By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
When Hyundai introduced the Genesis about one year ago, they were adding the most impressive Hyundai model and perhaps the most impressive new 2015 model for any auto manufacturer.
The Genesis was originally introduced in 2009 as the company?s first rear-drive luxury sedan. Normally there would be an evolutionary upgrade about now, but instead the company did a ground up remodeling. The result is stunning in design, mechanically refined and a technological leader.
Hyundai Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer created the beautiful new Genesis full-size sedan. Schreyer, the German designer responsible for the Audi TT and several of the 1990s Audi sedans, was hired by Kia in 2006 and in 2012 was appointed President to oversee Hyundai and Kia?s design centers. (Hyundai is Kia?s largest shareholder.)
Just like the Sonata that established Hyundai ?as a styling leader, the Genesis is taking the company to the next level of design with its sophisticated new look. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is the first of Hyundai?s Fluid Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy. From its single-frame 3D-hexagonal grille along the length of the body with its strong full-length character line, the look is fresh, contemporary and elegant all the way back to the unique rear end treatment. We think it will turn heads for years.
Starting with an ultra-rigid new platform, engineers added a four-wheel multi-link suspension tuned by the world?s top suspension experts from Lotus Engineering. The result is a car with sport sedan handling and precise, responsive steering with an innovative Variable Gear Ratio mechanism that varies the teeth pattern on the steering rack. On our drives on the winding mountain roads near our home in southern Washington, we experienced an exceptionally smooth quiet ride on all types of road conditions and surfaces along with precise steering and handling.
However, what really sets this new luxurious Hyundai apart from cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS is the remarkably low price tag. With prices starting just under $40,000 and peaking in the mid $50,000s, the Genesis averages from about $12,000 to $20,000 less than the competitors.
The clean sophisticated lines of the interior are accented by real wood trim, along with tasteful real aluminum accents. The surfaces are soft touch and there?s a copious use of stitched panels. The standard seats are soft perforated leather. The rear seat is spacious for two adults, but like most sedans the middle seat marginal.
Instrumentation is mounted high on the dash with the large analog dials behind the steering wheel bookending a large information screen. To the right there?s a standard eight-inch navigation screen, which can be upgraded to a 9.2-inch HD touch screen complete with full driver information system. We especially liked the full feature heads-up display screen in the bottom of the windshield in front of the driver.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is available in two engine-specific models: the 3.8, with a 311-hp, direct injection DOHC 3.8-liter V-6 and the 5.0, powered by a 420-hp, 5.0-liter direct injection DOHC V-8. Both engines drive the rear wheels through a Hyundai designed and built eight-speed automatic transmission. All models have steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for better driver control. The 3.8 is also available with an all new HTRAC? all-wheel drive system.
According to the buff magazine tests, the V-6 makes a 0 to 60 mph run in 5.9 seconds while the V-8 only takes 5.0 seconds. It was actually difficult to get the sensation of speed and acceleration because the car is so smooth and quiet. The EPA fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 22 combined for the 3.8 RWD. The AWD is 16/25/19 mpg and the V-8 is 15/23/18 mpg. We averaged 23.2 mpg in our 3.8 AWD test vehicle.
To get the Genesis to this high level of driving dynamics, Hyundai engineers did extensive testing at their Mojave California proving grounds and at the infamous N?rburgring race course in Germany. Cold weather testing was done in Norway and hot weather tests were run in Death Valley, Calif. The work paid beautiful dividends in excellent handling and a smooth quiet ride.
Audiophiles will appreciate the two Lexicon? sound systems, one with 14 speakers, the other with 17 speakers and both with 900 watts of power. The systems have all the sources including SiriusXM? radio, HD radio, CD, Bluetooth? and all the auxiliary input options.
Along with one of the most user-friendly multi-media navigation systems we?ve used, Hyundai has an extensive assortment of entertainment and safety communications links, derived through their Blue Link system. For example, services like Aha Radio, Pandora and Sound Hound offer literally tens of thousands of available entertainment options, plus there is 30GB of media storage available so owners can upload a lifetime collection of tunes through the USB port.
The next generation Blue Link also has a Hyundai Connected Care service link, Google Destination Search Link, remote access through a smart phone app, and even the ability to set a timer to remotely start the car and control the vehicles inside temperature. It also offers a full menu of emergency services like SOS assistance, automatic collision response, stolen vehicle recover, point of interest searches in addition to unlocking the car or flashing the lights and horn to help you find it when it disappears in a parking lot.
Other new technologies on the Genesis include the new Sensor Control System which detects elevated levels of Carbon Dioxide in the cabin and automatically brings in fresh air. There?s also a very helpful automatic trunk opening feature. Simply stand near the trunk lid for three seconds with the key fob in a pocket or purse and the power trunk lid opens. Push a button once you?ve deposited your items in the trunk and it closes automatically. There is also a suite of active drive technologies (Sensory Surround Safety?) to provide Automatic Emergency Braking to help avoid collisions. Lane Departure Warning not only lets you know you are about to drive outside the lane, but can actually turn the car to keep you within the lanes. We were especially impressed by the Genesis active cruise control system which brings the car to a complete stop, and then when traffic starts to move, accelerates back to speed without driver intervention.