Overview (Overall Grade After 8 Categories: A)
We did not laugh when the first Genesis sedan arrived in 2008.
Why would we laugh at such a thing? It is our image of Hyundai being a mainstream automaker that used to make low priced cars with less-than-desirable quality and tepid performance. Though the company has reconciled by improving quality and employing a warranty to back that up, the image of Hyundai being more than a low-priced car line has never been completely forgiven by the consumer.
As the products improved, Hyundai's ambitions were raised. Why not sell a luxury car in our most important market?
Why not, indeed!
The first Genesis sedan was indeed luxurious. It had an optional V8 with power equal to the Europeans and the Japanese. But, it did not go far to win over those same customers. How do you win them over? What will it take for a luxury car buyer to say "Hyundai" in the same sentence as...you name it?
It is by making a completely new car.
Enter the second generation Hyundai Genesis sedan! By taking the latest Fluidic Sculpture design language, and upping the ante in terms of equipment levels, active and passive safety and driving dynamics, the new Genesis has found new friends and advocates. It stands out even more. That alone will get a luxury car buyer to notice.
Has Hyundai cracked the luxury car code with this Genesis?
What We Loved about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan
- Smooth power from the V6 and new eight-speed automatic transmission
- Very spacious cabin
- Heads-up display with excellent graphics
What We Didn't Love about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan
- Derivative exterior design
- Artificial steering feel
- We can't say anything else bad about this car, sorry
Exterior View (9 out of 10)
The Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design pushes the envelope on the Genesis. It's blunt front makes it stand out in a crowd - at the valet or in the second-to-last level of a parking garage. That grille is distinctive along with its headlamp clusters. Even so, the use of Hyundai's "Oval-H" badge was omitted from the front end, replaced by the Genesis "winged" badge - this to distinguish the Genesis from the rest of the lineup.
Rearward, the Genesis looks upright and stately. Once you get to the rear, it has some of Hyundai's family design elements, but on a wider, bolder stance. Then comes the details - from a nice set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels to some sculpting on the Genesis' flanks. For a splash of luxury,. Open up the driver's door at night and you are greeted with a reminder of what this car is - the word "Genesis" and the winged badge illuminated onto the ground. It is simply just the beginning of a truly luxury experience.
Interior Comfort, Quality and Overall Ease of Use (10 out of 10)
The large cabin fits five adults inside in some of the best seats made for a luxury car. The front chairs are big, full of padding and swathed with nice leather upholstery. All things are good to the touch. Seating is fully adjustable for power controls on both the driver and passenger side.
The driver is in control of a large instrument panel with full instrumentation, a large TFT screen and a heads-up display. All are designed to keep the driver informed - with all eyes on the road. The heads-up display is comprehensive and customizable with large readouts framing the driver's eye sight perfectly. The key to the Genesis is "large" in the way the dials and displays are presented. Controls also are large - except for the steering wheel. However, one may notice the amount of carryover these switches are from more mundane Hyundais - the Sonata, in particular. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. This points out to the level of quality and high level of touch/feel found in the Genesis.
A neat trick to access the 15.3 cubic feet of trunk space is to open it without using your hands. As long as you have the key fob on you, all you need to do is walk up and the trunk opens on its own.
Technology (10 out of 10)
Again, the word "large" comes into play with the Genesis' infotainment touch screen. On this screen, you get a navigation system, both SiriusXM and HD Radio and the ability to upload your music files onto the Jukebox hard drive. A Bluetooth connection provides hands-free calling, as well as music playback from your smartphone. All of this is filtered through the 14 Lexicon speakers with some help from the Discrete Logic 7 surround sound.
Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system does the job to assist you in emergencies, when roadside assistance is needed and to send directions to the navigation system.
Fuel Economy (7 out of 10)
In terms of fuel economy, it did come as a surprise that it got a 21.8MPG average. The stated average on the sticker was 19MPG, but the Genesis sedan is capable of even better fuel efficiency than advertised. Unlike most premium sedans in its class, the V6 Genesis sedan takes regular unleaded.
Predicted Reliability and Initial Quality Ratings (9 out of 10)
There is no question how much the Genesis has improved in its second generation. The quality is high, especially in the interior. Though some luxury consumers would thumb their nose at the woodgrain inserts that do not feel "real." There are no quality or reliability reports on this new car, but Hyundais have improved to levels of solid reliability across the board.
This is part of an active safety suite and truly works with you to keep the Genesis on the road. One feature in particular, Lane Keeping Assist, works the steering box to make sure you do not wander in another lane and into the car next to you. Between the head's-up display and the actual active safety features, the Genesis is perhaps one of the truly safer cars out in the marketplace.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the new Genesis sedan their Top Safety Pick + designation.
Performance (10 out of 10)
Our tester came with the standard 3.8liter Lambda V6 - and it is no slouch. The V6 has 311 horsepower on tap, which makes easy work to pull this 4,295 pound sedan. The new 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth, quiet and never tells you when it shifts at all. Ultimately, this power is transferred onto the new HTrac all-wheel drive system - a first for Hyundai on a car. In all, it simply works - quietly and smoothly. If you need more power, there is a V8 model available in only rear-wheel drive.
The driver has the opportunity to customize his or her experience through a series of drive modes. Putting the Genesis in Sport is a good test of its driving abilities. Your gearing is tightened up, suspension and steering settings, as well. Funny thing, however - if you leave the Genesis is Normal, the steering basically feels the same. Though it feels artificial, steering response is quite good. On-center feel is on point.
Being a big sedan, you expect a comfortable ride and solid handling. The Genesis does not disappoint. It is very smooth, simply absorbing rougher surfaces. Throw it into a curve, and the Genesis won't balk. You will find nominal roll and lean through the turns. Stopping the Genesis is also very solid with sure braking action in both normal and panic situations.
One might conclude that the Genesis might have matched its rivals in driving dynamics. That is a huge step for Hyundai.
Pricing and Value for Money (9 out of 10)
However, pricing for the Genesis is almost on par with its rivals. The base V6 rear-drive model starts off at $38,950. Our all-wheel drive V6 model came in with a sticker price of $52,450. If you choose the V8, rear-drive model, pricing will top off at $55,700. In all, you are still looking at one of the best values among mid-sized luxury sedans.
"The Final Numbers" and the Competition (74 points out of 80: 92.5%)
The Genesis sits within a crowded field. Its main competition is the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. You can also throw in the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q70 and Jaguar XF into the mix. In all, this is a class that demands one to be distinctive and set apart from the crowd.
Yet, the Hyundai Genesis sedan does exactly that - stand out in a crowd. Inside and out, you can now spot a Genesis anywhere luxury cars gather around. On the road, it is smooth, quiet and comfortable. It offers solid dynamics and offers high value while its competitors scale through the $60,000 barrier when fully equipped.
Why does anyone need a Genesis? Not for snob appeal, but if you drove one - you can be proud to pull it up to the valet and throw the keys. And, that is no laughing matter.