A Top Gear PH reader asks: Which of these performance cars is the best?

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by Botchi Santos | May 8, 2013

Hello! Which car is the best in performance, look and everyday driving: the new 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 AT, the 2011 Subaru WRX STI A-Line or the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo?

Thanks,
John Angelo Jareno

 

Hi, John. Thanks for your e-mail, it\'s a refreshing change to have someone asking about relatively affordable performance cars or dream cars instead of the usual superminis, pickups and SUVs that are very popular nowadays in our local market.

First things first: Hyundai, unfortunately, does not plan to officially sell the Veloster, let alone the Turbo model, in our market as Hyundai Asia Resources tells us that the Veloster\'s engine--the Gamma in-line-four--is a direct-injection engine that requires not just high-octane fuel, but a very clean fuel so as not to foul up or clog up its fuel injectors. Sad, indeed.

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6, on the other hand, is a fantastic car that I feel is highly underrated, overshadowed by the pomp and showbiz image of the Toyota 86 and its twin, the Subaru BRZ. The Genesis Coupe, however, is really not an out-and-out sports car. Rather, it is a sporting Grand Tourer (GT) that is meant to be used to travel long distances in style, comfort and speed. It\'s really, really fast--the 3.8 V6 delivers far more it seems than the 299hp and 361Nm of torque, thanks to the new 8-speed automatic transmission for 2012-2013.

This coupe feels okay on tight and narrow winding roads, but comes alive on fast and flowing A-roads and highways. Thanks to its size and particularly its very long 111-inch wheelbase and thus high-speed stability (all the way up to about 260kph, according to some of my colleagues), it is akin to many European cars. If I were to levy a fault, it\'s that the interior still feels low-rent, a notch or two below those of Japanese manufacturers. Thankfully, build quality has improved, so you don\'t hear any weird jiggles and rattles when going over bad surfaces. Poor interior plastics notwithstanding, I\'d buy one if I could afford it.

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Now, onto the Subaru Impreza WRX STI A-Line. It\'s a great car: very comfortable for cruising and easy to live with every day. But somehow, having a rally replica mated to a torque converter-equipped automatic seems somewhat anathema: The STI and its counterpart, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, are meant to have lightning-fast steering, brakes, throttle and suspension responsiveness. The automatic transmission on the A-Line tends to slow down the STI\'s responsiveness, hampering your own rhythm and tempo when driving the STI flat-out, which is when these cars shine.

I\'ve driven the A-Line back-to-back with the manual transmission-equipped sedan, and the difference was night and day. I also drove two HKS-modified Subarus, an A-Line and a manual STI sedan: Both cars had the same modifications (intake, exhaust, boost-up and a custom ECU tuned with a piggyback HKS F-Con iS computer), and were dyno\'d with the same output (about 340 wheel horsepower and about 475Nm of torque). The manual felt much faster by the seat of my pants, responded far better and basically would have creamed the automatic in a drag race all the way to about 250kph at least, especially on a roll.

If you want something fast and fun, but equipped with an automatic transmission, check out Subaru\'s highly entertaining but very underrated Legacy sedan or station wagon. Both body types are fun to drive, offer more creature comforts and also offer the ease of use that you might find more comparable with the Genesis Coupe and the Veloster because the A-Line will have the firmest, harshest suspension and the most hyper-active steering. Also, the A-Line (about P2,600,000) is more expensive than both the Genesis Coupe (about P2,000,000) and the Veloster (about P1,600,000). Meanwhile, the Legacy costs P2,048,000 for the sedan and P2,148,000 for the station wagon.

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I\'m thinking practicality with a dose of fun is what you\'re looking for, so I\'d recommend the Subaru Legacy to you. But to choose strictly from the cars you listed, maybe the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6 AT, with its added dose of style, is more up your alley.

I hope this helps! Good luck and let us know what you decide to get!

 

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

Do you want Botchi to help you pick the right car? Send your inquiry to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

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