Sure, we can do that too
It’s amazing how Korean brand Hyundai can choose any vehicle segment and create a competitive product within it. Their portfolio covers everything from subcompact hatchbacks such as the Accent, to big luxury sedans such as the Equus and the Genesis, the subject of this story.
Laugh all you want about the cars they crossed the pond with in the ’80s, but today’s Hyundai is serious business. The Genesis sedan is probably the best example of the company’s know-how, and a less-expensive alternative to the Lexus GS, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6.
With V6 and V8 powertrain choices, a rear-drive platform and a slew of luxury features and high-tech goodies, the only thing missing on the Genesis is a luxury-brand crest. And perhaps all-wheel drive.
Six or eight cylinders, your choice
You can get a snorty 429-hp V8 in the Genesis sedan, which provides thrilling straight-line speed; however, we think most buyers will be happy with the base 3.8L V6. It doesn’t sound as nasty as the V8; rather, it provides smooth and ultra quiet operation, which fits right in with the car’s demeanour.
Producing 333 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, the Genesis 3.8 sprints to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, which is plenty fast. The V6 also has lots of low-end torque for quick getaways, while the new 8-speed (yes, 8) automatic transmission keeps engine revs low when you’re chillaxing behind the wheel.
If the output numbers seem higher than before, they are. For the 2012 model year, Hyundai added direct injection to the 3.8L engine and two extra gears in the slushbox, just like in the updated 2013 Genesis Coupe.
Fuel economy is reasonable, as we’re averaging 11.2L/100km in a mix of city and highway driving.
On paper, the 3.8 doesn’t seem to be as talented down winding country roads as the 5.0 R-Spec model. But to me, the Genesis is more of a relaxed luxo-cruiser than a back-road brawler; the big steering wheel and the slow 15.7:1 ratio don’t encourage the driver to carve through apexes. Hyundai’s marketing strategy to convince the public that the R-Spec is a sport sedan is, apart from the straight-line acceleration, a little far-fetched.
Smooth as silk
Driving the Genesis sedan is like driving a cloud, although the car’s ride doesn’t float endlessly like the Buicks and Cadillacs and Lincolns of yore. The cabin is tomb-quiet; road and wind noise are kept to a bare minimum, and occupants can whisper amongst themselves and understand every word.
The Genesis 3.8 treats its passengers with fine leather upholstery that seems pulled out of a Lexus. Everything feels substantial and high-grade, from the driver instrument pod readings to the centre stack controls and the high-resolution LCD screen.
The Technology package also spoils with adaptive cruise control, a cooled driver’s seat, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear window sunshade, adaptive swivelling HID headlights and a 17-speaker Lexicon 7.1 sound system.
There aren’t many styling cues that help distinguish the 2012 Genesis sedan from previous ones. The most obvious elements are the swirly LED daytime running lights nestled inside the headlight clusters, which look great in the dark. The fog lamp, taillight and alloy wheel designs have also been revised.
Undercuts the competition
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is priced from $39,999, and when equipped with the Technology package, costs $49,499. In comparison, a Mercedes-Benz E 350 4MATIC starts at $67,000, while an Audi A6 3.0 TFSI Premium goes for at least $58,800. The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is aggressively priced, however, and at $53,800 including the Navigation package, is not too far from the loaded Hyundai.
Now for the most important feature of the Genesis: the lack of a badge on the front grille. You know, a lot of people buy a luxury car just to show off the prestige of a badge. And the Genesis, well, doesn’t have one. It’s everything an upscale sedan should be, but its biggest shortcoming is its family heritage, or lack thereof.
Here’s the thing: if you’re buying a luxury sedan for yourself, no matter what your neighbours, friends or family members think, the Genesis is worth a serious look. Hyundai has nothing to envy from rival manufacturers anymore.
If you’re more into brands and your image is what’s most important to you, well ignore the Genesis and all its virtues, and go spend thousands more of your hard-earned dollars on something else.
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