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STYLING | 8 out of 10
“massive and curved without being bulbous”
“there is no question that the car has real road presence”
“the interior is elegant and forward-thinking”
“The center console flows smoothly, almost spaceship-like, into the dash”
Nearly every reviewer noted that the 2009 Hyundai Genesis has styling that takes no chances and is conservative, if not downright bland. “In contrast to the advanced engineering in the Genesis, the styling is more cautious,” said Car and Driver.
Several of the reviews also pointed to the tasteful but derivative nature of the design. Edmunds said, “This Hyundai looks and feels very much like a top-line Lexus,” and Automobile assessed the Genesis’s overall effect as “at worst benign, the car assuming a kind of generic upscale visage.” Car and Driver best summed up all the cues, pointing to “a bit of S-Class in the headlights, a hint of Lexus GS in the hood, some 5-series in the taillights, and a BMW- or Nissan-like kink in the C-pillars.”
The prominent, brightly chromed grille, which helps bring a sense of proportion from the front, was the focus of several positive comments. Autoblog didn’t heap as much praise as the rest, saying simply that beyond the grille, the styling isn’t that memorable.
Though the exterior of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis did little to raise the pulse of any reviewers, most were gushing with compliments regarding the stylish interior, which wows with surfaces, materials, and hues unseen on Hyundai’s lesser models. “If the exterior sets modest expectations, the interior exceeds them,” said Car and Driver. Nearly all versions of the Genesis come with a leather-wrapped dash and glossy wood accents. Most said that these rank it alongside vehicles from traditional luxury brands, but Motor Trend took issue with the “unconvincing fake wood appliqués.”
The dashboard forgoes the pronounced dual-cockpit design of some sport sedans for a more open design. “The soft curves of the sweeping dashboard architecture are complemented by an elegantly adorned center stack,” describes Edmunds, also noting, “The instrument panel’s white-on-black electroluminescent gauges look like they came straight out of a Lexus.”
TheCarConnection.com’s editors share the views of most of our colleagues; if you don’t catch the grille—which looks a bit like those on older Mercedes-Benz models from some angles—the Genesis blends into the crowd. But then again, that probably goes to show that Hyundai has achieved its goal. Its interior, with its rich materials and a design unlike that of Hyundai’s mainstream vehicles, is impressive by any measure.
The 2009 Hyundai Genesis might be mistaken on the street—or inside—for a more prestigious luxury brand, but that’s a good thing.