- Straight-line acceleration
- Elegant, stylish interior design
- Quiet, refined cabin
- Overly conservative exterior
- Doesn’t handle like a sport sedan
- Some details are lacking
The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is an extremely plush, comfortable luxury sedan, with a dash of sporty character; it costs less, but lacks the prestige of luxury-brand rivals.
The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is an entirely new, sporty rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan that takes the top position in Hyundai’s lineup, above the front-wheel-drive Azera.
From the outside, the Genesis is proportioned as nicely as most sport sedans from Europe or Japan, but its styling cues are more familiar than fresh; its bright and prominent grille design is perhaps the most memorable attribute.
Inside, the cabin feels much less derivative and follows an especially distinctive design path, with gentle, flowing curves and a horizontal dashboard design that minimizes the center console and allows a more open front-seat area. Depending on the trim, the door panels and console lid are wrapped in leather. Seating space is also a strong point, especially in back where the Genesis is much more spacious than most sport sedans, and acoustic laminated glass helps cut down road and wind noise.
Two models of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis will be offered; the Genesis 3.8 comes with a 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6, while the Genesis 4.6 packs a 375-hp, 4.6-liter V-8. Both engines deliver their power through six-speed automatic transmissions, and both meet tighter ULEV-II emissions standards. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended for the V-8, but both models have respectable fuel economy, with the V-6 rating 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.
The V-8 model can accelerate to 60 mph in less than six seconds, according to Hyundai, and an advanced, aluminum-intensive, five-link suspension setup helps provide responsive handling with good ride comfort; kickback through the steering wheel is said to be reduced by the arrangement. Though the arrangement doesn’t provide the kind of road feel or agility when pushed hard as the best European sport sedans do, it strikes a good balance of comfort and responsiveness.
Standard features on both Genesis models include dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a proximity entry system, a power sunroof, power heated side mirrors, heated leather seats, and a seven-speaker sound system. The 4.6 model upgrades to premium upholstery, a rear sunshade, a leather-wrapped dash, and rain-sensing wipers. A Technology Package adds ultrasonic front and rear parking sensors, a heated and cooled driver’s seat, and adaptive front lighting, along with a navigation system and DVD changer.
There’s also a Lexicon surround-sound audio system with 500 watts, 12 channels, and 17 speakers, plus an HD radio tuner. All Genesis sound systems come with XM Satellite Radio and inputs for USB and iPod attachments, and models with the navigation system also bring the XM NavTraffic service, a Bluetooth interface, and a screen-based menu system.
The Genesis comes with all the expected safety equipment for a high-end luxury sedan, and then some. Side-curtain airbags for front and back occupants, front side airbags, rear side airbags, and active front head restraints are included, along with electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. The 2009 Hyundai Genesis received five-star crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but has not yet been crash-tested by the insurance-affiliated IIHS.