The Genesis sedan is Hyundai's ambitious attempt to compete against luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. For those who can do without a premium badge, the Genesis offers an excellent value thanks to a refined rear-wheel-drive platform, a cosseting cabin and a choice of potent V6 and V8 powerplants.
The Genesis mostly stands pat for this model year, which will be the last for the current sedan before itÃ¢tms replaced by a redesigned model. The only changes of note are new standard 18-inch alloy wheels for the Genesis 3.8, a heated steering wheel for the Genesis R-Spec and a slight fuel economy decrease for all models.
Outside, the Genesis wears conservative lines highlighted by a prominent grille and LED-accented headlights. Rather than grabbing attention, the exterior quietly radiates an understated but decided upscale appearance.
Upscale is also an appropriate adjective for the interior, which features a high-rent leather-wrapped dash along with an airy and spacious feel. Rear-seat space splits the difference between the midsize and large sedans of rival automakers.
The Genesis can be optioned with Blue Link telematics service, which provides voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download and automatic collision notification in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information.
The standard Genesis sedan is powered by a direct-injected 3.8-liter V6 that produces 333 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. Those seeking more motor can spring for the Genesis R-Spec, which uses a 5.0-liter Ã¢TauÃ¢ V8 that serves up 429 ponies and 376 lb-ft of torque.
The previously available 4.6-liter V8 has been dropped from the options list.
Both mills are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 18/27 mpg city/highway with the 3.8-liter and 15/23 mpg with the V8. Unlike some competitors, the Genesis does not offer all-wheel-drive.
Hyundai recently gave the Genesis a few chassis updates, including a larger rear sway bar and upsized brakes. The changes help the big four-door to be a more confident and controlled performer, although itÃ¢tms still tuned to prioritize a cushy ride over sports-sedan handling.
The Genesis 3.8 comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with an iPod interface, a proximity key with push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The R-Spec brings unique 19-inch wheels with a premium machined finish, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 summer performance tires, dark chrome headlamp inserts and performance-minded transmission, suspension and steering calibration settings. Also included is a 528-watt, 17-speaker Lexicon sound system with HD radio, a navigation system with an eight-inch display and NavTraffic, Ã¢ultra-premiumÃ¢ leather upholstery, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a leather-wrapped dash, woodgrain steering-wheel trim and 19-inch alloy wheels. A heated steering wheel is newly standard.
Of note, Hyundai recently upgraded the Genesis' navigation system (optional on the 3.8, standard on the R-Spec), installing a new eight-inch display screen along with an updated rotating control knob that the automaker says is more intuitive than before.
All Genesis models come standard with an impressive array of airbags - dual front, front side, rear side and full-length side curtain airbags, to be precise. Also included are traction and stability control systems, active front head restraints and brake assist.
The Genesis faces competition at the lower end of the price spectrum from near-premium sedans like the Chrysler 300 and Buick LaCrosse, while it also counts tier one luxury machines like the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class as rivals.