Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Hyundai Genesis.
For the first time ever Australian car buyers are being offered the new 2014 Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan.
Australian new car buyers can recognise value and quality when they see it. Witness the performance – particularly over the last five years – of Hyundai.
Once considered a ‘cheap and cheerful’ car company, the brand’s portfolio is today as impressive as anyone’s, and it has the sales figures to back it up.
For this second-generation model, Hyundai Genesis is now available in right-hand drive and consequently we have it available to us in local Hyundai dealerships.
Available solely with a 232kW/397Nm 3.8 litre petrol V6, eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive (some markets have an all-wheel drive option), the Genesis arrives at an interesting time, given the wind-down of local large-car manufacturing.
Then again, the Hyundai Genesis aims are rather higher.
Hyundai has made no secret of the Genesis’ intent: to match the best Euro rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, while substantially undercutting them on price and adding value through Hyundai’s renowned after-sales program.
As with all Hyundai products, Genesis benefits from a five-year / unlimited-kilometre warranty, 12-month complimentary roadside assistance (which can be extended up to 10 years), lifetime capped-price servicing and three years of free map updates for the satellite navigation system.
Its list of features includes nine air-bags, adaptive cruise, dual-zone climate control, a 9.2-inch sat-nav/infotainment/reversing camera display, keyless entry and start and 12-way adjustable leather seats.
The Sensory pack adds a blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning, head-up display, around-view monitor, electric steering column adjustment and premium leather.
In short: Genesis is comprehensively equipped, though a lack of rear-zone climate control is a notable omission.
Given these high-end attributes and Euro-beating intent, it is a curious that Hyundai decided to run with a large-capacity naturally-aspirated V6 where the competition has all downsized and turbocharged to maximise efficiency.
Evidence of just how important our market is to the Korean brand can be demonstrated by its locally-developed suspension tuning program. Genesis has been through a comprehensive evaluation in Australia.
This program involved computer modelling and on-road testing against Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar benchmarks, as well as the Japanese competition (Lexus and Infiniti).
The resultant evaluation included 42 individual combinations of spring, damper and anti-roll bars before settling on the tune that has come to market.
Externally, there’s only one obvious reference to the Genesis’s origin: the Hyundai boot badge. Up-front, and also on the rear, is a Genesis-specific badge that apes Aston Martin, though it is somehow ‘Americanised’ in font; think Buick rather than BMW.
Opening the softly-hinged door reveals a truly sumptuous cabin, the electric driver’s seat set back to allow easy access and that winged badge displayed on the massive centre screen and multi-function wheel.
Although sumptuous, the interior lacks that scent of rich leather, instead giving off a synthetic scent that reduces the cabin ambience. There are also a lot of surfaces within, the leather, wood, carpet and grey dash plastic contrasting with fabric roof lining and hard-textured cream plastic sections. It’s busier than it needs to be.
All controls are easy to access and the control systems intuitive, the sound from the premium 17-speaker Lexicon audio system of particular note and arguably superior to the German offerings. Bluetooth phone control is also simple.
Starting the V6 reveals an engine of quiet culture, thanks to the sound-deadening work completed by Hyundai engineers. Around town it’s smooth and quiet, and under power it offers a natural V6 sound – nice compared to turbo-four opposition – although it lacks that final aural edge of a Lexus V6.
It has no problems accelerating the Genesis, with mid-range torque its strong suit. Expect to use up to and in excess of 15L/100kms in city driving, the official claimed combined figure is 11.2L/100kms.
In town, the Genesis feels its 4990mm length; occupying parking spaces with its tail sat out past many a mid-size SUV. Once out of the lot it retains a large-car feel, though its ride and its almost complete isolation of NVH make longer-distance trips a pleasure.
Genesis smooths out the bumps with the best of them, and though it can become floaty over larger bumps at higher speeds, it’s not the game this Hyundai was designed to do.
Cornering grip is competent, though of course there is some roll evident. Braking is also confidence-inspiring for a vehicle of this size, the lack of steering feedback less so.
Taken as a whole, the Genesis impresses, but does it match the best of Europe? Of course, that can only be answered in the longer term. It is close, but it’s not quite there. It lacks the final degree of polish found in its identified rivals, though to be fair its opposition has been honed over decades.
Add value to the equation, however, and the Genesis makes a lot of sense.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2014 Hyundai Genesis
Engine: 3.8 litre V6 producing 232kW and 397Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Five years
Price: From $60,000