EXPERT REVIEW

Mother Proof's view

Photo of Kristin Varela
Former Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars. Email Kristin Varela


Before my two-week test drive of the 2010 Hyundai Genesis coupe, I had fantasies of becoming the top U.S. female drifter, Verena Mei, while sitting behind the Genesis coupe’s steering wheel. It’s a spicy, sporty, rear-wheel-drive car, but it seems to be made more for Verena than me, a suburban mom of two girls.

I do, however, know of at least one mom who thinks the Genesis coupe is a family car. A new friend on Twitter – a mom of two kids, ages 11 and 7 – just purchased a Genesis coupe a few weeks ago and loves it. Maybe my fantasy isn’t too far off after all.

My kids climbed into the Genesis coupe and exclaimed, “Wow! This is the coolest racecar we’ve ever been in!” (As if they’ve ever been in a racecar.) During my first day in the Genesis coupe I drove mildly, enjoying the throaty rumble of the sporty engine, but lamenting slightly about the harsh track-tuned suspension. It seemed like overkill to drive my girls up the street to summer camp in it. As I got more comfortable in the car, my joy of driving it only increased. I let my foot down just a little harder on the accelerator and … whoa … this baby really flies.

Although the Genesis coupe certainly isn’t built as a typical mom-mobile, there are plenty of atypical moms in the world looking for their automotive match. Read on, dear friends, and see if the Genesis coupe from Hyundai might fit the bill.

Exterior

The sleek-lined Silverstone Metallic Genesis coupe with a rear spoiler turned plenty of heads – something I enjoyed. The Genesis coupe is sporty and sexy, and it resembles other uber-expensive flashy sports cars out there. It seems to resemble anything but a Hyundai.

I was most thrilled to impress the teenage girl serving me and my daughters at the Dairy Queen drive-through. When I pulled up to the drive-though window, the girl looked admirably at me in my super-cool Genesis coupe with two kids in the back and exclaimed, “I love your car.”

I could just see she was impressed that a mom – of all things – could rock such a cool car. I was tempted to squeal the tires and drift away from the DQ just to solidify my cool factor. However, reality hit me that I was trying to impress a teenager operating a DQ drive-through window, and I resisted.

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair

Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove On

Interior

I have so much stuff to juggle when trying to get into any car: a purse, my kids’ lunchboxes, swim bags, library books, dry cleaning, a bottle of water and more. This is why I’m such a fan of the proximity key with push-button start in the Genesis coupe. I can throw the proximity key in my purse – somewhere amid the extra lollipops and tampons (don’t get those confused) – and never actually have it in my hand to start the car. If you’re not the type to carry a purse, a smart-key holder is integrated into the center dash, so your cupholder can stay free for drinks. Ingenious. Also ingenious is the Genesis coupe’s integrated Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB port and MP3 jack.

Climbing into the Genesis coupe was tricky for my girls, however. I have a tendency to let them in and out of the driver’s side, since I have to open that door anyhow to get in and out. The “walk-in seat,” however, is on the passenger’s side, so the simple one-lift lever that slides the seat forward never seemed to help us. I’m not sure why this feature isn’t incorporated into both sides.

The cargo space in the Genesis coupe was sufficient for a load of groceries and a bunch of pillows and sleeping bags for sleepover day at my girls’ summer camp. Be warned, however, that bulky items like bicycles or wagons won’t fit in the trunk. And if you were planning on drifting in the Genesis coupe, I’d recommend taking your groceries out first, since they’ll slide all around and that can of chickpeas you need for dinner will inevitably be out of reach.

The Infinity audio system with its external amplifier and 8-inch deck-mounted subwoofer added to my drift-driving fantasy. I felt like taking the Genesis coupe to an empty school parking lot late on a Friday night, cranking up the tunes, turning off the electronic stability control, squealing the tires and making doughnuts on the pavement. OK, I actually did that one night when I was kid-free, but only for a few minutes so I wouldn’t disturb the sleepy suburban peace.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair

Safety

For a car with this much power, safety is also at the top of the priority list. Hyundai is a leading innovator in safety, offering all its vehicles’ safety features as standard equipment rather than requiring you to pay extra for them.

The Genesis coupe has six standard airbags, including front-, side-impact and side curtain airbags for the front row. It’s important to note that it doesn’t have side curtain airbags for the backseat. The Genesis coupe also has electronic stability control – which you can turn off when you’re safely playing around with drifting – traction control and antilock brakes.

I’d strongly discourage anyone from installing a rear-facing infant-safety seat or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness in this car. You’ll have a heck of a time trying to duck under the roofline and behind the front seats to do so. If that’s not enough to deter you, the Latch connectors are dysfunctional. They’re buried so deep in the seat back that they’re rendered useless.

My girls’ booster seats, on the other hand, fit surprisingly well in the rear seats. There was enough headroom to fit their high-back boosters, and the bolstered seats cradled the boosters perfectly. The seat belts were easy for my daughters to buckle independently.

FAMILY LIFESTAGE

In Diapers: The Latch connectors are hard to get to, which makes it difficult to install a child-safety seat.

In School: Kids in booster seats have enough legroom and headroom to sit comfortably in the backseat.

Teens: Teens would fit comfortably in the front passenger seat, but not in the rear seat. Let’s not even think about letting a teen driver at this car.

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