03-15-09 - Hyundai Genesis

One thing I've been shocked by as I read about cars is just how fast they all are now. In the last 10 years the average horsepower has shot from 170 to 230. A 300 HP car used to be a rare performance beast, but they are now extremely common in the luxury/sport segment.

You can see it very nicely in this graph of Horsepower vs. MPG over time . As much as I appreciate this, it's pretty retarded and obviously way out of step with the times. The auto industry seems really really slow to react. People have wanted more economy for 5 years now, but they have just kept churning up horsepower. Now that gas prices are falling back down, the industry is just about to start putting out more efficient cars.

Anyway, what this means is there are lots of ordinary cheap cars that are pretty damn good. For example, the Mazda 6 which is one of the most reliable cars you can buy, costs around $25k and has a 3.7L V6, 24 valves, 272 hp @ 6250 rpm. Not bad !

Another new cheap asian sporty car coming out is the Hyundai Genesis. I know a lot of people have bad associations with "Hyundai", but if you take the sensible position that "build quality" means it won't fall apart and break down when you drive it, then a Hyundai is actually a better built car than any of the supposedly well engineered German cars.

The Genesis has 306 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque from a 3.8-liter V6. It's RWD and is basically a direct compentitor to the Infinity G37 Coupe. But it costs $30k , vs. $40k for the Infinity (and around $50k for a comparable BMW). And actually the Genesis has much more low-end torque than either the G37 or a BMW 3, both of which need high RPMs to make power. (IMO a flat torque curve is much much better).

I also really like the styling of the Genesis. While the Germans seem to be racing each other towards rice-boy baroque over-decoration with unnecessary bangles and slashes, the Genesis has a sweet smooth simple styling, that's maybe a tad boring, but at this point the only choices in car styling is to pick the one that is least bad.

Check out the direct comparison of Hyundai Genesis vs. Infinity G37 .

Sadly the Genesis is only RWD, and while the G37 comes in AWD, only the automatic is available, and the manual is only RWD. It reminds me of the dumb Lexus models that only offer their better engine with automatics. WTF. I think a manual is crucial. Though a no-stall first gear would be nice for rush hour traffic.

It would be really useful to be able to see a history of eBay final sale prices. You can search for "Nissan GT-R" on eBay, but it's hard to tell from the current prices what the actual sale prices are. I'd like to see a chart of sale prices over time like NexTag does. I guess they intentionally hide that info, but it would be pretty easy to scrape if you had a bunch of spiders and a fat pipe.

Also see consumer reports reliability summary and warranty reports by manufacturer.

BTW just looking at the ranking order of warranty reports is a bit deceptive. There's really a huge step :

Group A : < 10% very good

# 1. Mazda - 8.04%
# 2. Honda - 8.90%

(! paradigm shift here !)
Group B : not bad

# 3. Toyota (*) - 15.78%
# 4. Mitsubishi - 17.04%
# 5. Kia - 17.39%
# 6. Subaru - 18.46%
# 7. Nissan - 18.86%
# 8. Lexus - 20.05%

Group C : not good , around 25%

# 9. Mini - 21.90%
# 10. Citroen - 25.98%
# 11. Daewoo - 26.30%
# 12. Hyundai - 26.36%
# 13. Peugeot - 26.59%
# 14. Ford - 26.76%
# 15. Suzuki - 27.20%
# 16. Porsche - 27.48%
# 17. Fiat - 28.49%
# 18. BMW - 28.64%

Group D : very bad - 30% +

# 19. Vauxhall - 28.77%
# 20. Mercedes-Benz - 29.90%
# 21. Rover - 30.12%
# 22. Volvo - 31.28%
# 23. Volkswagen - 31.44%
# 24. Jaguar - 32.05%
# 25. Skoda - 32.12%
# 26. Chrysler - 34.90%
# 27. Audi - 36.74%
# 28. Seat - 36.87%
# 29. Renault - 36.87%
# 30. Alfa Romeo - 39.13%
# 31. Saab - 41.59%
# 32. Land Rover - 44.21%
# 33. Jeep - 46.36% 

(* on Toyota because apparently Toyotas made in Japan are very good and would be in Group A, but Toyotas made in America are shit and bring down their average).


Brian said...

Ebay - try the search completed auction option. At least they used to support that option.

cbloom said...

Hey waddayano that works, thanks.

Sly said...

About car hp evolution: this curve does not show the weight evolution. Which increased with about the same slope, meaning cars are not that much faster than previous generations.

I used to drive a 80ies saloon car (a ugly Citroen BX for the record - very light, lighter than today's subcompacts) and the 90ies car that replaced it (Citroen Xantia, ): the Xantia was almost twice heavier, but it add only 25% more power, making it incredibly much less fun to drive than the old BX.

And it's the same in all brands: added comfort and security equipment added a lot of weight. Which requires much more power to move them, and much more electronic gadgets to keep them on the road safely/easily.

cbloom said...

I don't think that's true in America. Old American cars were incredibly heavy. Even the classic "muscle" cars of the 70s are extremely slow by today's standards, and their road feel and handling is even worse, they were like boats, really soft and sloppy.

I do hate how heavy cars are now. I guess it's all the safety gear. The problem is there are all these huge trucks and SUVs and shit on the road. If all we had was small cars then it would be okay for them to be lightly armored.

cbloom said...

Here's a perfect example of your point :


Old Scirocco :

about 2000 pounds
about 120 bhp
0-60 in 8.8 secs

New Scirocco :

about 3000 pounds
about 200 bhp
0-60 in 7.2 secs

Yes, it's faster, but it's a lot like using a Beam Tree to accelerate your rendering.

I actually really prefer the old style of cars, with things just direct and manual, light weight, simple. I don't need a bunch of electronics or computers. I also really hate the modern style of high doors and small windows, which I guess is also to keep the SUV bumpers out.

Sly said...

> I don't think that's true in
> America. Old American cars were
> incredibly heavy.

Lotus with 1.8L > Mustang with 3.8L

> The problem is there are all
> these huge trucks and SUVs and
> shit on the road. If all we had
> was small cars then it would be
> okay for them to be lightly
> armored.

Depends... Old fat cars < recent small cars < recent fat cars in safety - here a Volvo 940 vs Renault Modus crash test:

No wonder Lotus's very light sport cars can beat almost anything under 130mph. Too bad they're 1) quite costy and 2) not very comfortable in every-day use.

I'd love to have a secondary light car like that: Lotus 7 replica, or Alpine A110, or Mazda MX5, or even a Smart Roadster (I was told it's very funny to drive it even at legal speed in town, due to the very low height ; and also that the turbo could be quite fragile).

Sly said...

Then side contact of a suv vs a "normal" car gives quite different results:

Aaron said...

I like how the suv passengers in the suv didn't make it either (flipped the drop of a hat as usual). SUV's, just so lame... less safe for everyone. Mazda's reliability numbers are interesting. Consumer Reports doesn't rate them nearly as highly (lots of black-ish dots). Their engines are largely sourced by Ford iirc, though maybe they demand better quality control. The webternetz have some great old boat car commercials. Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSHo3j72fIo

Aaron said...

Regarding the Genesis, 6.3 seconds to 60 is much, much too slow for a car in that class. Same problem as the Tiburon, it's just too slow. It doesn't take you out of reach of a automatic V6 Camry (6.6) or Accord (7.0). The general lines are pretty clean. I'll never be able to stomach the hyundai badge though. They need a cooler badge for their high end stuff. Do a search for "0-60 carname" on youtube to see these awesome shots of speedometers going up to 60. Gives a pretty good feel for how fast the car sounds and shifts going to 60.

Sly said...

Yeah I heard the same about the Coupe/Coupe FX/Tiburon/Tiburonce (whatever the name is where you're living - actually the same name was sometimes applied to different generation of the coupe in different areas...): good chassis, weak engine, which could be "upgraded" quite easily. 224cv for the 2.0L here:

If you like turbocharged cars, this video is one of my favorites (though the card is quite old and not beautiful by today's standards):

Aaron said...

That's outstanding. Just the sound of that thing idling screams 'french enginneering'. I bet they get like one high speed run, then have to rebuild it from scratch. Still, I'd kill to drive that.

Sly said...

> That's outstanding. Just the sound
> of that thing idling screams
> 'french enginneering'
Not completely accurate ;)
French car, French+French+Swedish engine (the PVR, Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6), and German tuning here.
This car is quite common in Germany actually, but most of them got tuned quite hardcore-ly (sometimes in very ugly way, to fake some Porsche or Ferrari ; like someone could mistaken an A310 and a more luxury sport car...)

old rants