2016 Hyundai Genesis Review

Consumer Reviews
4 Reviews
2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
June 28, 2016

Buying tip

The best value, and the best-handling version, is the Genesis 3.8 Ultimate, which includes the prime safety and infotainment features, and has

The 2016 Hyundai Genesis is a legitimate heavyweight contender, with excellent safety and features and good road manners in V-6 form.

True to its name, the Hyundai Genesis has been the start of something entirely new at Hyundai. An excellent first-generation effort at building a globally competitive luxury four-door sedan has been replaced by an even better vehicle in its second generation, which was new in the 2015 model year.

The Genesis returns for the 2016 model year with few changes. Both its badge and its $40,000 base price continue to distance it from most other luxury cars that it rightly rivals. It's undoubtedly raised the bar for the brand, and established Hyundai as a legitimate luxury player—if for now on an Acura level, not yet on par with Mercedes and the like.

The first-generation Genesis had a pleasantly anodyne body, with just a few flares of South Korean style in its grille and secondary controls. The new Genesis goes out of its way to blur even those touches, adopting a new roofline and grille that are striking in combination. The grille's grown up, down, and out in a shape that bears more than a passing resemblance to VW and Audi noses; the winged Genesis badge could be on a Bentley. Down the side, and especially from the rear quarters, the passing references to BMWs are unmistakable. There may be nothing new under the sun, but at least the interpretation of global design cues works well on the new Genesis, putting some good distance between the new car and the 2009-2014 edition.

Review continues below

Inside, the Genesis is simple and feels more like it has its own identity. The dash has a horizontal, shelf-like orientation, and a great layout that’s attractive yet sensible, with the navigation and infotainment screen up high at the middle, and a visually satisfying combination of extensive wood trim facing the passenger with a gently curved, soft dash top.

The base engine remains a 3.8-liter V-6, now rated at 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque; the 5.0-liter V-8 version puts out 420 hp and 383 lb-ft. They're both teamed to the same 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and they integrate a four-mode system (Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow) that tailors shift quality, throttle response, and stability control to the driver's taste. The bigger news is in traction. After rolling through the first five years as a rear-drive sedan, the Genesis added all-wheel drive for 2015. The new system can vary the split of torque from the rear to the front wheels as traction needs arise, and Hyundai says it adds only about 165 pounds to the car's weight. The downside is that it lowers gas mileage, quite significantly.

The Hyundai Genesis has a nicely tuned rear-wheel-drive architecture, but it's clearly no sport sedan, and that's underscored when the road turns tighter and twistier. The Genesis V-6 feels considerably lighter and more responsive than the V-8 models, however—because it's lighter by more than 400 pounds. For all versions, there's a new five-link independent suspension front and rear; it has more wheel travel and stiffer construction—and some tuning help from Lotus Engineering. Top Genesis 5.0 Ultimate models have an available Continuous Damping Control (CDC) air suspension that can be toggled from Normal to Sport mode—although we're not convinced on the worth of this system. What is a pleasant surprise is the responsive feel that comes from the Genesis' electric-assist, variable-ratio steering.

As for whether the Genesis has what you need in a large luxury sedan, it's a matter of wants and needs. If most of your driving is on straight boulevards and freeways, the Genesis has all the performance you'll need—with an ideal mix of comfort mixed in, without ever feeling wallowy. Only if you regularly need to head over a mountain pass or along a canyon road will you understand (and care) that this definitely isn't a sport sedan.

The Hyundai Genesis is first and foremost a comfort-oriented luxury sedan, and this is just as apparent if you're in back as if you're in front. The front seats can be powered in as many as 12 directions, with four-way lumbar adjustment, heating, and ventilation. The rear seats can be heated as well.

The Genesis is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, and while there might technically be less rear legroom here than before, the Genesis feels roomier when it comes down to what matters for adults—getting in and out easily, and not constantly rubbing against the headliner or up with the moonroof housing. It's certainly easier than in the front-wheel-drive Hyundai Azera—with no need to duck when getting in and out—and the more upright package and more formal roofline adds up to a cabin that feels airier inside. It's also incredibly quiet inside.

Throughout the cabin of the Hyundai Genesis, you'll find impressive materials and top-notch fit and finish. And whether you've owned various vehicles with luxury badges in the past or you're new to luxury cars entirely, you won't likely find anything missing in the comfort or ambiance.

Safety ratings, with five stars from the feds and Top Safety Pick+ status from the IIHS, are top-notch all around; but in addition to nine standard airbags (with the addition of a driver's knee bag for 2015), the Genesis includes high-beam assist, rearview camera, and front and rear parking assistance. There's also a suite of active-safety features such as blind-spot monitors and active lane-assist features. For many of these features, you'll also get haptic feedback (a vibration warning you of hazards); the Genesis is the first Hyundai to offer such a feature.

Hyundai's second-generation BlueLink telematics system had its debut in the latest Genesis sedan. New features include integration with Google Glass; Google Destination Search; remote start; and a new system of notifications that reminds drivers to warm their car in warm weather, or gives recommended departure times for a destination entered into the navigation system by smartphone app.

Those who are new to luxury cars and premium brands are often shocked to find that it's easy to add tens of thousands of dollars to the bottom-line sticker price—often just to get some of the features that you might assume to be included in a luxury model. That's not the case with the Hyundai Genesis, which at about $40,000 base includes a long list of features like rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera system, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen system with navigation. All-wheel-drive models slot in at just $2,500 more and include heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and headlamp washers, too. Genesis 5.0 (V-8) models start at about $54,000 with all that as standard, and add LED fog lamps, larger 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, illuminated door sill plates, and matte-finish wood and aluminum trim.

The Genesis V-6 with rear-wheel drive returns EPA fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 29 highway, 22 combined. With all-wheel drive, that falls to 16/25/19 mpg. With its optional V-8, the Genesis is rated at 15/23/18 mpg.

8

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Styling

The Hyundai Genesis weaves familiar styling themes with some punchy details for a handsome look.

The Hyundai Genesis aims to stand out (and stand apart) at Hyundai dealerships, yet fit right in with luxury benchmarks that cost far more. And you can see that delicate dichotomy of missions in the way the Genesis looks. It's not derivative of anything in particular, but you don’t need to be a car expert to see that Hyundai looked to Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, among others, for inspiration, and then mashed it up with some of its own language.

Also worth noting: the lack of a Hyundai badge at the front of the car. Hyundai only applies a Genesis badge, which solicits a little more intrigue. On close inspection, the Genesis badge looks even more like a Bentley emblem this time.

The first-generation Genesis had a pleasantly anodyne body, with just a few flares of South Korean style in its grille and secondary controls. The latest Genesis goes out of its way to blur even those touches, adopting a new roofline and grille that are striking in combination.

Hyundai has taken the hexagonal grille that’s been appearing in refreshed models throughout the Hyundai lineup—like in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata—and cut it into the somewhat more ornate look of the outgoing Genesis, to yield a look that’s more textured and nuanced, yet even more in-your-face beaming with brightwork than before. From the front, the Audi influence is unmistakable, but if you step a bit to the side, it doesn’t have any intersection at all, with its swept-back lamps and different hood sculpting.

Down the side, and especially from the rear quarters, the passing references to BMWs are unmistakable. It might be nothing new individually, but it works well on the new Genesis, putting some good distance between the new car and the 2009-2014 edition.

Up close, the look can appear a little too blunt from some angles, but the shorter overhangs give the Genesis a great presence from most angles, including at the rear, where the look is undeniably softer and more elegant.

Inside, the big luxury sedan trades some vertical shapes and curved silhouettes for straight lines and sharp edges. Lexus has gone a similar route with its latest sedans, emphasizing horizontal lines and a flatter presentation that's more flattering than before. The corners of the vents flanking the central touchscreen point angle off on opposing tangents; the rectangles that divide out the space for the shift lever, cupholders, even the clock impose a regularity on the console that seems slimmer but looks more substantial.

The square timepiece acts as a central visual point for the controls otherwise, which put climate and audio controls just beside and below; the dash bypasses the entirely configurable screen-based gauge clusters of some current models and instead goes with nice, neat analog electroluminescent gauges.

Review continues below
7

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Performance

Performance with the Genesis is balanced and impressive; it's not a sports sedan, though, and the V-8 is unnecessary.

With a choice between V-6 and V-8 powertrains, and a rear-wheel-drive architecture, the Hyundai Genesis has the essentials to challenge sport-luxury sedans from Germany, England, and America. While it's not quite as sporty as an E-Class, a 5-Series, or a CTS, it's a strong performer, with a subtle and nuanced set of road manners that pay their own dividends.

The Genesis' base engine is a 311-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 with 293 pound-feet of torque. It runs on regular unleaded gas, has direct injection for better gas mileage—and it sings up its rev range responsively with the standard 8-speed automatic. Even the base model has a manual-shift mode and paddle shift controls for a measure of direct gear control.

There's also a V-8 engine, but its somewhat stronger acceleration isn't that different from the V-6; it's more a status symbol and a triumph of sound isolation than a stunning revelation in acceleration versus the V-6. The 5.0-liter V-8 is direct-injected, and has impressively smooth power delivery as it puts out 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque through the same 8-speed, paddle-shifted automatic.

Both engines integrate with a four-mode system (Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow) that tailors shift quality, throttle response, and stability control to the driver's taste. Whether in Normal or Sport, we found none of the hesitant downshift behavior that we've noted in some other Hyundai models; the Genesis responds quickly and decisively to a quick prod of the accelerator, and smartly downshifts a gear or two when you ease into it.

The bigger news is in traction. After rolling through the first five years as a rear-drive sedan, the Genesis added all-wheel drive for 2015. The new system can vary the split of torque from the rear to the front wheels as traction needs arise, and Hyundai says it adds only about 165 pounds to the car's weight.

Fitting all-wheel drive required a redesign of the Genesis' body structure, which in turn brought more high-strength steel into the body, for much higher levels of rigidity. That in turn helps the Genesis handle better than ever, Hyundai promises. It still sports a five-link independent suspension front and rear, but with more wheel travel and stiffer construction—and some tuning help from Lotus Engineering on rear-drive, V-6 models.

That help clearly pays off in the base version. The Genesis has a nicely tuned rear-wheel-drive architecture, but it's clearly no sport sedan, and that's underscored when the road turns tighter and twistier. The Genesis V-6 feels considerably lighter and more responsive than the V-8 models—because it's lighter by more than 400 pounds—but steering response and shock damping is also better than other trims.

The Genesis' steering is far better than expected; the new electric variable-ratio power steering has rack-mounted motor assist and feels like it could translate with no changes to a true sport sedan. It's neither overly heavy on center nor artificially light, and it loads up nicely with heft off center; it's also a perfect model for the kind of steering calibration Hyundai needs in its other vehicles.

The only disappointment was that significant nosedive, together with a rather mushy brake-pedal feel, conspired to give us an imprecise, hybrid-like feel to quick stops from city or boulevard speeds.

On the top Genesis 5.0 Ultimate—a model that we spent some time in on an early drive—there's an available Continuous Damping Control air suspension that can be toggled from Normal to Sport mode. But we thought that model neither rode nor handled quite as well as the less-nose-heavy V-6, although it did manage to filter out some roughest bits of pavement.

As for whether the Genesis has what you need in a large luxury sedan, it's a matter of wants and needs. If most of your driving is on straight boulevards and freeways, the Genesis has all the performance you'll need—with an ideal mix of comfort mixed in, without ever feeling wallowy. Only if you regularly need to head over a mountain pass or along a canyon road will you understand (and care) that this definitely isn't a sport sedan.

Review continues below
9

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Comfort & Quality

Thoughtfully designed, spacious, and quiet, the Hyundai Genesis is an impressive effort.

With its handsome new look, the Hyundai Genesis gets its interior and storage space rejiggered. It's technically very slightly smaller than before its 2015 redesign, but at first look, it's a trade-off that nets out with a nicer cockpit.

The Genesis is first and foremost a comfort-oriented luxury sedan, and this is just as apparent if you're in back as if you're in front. The front seats can be powered in as many as 12 directions, with four-way lumbar adjustment, heating, and ventilation. The rear seats can be heated as well.

The Genesis is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, and while there might technically be less rear leg room here, but the Genesis feels roomier when it comes down to what matters for adults—getting in and out easily, and not constantly rubbing against the headliner or up with the moonroof housing. Getting in and out is far easier here than in the front-wheel-drive Hyundai Azera—with no need to duck when getting in and out—and the more upright package and more formal roofline adds up to a cabin that feels airier inside.

If there's one issue, it's trunk space, which is rated at just 15.3 cubic feet—in the same vicinity as that of many compact sedans like the 2016 Civic—and there is no seat folding. Instead, you get a meager trunk pass-through at the back of the middle position in back.

Hyundai has redone the Genesis' controls for a less cluttered look and feel—with fewer small buttons—and overall we can't say we're missing anything here. With the navigation and infotainment screen up high at the middle, and a square, ornate timepiece acting as a central point for the controls otherwise, you have some "hot buttons" for climate and audio controls just beside and below, and a rotary/button controller that acts as an alternate controller to navigate through touch-screen menus. It's not nearly as satisfying as the controllers for Audi's MMI or BMW's iDrive, however, and you won't find features here like the ability to trace input characters.

Throughout the cabin of the 2016 Hyundai Genesis, you'll find impressive materials and top-notch fit and finish. And whether you've owned various vehicles with luxury badges in the past or you're new to luxury cars entirely, you won't likely find anything missing in the comfort or ambiance.

The Genesis does start to show a few flaws when you dig a little deeper. For instance, the center-console cover, rather than using the sort of perfectly counterweighted or smoothly damped mechanisms that you’d see in some prestige-luxury cars, uses a simple hinge and little rubber bump stops.

The outgoing version of the Genesis was pretty good at keeping things quiet, and we think that the new version does even better—with superb isolation away from engine, road, and wind noise. Hyundai has even fitted a low-noise fuel pump, added additional insulation around the rear differential, thickened doors, reshaped the sunroof articulation, and increased insulation and improved sealing at the cowl. You'll have absolutely no problem carrying on a quiet conversation among passengers, no matter where they're sitting.

Review continues below
10

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Safety

The Hyundai Genesis lays claim to some of the best safety features and crash-test scores in the car world.

Large luxury sedans have become rolling showcases for some of the latest accident-avoidance technology; and the Hyundai Genesis is no exception. It's quite the safety flagship for the Hyundai lineup.

From the federal government's new-car testing, the Genesis Sedan earns the top five-star rating for frontal, side crash, and rollover categories—and in nearly all subcategories, including the side pole test, which simulates a 20-mph sideways collision with a utility pole or tree. The only exception where the Genesis earned four stars, rather than five, in the government's subcategories was for driver front-seat protection, in the 38.5-mph side barrier test.

But the IIHS has already tested it, where it earned top "Good" ratings in all tests, including the tough small-overlap frontal category—an especially difficult task for a longitudinal, rear-wheel-drive sedan design like the Genesis. The top scores netted the Genesis a prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award by the agency.

In addition to nine standard airbags (with the addition of a driver's knee bag for 2015), the Genesis includes high-beam assist, a rearview camera system, and front and rear parking assistance.

There's also a suite of active-safety features that includes blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-change assist. Separately, the lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist actually help keep the vehicle in a lane boundary by making mild steering corrections. The system can be deactivated, or minimized based on driver preference. For many of the features, the Genesis actually provides feedback—via vibration. The Genesis is the first Hyundai to offer such a feature.

To help with all of these alerts, there's an available color head-up display that shows shows speed as well as a number of other pieces of information—active-safety alerts and navigation prompts, for instance—only when relevant. We like the simplified layout of this system otherwise.

When fully optioned, Hyundai says that the Genesis has a so-called Sensory Surround Safety System. That includes an advanced automatic emergency braking that brakes from speeds below 50 mph, or partially brakes from higher speeds to reduce the severity of a crash. The adaptive cruise control system can follow in stop-and-go traffic.

Review continues below
10

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Features

The Hyundai Genesis puts value at the top of its features list, with luxury touches on even the base model.

The Hyundai Genesis piles on features in a luxury-car way, but doesn't require endless ticks of the order form to get them. Base models are exceptionally well-equipped, and just a trio of models contains almost all the additional features offered on the sedan.

All Genesis sedans come with power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; automatic climate control; power front seats; tilt/telescoping steering; a rearview camera; steering-wheel shift paddles; an 8.0-inch touchscreen interface with navigation; Bluetooth with audio streaming; and an AM/FM/XM/HD audio system with USB and auxiliary ports.

With the all-wheel-drive model, Hyundai adds heated headlamps washers, rear seats, and steering wheel.

On V-6 Genesis sedans, there are three paths to upgrades. A Signature Package adds blind-spot monitors; automatic headlamps with automatic high-beam control; HID headlamps; ventilated front seats; a power-adjustable steering wheel; a sunroof; a power rear sunshade (and manual side shades); and Lexicon Descrete Logic 7 premium surround audio. Adding the Technology Package brings to that upgraded leather upholstery; a driver's seat cushion extender and side bolster; a larger gauge-cluster LCD display; 64 GB of music storage; and a suite of active-safety features (automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning), with haptic steering-wheel warnings.

At the top of the lineup, the Genesis 5.0 Ultimate costs more than $54,000. On top of the Technology and Signature packages, it adds LED fog lamps, larger 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, illuminated door sill plates, and matte-finish wood and aluminum trim. It also adds the entire Ultimate package, an option on V-6 cars. It includes a power trunklid (with a neat proximity-sensing activation that doesn't require waving your foot); premium navigation with an upgraded display; the head-up display; Lexicon 17-speaker audio; and for the 3.8, matte-finish wood and aluminum trim.

Hyundai's second-generation Blue Link telematics system made its debut in the 2015 Genesis sedan. Standard on all Genesis sedans, it includes integration with Google Glass; Google Destination Search; remote start; and a new system of notifications that reminds drivers to warm their car in warm weather, or gives recommended departure times for a destination entered into the navigation system by smartphone app.

Review continues below
6

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage isn't one of the Hyundai Genesis' more advanced features.

The Hyundai Genesis steers clear of hybrid technology—even stop-start—as it keeps value as a focus. It might keep the sticker price low, but it allows the Genesis to fall shy of the gas-mileage figures posted by some rivals.

European and Japanese luxury models with which the Genesis competes—everything from the Mercedes E-Class to the Infiniti Q70 and Lexus ES—have over the past several years moved to offer either downsized engines, or hybrid or diesel models, or even engine stop-start that bring incremental gains.

The Genesis' modern engine technology includes variable valve timing and direct injection, which together with the 8-speed automatic's wide span of ratios helps deliver these engines' higher output without putting a larger dent in real-world returns.

The Genesis V-6 with rear-wheel drive returns EPA fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 29 highway, 22 combined. With all-wheel drive, that falls to 16/25/19 mpg. With its optional V-8, the Genesis is rated at 15/23/18 mpg.

In an early drive on mostly wide-open expressways and rural two-lane highways, we saw an average of about 25 mpg with a rear-wheel-drive V-6 model and nearly 23 mpg with a V-8.

The V-6 runs on regular-grade gas, while premium is recommended for the V-8.

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

4 Reviews
5 star
75%
4 star
25%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
December 16, 2016
2016 Hyundai Genesis 4-Door Sedan V6 3.8L AWD

This is a great car that is roomy, quiet and has a solid road feel.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Nicest car I've ever driven. It's a keeper! The leather seats and the interior are top notch with the feel of high quality. The eight speed transmission shifts smoothly and quietly.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
November 5, 2016
2016 Hyundai Genesis 4-Door Sedan V6 3.8L RWD

other than fuel economy the best

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
excellant in all cat. other than fuel economy.the last 10 cars iv ether bought or leased (avalons) do not compare.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
May 29, 2016
2016 Hyundai Genesis 4-Door Sedan V6 3.8L RWD

Excellent vehicle for comfort and ride. Features are awesome and safety fearures make me feel very comfortable when driving family.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
This vehicle leaves virtually nothing to want more in a automobile. Only negative comments are that the miles per gallon in city driving could be a little better as are in other vehicles of the same class. I... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
February 28, 2016
2016 Hyundai Genesis 4-Door Sedan V6 3.8L RWD

LOVE THE CAR

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I have 2 small complaints about the car. The headlights cut off too close for night driving and the trunk could be bigger. We travel a lot with friends and my friend has a Camry with a much larger trunk. We... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$17,985 - $32,025
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 10
Features 10
Fuel Economy 6
Compare the 2016 Hyundai Genesis against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Hyundai Genesis?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used