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.
More: Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T vs Honda Civic Si Coupe: Track Comparison on AutoGuide.com