2015 Hyundai Genesis First Drive: Making Strides In Mid-Size Luxury
Imagine barreling through the mountain roads of North Carolina behind the wheel of a vehicle with a 5.0-liter V8, rear-wheel drive, and a chassis tested on the Nurburgring and perfected by Lotus engineers. With a pretty impressive pedigree, one would imagine then that said vehicle is something of the sporty variety, perhaps a European sportscar with a six-figure price tag. But it's not. Not even close. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan is that car. And, on paper, it sounds like a shining example of sports sedan engineering from the Korean automaker. But there's much more the next Genesis has to offer other than an impressive resume. PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis Faux Sport, Real Luxury
As mentioned, the chassis was developed on the Nurburgring, then fine-tuned by Lotus, powered by a 5.0-liter V8, with rear drive, paddle shifters, etc., etc.; the list goes on. But all that is really irrelevant. While it felt sporty enough on some winding mountain roads, the real tick that the Genesis gets is in the luxury department.
Fine ivory leather, a carpet soft enough to sleep on, window shades, and a sophisticated new infotainment screen. It’s a car that deserves to be shown off on some sort of red carpet event, not tossed around a track haphazardly. It feels so good and so luxurious, in fact, that is makes you wonder if there is even any room left in the lineup for the high-end Equus.
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From Blasé to Beautiful
The previous generation of Genesis was Hyundais first real venture into an already saturated segment. And it did ok. The problem with the last-gen Genesis though, was its very bland and blasé design both inside and out.
The new Genesis on the other hand, is much better. The exterior and interior design really give this luxury sedan a presence. Where the previous generation was easy to lose in a crowd, the gaping grille, sleek rear panels, and handsome profile on the new Genesis keep things much more interesting.
This simplistic new design is thanks to Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” which, while it may seem tamer and more reserved than other vehicles, proves to be sophisticated and simple enough to draw attention.
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Technology For Days
When it comes to technology in the new Genesis, there's no lack of it. Behind the steering wheel is a 7-inch digital cluster that keeps you up to date on any crucial information you might need, and the 9.2-inch — yes, 9.2-inch — infotainment screen felt composed to the touch and able to navigate relatively easily while driving. It even displays navigation in 720p hd.
But Hyundai did admit, that after the Sonata, the Genesis would be the next car in line to receive the new Apple CarPlay infotainment system. We can only hope that it's even better when it arrives sometime next year.
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When it comes down to it, the 2015 Genesis excels over the first generation, but still leaves some room for improvement. We drove the 5.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower, rear drive, and a premium $51K price tag. But in reality, sales numbers are going to come in the form of the more efficient, but powerful enough V6, with 311 horsepower and optional all-wheel drive.
Price for the V6 starts at $38,950, which is significantly cheaper than its Lexus GS ($48,000), Infiniti Q70 ($50,000) and Mercedes E350 ($53,000) rivals. Problem is, many Mercedes and BMW buyers likely won’t be cross-shopping their E-Class or 5 Series with a lowly Genesis. Future Genesis buyers will be looking for an upgrade from cars like the Sonata or Toyota Camry, not a downgrade from what many think are more “premium” brands.
This “premium” branding of cars like the 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class is really unfortunate for the well-equipped Genesis. Especially when it shows significant leaps and bounds in luxury from the previous generation. But the reality of it is, the Genesis is a good car, and while it often shows signs of being too vanilla, it deserves to be talked about amongst Mercedes and BMW owners.
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Price (as tested): $51,500
Cheapest luxury sedan in the segment
Lacking some personality
Pricey with options
Buyers turned off by Hyundai badge
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