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2015 Hyundai Genesis Review +VIDEO By Steve Purdy

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By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

We attended the regional launch event in suburban Detroit last year for the new Genesis and were impressed with this second generation of the full-size, rear-wheel drive luxury sedan by Korean carmaker Hyundai. We loved the first generation of the car for its style, design and content along with the two powertrains that felt as sophisticated as anything in the market.

Now, we’ve had a week to live with one version of this fine car. In spite of the bitter cold temps and intermittently slick roads limiting our exploration of its limits we’re as impressed now as we were then.

This redesigned Hyundai Genesis represents just the second generation as they compete against some mighty impressive products from around the world. In size we think of it along side Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza, Chevy Impala and Ford Taurus although it is a tad upscale from those. Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class are all a half-step bigger and much pricier. Genesis fits between those two categories of luxury/sport sedans and if you make careful comparisons you’ll find the Genesis an exceptional value.

The criticism sometimes leveled is that the style and design lacks passion. It is certainly a conservative design over all. The new Genesis gets a bolder face with a larger, aggressive grille that looks like a Chrysler 300 at first glace. The new badge even looks like the winged Chrysler badge. The rear view also gets strengthened but is virtually indistinguishable from Lexus or a half-dozen others. The last Genesis had a grill you could barely tell from a Mercedes from a distance.

The new interior gets a variety of upgrades including a horizontally-oriented dash, larger navigation/ multifunction screen and fresh, upscale materials. The analog clock, in this reporters view, is a must for any luxury car and the Genesis has one, though its design is less than impressive. Real wood trim inside even looks like wood with a non-glazed finish. The electronic instruments and head-up display are new as well. A variety of wood, metal, plastic and leather trims blend well without looking too busy.

The cabin is remarkably quiet. We found the standard leather seating comfortable and these new, finer materials surround the cabin. Controls were mostly sensible and easily managed. The multifunction screen is manipulated both by touch and with a control knob on the console. A practical mix of knobs and buttons made the basic functions easy.

Under the hood the engine/transmission combinations are carried over from the previous generation – that is, a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 and a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The new rear-wheel drive platform - 3 inches longer than the last one – allows for an all-wheel drive option for those of us who deal with winter conditions and those who just like the extra poise of having all the wheels in play when needed. Our test car has AWD with the V6 and the EPA estimates fuel mileage to be 16 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 19 combined. We experienced an average this week of just under18 mpg on about half highway and half local driving. As a disclaimer we’ll confirm that the average high temperature this week was in single digits Fahrenheit. That’s never good for mileage.

Three driving modes change suspension settings, shift points and steering input. The extra responsiveness in sport mode is easily felt in throttle response and shift points but I felt no difference in suspension tuning. Ride and handling overall we’d call excellent. This is not a German-style stiff sporty ride, nor is it soft or floaty. As Goldilocks might say, it’s just right.

The question was asked by one of our colleagues recently, “Why opt for an Equus considering what you get with the Genesis?” Good question since Genesis is an impressive car. I reviewed the Equus recently and it has a much bigger back seat, substantially more luxury and more standard electronic content. They are, in fact, quite different.

Our test car - the AWD six-cylinder model - shows a base price of $40.500. The base content will make most people happy. This particular car has three major option packages resulting in it being loaded to the gills with just about everything available and the sticker shows $52,500.

Hyundai’s warranty covers the whole car for 5 years or 60,000 miles and the powertrain for 10 years of 100,000 miles.

A couple of innovations new to this Genesis are: a standard air quality sensor that will detect sleep inducing CO2 in the cabin and automatically bring in fresh air, and a slick system of opening the trunk hands- and feet-free. Unlike Ford’s system that requires us to wave a foot under the bumper, this system just requires the driver to stand behind the car for three seconds with the fob in his/her pocket.

We liked the previous generation Genesis because of its unpretentious but classy style, amazing content and solid, practical luxury along with engines that sing on full throttle just like the Germans. We like the new one for the same reasons.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved