Hyundai signalled their intention to go after some of the more expensive brands on the market with their release of their first ever luxury car in Australia. My brief was simple can the Genesis offer you an alternative to the more expensive European brands and with the demise of the local car industry and the death of locally made large rear wheel drive sedans when Holden and Ford closes in a year or two can the Genesis fill some of the gap left when the locally made cars on gone.
From the outside the Genesis is an extremely good looking car that gives off a waft of luxury, the front end complete with polished aluminim grill HID head lights, DRL’s and fog lights give the Genesis a somewhat up market but muscular look.
Follow the curvy side profile to the rear and you treated to well blended tail light design, dual exhaust and a built in rear lip spoiler riding on attractive 18inch alloy wheels and the Genesis looks good from any angle.
Opening the door and you are greeted with luxury, this car has sense of prestige about it before you slip behind into the plush leather front seats, comfort, support all rounded into one. To say these seats where great was an understatement, the leather bound steering wheel is comfortable to hold and has a feel of being more up market. The steering wheel mounted controls are easy to use and let you control everything from the audio system, phone to the adaptive cruise control.
The instrument panel is well lit in soft white lighting which is easy on the eye’s even at night and makes the them easy to see any time of the day, the LCD screen in between the dials can be used to show you a wealth of information, from fuel economy to tyre pressures, it also has a digital speedo which makes things a touch easy to adjust you speed specially when on cruise.
The dash is covered in soft touch material and has wood grain finish with aluminium accents that really set the interior and give it a very clessy overtone.
The centre stack contains the 9.2inch colour touch screen which I thought worked quite well indeed, I found interesting that you scroll though things by swiping the screen with your finger just like you do with your smart phone.
Full Bluetooth integration means that once your phone is connected to the the system you can put it away and forget about it.
Hyundai have fitted a top line 17 speaker Lexicon sound system which delivers amazing sound with any type of music and I was particularly taken with how good Iron Maiden and the late great metal god Ronnie James Dio sounded on this system, sometimes it was hard to get out of the car once I had reached my destination because the music sounded so good but it did give me a sense of joy that the wonderful sound was waiting for me on my return trip.
Leg room as you expect was exceptional and even with 5 people in the car there was plenty of room to go around, the rear seat was very comfortable and my eldest daughter took great delight in being able to control the audio system and other features of the car via the console that’s mounted into the rear fold away armrest in the middle of the back seat. There was also a retractable rear window sun shade that was great for keeping the sun off your rear passengers, Boot space as you would expect in a large sedan is quite good.
The ride and handling was exceptionally good, I remember talking to Bill Thomas the PR General Manager at Hyundai before the Genesis was released and he said that the engineers had spent a lot of time tuning the Genesis suspension to suit Australian conditions and the end result is excellent.
Out on the road is where the Genesis really excels and was an absolute pleasure to drive, the ride was exceptionally comfortable and compliant, I did notice a small hint of lean in some tighter corners but most of time it sat extremely flat.
Bumps where hardly ever felt and there was no crashing or banging transmitted into the cabin from the bigger bumps you get occasionally on Sydney’s roads. The steering is precise and weighted and offers a decent amount of sharpness and feel to it when cornering.
While a lot of it’s Euro competitors are looking at down sizing their engines or offering you a diesel engine alternative the Genesis is only available in Australia with a direct injected 3.8L V6 engine developing 232Kw and 397Nm of torque. In other markets Hyundai offer a 5.0L V8 engine but as I understand it the right hand drive models havne’t be engineered for it hopefully the next model will offer it.
I found the V6 to very tractable and will very easily keep up with traffic, I did however find it a touch sluggish off the mark compared to other V6’s I’d driven and I would put that down to the fact the max torque is not reached til around 5000 rpm. In saying that the Genesis is quite a decent performer and the the note from the V6 engine while being slightly subdued is very nice indeed.
Fuel economy is where it did suffer a little bit compared to some of it’s rivals, Hyundai quotes 11.8L/100km as combined figure I found I used a bit more then that 12.5L/100. It rise to 13.4L but that was when I was having fun in sport mode and driving spiritedly, on the highway Hyundai quote 8.6L/100 and from the brief highway trip I did the figure is easily matched.
I found in Eco mode and driving sensibly you can return fuel economy figures which are reasonable, you expect to get fuel economy figures of an i30 because the Genesis is twice the size.
Backing the V6 is an 8 speed auto which was very well mated to the engine, the shifts were very smooth indeed, it also has sports mode which works exceptionally well and should the mood take you allow you to change gears yourself via the steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
One i did like was the intelligent drive mode which allows you to choose between 3 modes to suit your mood Eco, Normal and Sport each setting adjusts the steering, throttle response and transmission logic which is great. I had immense fun with in the Sport mode using the paddles shifters to change gears. I used the Eco mode quite a bit doing my daily trip to work and it did make a difference as far as fuel you would expect it to do. The normal setting didn’t get used much but it did offer a bit of middle ground in between the two.
Genesis not only received a maximum 5 star ANCAP Safety Rating but it received the highest safety score in ANCAP history and as you would expect is absolutely packed full of saefty features.
Including 9 airbags driver & front passenger, driver knee, driver & front passenger side (thorax), rear passenger side (thorax), full length curtain, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Pre Safety System including front seatbelt pretensioners, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) incorporating Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System (BAS), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) & Traction Control System (TCS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) just to name a few.
It also scores maximum points from me for not only having front and rear parking sensors but for having a rear view camera as well.
After a week in the Genesis I came away more then impressed, not only was this car exceptionally comfortable to ride in but it handled well, the ride was smooth it is packed full of a features list that would makes some of it’s European competitors look a little under done.
While the Genesis is not quite up there just yet for some of the Euro’s it’s nearly there and fall a little short in some areas, the shift paddles fell plasticy, it could use a diesel variant, although I would love to see the 5.0L V8 model that’s sold overseas arrive.
The massive advantage it does have is that to buy a similar sized European made car with a similar equipment levels would cost you a lot more.
Here’s the real kicker which makes the Genesis even more attractive is the 5 YR/75,000KM inclusive service plan which basically gives you free scheduled service for the first 5 years or 75,000km (whichever occurs first) of ownership which includes all ‘Scheduled Maintenance’ items for the first 5 years or 75,000km. Which is going to save you even more money.
Plus you get a 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty, 3 years free map updates, 5 years roadside assistance and once your first 5 years of ownership is up lifetime capped price servicing.
If your after a large car that’s only full of safety features but has an impressive equipment list, oodles of luxury and refinement then you would be a touch silly not to have the Genesis on your list it’s really an impressive vehicle.
For more info on the Genesis or the rest of Hyundai’s range of vehicles check out their website http://www.hyundai.com.au, massive thanks to Hyundai Australia not only for the loan of the Genesis but for also providing the pics as well (the pics are of the range topping Genesis ultimate pack.)