2010 Hyundai Genesis Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
November 8, 2009

The 2010 Hyundai Genesis is a power play for luxury credibility-and it's just about the equal of mid-size luxury rivals from Lexus and Infiniti.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Hyundai Genesis for this hands-on road test. Editors also have driven competitive vehicles and compared the Genesis to other full-size luxury sedans. TCC's companion Full Review sums up the observations from other respected car Web sites, to bring you a comprehensive view of the new Genesis from a variety of expert sources.

The 2010 Hyundai Genesis is a sporty rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan that takes the top position in Hyundai's lineup, above the front-wheel-drive Azera. In its second year of production, the Genesis returns with an updated navigation system, a new adaptive cruise control option, and other minor trim adjustments. With a base price of about $33,000 for V-6 versions and $38,000 for the V-8 edition, the Genesis claims larger luxury sedans like the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series as its competition-though it naturally lines up against such sedans as the Chrysler 300, Lexus GS, and Infiniti M as well.

With the Genesis, Hyundai approaches design from a new perspective. There's real sophistication in the sedan's flowing roofline and its wide grille that's been missing from the company's cars. It's proportioned as smartly as most European and Japanese sport sedans. And though its styling cues seem more familiar than fresh, it does have it share of distinct pieces, like its bright, wide grille. Also distinct: a lack of "Hyundai" badges. Inside, there's more experimentation-and it's successful. It's not as derivative, with gentle curves and a dashboard that lifts controls high, to leave a slimmer center console and more interior space. Some trim levels offer leather-wrapped dash and door panels, and they're quite striking.

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The 2010 Genesis offers upscale shoppers a choice of two engines, though both share ride and handling that's considerably softer than those of comparable German sedans. The base engine is a 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6; a powerful 375-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 is the upgrade option. Even with the V-6, performance is swift, but the V-8 is truly quick, particularly so for the price class. A six-speed automatic shifts gears in both, and it's invisible in its action. Both engines are reasonably frugal, with even the V-8 earning EPA ratings of 18/27 mpg. The Genesis' independent suspension has multiple links and lightweight aluminum construction for nimbler response, but the big Hyundai sedan's tuned more toward the comfort zone. It doesn't have the steering crispness or the taut ride quality of a Benz or BMW, but it strikes a good balance of comfort and responsiveness.

The Genesis is Hyundai's first true luxury sedan, and it's clear the automaker put a priority on interior room. The long wheelbase gives front and rear passenger ample leg- and headroom, so it's a true five-seat sedan. In front, bucket seats are padded and formed well, not thickly bolstered as sports sedans might be, but cozy, with good knee room. The backseat's legroom is outstanding-much more spacious than most sport sedans. Trunk space is considerable, and interior storage in the console, glove boxes, and door panels is good. The Genesis' build quality and refinement is far ahead of those of even more recent, well-done Hyundais, and truly competitive with Japanese brands. There's leather, tightly grained plastic, laminated glass to damp noise, and plenty of handsome detailing.

The 2010 Genesis has extensive safety equipment and earns top safety scores from both NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Eight airbags in all-dual front, side curtain, and front and rear-seat side airbags-are standard, along with stability control and anti-lock brakes. Outward visibility is good, and the Genesis now offers adaptive cruise control to go with its available rear camera and front and rear parking sensors.

The 2010 Genesis has a smart array of standard luxury and entertainment features. They include dual-zone automatic climate control; a sunroof; cruise control; power doors, locks, heated mirrors, and heated seats; leather upholstery; Bluetooth; and a seven-speaker, AM/FM/CD/XM audio system with an auxiliary jack and a USB port. The V-8 Genesis adds premium leather on the seats and on the dash, as well as rain-sensing wipers and a rear sunshade. A new touch-screen navigation system is standard on the V-8 and available on the V-6 sedan; it includes XM NavTraffic. A Technology Package adds ventilated front seats, adaptive headlights, and an electronic parking brake. TheCarConnection.com recommends the optional 500-watt Lexicon sound system, which comes with 17 speakers, HD Radio, and exceptional sound quality.

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