2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe vs 2016 Nissan 370Z

Do you want livability or performance?

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Sometimes, decisions in life can be tough.

Picture yourself with $30,000 just sitting in your bank account waiting to be spent on a shiny new performance vehicle. What do you do? Go for a lightweight, driver-focused machine like the Mazda MX-5 or Scion FR-S? Or maybe compact rockets like the Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX are more your style?

But what if it’s a more traditional V6 powered, rear-wheel drive sports you’re after? Ford, Dodge and Chevy all offer V6 editions of the brand’s muscle cars, but these are tailored more towards the pedestrian than performance. That leaves Hyundai and Nissan.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Nissan 370Z Review

For just a hair over 30 grand after destination charges, a base Nissan 370Z or Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec can be acquired. Both cars come with big V6 engines, rear-wheel drive and a proper six-speed manual transmission.

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Liftback vs 2+2

Hyundai Genesis vs Nissan 370Z-1There are some key differences though. The Genesis is a much larger car — it’s almost a foot and a half longer. This allows it to have a real backseat, unlike the 370Z. The Genesis also has a 10 cubic foot trunk, while the Nissan features a liftback design that is significantly smaller, only capable of hauling 6.9 cubic feet of cargo.

And for $30,000, don’t expect much equipment in either car. The Genesis Coupe arrived to the test sporting features not found in the 370Z like satellite radio, a telescopic steering wheel and leather seating surfaces. The Nissan counters with push button start, smart key entry and HID headlights. Although it’s a matter of personal taste, for my money, I’d gladly take the Hyundai’s old school twist key if it means I get a telescopic steering wheel.

Genesis Has the Right Parts

2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec-1The R-Spec version of the Gen Coupe comes equipped with a lot of go-fast goodies. A Torsen limited slip rear differential, sportier suspension, larger brakes and 19-inch wheels are all included. Items similar to these can be had on the 370Z, but not at the $30,000 price point. To get them requires tossing another $3,500 into the air at the dealership to grab a 370Z Sport model.

Under the hood, Hyundai continues to bring the bacon. With a slightly larger 3.8-liter V6 engine, the Genesis makes 348 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s 16 more horsepower and 25 more pound feet of torque than Nissan kicks out of its 3.7-liter V6. The Hyundai pulls with good authority through all the gears, backed by a nice V6 soundtrack, thanks to an intake resonator.

370Z Has the Right Moves

2016 Nissan 370Z exterior-1Despite having less power, the 370Z is the faster of the two cars in a straight line. That’s mainly because at 3,274 lbs, it is 249 pounds lighter than the Hyundai. Otherwise, the two V6 engines feel similar in their performance and power. The only real difference is the higher redline in the 370Z lets it scream a little more. Problem is, it can’t really be heard. In base form, the 370 is just too damn quiet.

The 370Z’s clutch is much heavier than the one in the Genesis and has a more abrupt uptake point. The shifter also requires more effort than the Hyundai’s, but the throws are shorter and each gear locks in more precisely. Plus, the 370Z is much better suited for smooth heel-toe shifting.

Who’s the Better Dance Partner?

Compare Specs

2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
vs
2016 Nissan 370Z
Vehicle 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Advantage 2016 Nissan 370Z
Engine 3.8 L six-cylinder - 3.7 L six-cylinder
Horsepower 348 HP Genesis 332 HP
Torque 295 lb-ft. Genesis 270 lb-ft.
Weight 3,523 lbs. 370Z 3,274 lbs.
Cargo Space 10 cubic feet Genesis 6.9 cubic feet
Fuel Economy (US) 16 MPG city, 24 MPG hwy 370Z 18 MPG city, 26 MPG hwy
Fuel Economy (CDN) 14.4 L/100 km city, 9.5 L/100 km hwy 370Z 13.3 L/100 km city, 9.3 L/100 km hwy
Observed Fuel Economy 21.8MPG 370Z 22.4 MPG
Starting Price(US) $30,395 - $30,815
Starting Price(CDN) $31,194 - $31,738

With less weight and a better front-to-rear distribution, the 370Z is the more tossable and fun to drive car of the two. Neither coupe offers incredible levels of grip, but both can handle a corner without issue and are wholly predictable. The 370Z is just a little more precise and quicker to respond.

The steering effort in the 370Z is lighter than the Hyundai’s, but as speeds build, it firms up and plenty of feedback from the road is transmitted to the driver’s hands. Steering feel, as always, is a bit numb and disconnected in the Gen Coupe.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Ultimate Review

But the lack of performance goodies does catch up with the 370Z. It can’t put the power down coming out of a corner the same way the Genesis can, since it’s missing the LSD. And the standard brakes on the Nissan don’t inspire much confidence during hard stops. The Gen Coupe is also more tail happy than the 370Z and allows for controlled sideways action when called for.

Hyundai Genesis vs Nissan 370Z-4

This, in large part, can occur since Hyundai has included a multi-stage stability control system on the Genesis Coupe that allows for the system to be fully disabled. Not only is this good news for those in love with opposite-lock, but it’s also welcome since the stability control system is a major party pooper. When it kicks in, it’s very aggressive and abruptly kills all engine power as it applies heavy braking, nearly killing all forward momentum. The 370Z’s stability control can’t be fully turned off in the base coupe, but at least it’s not as intrusive as the system in the Genesis.

Click here to compare these two cars side by side

Comfort and Style

Having been around since 2009 without any significant changes, the 370Z is becoming an old man in the world of sports cars and feels dated inside. The driver position isn’t as good as the Genesis’s mainly due to the lack of a telescopic steering wheel. I feel like I am straight-arm driving the Nissan at most times.

steering wheel

The 370Z’s front seats feel flimsy and the overall interior design isn’t as nice as the Gen Coupe’s. But since this is the base 370Z, it rides on smaller 18-inch wheels with higher sidewall tires. This helps to offer a softer ride that is much smoother than the bumpy Genesis.

But in terms of practicality, the Genesis Coupe wins hands down. In a pinch, it can fit four full-sized people. It’s not the most comfortable situation to be in, but a lot of other 2+2 coupes can’t fit adults in the back seats whatsoever.

The Verdict: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe vs 2015 Nissan 370Z

Genesis vs 370Z

Two similar cars yet, both take two very different approaches to performance. The Genesis Coupe is a better-rounded vehicle that offers more space and higher levels of practicality. If it’s going to be the only car in the driveway, it’s the better choice.

But if it’s a true sports car you’re after, get the 370Z. Like an ornery, out of date detective, the Nissan may have been around for a while, but it still gets the job done. Just don’t buy the $30,000 base model. It’s not worth it. Save up the extra scratch and get the 370Z Sport. The extra performance and enjoyment will remain long after the initial cost increase is long forgotten.

2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2016 Nissan 370Z

  • Saigo Takamori

    Why does the plastic in Korean cars look so subdue and cheap? It looks like they skimped out on even plastic. The shift boot’s leather is also very strange texture/colour compared to the Nissan. The design of the centre console is nice with ample space and controls as an arms length whereas the Z is very spartan; that can be a pro or con depending on who you ask. Overall the driving dynamics of the Z and classic sports car silhouette of the Z wins out for me.

  • Billy Cypher

    Korean cars have gotten much better than they were in the 90’s but in general they still seem like a lot of proverbial sizzle without the steak. They typically have a lot unnecessary features that people seem to think they can’t live without today and are frequently over-styled. But if you scratch beneath the surface there’s still not a lot of substance/quality.

  • BB

    Says the Japanese guy on a Japanese car against a Korean car. I see where your loyalties lie.

  • JERRY

    Being a Nissan/Infinti owner and lover… I have to say I prefer the interior of the genesis, but outside exterior looks goes to the Z. The Hyundai simply looks very economy looking rather than brawny sports car… Its a girls sports car. Might as well buy it in purple.

  • Shymir1

    The steering feel isn’t numb and connected idiot. Did you drive the car? The steering is heavy, sharp add hell and accurate. Smh

  • Shymir1

    The steering is VERY SHARP and accurate not numb and disconnected

  • Sue Hartz

    Why didn’t they compare the 2015 Nissan to the 2015 Genesis instead of comparing the 2016 Nissan? What twist key? My Coupe has push button start. I would like them to compare my speedy 8 speed automatic with paddle shifter in the 1/4 mile. Bye Bye Nissan.

  • expert

    Gen coupe is badly in need of a sheet metal overhaul IMO, not to mention a diet.

  • Phil

    well said Billy!
    Koreans do one thing well,.. throw powder in the eyes of lowest monthly payments car shoppers … Car journalists offer way to much empathy for their “better than before” products … for what it means lmao .. Korean cars look good on paper, but the truth is, beneath quirky sheet metal and whatever options available, they are cheap, unrefined and overal, underwhelming …

  • Billy Cypher

    Though, I should add that I think Kia makes some pretty good looking cars at the moment.

  • Cody Beisel

    Says the guy standing up for the genesis which has fake hood scoops… = tacky as hell ewwwww

  • Mark S

    Use to like the Z, but wish they either lighten the Z or make the Nismo IDX. The Gen is a nice GT but not a canyon carver.

  • 20Snowy_the_Don12

    This article is highly inaccurate and is comparing completely different levels of vehicle. First, the 2015 Genesis coupe begins at ~$26,750 for a 6s manual genesis 3.8L 2015. Next you compared, a R-Spec Genesis coupe ( which is not an base model ) to a Base Model 370Z. If you are going to compare a racing spec to a racing spec, do an accurate comparison of a R-Spec Genesis vs a Nismo 370z. To compare a top of the line, cheaply constructed Korean luxury car to a base model, renowned Japanese sports car is completely asinine. Compare a 2014 Genesis coupe with a 2013 G37 coupe ( or even an x coupe), for less than the Genesis coupe. There is not much of a comparison, as the old g37x ( Now Q60 ) is hands down the superior. This article sounds like some fan boy’s opinion, and tried to downplay the base model 370z, which performance wise will destroy a genesis coupe. Genesis just has luxury, as it’s the poor man’s BMW.

  • Kaahk

    I agree that they throw in lots of accessories and give a long term warranty.. hmm I guess I should have an issue with that ??. As far as the value , or cheapness as suggested I don’t agree and after having a 2010 version of the genesis and never having any issues till I just sold it recently all I can say is I had a blast spinning those tires anywhere I could and the auto tranny on that year model was a ‘ZF’ 6speed and with the paddle shift it was rock solid tranny. Then again ZF trannies are known to be one of the best on the market!

  • Mark S

    Thing is the Koreans are developing at a high rate of speed and have sales to show for it. The Genesis sedan is still not there yet, but the help from Lotus to tune the car has helped them on the drive front a little bit. I like the new Sonata now they have toned down the styling and seem to going a little Germanic and reserved. Cannot fault them on value very easily, but in my area of mid size sedans, the Mazda 6 is still the drivers car I think.

  • BDT

    I think the idea was to show what you get for thirty thousand, not compare fully optioned cars. The Genesis brings more to the table at that price point. A Nismo 370Z STARTS at $42,000, and can stretch to nearly $48k (!). Also, how do you know the Genesis is cheaply constructed? Have you toured the plant? A comparison of top shelf versions of each car would also be interesting, but outside the scope of this article. It’s just to see what you get if you have thirty grand, and these are the two cars you are considering.

  • BDT

    Very true. It does look a bit dowdy for a sport coupe.

  • Franky5

    With your speedy 8 speed auto ? I think you mean your – I don’t really know how to drive a car – flappy paddel auto tranny that would still get smoked by the Nissan. Just look at the power to weight ratio. The only time auto transmissions are faster is with launch control and in a straight line, which again is for people that don’t know how to drive a real performance car w/ manual transmission.

  • Michael Ingalls

    You’re right in that it should be a more apples to apples comparison (R-Spec vs base 370Z?). But there really isn’t that much difference in the R-Spec versus the base Gen Coupe. I own the base. Both have the same engine, drive train, style, handling and interior (except for leather or upgraded navigation). The R-Spec has some slight advantages in that they’ve increased wheel size from 18 to 19 inches and added Brembo brakes. But those aren’t the $8,000 aftermarket vented Brembos. I expect they’re tuned down a bit for Hyundai. One thing you’re probably not aware of, though, is the quality of Hyundai since it re-branded itself in the late 2000’s. Hyundai vehicles are every bit on par, if not better, than anything Nissan is producing. In fact, in terms of reliability and customer satisfaction, Hyundai is doing as well, if not surpassing, every non-luxury brand, including Honda and Toyota (sure, there was a recall on Sonata’s – fair enough – but we’re talking Genesis brand primarily). There’s a reason the Genesis sedan was Car of the Year in 2009. I bought the sedan in 2012. Base model was same V-6 that’s in the Coupe, and that car was every bit on par with Mercedes E-class, BMW 5, and Lexus 400 level vehicles. I put 75,000 miles on that car without a single problem, and the only money I put into it besides gas and routine servicing was tires… at 60,000! The Coupe isn’t as ‘luxurious’ (I don’t have leather or wood grain in mine), but that’s because it’s scaled down to be a true DRIVER’S car. This is a sports car, through and through. 3.8L V-6, 348hp, with rear wheel drive. The front stabilizer bar keeps the nose clamped to the road and the rear end, even without the additional track tuning like the R-Spec, the rear end doesn’t roll. In fact, the minor sway that comes from not having additional rear stability HELPS give you drive out of the turns. As a former motorcycle road racer, ‘turn in’ is a big part of cornering. The Genesis Coupe feels like it just backs the rear into the turn and points you right to the apex. The front end response is immediate. Even with my racing background, I had to work my way up to what this car is capable. You can literally THROW this car into a turn and nail the accelerator. And like the top end roadracing sport bikes, the traction control on this car is ‘built’ for racing. It will keep you from completely sliding out of a turn. You just have to be brave enough to trust the car. After a few days of driving it, you feel as if you’re one the vehicle. I swear it’s like a four-wheel motorcycle in terms of feel and overall handling. Oh, and if you want to drift?… this is a good car for it. Turn off traction control with the push of one button and then, well, you’re on your own! For $25K for a base 2015 Gen Coupe – that’s simply ridiculous for the overall quality and performance of the vehicle. But if you want a true apples to apples comparison, I’d be interested in seeing the base vs base comparison of the Gen and Z. I thing the Gen base still wins out. I think the true test is comparing the Ultimate Gen Coupe with the top level 370Z. At that point I believe the Z wins out on performance, but the Gen Coupe Ultimate gives you much more luxury. It’s all on personal preference, really. Each is a fantastic car for the true enthusiast.

  • KGB

    So a car isn’t a performance car unless it’s a manual? You must be a 16yr old kid. I ran up against 370z with my gt coupe with “flappy paddles” and do you really wanna know who got “smoked”? Bye bye Datsun.

  • Eric Haydock

    I think the idea was to compare price to price and they did just that.

  • Michael Greer

    I’m a former 5-time BMW owner who came back Stateside and saw no point in owning them anymore. Looked for something new and ran into a 2011 R-Spec. That car was a hoot to drive! Bought my second, a 2015 R-Spec, and with the upgraded engine with almost 50 more horsepower it’s a complete blast to drive. I echo your comments completely…among the Bimmers I drove was an E46 M Car and this R-Spec is just about on a par from a performance and handling perspective, far as I’m concerned. These Coupes are a lot of car for the money.

  • Dana C.

    Look I’ve owned both cars. As a matter of fact I’ve been in love with “Z” cars since the Datsun 240Z and I’ve owned several including the twin turbo last gen 300z so I know what I’m talking about. The comparison point was price, how much bang you get for your buck, and the Genesis is the clear winner in that catagory. Then consider the warranty, 3/36 5/60 for the 370 and 5/60 10/100 for the Genesis. Why doesn’t Nissan stand behind their car as well? Most people will be making payments after the warranty has expired. On a performance car that I’m going to be driving hard on a regular basis that’s a big deal! I took my time and drove every comparable sports car on the market and performance, style, value, practicality and especially warranty made the Genesis my choice. I’ve raced 370z sports and the cars are evenly matched in that area. It’s everything else that sold me.

  • Dana C.

    Been there, done that. Both cars neck to neck. Literally identical performance

  • Dana C.

    Not sure about older models but I own a 2016 Genesis coupe and my interior, and fit and finish are excellent. I think they upgraded their materials starting in 2015

  • mae youngs hand child

    Ok you 370z fanboys, the genesis is clearly the winner. I mean the z can be better if you are willing drop tons more money into it. But a stock comparison shows the genesis is the better of the two. Clearly.

  • mae youngs hand child

    Lmao triggered much?