STORIES FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS
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Published on Sat, Jul 9, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
In the beginning, there was Mercedes, BMW and Audi. And then came Acura, Lexus and Infiniti. And before us we have the Hyundai Genesis. To understand the Genesis, one must look at the evolution of another well-known Korean mark, Samsung. Once a me-to upstart, Samsung evolved into the maker of first-tier, top-rated electronics. Today, it's the most popular brand of high-definition flat screen monitors. Hyundai had similarly humble beginnings in this country. Lately, it's been known for very reliable, value-conscious vehicles. With the Genesis, however, Hyundai is ready to follow the path of Samsung. Beware, luxury car makers. Hyundai has arrived. By Joseph Manalili Hyundai is making some major inroads into the American car market. As any average Angeleno can tell you as he or she sits in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there seems to be new and interesting Hyundais pulling up all the time. These aren’t the cheap Hyundais of the past with poor designs, minimal features and matching reliability. No, these new Hyundais have taken lessons from their Japanese peers and supersized them with features normally found in luxury brands like Lexus and Acura. Hyundai continues its movement forward with a luxury vehicle that will surprise the average driver—i.e., the Hyundai Genesis. What was universally asked by me and all the passengers that accompanied me on several test drives was one question: “This is a Hyundai?”
After test driving the Genesis, it seems clear that Hyundai has ventured into the high-end drivers market of full-size sedans with great seriousness. That market is populated with such favorites as the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon but also includes luxury models such as the Lexus ES and GS. For those considering the full-size sedan, Hyundai is probably not something they would consider. That stems from a perception – maybe a misperception – that Hyundai’s vehicles are not up to par in design or reliability with similarly-priced Hondas and Toyotas. Yet its new vehicles are changing that perception. Recently, Hyundai has developed some nice sedans with some great luxury features, at prices below its close competitors and reaches for those at a higher echelon. Plus, it still provides a generous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty that other automakers cannot beat. With the Genesis, Hyundai seems to be trying to challenge the domination of Lexus, Infiniti, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the upscale sedan market. Indeed, Hyundai considered those companies large vehicles when developing the Genesis. I test drove a 2011 Genesis with the 4,6 liter V8 engine. At the base price of $43,000 ($33,000 for the Genesis 3.8 V6), the Genesis offers a whole lot of luxury for a very decent price compared to others in this class.
Although this is a large vehicle, my first impression is that it doesn’t feel overly big because of the vehicle’s styling of sleek lines and curved angles. Interestingly, aside from the H emblem above the trunk, one cannot immediately discern that this is a Hyundai. It could easily be confused with any number of its direct competitors. The design is immediately accessible to most consumers. The Genesis interior cabin impresses me and many of my passengers with features associated with luxury vehicles: high-quality soft leather seats, wood-paneling, an impressive Lexicon sound system, navigation, seat warmers and coolers, chrome accents, leather-wrapped dash, and more. The lighting and gauges are easy to see and read. The iPod interface works seamlessly. The Bluebooth connection for mobile phones is easy to set up and works great. The cabin feels very roomy and comfortably, sitting five with good head and leg room. The generous trunk space of easily accommodates four small suitcases and more. However, not everything is executed well. The joystick controller for navigation and audio functions is rather clunky and confusing. It’s not the most intuitive control.
Equipped with a 385 horsepower V8 engine, the Genesis possesses a lot of power but its heaviness gets in the way. The car seems a bit sluggish for a V8 and takes a longer than expected time to accelerate to speed. Once it does, however, it cruises easily at high speeds down the freeway. Still, it is not as nimble as one might prefer, which makes weaving in and out of traffic with this car a little difficult. Of course, this is not a sports car and was not designed with that type of driver in mind. Like others in this market, the Genesis is built for long, slow but very comfortable drives. It accelerates smoothly and cruises well on all surfaces, providing a soft ride. It also provides decent gas mileage at 17 city/26 highway miles per gallon. Overall, the Genesis is a viable alternative to other full-size, luxury vehicles in this class. The sumptuous and feature-filled interior, the easily likeable and accessible exterior and the comfortable ride makes the Genesis worth considering for those in the market for an upscale sedan. Indeed, considering its price of around $44,000, it might even make sound financial sense for those wanting to tighten the financial belt without completely depriving oneself.
For more information about Hyundai products, go to www.hyundaiusa.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Hyundai Genesis sedan Price: $44,500 (V8 model) EPA mileage rating 17 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway Engine: 4.6 liter 32-valve DOHC V8 with CVVT
Horsepower: 385 at 6500 rpm Torque: 333 pound-feet at 4500 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic with shift interlock and SHIFTRONIC® Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Suspension: Multi-link (5) independent front suspension Multi-link (5) independent rear suspension Brakes: Ventilated front disc / solid rear disc brakes Includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) Dimensions: Length: 196.3 inches Width: 74.4 inches Height: 58.3 inches Curb Weight: 4024 pounds