In the case of the Hyundai brand, necessity has been the mother of reinvention. Ten years ago, Hyundai was little more than the punch line to jokes about low-quality cars with laughable reliability. If the brand was to survive in the increasingly competitive automotive marketplace, it needed a major-league makeover. Hyundai has accomplished exactly that in recent years, turning out vehicles that have been hailed as paragons of value-priced quality.
This reinvention scales new heights with the Hyundai Genesis, the manufacturer's first stab at the luxury car market. Quiet as a murmur and drenched in luxury, it offers genuine opulence at an unbelievably low price, and credibly competes with premium sedans by Acura, Cadillac, Infiniti and Lexus. If you're in the market for a luxury sedan and want to savor all the bells and whistles without cleaning out your kids' college funds, take a look at the impressive Hyundai Genesis.
Current Hyundai Genesis
The Hyundai Genesis is offered in two trims, 3.8 and 5.0 R-Spec, which take their names from their corresponding engines. The 3.8 model is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 good for 333 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, while the 5.0 R-Spec model upgrades to a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 429 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. All models are rear-wheel drive and use an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
Even in base 3.8 trim, the Genesis offers high-end features like dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio and iPod compatibility. Options include 18-inch wheels, upgraded leather, adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, a 14-speaker audio system and a navigation system. The V8-powered Genesis 5.0 R-Spec includes everything that's optional on the 3.8 as well as 19-inch alloy wheels and sport-tuned suspension and steering.
On the outside, the Hyundai Genesis looks the part of a luxury sedan, with elegant sheet metal and superb build quality. This air of sophistication continues inside, where you'll find yourself swaddled in soft-touch surfaces and high-quality materials. Roominess is another of its strengths, as both front and rear passengers enjoy spacious accommodations and well-shaped seats.
In reviews, we've found that the Genesis is very quiet on the highway. It glides over practically any surface with unruffled composure, effortlessly dispensing with bumps and ruts. Power from the V6 is ample and refined, while the V8 provides effortless acceleration and sewing-machine smoothness with only a minimal penalty at the pump.
The 3.8 won't deliver the sport-sedanlike handling that some European rivals tout. For that, there is the 5.0 R-Spec, which provides sharper handling in the curves, though this comes at the expense of comfort. The sport-tuned suspension is significantly stiffer, adding considerable harshness over rough pavement.
If you frequently haul outsized loads, you may long for a folding rear seat, as the Genesis only offers a pass-through option. Drivers living in rougher climates may wish for all-wheel drive, which isn't offered on the Genesis either. Another missing perk, of course, is established premium brand prestige. But not all luxury-car buyers place a premium on snob appeal. Costing thousands less than its esteemed rivals, loaded with generous features and built impeccably, the Hyundai Genesis stands in a class of its own.
Used Hyundai Genesis Models
The Hyundai Genesis debuted for the 2009 model year and has seen progressive changes since. For the following year, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake and touchscreen navigation joined the options list. The 2011 model year saw more power for the 4.6-liter V8, from 375 hp to 385 hp. The changes for 2012 included the addition of the 5.0 and R-Spec models to the Genesis lineup. That year also marked the debut of the eight-speed transmission (up from six speeds). After 2012, Hyundai discontinued the 4.6-liter V8 and the base 5.0 V8 trim level.