The Hyundai Genesis is a full-sized luxury sedan which has its sights firmly set on some of the big guns. Think BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 or Mercedes E-Class, all iconic vehicles, all established luxury status symbols. How on earth can a mere Hyundai compete at this level, is it possible? EFTM spent a surprising few weeks in the Hyundai Genesis range.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
I have sat in every Hyundai produced over the last few years, welcome aboard to a totally different breed. What’s on offer is totally removed from anything the South Koreans have produced before. The cabin is a sumptuous offering, three or four levels above the ageing Holden Caprice or the best equipped Chrysler 300c. It has that true luxury car look, feel and layout. With an impressively large infotainment screen, wood trim panelling, soft touch leather in all the right places, high-end metal trimming and throne-like seats front and back.
Only trained, connoisseur driven eyes will notice the inevitable missing wow-factor bits and pieces the excessively priced Europeans offer. Higher end leather with that higher end smell, more sophisticated multimedia interfaces, customisable drivetrain and suspensions settings and endless optional gadgets.
But for the average person the Genesis is a seriously glorious machine to sit in and look at. The regal front end, refined and understated profile and genuine road presence easily rivals the big boys.
But where the Genesis becomes the real deal is the drive. A more serene and sophisticated in-car experience would be hard to find, at least based on what I’ve ever driven. There is a bank-vault silence to the cabin and that’s irrespective of the acoustic glass offered on the optional “Ultimate” pack. The 3.8-litre engine is as silent as a Hybrid around town, you could whisper a conversation up front and still easily be heard by eavesdroppers in the back.
The ride is equally as cosseted, and in many ways betters examples like the Audi A8 I drove recently. Road noise is banished and tarmac imperfections are dispatched with ease, it has a real cloud on wheels type feel. For a large car handling is adequate, when pushed hard its sheer dimensions will remind you of the law of physics but generally the locally tuned Genesis steers and corners with unexpected finesse while still maintaining a relaxed attitude.
Ins And Outs.
The Hyundai Genesis scores a 3.8-litre GDi V6 matched to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. 232kW/375Nm is on offer and sent to the rear wheels via a naturally aspirated petrol engine, it’s fantastically smooth and strong plus quite swift with 100km/h ticking over well before 7-seconds.
The Genesis also scored the expected maximum five-star ANCAP Safety Rating but with the highest safety score in ANCAP history, 36.88 points out of 38.
The Genesis range spans three variants which override the often ridiculous trawling through options you need to endure when building a European model. The base Genesis can be enhanced with a Sensory and Ultimate option pack, making pricing easy to comprehend and grasping what you actually get simple. Normally listing every feature would go against my intention of brevity when reviewing a car, but keep in mind we’re talking about a luxury saloon with features that rival competitors that are tens of thousands of dollars more, so here’s the complete breakdown.
- 9 airbags: driver & front passenger, driver knee, driver & front passenger side (thorax), rear passenger side (thorax), full length curtain
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Smart Cruise Control (SCC)
- Smart High Beam
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Pre Safety System including front seatbelt pretensioners
- Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) incorporating Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System (BAS)
- Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) & Traction Control System (TCS)
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
- Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
- Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with washer system and auto-levelling
- Static Bending Lights
- LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
- Rear-view camera with parking guide
- Parking Assist System (PAS) with guidance (4 sensors front and 4 sensors rear)
- Seatbelt reminder (all seats)
- Leather Appointed interior
- Premium steering wheel and gearknob
- 9.2-inch Satellite Navigation system
- Lexicon 17-speaker premium audio system
- Proximity Smart Key with push-button start
- Dual-zone climate control with auto defog function
- 12-way Power driver’s and passengers seat
- Heated front seats
- Electronic Park Brake (EPB)
- 18-inch alloy wheels & 245/45 R18 Hankook tyres
- Smart Boot function (hands-free power-open function)
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Rear power blind
- 4.2-inch LCD Supervision cluster
- Electro-Chromatic Mirror (ECM) with auto-dimming interior mirror
- Electric folding side mirrors
- Puddle lights (Genesis logo illumination) in side mirrors with courtesy lights in door handles
- One-touch window up and down function on all windows incorporating anti-pinching safety feature
- Interior mood lights
- One-touch turn signal (3,5 & 7 flashes)
- Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
- Solar control glass
- Dual-zone climate control with auto defog function
GENESIS – SENSORY PACK:
- Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
- Lane Change Assist (LCA)
- Head-Up Display (HUD)
- Around-View Monitor (AVM)
- Premium Leather appointed interior
- Power Bolster and extendable base (driver’s seat)
- Driver’s seat memory system
- Power tilt & telescopic steering
- Electro-chromatic auto-dipping exterior mirrors
- CO2 sensor
- LED front foglights
GENESIS – ULTIMATE PACK (includes Sensory Pack items plus):
- Panoramic glass roof
- Power door latches (automatic soft-closing function)
- Ventilated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Noise reducing acoustic glass
- Power bootlid
- 7-inch LCD Supervision cluster
- 19-inch alloy wheels & 245/40 R19 (front) & 275/35 R19 (rear)
- Dunlop tyres
- Illuminated front scuff plates (with Genesis logo)
- Rear door side curtains
The Hip Pocket
Prices kick off at $60,000 for the base Genesis with the Sensory pack hitting $71,000 and the Ultimate pack topping out at $82,000. A 5 year / 75,000km inclusive servicing plan is on offer. Fuel economy is rated at 11.2L/100km, I managed 11.4L/100km at best so it’s no doubt thirsty and this is one crucial area where the sophisticated turbo-diesel European engines leave the Genesis for dead.
EFTM Rubber Stamp
At the end of the day this is big money for a Hyundai badge, which incidentally has been banished to the rear with a distinctive high-end almost Bentley style logo featured everywhere else. So who’s going to take a punt on the most expensive Hyundai ever? I speak with a lot of hire car drivers, some are turned off by its lack of rear leg room, some by its fuel efficiency others by the mere fact their more prestigious customers will still balk at the concept of a chauffeur driven Hyundai. So I’d expect it’s the more discerning retirees, accountants, mid-level executives or Dad’s that long for the good stuff but can’t justify or afford the marquee brand offerings. The Hyundai Genesis is no cheap Rolex knock off, it’s the real deal and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, but who will buy it? Time will only tell. I award the Hyundai Genesis the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp of Approval.