GE NE SAIS QUOI
2015 Hyundai Genesis RWD 3.8
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, May 30, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Reed Berry
The life of an automotive journalist certainly is varied and interesting. Generally, I find myself behind the wheel of a car I consider to be quite good. Sometimes, I’m treated to a vehicle that is nothing short of amazing. Then, of course, there are other times I find myself navigating the streets and highways in a vehicle that results in nothing more than a yawn, followed by a scratch of the head as I wonder what designers were thinking as they created such a mediocre product. Fortunately, the latter doesn’t apply to the current version of the Hyundai Genesis sedan.
There’s certainly nothing mediocre about this stylish luxury sedan. In fact, a vehicle that I considered to be quite boxy and a bit unattractive in years past has become quite the looker. It’s bold without being too big, and sleek without having too low a profile. In other words, it seems to be just about the right size for a vehicle of its type, and for the lengthy list of features packed inside. Sophisticated without being pretentious, it’s dressy enough for any event or occasion.
The price tag on my test vehicle is just shy of the 50K mark. Genesis starts out as a $38,000 car and, as such, is nicely equipped. This vehicle, however, is fully loaded with three optional packages totaling $11,000. The signature package ($4,000) includes a number of comfort and convenience features, including a panoramic sun roof and ventilated front seats. The tech package ($3,500) features smart cruise control plus a variety of cool safety features such as lane departure warning. The ultimate package ($3,500) provides a head-up driver display, a premium audio system, power trunk lid and genuine—yes, genuine—wood and aluminum interior trim.
At $50K, one might think this is the top of the Genesis line but, actually, that is the Genesis 5.0 with a powerful 420-horsepower 32-valve V8 engine and a base price nearly $14,000 higher. This vehicle has a 311-horsepower 24-valve V6, so I’m wondering if it will have sufficient power to put a smile on my face during my coastal road trip from L.A. through Ventura into scenic Santa Barbara. At first glance, things do look promising with the presence of paddle shifters, something typically found in vehicles with ample power and true sport characteristics.
As I make my way onto the 101 Freeway, everything seems to work in perfect mechanical harmony. The V6 engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and efficiently. The steering is quite responsive and the car is surprisingly agile considering it weighs in at over 4,000 pounds. Acceleration is fairly quick and confident with only a slight hesitation, allowing me to pass slower moving vehicles with relative ease. A blind spot detection feature, part of the signature package, warns me via lighted indicators in the rear view mirrors as vehicles approach from the rear on either side.
The driving experience is further enhanced in a variety of ways. Genesis is equipped with a new Intelligent Drive Mode that allows you to select from four modes based on driving conditions and personal preferences. Eco mode for fuel economy, Normal mode for, well, normal driving (makes sense), Sport mode for more dynamic driving and Snow mode for low-traction conditions. And, from the “What will they think of next?” file, my test vehicle is equipped with a haptic steering wheel (included in the Tech package) that actually vibrates as a safety warning should the driver start to drift out of their lane or if they start to change lanes with a vehicle approaching in their blind spot.
My overall impression of the vehicle’s interior is quite favorable. It’s spacious and, thanks to the aforementioned wood trim and aluminum accents, does an excellent job of blending luxury with sport. There’s something on the dash panel that adds a touch of class, although I doubt if younger passengers would recognize it since it has no numbers and isn’t on their smart phone—an old-timey analog clock. Now there’s a blast from the pre-digital past!
As you would expect in a luxury sedan with a variety of convenience features and infotainment options, there are many buttons and controls, all neatly arranged to maintain the stylish appearance of the interior rather than giving it a cockpit-type look and feel. I’m sure an owner would eventually adapt to the placement of said controls, however, I find myself changing the temperature when I actually want to adjust the volume on the radio because the buttons are in such close proximity.
Speaking of radio, a respectable seven-speaker audio system comes standard and an eardrum-pleasing 17-speaker premium Lexicon audio system is included in the Ultimate package. Both systems have all the basics – AM, FM, and a CD player – plus satellite radio by subscription. While I’m not a fan of HD radio technology in moving vehicles, it seems to do a decent job in this system. USB and auxiliary input jacks are provided for other devices. A navigation system with 8-inch display comes standard, while a larger 9.2-inch screen with multimedia controller is optional.
The seating surfaces are reasonably comfortable. Leather seating surfaces with heated front seats come standard, while premium “ultra leather” seats are included in the Tech package. Despite the 12-way adjustable front seats, no matter how I adjust them I find myself squirming in my seat a bit and feel a little numbness in my legs after being on the road for a while. I’m not saying this is due to a flaw in the design of the seats, maybe it’s a flaw in the design of my legs, but upon arriving in Santa Barbara it feels great to step out of the car and get the blood circulating again.
As roomy as the passenger compartment is, Hyundai certainly didn’t short Genesis on trunk space. 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space will easily hold a few suitcases, golf clubs and several bags of groceries. There’s even a handy cargo net. The trunk lid in my test vehicle closes automatically at the touch of a button and opens just as easily with the push of a button on the proximity key.
This car has another interesting feature that you won’t even notice until the sun goes down. At night, upon approaching and unlocking the vehicle, the side mirrors open from a folded position and the Hyundai Genesis logo is projected on the ground on each side of the car to welcome the driver and passengers. This may seem a bit over-the-top to some but, after all, this is a luxury sedan and such a feature plays right into the upscale ambiance of the vehicle, not to mention being particularly helpful if you forget what kind of car you drive.
Overall, the Hyundai Genesis 3.8 RWD performs impressively and provides all the power one would probably require for everyday driving. Car buyers with a bigger checkbook may opt for the more powerful 5.0, but with the larger engine and 400 pounds of added weight, one wonders if it will be as agile as the lighter 3.8 and, needless to say, there will be a sacrifice in fuel economy. For the price conscious, the 348-horsepower Genesis Coupe is a less-expensive alternative to either Genesis sedan with a starting MSRP of $26,750.
For more information on Hyundai products: www.hyundaiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2015 Hyundai Genesis RWD 3.8 Base Price: MSRP: $38,000 As tested: $49,950 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Highway): City / Highway: 18/29 (16/25 AWD) Engine type: 3.8-liter DOHC V6; Gasoline direct injection Horsepower: 311 @ 6000 rpm Torque: 293 @ 5000 rpm Transmission type: 8-Speed Automatic with Shiftronic and Paddle Shifters Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive (All-wheel drive optional) Steering: Rack-mounted motor-driven power steering Brakes: Power 4-wheel disc brakes with antilock braking system Wheels: 18” premium alloy wheels Dimensions Overall length: 196.5 inches Overall width: 74.4 inches (excluding mirrors) Overall height: 58.3 inches Curb weight: 4,138 pounds (4,295 pounds AWD)