The first reaction my wife had was "The interior is cramped". I had to agree. Compared to our Mustang the interior DOES feel cramped. Still, I was not uncomfortable and wasn't rubbing against any interior surfaces. It may be due to the design of the dash and console causing it to LOOK more cramped than it really was. In all it was very acceptable, well-appointed and used good quality materials assembled with apparent great care. Controls and gauges were located for easy view and access.
I chose the base 4-cylinder model with the 6-speed manual because I always buy cars with the smallest engine. ALL modern cars are amply fast with the base engines, and car magazine testers ALWAYS test the most powerful models, leaving no one with any information on the models that will ultimately sell far more. I found the turbo-charged 4 VERY acceptable in terms of performance. It was quiet, smooth, responded instantly and revved easily and effortlessly. It was a joy to drive. I found it not quite as powerful as my V-6 Mustang, but really hadn't expected it to be. It certainly was no slouch in the area of performance.
The 6 speed manual is a joy to drive. Shifts were precise and easy in spite of the fact that I had never driven one of these cars before. Downshifts for passing were easy and quick. The clutch had the best feel of any manual shift cars I've driven in a long while. The last manual shift car I had driven (a GM car) had a very touchy clutch, and until I got used to it (after 5 or 6 take-offs) I found myself either stalling the engine or smoking the tires. That was not an issue with the Hyundai. The very first take-off was smooth and easy. This was in spite of not owning a stick-shift car in 4 years. I regard that as excellent. Kudos to Hyundai.
I threw the Genesis into some hard, fast corners. It hung in there like a Mustang. It felt solid and precise in fast corners, with no noticeable understeer and no tendency break loose unexpectedly. It was actually better in this respect than my Mustang, which does have a tendency to wag its tail without warning.
The ride was good. My wife felt that it was about the same as my Mustang, but I felt it was a bit softer (in other words, my fillings actually stayed in). I could live with the ride, but what can I say? I live with a Mustang now. When I started driving Mustangs my dentist jumped for joy. He gets good money for replacing my jarred-out fillings.
Now for the part I HATE. I know it is trendy for some newer sporty cars to have a stupid button on the dash that you push to start the car instead of just turning a key. It was probably dreamed up by someone who hates car buyers and wanted to find ways to annoy them. When my wife took my place behind the wheel, she stalled the engine. This does NOT mean she is a poor driver. She is a very GOOD driver. But she had not driven a stick in over a DECADE. Well, it turned out that the salesman had not bothered to give us the KEY! Since you HAVE to have the key to start the car, we had to sit there for half an hour waiting for them to bring us the key so we could start the car. This has got to be the stupidest gimmick ever dreamed up. I remember my dad had a 1941 Ford that you pushed a button to start. Why take cars back to the 40's with such silliness? You have to have keys ANYWAY, so why not just START it with a key? DUMB!!
All-in-all, I'm pleased with the Genesis. It is a good, solid car with one of the best warranties in the auto business. Toyota, Honda and Nissan have nothing that comes even REMOTELY close to it in sportiness. It felt a lot like what I'd expect a Korean Mustang to feel like. I give Hyundai credit for going after the sporty car customers. Heaven knows, no other Asian manufacturer does.
The price was, I thought, a tad high. The base coupe I drove listed for over $25,000. A base 2010 Mustang can be had for under $17,000 and will hold its value better. Would I buy a Genesis? Yes, if it were made by an American company or in a few years as a used car. For now I'll stick with my Mustang.