All-Wheel Drive Hyundai Genesis? Not Until Next-Gen 2014

May 14, 2011
2012 Hyundai Genesis

2012 Hyundai Genesis

Striving to be a luxury automaker for its top-end models – and doing rather well at it, we might say – it looks like Korean automaker Hyundai won’t be offering an all-wheel drive version of the Genesis luxury sedan until the next generation model. According to a report in Car and Driver, that won’t be until the 2014 model year.

Can you get along without it in the meantime?

Ask fans of the car in its current rear-wheel drive iteration and you might think, sure, it’s fine the way it is. Ask those who yearn for more power and AWD and the answer may be quite something different.

FamilyCarGuide would like to point out just how far Hyundai has come in a very short while. Who’d have thought a decade ago that the automaker would ever be high on the shopping consideration lists of so many Americans? At the time, Hyundai was regarded as a maker of low quality, forgettable vehicles at cheap prices.

That was then. Now, it’s a whole different story.

With a string of new product introductions that have struck a chord with American buyers, Hyundai has managed not only to reinvent itself but, in the case of the Genesis sedan, sneak up to the ranks of premium sedans from Lexus, Infiniti, Acura and Cadillac. Lately, dare we say Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz?

Let’s look at a brief sales comparison, just to see where the numbers are. In 2010, Hyundai sold 29,122 Genesis models. So far in 2011, Genesis accounted for 9,536 sales (calendar year-to-date through April). BMW sold 39,488 5-Series last year and 16,721 2011 CYTD. Cadillac CTS sold 45,656 (coupe, sedan and wagon, as well as CTS-V variants) in 2010 and 18,519 January through April this year. Mercedes-Benz E-Class sold 60,922 units in 2010 and 20,411 in 2011 CYTD (although this includes sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon models). Infiniti G sedan accounted for 41,653 sales in 2010. The front-wheel drive Lexus ES racked up 2010 sales of 48,652 while Lexus GS (available in RWD and AWD) sold just 7,059. Buick LaCrosse, meanwhile, cross-shopped with Genesis as an upscale family sedan, which comes in FWD and AWD models, reported 2010 sales of 61,178.

Hold on a second. Hyundai Genesis doesn’t offer AWD.

Stop, already. Here’s what you get in the 2011 Hyundai Genesis sedan, and it’s quite remarkable, all things considered – especially for a family sedan that combines luxury with affordability.

Safety – Eight standard airbags, five-star rollover rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in more stringent 2011 crash testing (frontal and side crash test, not rated) and Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Performance – Two engines, 285-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 engine in Genesis 3.8 and 385-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 in Genesis 4.6. Both are mated with six-speed automatic, Aisin in Genesis 3.8 and ZF in Genesis 4.6. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 17/25, respectively. Speaking of performance, Hyundai says the V-8-powered Genesis does zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

Starting price: $33,000 for Genesis 3.8, $43,000 for Genesis 4.8.

2012 Hyundai Genesis

2012 Hyundai Genesis

Enlarge Photo

In a wish list of items to go along with the next-gen AWD Genesis luxury sedan, maybe throw in the high-performance 429-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 R-Spec model and new eight-speed transmission in the 2012 Genesis, a whole laundry list of super-high-tech (and, conceivably more affordable) and safety features – all at very attractive Hyundai prices? And, of course, it has to include the incomparable Hyundai 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and Hyundai Assurance Trade-in Value Guarantee.

The 2012 Genesis arrives this summer. Guess we’ll just have to wait to see what Hyundai dreams up to entice consumers into the 2014 model. After all, the competition sure won't be standing still.

For more in-depth information on the 2011 Hyundai Genesis (and other models mentioned here), check out TheCarConnection.

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[Car and Driver]

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