Last March, I took my first trip to Greenville, SC…
In April, we joined dozens of other media to test out the new-for-2015 Hyundai Genesis. Our test drives included the 3.8L V6 and the 5.0L V8. We may have preferred the extra performance from the V8, but the six-cylinder is certainly a very capable and worthy contender.
Hyundai executives openly admitted the company has its sights set on German and Japanese competitors. With core goals to expand market coverage, meet the needs of the post-recession buyer, and serve as a brand halo, Hyundai is making strides. Currently, the company touts that 55 percent of sales are conquests from other brands and 45 percent are repeat business by loyal customers.
Who’s the Hyundai Genesis competing with? The likes of the Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 series, Audi A6, and the Cadillac CTS. But with a base price (for the V6) of $38,000, Hyundai is bringing its value A-game. The price tag is one that positions this sporty sedan as the most affordable in its class.
And if price isn’t enough, roominess will help sell the 6-foot-and-higher buyer. That’s because the 2015 Genesis has the most interior room in its class, which is categorized as a full-size sedan by EPA standards.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis gets two engine options, although the rumored 2016 coupe version may get the same choice of either a 3.8 GDI V6 or a 5.0 GDI V8 that packs 420 horsepower.
Hyundai perfects affordable luxury
The as-tested price of our 2015 Genesis RWD 5.0L was $55,700, including the Ultimate package for $3,250. That package comes with the seamless Heads-up Display (HUD), premium navigation with 9.2 inch high definition display, Lexicon 17-speaker audio system, a power trunk lid (that opens as you approach!), and continuous damping control suspension.
All other features are standard, which in our opinion already makes this purchase less fussy than its German rivals who seem to be wed to a la carte car buying.
Creature comforts abound in the 2015 Hyundai Genesis. Some of our favorite features include the 12-way power front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, easy-to-use power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, an analog clock in the center stack (we are some of the few left on the planet who can still read one!), and the power-folding rear sunshade and manual rear side sunshades. Oh, and did we mention the moonroof/sunroof is ginormous?
It’s as if Hyundai took all the best aspects from its competitors’ vehicles and packaged them into one affordable, fast and fuel-efficient sedan.
Power folding side mirrors are nice – and pretty much standard at this price point – but the auto-dimming feature on both mirrors was particularly helpful when driving at night along the back roads of New Jersey where street lights can be sparse.
Our only bone to pick? And really, it was difficult to find anything wrong with the Genesis. The rear seats don’t fold down – as in, no 60/40 split rear seats. While the trunk is quite spacious, we always advocate for the utility of rear-folding seats. It just makes sense.
So much detail and forethought went into this car. We even discovered a fancy ‘Genesis logo’ beaming out from beneath the front driver and passenger doors (called a puddle light). This goes way beyond just putting the car’s name on the step and embroidering it into the carpets. That made us feel as though we discovered something that a Hyundai employee must have thought was a unique and cool idea…which made us feel pretty cool, too.
I loved playing with Hyundai’s Lane Keep Assist. This is essentially partial-autonomous driving as the car will guide itself back into the appropriate lane without a jerking or startling motion. It’s pretty amazing.
Combine Smart Cruise Control with Lane Keep Assist and get ready for care-free driving. Smart Cruise Control allows the driver to set a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and a max speed that you’re willing to drive on that highway, slowing the car to a safe distance when needed.
All of these features, once activated, display notifications on the HUD. It’s impressive how many icons Hyundai crammed into those few square inches, but it works. However, it can be a little busy if the driver has everything “on” as shown in the image found at ExtremeTech.com below.
Ergonomics & Efficiency
Our trip took us 166 miles one way, and we garnered 19.9 miles to the gallon on that leg of the trip in normal driving conditions. This is on par with the EPA’s estimated 18 mpg combined fuel economy.
The controls found inside the Hyundai Genesis are straightforward and simple to use. Within minutes, we were able to engage the advanced safety and tech features, and we believe average consumers could do the same with proper training upon taking delivery at their local dealership.
Knobs and buttons are easy to identify and push, with the exception of the few on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, mounted below the dash – those weren’t as easily visible. But once you’re aware they’re there (and what purpose they serve) it’s no problem.
This car feels good to drive. The seating position for average and taller drivers is terrific, with plenty of options for customizing a comfortable driving zone. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0L is easy to drive yet powerful. It is extremely quiet on city streets and highways alike.
This Hyundai’s finishes are superbly thought-out. The materials are plush and neither leave the driver nor the passengers wonting for anything. The design inside and out is beautifully crafted.
This is bar none the best execution of a luxury everyday car by Hyundai. Yes, the Equus is bigger and more S-Class like, but it’s not approachable in the same way that the Genesis is. As for a 2016 Genesis Coupe? We can only hope the rumors are true.
Bottom line? You won’t find any wannabe luxury here. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is legit. Maybe it’s time to consider one for your garage.
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