Tom Crosby: Hyundai Genesis entering luxury sedan converstation
Genesis means “beginning” but the 2016 Genesis is the current culmination of the Korean automaker’s incorporation of comfort, luxury, cutting-edge safety and mileage in its luxury large sedan.
The five-passenger vehicle travels in upscale territory occupied by the likes of Lexus GS350, BMW 535i and Mercedes E350, all of which have less horsepower and still cost thousands of dollars more when similarly equipped.
Changes this year are minor with HID headlights and LED running lights now standard and LED fog lights optional.
Last year Genesis sales grew while the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-series both saw sales droop. And Hyundai Genesis outsold the Lexus GS350.
It means buyers are appreciating the car’s value and predicted reliability. (The 2014 Genesis had a top reliability score from Consumer Reports.)
Genesis offers all- or rear-wheel drive, a 5.0-liter V8 engine or its 3.8-liter V6 sibling, our test drive with all three option packages totaling $10,900.
They helped Genesis receive top safety scores in government and insurance crash tests with blind spot detection on side mirrors, lane departure and assist warnings with a hands-on-steering-wheel warning and adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from vehicles in front. Also included were emergency braking assist, a heads-up display of speed and speed limit, automatic high beam adjustment for oncoming traffic, geo-fencing for teenagers and a broad rear cross-traffic camera view.
Added comfort included premium leather seats in an elegant cabin with aluminum and wood trim, a 9.2-inch high-definition dashboard screen, heated/cooled seats with adjustable front seat side bolsters, rear and side window shades, sunroof and the rear trunk lid lifts when you stand behind it for three seconds. Voice, touch or a center-spine knob can control good navigation detail and other features.
The 17-speaker crystal-clear Lexicon audio integrates with Apple and Wi-Fi. It can record SiriusXM presets and access Pandora, Aha and SoundHound apps. The cockpit is spacious, with a slight downward tilt for rear seat occupants.
Excellent fit and finish helped eliminate road, tire and wind noise.
The ride in any drive mode – Eco, Normal, Sport or Snow – was refined and well modulated. Handling was precise and responsive. We averaged just over 25 miles per gallon on an 800-mile, 95 percent highway trip.
Outside, the look is clean and classy with the Genesis logo on the front grille and in light displays on the ground at night when doors open. The Hyundai logo is relegated to the rear.
BOTTOM LINE: Genesis making major inroads into the luxury sedan market.
LIKE: Comfort, looks, ride, handling, value, safety, reliability
DISLIKE: Need to buy safety options
HYUNDAI GENESIS AWD 3.8
Base price w/destination fee: $41,250 ($53,100 as tested)
Curb weight: 4,295 lbs.
Wheelbase: 118.5 inches
Length: 196.5 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Engine specs: 3.8-liter, V6, direct injection, DOHC
Horsepower: 311-hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 293-lbs.-ft. at 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic/SHIFTRONIC
EPA Rating: 16 mpg city; 25 mpg highway
Range: 20.3 gallon tank, regular gas
Performance: 0-60 in just over 6 seconds