Hyundai Genesis Review : LT1

$71,000 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
    11.2L
  • Engine Power
    232kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    261g
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars

The new Hyundai Genesis is a luxury car that is likely to find its way onto some fleets, and for six months it’s joined ours.

If you haven’t had a chance to read our extensive coverage of the Genesis so far – including a twin test with the BMW 528i – CarAdvice’s latest long-termer is a highly noteworthy Hyundai.

For a brand that has predominantly been in the minds of budget buyers, the Genesis is the company’s most ambitious and most expensive car offered to date.

Starting at $60,000 and rising to $82,000 before on-roads, the Hyundai Genesis takes the honours from the $53,290 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander as the car maker’s flagship product.

The Hyundai Genesis is offered in three specifications: a base model, the top-spec Ultimate, and the mid-range Sensory that CarAdvice has chosen.

Our view is actually that the base Genesis is the sweet spot of the range – where the near-limo-sized proportions for a medium-sized-luxury-car price form the most perfect unison.

However, the Sensory adds some worthwhile tech we were keen to test over a longer period – including full-colour head-up display and 360-degree around-view camera system.

We also know the addition of under-thigh adjustment is beneficial to front-seat comfort, and – okay – we quite liked the idea of having the higher-quality leather seats that come in both Sensory and Ultimate.

All Genesis models share a generous amount of standard equipment, though, including alloy wheels, electric heated leather seats, a 9.2-inch touchscreen navigation system with 19-speaker Lexicon audio, adaptive cruise control and a comprehensive safety suite that saw it gain the highest score ever awarded to a locally-tested car by ANCAP, with 36.88 out of 37.

Aside from the nine airbags and electronic stability control, the Hyundai Genesis includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, a technology we demonstrated last year with a number of different vehicles. Learn more about AEB by watching our video demonstration.

A 3.8-litre V6 petrol mated to an 8-speed automatic powering the rear wheels is the sole drivetrain available in Australia. Healthy outputs of 232kW and 397Nm and a claimed 0-100km/h in 6.5-seconds mean the Genesis is no slouch.

Three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) offer a different steering feel and throttle response depending on your driving situation, and there are even paddle-shifters if you’re in the mood.

While a smaller V6, a larger V8, and AWD are available in other markets, the limited number of right-hand-drive countries offering the Genesis meant they haven’t been engineered for us. Pity.

The styling is the first example of Fluid Sculpture 2.0, an evolution of Hyundai’s design language introduced back in 2010 with the Hyundai ix35 and Hyundai i45.

The Fluidic Sculpture has evolved and improved with each new model release, toning down the ultra-sweeping lines to result in more refined designs.

The front grille of the Hyundai Genesis isn’t exactly what I’d call restrained, nor is the DRL signature. It’s distinct, it stands out, and in the first few weeks behind the wheel I have had people stop me in petrol stations, car parks and on the street to ask about it. The first thing expressed by most was their disbelief that it could be a Hyundai.

Overseas models dispense with any exterior Hyundai badging at all, with the same winged “Genesis” badge appearing on both the front and the rear. To be honest, I think it would look better that way, but Hyundai is determined to show that the Genesis is the brands flagship model, rather than something separate like Lexus is to Toyota.

Inside the Genesis Sensory is a very nice place to be, with quality materials throughout.

The design feels quite similar to a current-generation BMW 5-Series, with the dash slightly angled towards the driver and simple control layout.

Atop is the 9.2-inch touchscreen, which follows the Hyundai trend of being high-res and very bright. It’s not alone, with a 4.2-inch colour display in the instrument cluster for trip computer, alerts and vehicle settings.

Early samplings of the 19-speaker Lexicon audio system give it a big tick, and the combination of a head-up display for speed monitoring and adaptive cruise control make the Genesis the perfect vehicle for some long-distance driving we’ve got planned.

The Genesis is a big sedan, just millimetres short of 5 metres, so it’s very capable of seating four or five people. With four-up, the central rear armrest not only offers a couple of drink holders, but also controls for the multimedia system. Don’t worry parents out there, it can be disabled!

Early impressions definitely have the suspension favouring suppleness over sports. With a 1000km road trip planned that includes some twisting country backroads, it will be interesting to see how the Hyundai Genesis fares off the calmness of the motorway.

There are some questions to be answered by the Genesis. How’s real-world fuel consumption with that big V6? Does a big sedan make sense in 2015? Will people stump up $70K for a luxury Hyundai?

Stay tuned over the next few months for the answers to these questions, and be sure to leave us comments with questions of your own.