslides that would make Bo Duke jealous. And as rear-drive coupes go, its affordable pricing is unmatched.

    You could say all of that, but you'd be wrong.

    The real reason is much simpler. The real reason we're comparing these two unlikely contenders is that both package the fun-to-drive thing in a reasonably priced machine that looks good and moves quickly.

    In that vein, we've placed a full 50 percent of our scoring weight in this comparison test on price and performance (25 percent each). Fuel consumption, feature content and our subjective 28-point evaluation score make up 15 percent each. The remaining 5 percent is left to the editors' personal and recommended picks.

    Which Genesis?
    So the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and the 2010 Genesis Coupe it is. But which Genesis? Hyundai is pumping out this little coupe in two versions the 2.0T, which is priced almost identically to the Mazda but can't match its performance, and the 3.8-liter V6 version, which matches the Mazda's performance but adds another $4,500 or so to the equation. In any contest where the driving matters most, we pick the car that's going to make the numbers. And that's exactly what we've done.

    Our Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track comes with Hyundai's smooth-revving V6 cranking out 306 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes a six-speed manual transmission, 19-inch wheels, four-piston Brembo brakes at all four corners and a Torsen limited-slip differential between the rear drive wheels. The whole package with an iPod cable and carpeted floor mats goes for $30,375.

    Mazda's new bad boy is no slouch, however. Its turbocharged, direct-injected 2.3-liter inline-4 yields 263 hp and a tire-punishing 280 lb-ft of torque. There's a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential putting power to the front wheels. Including the Mazdaspeed Technology package which adds a Bose audio system, six-disc CD changer, satellite radio and a compact navigation system the Mazda totals $25,840.

    Different but the Same?
    Here are two cars that couldn't be more different in appearance and layout. Hatchback vs. coupe. Front-wheel drive vs. rear-wheel drive. Turbocharged inline-4 vs. normally aspirated V6. And certainly both go about their missions with decidedly different packaging. At 103.9 inches, the Mazda's wheelbase is more than 7 inches shorter than the Hyundai's no small difference when it comes to changing direction quickly.

    But let's not forget that there's a certain inherent value in rear-wheel drive. Even if it comes with a longer wheelbase, a higher cost and slightly more weight (220 pounds, in this case), the Hyundai coupe's dynamics cannot be duplicated in a car that is steering and driving the front wheels.

    Still, Mazda packs a lot of punch into the Mazdaspeed 3 and not all of it is performance-related. There's no denying the utility of a four-door hatchback. Flop down the rear seat and you've got almost 43 cubic feet of cargo volume enough to move, say, some furniture or that big-screen TV. You're not doing that with the Hyundai. Not to mention the fact that the Mazda's rear doors provide family-friendly levels of practicality.

    What Matters
    But the differences that matter, those that have every scoring editor leaning in favor of only one car, emerge clearly when you drive with purpose. It's then that Mazda's decision to supplement simple utility with sports car performance begins to matter. It's then that you recognize that its control feel is clearly superior and it's then that you realize its dynamic responses are measurably sharper.

    Jump between the driver seats of the Mazda and Hyundai for a few runs on a fast road with smooth, open corners and you'll sense that the differences in dynamics are relatively benign. The hatchback is always a bit sharper, its reaction to input more immediate and its damping more controlled. But the Genesis hangs right in there, never embarrassing itself and always minding its manners. However, do the swap on a tight road with rough, off-camber corners and there's no denying which car is the sports car and which car has one wheel firmly in the camp of Grand Touring.

    The Genesis dances around the fact that it's not a sports car with impressive grace. The stability of its long wheelbase is concealed remarkably well by the ability of the rear-drive chassis to respond to steering and throttle control. Its steering feel, which offers enough feedback to make prudent decisions at speed, will never match the Mazda's laser precision, however. And its damping is adequate, but only up to the last few tenths.

    But keep this back-road exercise going very long and it doesn't matter how hard you drive the Genesis the Mazda simply disappears into the distance.

    Numbers Between the Words
    Slamming gears in the Genesis on the hottest day of the year did yield another advantage of the rear-drive Genesis: It gets out of the hole. This test has produced the best acceleration we've seen yet from the Hyundai coupe, with 60 mph arriving in only 5.9 seconds (5.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). The car trips the quarter-mile trap in only 14.2 seconds at 98.2 mph, bettering the Mazda in both tests.

    But not by much. With more torque and a power-to-weight advantage, the Mazda takes 0.36 fewer seconds to accelerate from 35-90 mph. It hits 60 mph in 6.3 seconds (6.0 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and stomps through the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 99.2 mph.

    Braking, usually a Mazda strong point in our tests, also fell in favor of the Hyundai. This car came to a halt from 60 mph in 119 feet (6 feet longer than the first 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 we tested), while the Hyundai needed only 114 feet. Neither car showed evidence of appreciable brake fade over multiple stops, but we're still less impressed with the feel of the Hyundai's Brembos than we'd like to be. After hard use, the Mazda's brakes lose some of their initial bite, but there's still ample effectiveness.

    A comparison of fuel consumption is a wash. In mixed driving conditions, we observed 19.9 mpg in the Mazda and 19.3 mpg in the Genesis.

    Wicked Rippin' Fast
    Handling tests, however, fell in favor of the Mazda. At 71.1 mph, its slalom speed is almost 4 mph faster than the Hyundai's 67.2-mph performance. At 0.91g, the Mazda's lateral grip on the skid pad also upstages the Hyundai's 0.89g performance. And if you're a fan of using stability control as a safety net when driving quickly, the Mazda's system lets you drive the car far closer to its limits than the Hyundai's system, which intrudes more often and more aggressively.

    Much of the handling story on these cars simply can't be told by the numbers a consequence, largely, of the fact that the Mazda is so much more focused when going quickly than the Genesis. In the Hyundai you'll find a good rhythm on a back road and you'll be impressed by its balance, textbook handling and reasonable manners. But in the Mazda, you'll be in the zone, completely absorbed by the car's ability to cover ground at insane speed.

    Better Inside
    We didn't expect the considerably less expensive Mazda to offer interior quality and features on par with or exceeding the Hyundai's, but that's exactly what we found. From the driver seat, virtually everything you touch is of higher quality and feels better in the Mazda, notably the steering wheel, which looks and feels plasticky in the Genesis.

    The Mazda offers dual-zone climate control as standard equipment, with knobs that have well-defined indexing. Single-zone climate control is standard on the Genesis and its temperature knob feels far less precise. Both these cars came equipped with 10-speaker premium audio systems an optional 242-watt Bose system in the Mazda and standard Infinity system in the Genesis. We preferred the Mazda's audio interface, which offered three knobs to control its primary functions where the Genesis relied on one knob and buttons.

    The Technology package also provides the Mazda with a compact navigation system. After some experience with the system, we found its screen too small to be useful in many situations, but it always had an advantage over the Hyundai, which lacks navigation altogether. Hyundai recently made touchscreen navigation available as a $1,000 option on the Genesis Coupe, which was introduced without it.

    Leather upholstery is standard in the Hyundai and so are heated front seats, which aren't available in the Mazda.

    Nevertheless, we prefer the Mazda's combination of leather seat trim with cloth seating surfaces because this combination holds us in place when we're driving quickly.

    It's no secret that we love the Genesis Coupe's styling, and this car still manages to attract attention at the gas station some six months after its introduction. The Mazda's styling, despite working better in aggressive Mazdaspeed form than it does on the standard car, still leaves many shaking their heads. To us it looks a lot like Megan Fox if you catch her from the tattoo angle you've just got to pick the right perspective to see its beauty.

    The Right Angle
    Increasingly, that perspective is from behind the wheel. Mazda's hyperactive hatch wins the fun-to-drive portion of this contest hands-down. Sure, it gives up a few tenths in acceleration, but the results are close enough that it would still be a driver's race at a stoplight drag race. Handling tests both go easily to the Mazda as well.

    But the final nails in the coffin are price and practicality. With a $4,500 price gap to overcome, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 needs to dominate every other category to win this contest. And it did win the feature content segment of this comparison by offering heated seats, four-piston brakes, rear-wheel drive and less costly regular fuel a nice bonus every time you hit the pump.

    But those perks aren't enough to take down the ultra-sharp, hugely practical and wildly entertaining 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. And it would be obtuse to ignore the Mazda's practical advantages as an only car which both of these machines will be for most buyers.

    And that, friends, is why the Mazdaspeed 3 wins this comparison. Its credentials in kicking ass and taking names were well established before this contest and it's a better car now than it was before.

    We'll add one more name to the list.

    Second Opinion:

    Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh says:
    There's no chance that a hopped-up economy car will match the dynamics of a purpose-built rear-wheel-drive coupe. None. That's what was going through my head at the start of this comparison. I'd not yet driven a Genesis Coupe at all and was fully expecting it'd do a smoky burnout all over the front-drive Mazdaspeed 3.

    And when you walk up to them, the Hyundai promises sport in spades. It's a real looker whereas the Mazda has all the sex appeal of a bread roll. But wait, what's this? The Mazdaspeed 3's cabin looks and feels more expensive than the Genesis', yet the Mazda costs less than the Hyundai.

    Driving these two cars back-to-back was the real eye-opener. The Hyundai drives like a GT car, with a big, relaxed feel whether you're cruising on the freeway or pointing it at an apex. There's a lot of throttle manipulation going on during quick gearchanges. And the steering is strange around center, with artificial "feel" that just makes the helm nervous. On balance the Genesis is a fine start but it's clear Mother Hyundai is wet behind the ears when it comes to sporting vehicles.

    The Mazda is coiled. Precise. More communicative. More obviously tuned for enthusiasts, and it's sharper and more confidence-inspiring than the Hyundai. Think about that a front-wheel-drive hatchback with four doors is the enthusiast's pick over a two-door rear-driver. Preconceptions have a funny way of being turned on their heads.

    Click here to see the video and all the pics.

    [Source: Edmund's Inside Line]
    2014 Mk7 Golf R | DSG | Reflex Silver | Leather | Drive Assist | Bi-Xenon Headlights
    1981 Lincoln Town Car | Auto | 80s Cream | 90s brown interior | 5.0L V8 | Currently no working headlights

  2. #2
    tricache's Avatar
    tricache is offline Naturally Awesome
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  3. #3
    shinslinger66's Avatar
    shinslinger66 is offline Resident Nutter
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    I hav been hearing about this Coupe for a while bit ad completely forgotten about it...shame it do not live up the the high expectations that were set for it...

  4. #4
    Nirvandan's Avatar
    Nirvandan is offline The Black Hawk
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    Comparing the new MPS and a Hyundai?

    Yep seems about right.

  5. #5
    nissanman's Avatar
    nissanman is offline Forum Regular
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    Have an open mind guys

    Interesting read, cheers

  6. #6
    holotropik's Avatar
    holotropik is offline Technofreak
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    Bizarre but interesting. Pretty much what I would have expected from the takes a lot of experience to build character in a car that matches its looks...

  7. #7
    TheJunglist's Avatar
    TheJunglist is offline Reloaded
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    Feb 2009


    i suppose at least hyundai are trying. they had a go with the tiburon and seem to b slowly climbing there way up the ladder.

  8. #8
    Wardski's Avatar
    Wardski is offline DJ NOM NOM in da house
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    What is it with car manufacturers these days.. Both the Lancer (all the way up to Evo X), new Mazda 3 (all the way up to the MPS) and now the Hyundai share the same sort of drivers gauge/speedo styling (the flared tunnels with the little LCD do dad in the middle)....... for farks sake, someone with original design please! Reminds me of Hong Kong.. "Copy watch?"

    I think Mazda was the first to incorporate the "tunnelling" dash gauges... now everyone is copying their idea...
    Last edited by Wardski; 10-10-2009 at 12:33 AM.

  9. #9
    Mr Nasa's Avatar
    Mr Nasa is offline
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    yeh hyundai doing better these day eh!!
    good on em!
    but vs mps..ppffttt

  10. #10
    Blink_me192 is offline Full Member
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    Dec 2008


    i actually like the hyundai.. sad but true.

  11. #11
    pockets's Avatar
    pockets is offline Forum Addict
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    one of the only nice looking Hyundais

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