New & Used Hyundai Genesis Sedan: In Depth
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The Hyundai Genesis makes sense to luxury-car buyers looking to save some money, but the Korean-built sedan lacks size, refinement and technology to battle cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and Audi A8 — or even the larger Hyundai Equus.
The Genesis sedan is a bargain-priced, near-luxury competitor for the Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q70, and Lexus GS. In its second generation since the 2015 model, the Genesis now has more stately styling and an all-wheel-drive option. It is the automaker's first real attempt at building a luxury car.
The stand-alone Hyundai Genesis Coupe, though it shares some of the sedan's rear-drive components, isn't aimed at luxury buyers in the same way the sedan is.
MORE: Read our 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan review
With the new Genesis, Hyundai has remedied the few failings of its original large sedan. Revamped infotainment gear, more refined finishes, and a full suite of active-safety features on offer—and a base price under $40,000—give the new Genesis a mature profile that's more Lexus-like than ever.
The Genesis's new roofline and grille are striking. Influence from other brands is once again evident: The grille has grown up, down, and out in Audi-like ways, and its winged badge looks to have been lifted from a Bentley, while the references to BMWs in the side profile are unmistakeable. Inside, the Genesis has more of its own identity, with a horizontal theme and a great layout that’s attractive and sensible, and covered in satisfying amounts of LCD shimmer and wood luster.
Powertrains from the prior year carry over into the second-generation Genesis. The base engine remains a 3.8-liter V-6, which is now rated at 311 horsepower; the 5.0-liter V-8 puts out 420 hp and 383 lb-ft. Both are teamed to the same eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Rear-drive is standard, with all-wheel drive newly available, but only on the V-6 car. The rear-drive Genesis V-6 is now lighter by about 400 pounds, and it feels it. Top models with the V-8 now include an adaptive air suspension, and all versions have well-tuned electric power steering. Hyundai even enlisted help from Lotus for chassis tuning of the new sedan.
Interior space and comfort are improved, and so is safety. The Genesis has received five stars across the board in the NHTSA's testing and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. A suite of active-safety technology is now available, from lane-keeping assistance to blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control.
Hyundai's second-generation Blue Link telematics system made its debut in the 2015 Genesis sedan. New features include integration with Google Glass; Google Destination Search; remote start; and a new system of notifications that reminds drivers to warm their car in cold weather, or gives recommended departure times for a destination entered into the navigation system by smartphone app. As one of Hyundai's newest models, the Genesis is expected to provide compatibility with Apple's CarPlay system soon.
Base prices start just below $40,000, while a well-equipped V-8 Genesis tops $50,000.
Hyundai Genesis history
In its first generation, the understated lines of the Hyundai Genesis were a welcome shift in direction. The Lexus and Infiniti references were unmistakeable. This first Genesis's interior was very roomy, though the seating was in need of more support, particularly in the R-Spec model. Leather trim on the dash was available as an option. Safety was exceptional: in its first year, the Genesis won a Top Safety Pick honor from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
As with the German cars in the class, Genesis buyers could select from several engine choices. The choices over time included a 3.8-liter V-6 with 333 horsepower, a 385-hp 4.6-liter V-8, and eventually, a 5.0-liter V-8 with 429 hp. A six-speed automatic was swapped out for a new eight-speed automatic transmission in its final years on sale. All first-generation Genesis sedans routed power to the rear wheels.
Handling was softer than the German competition, but Lexus owners wouldn't find anything objectionable in the Genesis. The R-Spec edition was tuned for more aggressive handling, but it came off overly stiff and less composed.
The first Genesis sedan was one of several Hyundai vehicles whose fuel-economy figures had to be restated in late 2012. For a number of 2011 through 2013 Hyundai models, the EPA calculated that overstated gas-mileage ratings did not hold up to confirmation testing performed by the agency. Owners received reimbursements for extra fuel used through a special website set up to handle the claims.