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If you’re shopping for a sports coupe in the low $20,000 price range that offers the best combination of fuel efficiency and style for the street, along with grin-inducing performance capabilities around a race track, chances are you’re well aware of Honda’s front-wheel drive Civic Si and its high rpm screamer of an engine. At just $21,905 it’s a heck of a value, but you also need to consider Hyundai’s $22,000 Genesis Coupe 2.0T ($23,250 with 5-speed automatic transmission), a rear-wheel drive machine with sexy styling and a taut well-balanced chassis.

While these two might not seem like competitors, on paper the Honda and Hyundai are surprisingly closely matched, with 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile times favoring the Honda by 0.2-seconds in both acceleration tests but favoring the Hyundai by 0.1g of lateral acceleration around a 200-foot skid pad. With a power-to-weight ratio advantage to the Civic Si at 14.72 lbs/hp compared to the Genesis Coupe 2.0T at 15.85 lbs/hp, physics should come into play and allow the Honda to accelerate faster and reach higher straightaway speeds around our test track. But with wider tires and better weight distribution (54/46 front-to-rear, compared to 61/39 for the Civic) thanks to its rear-wheel drive design, the Hyundai should be able to close the gap with higher cornering speeds.

Of course how things look on paper is rarely how they play out in the real world, so to put all this theorizing to the test we headed to our local 1.4-mile 9-turn test track on a warm and sunny afternoon. Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

Read the full comparision at Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T vs Honda Civic Si Coupe: Track Comparison : Car Reviews
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