Cover the labels and have people drive and ride in the latest Hyundai Genesis and we?d bet 90 percent of them would identify the 2015 Hyundai Genesis as being built by one of the big name luxury brands. Even the ?experts? are comparing the new Genesis favorably with the well-established luxury brands.
Rather than doing a major refresh after the first five years, the latest Hyundai took a big leap forward with a ground up redesign, including a new ultra rigid platform, dramatic new styling and an unrivaled technology package.
Just like the Sonata established Hyundai as a styling leader in 2009, the Genesis is taking the company to the next level of design with its sophisticated new look. The 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.
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 spot is snug.
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 liked the heads-up display screen in the bottom of the windshield in front of the driver. The sharp customizable display included the speed limit, vehicle?s speed, navigation instructions, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and indicators that certain key systems were activated.
The new high strength steel intensive chassis is underpinned by 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.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is available in two engine-specific models: the 3.8, with 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, and all models have steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for better driver control.
The 3.8 is also available ($2,500) with an all new HTRAC? all-wheel drive system. The system works in conjunction with the transmission?s Normal and Eco modes to provide better all-weather traction. The transmission?s Sport mode helps improve handling characteristics by providing better cornering traction as needed.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 RWD we drove makes the customary 0 to 60 mph acceleration run in 6.9 seconds according to buff magazine tests. The EPA estimates Fuel Economy at 18 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. We actually averaged 24.1 mpg in a week of typical driving which included about 80 percent highway driving.
Owners desiring better performance can step up to the more aggressive Genesis 5.0 which makes the 0 to 60 mph acceleration run in only 5.2 seconds. EPA fuel economy is 15/23/18 mpg.
However, what really sets this new luxurious Hyundai apart from cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS is the remarkably low price tag. With prices starting at $38,950, including the destination charge for the Genesis 3.8 RWD and peak with the Genesis 5.0, with the only available option package, at $55,700. That puts the Genesis averages from about $12,000 to $20,000 less than the competitors.
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 recovery, 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. If you get to over confident letting the car doing the steering, it also tells you to put your hands back on the steering wheel.
The Genesis Active Cruise system can take the car to a complete stop, and then when traffic starts to move, accelerates back to speed without driver intervention.
Even in the dark, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is impressive — walk up to it with the key fob and lights on both sides shine onto the ground to light the way with a bright light and a lighted Genesis logo.
Judging against the Who?s Who of luxury cars, we think the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is easily on par with all of them and better than some, and it?s our five star winner for the best in luxury class value.