The Genesis is a midsize luxury sedan designed to entice would-be Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz buyers into Hyundai showrooms. It isn't as polished or prestigious as those rivals, but the Genesis does reward those willing to go outside the luxury mainstream with a cosseting cabin, numerous high-end features and excellent value.
The Genesis has been completely redesigned for the latest model year, carrying over only powertrains from its predecessor. Of note for those in northern climates, all-wheel-drive is now offered as an option.
For the second-generation Genesis sedan, Hyundai has elected to stick to the formula that established the original model as a genuine alternative to traditional luxury choices: start with a clean, quietly competent rear-wheel-drive package, fill it with comfort and technology features, and sell it for less than the tier-one competition. However, the level of overall refinement has gone up a notch with the redesign, and styling has become more sophisticated as well.
Outside, the Genesis has an air of discreet elegant due to a handsome six-slat floating grille, trapezoidal headlights and a streamlined six-window greenhouse. The story is similar inside, where a simple but attractive dashboard combines intuitive controls with premium materials like available matte wood trim. Passenger space is plentiful, with rear-seat passengers getting full-size sedan-like stretch-out room, and extras like heated and ventilated seats, a high-definition navigation system and a Lexicon 7 surround sound system create a truly upscale feel.
Technology highlights include Hyundai's latest Blue Link telematics service, which can be spec'd to provide 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.
In an industry first, the Genesis offers a system that measures human-produced C02 and increases fresh air flow when C02 levels are high enough to induce drowsiness. Also available is a hands-free trunk release system that, unlike normal kick-activated setups, opens when the key is detected in a pocket or purse within a few feet of the rear bumper for longer than three seconds.
Finally, the Genesis comes standard with Apple's Siri Eyes Free system, which provides hands-free acess to the Siri function of any iPhone equipped with iOS 6. Once linked, drivers can use voice commands to perform actions like make phone calls, play songs from iTunes, listen and compose text messages and add appointments to their calendars.
Power and Fuel Economy
The Genesis can be fitted with the buyer's choice of 3.8-liter V6 or 5.0-liter V8.
The V6 produces 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 is good for 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of twist. Both engines shift through a Hyundai-designed eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, while the V6 can be ordered with an optional all-wheel-drive system that enhances traction in adverse weather conditions.
Fuel economy ratings haven't yet been released, but because the Genesis utilizes traditional, naturally-aspirated motors instead of forced-induction, downsized engines, its mileage may trail that of rivals.
On the dynamic front, the Genesis provides a compliant ride and predictable handling, although it isn't tuned to be a sport sedan. An "Intelligent Drive Mode" system offers Normal, Eco, Sport and Snow settings that alter transmission mapping, throttle responsiveness, stability control and AWD settings (if equipped) to suite driving conditions and/or the driver's mood.
The Genesis V8 can be optioned with an adaptive damping suspension that promises both sportier roadholding and a cushier ride. It, too, can be controlled by Intelligent Drive Mode.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Genesis is offered in 3.8 and 5.0 trim levels, which correspond to the sedan's V6 and V8 engines.
The Genesis 3.8 is fitted as standard with leather upholstery, heated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a navigation system with an 8.0 screen and Siriux XM Traffic, integrated Pandora and Apple Eyes Free Siri, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio/SiriusXM stereo with AUX and USB input jacks, auto on/off headlight, LED headlight accents, LED taillights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system a proximity key, hands-free trunk opening capability, a 4.3-inch instrument cluster TFT LCD display and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
To those features, the Genesis 5.0 adds or substitutes a Lexicon Discrete Logic 7 surround sound system with 14 speakers, ultra-premium leather upholstery, genuine matte wood trim, 16-way power adjustable front seats, HID headlights with auto-leveling, high-beam assist, LED fog lights, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, lane departure warning system with lane keep assist, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster TFT LCD display, manual rear side window sunshades, a power rear sunshade, memory functionality for power driver's seat and outside mirrors and steering column, adaptive cruise control and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Much of the 5.0's content can be added to the 3.8 in the form of optional extras.
Both trims can be spec'd with an upgraded navigation system with an HD 9.2-inch display, a Lexicon Discrete Logic 7 surround sound system with 17 speakers, a full color head-up display, a power trunk lid and a dual mode climate control system with C02 sensor. Excusive to the 5.0 is an optional continuous damping suspension system.
All Genesis models come with dual front, front side, rear side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag and traction and stability control systems.
The Genesis 5.0 adds to that list with an automatic emergency braking system that applies the brakes if it detects an impending collision; a blind spot warning system with a rear cross traffic alert system that warns the driver of approaching traffic in backup situations; a lane departure warning system with lane keep assist setup that warns the driver if the Genesis begins to wander into an adjacent lane and provides slight steering corrections to bring the sedan back on course; and an emergency steering support mode that automatically changes the setting of suspension and electronic stability control in the direction suitable for emergency steering, to help avoid frontal crash situations.
The Genesis can be cross-shopped against a wide variety of upscale sedans, including more expensive luxury models like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, as well as more value-oriented offerings such as the Acura TL, Lexus ES and Lincoln MKZ.