Hyundai began its march up the automotive food chain a few years ago with the Azera four-door front-wheel-drive sedan. This was a car that baffled even some valet parking attendants that didn’t recognize it from the outside but sure appreciated its luxurious touches and enviable construction.
The Genesis was Hyundai’s next step up the ladder two years ago and it was available as both a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe. In either guise the Genesis is a head-turning machine, with looks that borrow extensively from European and Japanese upscale brands. It’s hard to identify the Genesis rear-wheel-drive sedans and coupes as being from Korea; ostensibly, that’s just the result Hyundai wants.
Its looks will draw customers into the showroom for a closer look; the Genesis sedan, as driven with the 3.8-liter V-6 engine of 290 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 264 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm; a 4.6-liter V-8 is also available. The six-speed automatic transmission is delightful to work with and shifts smoothly when left in gear and quickly when used manually.
For smooth riding, Hyundai equips the Genesis sedan with multi-link front and rear independent suspensions and stabilizer bars. Rack and pinion steering is spot on and lacks the numbness often found with electric power steering, but the mileage return isn’t as good – there are trade-offs everywhere, you know? Turning circle is an excellent 36 feet. Ventilated front and solid rear ABS-equipped disc brakes feature electronic brake force distribution and braking assistance, as part of the safety options on this sedan.
As expected, the Genesis comes with stability and traction controls, together with electronic active front head restraints, front, side and full-length head curtain airbags. Hyundai scores five stars in all government safety ratings for this sedan. There is remote keyless entry with proximity assist and a pushbutton start/stop button. Hyundai equips the V-6 Genesis sedan with Dunlop P235/50 R tires with twinned, 7-spoke 18-inch alloy rims, part of a technology package.
Once ensconced in the 2010 Hyundai Genesis sedan 3.8, the key word is comfort. The luxuriousness of this car is in its demeanor and its capabilities to perform with minimal fuss; there are tasteful wood accents and leather accents all around, and soft touch plastics permeate the cabin. There is richness everywhere in this car, yet it severely financially undercuts competitive European, U.S.-based and Japanese models.
There’s impressive space for five full-size adults in this car and amenities for everyone along for the ride. The driver gets the best treatment with electroluminescent gauges front and center that are black with white numbers and red pointers – including both temperature and fuel read-outs – and a multi-function steering wheel with audio/phone controls on the left and [optional] intelligent cruise control on the right, along with the trip computer. The telescope/tilt wheel adjusts for anyone’s needs and the dual memories for the driver’s seat adjusts to perfection.
Both driver and front-seat passenger have three-position heated and cooled seats and there are remotes for fuel and trunk on the driver’s door. There’s a pass-through for long objects to the 16-cubic-foot trunk and the EPA interior volume is a commodious 125 cubic feet. There’s a bi-level central storage with 12-volt, USB, iPod and auxiliary inputs that’s well finished, plus an open storage area at the base of the central stack.