Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan 3.8 V6 AWD
How Koreans do luxury.
By: Anthony Fongaro | September 2015
These days, the word “luxury” is thrown around a lot in auto world. Every country that produces cars has either a luxury brand or upscale cars to sell to the merchant-banker-salesman-mafia kingpin. That is…except for Korea. What Korea has is Hyundai and they must have noticed that the luxury/Korean combo didn’t exist.
So Hyundai got it into its head that it could make…a luxury car! (It’s ok, you can laugh too). Yes the same Hyundai that just a few years made one of the worst cars in the world, the Accent (which only spoke Korean), created their first luxury car and just to mess with everyone called it the Genesis. Curiosity got the better of me since I’ve seen a few of these vehicles on the road and was wondering if Hyundai made a genuine luxury sedan. Wanting to see how they did, I went and test drove a 2015 Genesis Sedan with a 3.8L V6 engine and AWD.
That doesn’t look Korean.
When you take a look at the Genesis sedan, you get the feeling that it’s embarrassed to be a Hyundai. It only has the Hyundai badge in one area, on the trunk. The Genesis actually has its own badge that actually looks upscale and extremely similar to what Bentley uses. The exterior seems to have been sculpted after someone looked at the competition and said “I want absolutely no one to mistake this for a German or Japanese car!” then did the exact opposite. Nothing on the Genesis sedan is a design marvel or unique, but the design is very fluid. It’s a very handsome car with smooth, flowing lines but if you took of the only Hyundai badge, you would have no idea that this car shares the same family tree as a Santa Fe or a Sonata.
Luxury YOU want to drive.
The Genesis V6 does something that many other luxury brands do just wrong. It doesn’t over-emphasize being ridiculously sporty (now is when you gasp with shock). Hyundai’s AWD system is only available with their 311-hp 3.8L V6, those that want more power and difficulties in Chicago in December can opt for the 420-hp 5.0L V8. While driving the V6, I never once thought “you know, this thing just needs a damn V8! Where is my V8!?”
The 8-Speed Automatic shifts are smooth and the car feels like it just wants to relax. It knows that you can put it into Sport Mode (which I did) and use the paddle shifters (which I like even in luxury cars), but that isn’t really the point of the Genesis. The sensation of driving a midsize Korean vehicle that can feel almost like a Buick in the most comfortable setting shows that Hyundai is going in the right direction.
Driving over the various potholes and broken up pieces of tarmac did little to embarrass the Genesis sedan. Keep the car in Comfort and the car glides over bumps with ease. The cabin feels more upscale than the Hyundai badge would lead you to believe. Since it is a Hyundai, value is a high priority and you do get some amazing features for the price.
This is how you embarrass other luxury brands.
For the very low price of $41,000, the Genesis 3.8 AWD comes equipped with leather, heated front seats, an 8-inch navigation system, rear-view camera, many bells and quite a few whistles. But a standard Genesis won’t make your friend with an Acura or Lexus green with envy. What will are three packages called Signature (oh, fancy), Tech (oh, intelligent), and Ultimate (oh, very fancy). The car I tested had all three packages and my goodness; it was just dripping with appeal. You have your standard (well, optional) panoramic sunroof, even more luxurious leather, power rear sunshade, smart cruise control, and heated steering wheel.
We’re getting higher in the snob appeal factor, but we aren’t quite there. The Genesis 3.8 AWD I tested also had a power trunk, heated rear seats, ventilated, heated and cooled front seats, beautiful matte finish wood trim, many safety features to keep you in your lane and not crashing into things, a 9.2-inch navigation system and Heads-up Display. And breathe. Those are quite a lot of goodies. But by luxury car standards, you don’t pay a lot. A fully loaded Genesis 3.8 AWD is around $52,000. A comparable car from America, Japan, or Europe will cost you at least $10,000-$15,000 more. So is it worth it?
Seems pretty obvious.
Let’s recap here: the car is handsome, nice to drive, an amazing value, and is a Hyundai so instantly people stop caring. That’s really a shame. If you’re the type of person who cares about snob appeal, buy a Genesis and take off the Hyundai badge. For normal people, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 AWD is an incredible car and a real surprise.
Images are courtesy of Hyundai of America.