For a long time, big luxury sedans — with artful styling, powerful engines and comfortable interiors — have represented the ultimate expression of the car makers’ art.
So it’s no real surprise that Hyundai, the ambitious South Korean carmaker, has decided to move in on Asian rivals such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda by building their own version of the traditional luxury sedan with the Genesis.
In fact, the Genesis, which is nicely styled, powerful and very comfortable, is now the foundation on which Hyundai is preparing to build a luxury brand all of its own in the next couple of years. Developing a unique luxury brand is an ambitious project, but the 2016 Genesis indicates Hyundai is quite prepared for the challenge.
On the road, the 2016 Genesis delivers a very comfortable ride even on a long trip. The ride is not only comfortable it is also very stable thanks to the steady improvements in the car’s suspension, which matches up with anything found in competitive vehicles such as the Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E Class or the Cadillac CTS.
In addition, the brakes on the Genesis are first rate and the steering is very responsive, but doesn’t offer the driver a great deal of feel for the road beneath the car. Nonetheless, the Genesis is very maneuverable and handles well even in a downpour that leaves the road surface slick.
The Genesis is also equipped with plenty of high-tech safety features such as blind-spot detection, cross traffic alert and a sophisticated cruise control system that maintains a safe interval by downshifting and applying the brakes when a vehicle in front of the car begins to slow or change direction. The all-wheel-drive system on the Genesis also enhances the car’s overall stability in all kinds of conditions.
The powertrain on the version of the Genesis that I drove was built around a 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivered an impressive 311 horsepower when matched with a six-speed transmission that delivered shifts smoothly and efficient, while the fuel-economy is 19 miles per gallon in a combination of highway and city driving.
The Genesis looks good standing still at the curb or moving through traffic thanks to an exterior design based on Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” that encapsulates the brand’s aesthetics that expresses a modern design styling with a sleek, upscale appearance that underscores the car’s premium nature. Highlights of the design features a hexagonal front grille as a key geometric element, a dynamic crease accent running along the flanks of the car and a distinctive rear design.
The interior layout of the Genesis utilizes Hyundai’s knack for getting more usable space into the car.
The front seat of the Genesis gives both the driver and the passenger plenty of room. In addition, the controls are within easy reach of the driver. The one drawback I noticed was that the arrangement of the center stack, which is canted toward the driver, made it more difficult for the passenger to input information into the navigation system.
Overall, however, the extra space inside the cabin benefits all occupants, making them more comfortable and easing the stress that comes with driving or even riding on today’s highways. The Genesis is also equipped with a first-rate sound system and an entertainment system that includes disc player and USB port.
The switches are simple, easy to use and easy to find. The long horizontal line of the instrument panel only serves to add to the car’s open ambiance. The use of first-rate materials and varied textures throughout the cabin enhance the sense of luxury and should also help keep the interior fresh even when car is used every day. The overall appearance of the interior furnishings is also enhanced by the precision, finish and with anatomically friendly seat design. Drivers also tend to be collectors, and there’s storage space for practical items such as mobile electronics of all shapes and sizes as well as multiple cup holders.
The Genesis is also equipped with Hyundai’s connectivity system that allows drivers to use their smartphones in the vehicle through a Bluetooth connection. A handy head-up display that puts the vehicle’s speed right in front of the driver is also available on the Genesis.
The Genesis is far removed from modestly priced vehicles Hyundai brought to the U.S. when it set up shop some 30 years ago. The version of the Genesis that I drove was priced at $53,100, which is hardly inexpensive.
But over the years as Hyundai has moved into various market segments, it has consistently shown a definite for producing cars that can hold its own against those of rivals from all over the world.