The Hyundai Genesis sedan has always been an under-recognized value in the midsize-plus segment. But with some fresh styling swagger for 2015, it should get the attention it deserves.
Sold in rear- or all-wheel drive models with V-6 or V-8 engines, the re-engineered Genesis capably competes in the luxury segment, primarily with the Lexus GS, Cadillac CTS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The secondary set is the Audi A6, BWM 5-Series and Lexus ES.
With 123 square feet of cabin space, the Genesis is larger inside than those competitors and about an inch wider. Genesis is more than four inches longer than the E-Class and three inches longer than the 5-Series.
While the styling has licks of flavor from the popular German brands, it is the quality of assembly and materials that are distinctly Genesis and Hyundai.
Pricing starts at $38,950 for the 311-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 and $52,540 for the 420-hp, 5.0-liter V-8; pricing includes the $950 freight charge from Korea. All models use an eight-speed Shiftronic transmission with paddle shifters.
The Genesis AWD 3.8, today's tester, starts at $41,450 and was $52,450 with the three factory option packages. The as-tested price was about $5,000 less than the starting prices of the top German competitors — with no sacrifice of luxury elements or advanced technologies.
Standard features include smart-key locking and push-button ignition, 12-way power front seats, leather-trimmed upholstery, 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with rearview camera and power side mirrors with Genesis-logo puddle lights. The AWD model (available only in V-6) adds heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and heated headlight washers.
And, wow, while you could have had a V-8, I found the responsiveness of the 3.8 V-6 and its suspension tuning superior to the added power.
Being a larger car, however, is a drawback for the Genesis in fuel economy comparos. With a curb weight of 4,295 pounds, the 3.8 AWD has fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg city, 25 highway and 19 mpg combined, on regular unleaded. The 3.8 RWD is rated 18/29/22, the V-8 is 15/23/18. Those ratings are several mpgs lower than the A6 3.0T Quattro, BMW 535i xDrive and Mercedes E350 4Matic.
But the Genesis rewards with qualities of an American-class sedan — big, comfortable and powerful — but with a European style of stability and control. It also is Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
There is some softness to the spring rates, but soft doesn't mean sloppy. Even the AWD car took a sport-sedan set through enthusiastic cornering, with no pull at the steering wheel. (The V-8 model was less confident and planted in the exact driving conditions as the V-6.) Hyundai says Lotus signed off on the calibrations. A turning circle of 37.1 feet gives nimble access at the mall. And the four-wheel disc brakes are large with smooth engagement: 13.6-inch vented discs with four-piston calipers at the front and 12.4-inch solid discs rear.
The interior design is contemporary with flowing arcs and lines. It is a classy environment in which to drive colleagues to lunch or the family on vacation.
Front headroom is 1.5 to 2. 2 inches taller than some competitors and that's with the panoramic sunroof; without, there are 41.1 inches of hat space. The driver's command center is orderly and ergonomic with separate buttons for often-used controls (radio and climate) and a simple controller to access deeper selections. An e-bin charging area just ahead of the shift lever has ports for USB-12-volt/audio.
There's also a Google-based "Genesis Intelligent App" to access some features through a smartphone. It can be used for such things as destination searches, crash notification and emergency assistance and remote start to cool or heat the cabin — and by reading the car's ZIP code the app will remind the owner it's time to start up and precondition the cabin.
The back seat area has appealing touch and heft to all materials. There are 38.2 inches of headroom, 35 inches for legs and supportive seat-bottom length and comfortable seatback angle. Useful details include storage in the door pockets and seatbacks, four coat hooks, grab handles at each door and a large, pull-down padded armrest with cup holders. Among the features in the Signature package ($4,000) are manual sunshades and a power rear sunshade.
Trunk space of 15 cubic feet is competitive and the space is nicely finished with a low lift-over and a wide opening.
The new Genesis is no daredevil, but its pricing and styling are just daring enough to make new believers in the simplicity of this brand.
2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8
—Body style: large, 5-passenger sedan
—Engine: aluminum, 311-horsepower, direct-injection 3.8-liter V-6; 293 foot-pounds torque at 5,000 rpm
—Transmission: 8-speed Shiftronic
—Fuel economy: 16/25 mpg city/highway; 87 octane
—Fuel tank: 20.3 gallons
—Trunk space: 15.3 cubic feet
—Front head/leg/shoulder room: 41.1*/45.7/58.3 inches *39.4 w/sunroof
—Rear head/leg/shoulder room: 38.2/35/57.1 inches
—Length/wheelbase: 196.5/118.5 inches
—Curb weight: 4,295 pounds
—Turning circle: 36.2 feet
—Standard equipment includes: proximity key entry and push-button ignition, touchscreen navigation, rearview camera, leather-trimmed upholstery, 12-way power front seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, power folding side mirrors with Genesis puddle lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires, carpeted floor mats and trunk cargo net, automatic temperature control, 7-speaker audio system with satellite radio
—Safety features include: 9 air bags, stability and traction controls, 4-wheel/4-channel/4-sensor ABS, brake-force distribution, brake assist
—Base price: $41,450, including $950 freight charge; price as tested $52,450
—Options on test vehicle: Signature package, $4,000, include panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, HID headlights with auto-dimming side mirrors, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, parking guidelines, power rear sunshade and manual side shades; Tech package, $3,500, includes ultra leather, 7-inch cluster display, power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, smart cruise control with start-stop ability, brake assist, high-beam assist, electric parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, front and rear parking tones; Ultimate package, $3,500, includes matte finish wood and aluminum trim, head-up display, power trunk closer, navigation with 9.2-inch high-definition display, Lexicon 17-speaker audio system
—Where assembled: Asan, Korea
—Warranty: 5-years/60,000-miles bumper to bumper with unlimited roadside assistance; 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain
Mark Maynard is online at [email protected] Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage. To find out more about Mark Maynard and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.