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.
Hyundai recently updated the Genesis with a new 429-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 along with several minor styling tweaks. Highlights include a more aggressive grille and front fascia along with new LED-accented headlamps. Overall, the sedan continues to have an understated but 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 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 "Tau" 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 efficient eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 18/28 mpg city/highway with the 3.8-liter and 16/25 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 it's 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 17-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, "ultra-premium" leather upholstery, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a leather-wrapped dash, woodgrain steering-wheel trim and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Of note, Hyundai updated the Genesis' navigation system (optional on the 3.8, standard on the R-Spec) for the latest model year, 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.