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What is luxury?

Is it power? Is it control? Is it desirability? All-out plushness? Or just space?

Is it a combination of all of those things? And if it is a combination, to what degree does cost and inclusions play a part in determining the luxuriousness of a car?

That’s what this test aims to find out: we have five sedans here that have some or perhaps all of those aspects covered, though none of them are the usual suspects from Germany.

Tested here is the Hyundai Genesis (which will soon be rebranded the Genesis G80), Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS and Skoda Superb. We told you these weren’t the usual suspects…

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-20

They’re all large sedans that offer premium-ness in different ways and by different measures. And the fun bit is that the winner of this five-way shootout will take on the Germans in a follow-up test, coming soon. This, then, is a test to find out which of these five is the most convincing premium model, even if it may not have as premium a badge as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

This test will use CarAdvice’s Mega Test scoring formula, with four judges – myself, founder Anthony Crawford, editorial production manager Rob Margeit, and CarAdvice commercial director Christian Clark – rating each of the five cars across our five set criteria.

Keeping with the theme of attempting to define luxuriousness, the criteria for this test are: pricing, plushness and comfort, space, power, and control.

Let’s figure this out.

Pricing

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-14

We could understand if you were left scratching your head at the inclusion of the Skoda Superb in this mix. But while it isn’t a traditional luxury car per se, it is a thoroughly impressive large sedan – or, more correctly, liftback!

It isn’t priced like its competitors, either, with a starting point that well and truly blitzes its rivals – the specification we have here is just $50,990 plus on-road costs. And if you can’t stretch that far, pricing starts below $40K for the Superb range. It’s a wildcard in this test, for sure, but we think it’s a worthy one.

That places it a good chunk cheaper than the next most affordable model, the Infiniti Q70 GT, which starts at $68,900 plus on-road costs. There are higher-spec models for more money, including a hybrid version, but our test vehicle came with zero options fitted – so, what you see is what you get.

You could get yourself a Hyundai Genesis for less than that (the base model is $61,500 plus on-road costs), but we’ve had a long-term Genesis Ultimate in the office for a few months now, and at $82,000 it packs plenty of kit, and in that spec it’s our third-most expensive competitor.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-23

The Jaguar XF 20d Prestige we have here is listed at $82,755 plus on-road costs, and it’s the only model here with a diesel engine. It’s the entry-point to the XF line-up, but it lacks some equipment the others have, such as heated seats (they’re optional).

The cost of our XF tester, before on-road costs, is $92,690 – it starts at $82,800 but the option boxes ticked for it include a sunroof ($3200), Power Convenience Pack with electric boot release and two power outlets ($2500), Advanced Parking Assist Pack with 360-degree parking sensors and semi-automated parallel and perpendicular parking ($1710), and safety goodies including rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring ($1420) and lane-keep assist and driver drowsiness detection ($1060) all of which bumped it up to over 92 large ones.

The most expensive model on this test – before options – is the Lexus GS200t F-Sport, which is priced at $84,830 plus on-road costs. There’s a more affordable grade of GS200t, the Luxury, which is a whole lot more affordable if watching pennies is vital to your purchase decision (from $76,220), or if you want a V6 or hybrid you can get those higher up the pricing pole.

Our Lexus came with the Enhancement Pack 2, which pushes its price to $91,380 before on-road costs. If you get Enhancement pack one there’s the addition of a 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, head-up display and 12.3-inch media screen, while Pack 2 adds a sunroof as well.

But does the cut-price Skoda have everything that the dearer models here offer? Not quite, because – of course – there are options aplenty fitted to some of these cars, though none are spartan in terms of standard equipment.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-168

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-177

Pictured above: Skoda Superb

The Skoda, for instance, has a few option packs fitted: the Tech pack, for $3400, brings adaptive dampers, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, automated parking assistance, radar cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, electric boot opening with hands-free function, and a 12-speaker Canton stereo with subwoofer; and the Comfort pack ($1500) adds perforated leather trim with ventilation in addition to heating for the front seats, electric adjustment for the front passenger seat, and heated rear seats.

Factor those extras in, and metallic paint ($700), and you’re still at less than $60,000 driveaway, according to the brand’s online configurator.

Still, the Skoda is the only car on test without electric steering wheel adjustment, and it also lacks the luxury of an easy ingress/egress system that pushes the seat back for you when you’re getting in and out.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-184

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-193

Pictured above: Lexus GS

But it has some items that others don’t. For instance, the Skoda is the only all-wheel-drive model here – all the others are rear-wheel drive. And it has that genius liftback hatch, where the rest of the cars here are conventional sedans with small boot portholes. Plus it’s the only one that comes in wagon form if you need a little more practicality: some of the others have equivalent SUV models (Jaguar F-Pace, Lexus RX, Infiniti QX70), where the Genesis is available solely as a sedan.

If you are a fan of a sunroof or panoramic glass roof, the Genesis has you covered. It has a massive two-pane glass roof, which is standard when you get the Ultimate version we have here.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-202

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-216

Pictured above: Hyundai Genesis

All five cars have touchscreen media systems with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and satellite navigation is standard across all five cars, too. The Skoda is the only one with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto extended smartphone connectivity, though. We’ll get to how each of the systems stacked up in the interior section below.

All five cars come with keyless entry and push-button start as tested, while auto-dimming rear-view mirrors are standard, too. Of course you get alloy wheels ranging from 18-inch wheels on the Infiniti and Jaguar to 19s on the other three. In terms of illumination all have LED daytime running lamps, and while the Skoda and Jaguar have bi-xenon headlamps, the other three have LED headlights – and the Lexus and Hyundai even have auto high-beam.

When it comes to safety kit, all five cars have rear-view cameras, and the Hyundai is the only vehicle here with a surround-view camera setup. And they all have parking sensors front and rear.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-229

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-240

Pictured above: Jaguar XF

All of these vehicles can be had with the latest in safety equipment, but a lot of the inclusions depends on the specification you choose. For instance if you buy a base model Genesis you miss out on blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and head-up display. Buy the Ultimate model and all that is included.

The Infiniti is the only one that misses out on standard-fit autonomous emergency braking in the lower specification model GT – you’ve got to spend extra on the next model up for that. But if you do, you get reverse collision mitigation, too.

All five cars have ISOFIX child-seat anchors for little ones, as well as top-tether hooks.

As for airbag coverage, the Infiniti and Jaguar have six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain), while the Hyundai and Skoda have nine (adding adds rear side airbags and driver’s knee protection) and the Lexus has 10 (adding a passenger knee airbag).

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-224

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-218

Pictured above: Infiniti Q70

Now, we should probably include ownership in this section, as it won’t be addressed within its own sub-category below.

You can’t go past the Hyundai for maintenance, because the Genesis has five years free servicing included, and a lifetime capped-price plan with maintenance due every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever happens soonest. It has a lengthy five-year warranty with unlimited kilometre coverage. That’s probably why so many of these cars are seen as hire cars for limousine operators (not to mention the fact you can haggle hard at Hyundai for a deal on a Genesis).

The Jaguar has a pretty handy servicing plan, too: maintenance is due every two years or 34,000km, whichever occurs first. Good old diesels, hey? And the good bit is that over five years/102,000km, the maintenance cost plan is just $1100 (note – owners must have the final service at the five year mark if the maximum distance isn’t reached). It’s covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which can be extended to five years/200,000km for $2755.

The Skoda has a six-year capped-price servicing campaign, with maintenance due every 12 months or 15,000km. Over 72 months the cost averages out at just under $600 per visit, which is pretty pricey – but you can bundle it and pre-pay for three ($1299) or five years ($2650). The Superb has a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which can be extended by an extra two years for $1699, or you can bundle that in the Care Pack with the capped-price plan for $3899.

Infiniti’s capped-price servicing campaign spans eight years or 80,000km, and the average cost over that period is $515 for the 3.7-litre V6 version. The brand offers a four-year/100,000km warranty as standard.

Lexus is known for its stellar service – the brand will pick up and drop off your car when maintenance is due, for instance – but the Japanese company persists in not offering a capped-price plan for its models. The brand has indicated that the estimated pricing for the GS200t would average out at about $500 per visit over four years (the first service is free). Maintenance is due every 12 months or 15,000km. The warranty program for the Lexus is the same as the Infiniti at four years/100,000km.

Plushness and comfort

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-19

Obviously interior comfort is vital for any car, even more so for those vehicles with luxury pretensions. Now, we wouldn’t necessarily say the Skoda is snobbish in its fitout, but it certainly wasn’t too far off the pace in this company.

There are soft plastics across the tops of the doors and the dashboard, and the leather finishes are supple and smooth to the touch. But it was mainly let down by unimaginative finishes – the grey polished metal-look on the dash and doors was nice enough, but judges felt it should have been mimicked between the seats – instead there was piano black, which didn’t do much for the ambience. The controls borrowed from the Golf range don’t help in that regard, either.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-55

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-66

Pictured above: Skoda Superb

The instrument cluster dials were also called to question for being plain to look at, and that was the general feel of the cabin of the Skoda: it isn’t special, but it sure is spacious.

Now it may depend on your personal preference, but the fact the Jaguar has such an array of interior finish options to make it more individually equipped means it has that tailored feel to it that the other cars lack. In Portfolio trim there are 17 colours to choose from (eight at a $2000 premium, five adding $4000 to the price), 17 wheel options to choose, nine interior finish options and three options for the headlining of the cockpit.

To put that in context, the Skoda has just two interior choices – black or tan – and there are seven colours to choose from, none of them overly bright. The Infiniti has eight exterior colours to choose from (you have to go up to the high spec to choose different interior trim), and the Lexus has eight exterior paint options, too. The Genesis is available in five hues for 2017, and with the Ultimate Pack it can be had with either cream leather trim or black.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-77

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-83

Pictured above: Infiniti Q70

Each of these cars has a premium sound system, according to their makers, with the number of speakers fitted ranging from 10 to 17.

The Infiniti’s Bose 10-speaker system was, we presume, fine. We say that because the media system wouldn’t playback our test tune over Bluetooth, and we had issues plugging in via USB, too. It was glitchy and clicky, and ultimately unlistenable.

The Skoda’s optional stereo (included in the pack we mentioned previously) featured 12 Canton speakers and it was better suited to bass heavy rock or hip hop than classical, with a buzziness at higher frequencies.

The Meridien 11-speaker system in the Jaguar offered very good clarity but fell a little short of the overall crispness you might like when listening to, say, Mozart.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-98

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-105

Pictured above: Lexus GS

The Genesis comes as standard with a 17-speaker Lexicon sound system, which impressed our judges. It offers clear sound, little background rustle, and sharp articulation of notes.

The other 17-speaker boomer in this test was the optional Lexus’ Mark Levinson system. It was judged to offer the best sound clarity of the lot, with deep low and razor sharp highs, and a great balance across different types of music. The standard stereo is good, too – we’ve sampled the 12-speaker unit and it also impressed.

The ease of operation of the Infiniti’s 8.0-inch media systems that control those stereos was another consideration. And again the Infiniti came last, proving fiddly and confusing, with the most pixelated screen of this bunch and it’s not that easy to operate courtesy of its shelf-like button layout and long-reach touch screen. It’s also the only one without a digital speedometer, its dials aren’t as clear as the others, and the wood finish on the dash isn’t to all tastes: it’s clearly designed to look as though it’s inspired by the boating world – but at least the leather is plush.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-145

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-154

Pictured above: Hyundai Genesis 

The Infiniti’s Bluetooth woes weren’t just confined to sound, but also the actual process of connecting. It is, easily, the worst of any car with luxury overtones.

Pairing was a lot quicker in the Skoda, though it still wasn’t as rapid to connect as the Hyundai, Jaguar or Lexus. That said, the Jaguar had some issues with reconnecting to phones, and the Lexus won’t let you perform a lot of the operations you might like to on the move – inputting a destination in the navigation, or dialling a phone contact, for instance. Still, it has voice control and that tech worked pretty well.

The Skoda’s extended smartphone connectivity made it the simplest to use, and the 8.0-inch screen’s clarity was in the top three here.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-125

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-130

Pictured above: Jaguar XF

The Lexus’ big 12.3-inch screen dominates the cabin, and it’s bright and crisp, too. But its biggest letdown is the joystick/mouse interface, which is equal parts poorly designed and tremendously frustrating. Think you’ll move the cursor over one step? Wrong, it’ll go across three. Want to move three? You’ll invariably have to move the thing a couple of times to get it where you want it. A rotary dial would change this in an instant.

The Jaguar’s 8.0-inch media screen is clear and pretty quick to react at times, but it can be bogged down when loading between screens. The menus are simple to use, though, and the colours are eye-catching, too.

The Hyundai’s 9.2-inch screen is (as standard) the largest of these five, and it is incredibly easy to use and learn, and has touch-capacity only (there’s no rotary dial here). The menus are logically sorted and the display is clear enough – but the fact it shares similar menus to what you find in a $25K i30 hatchback does detract somewhat.

If you prefer quietness when you drive, the Genesis was the one that impressed our judges most. With a lower decibel reading than all of the others – plus extremely quiet electric windows – it has quietness sorted.

At the other end of the noise scale was the Skoda, and that was one of its biggest problems on our test loop.

The Jaguar was also on the noisy side – both for road noise intrusion and window operation – but it had aspects that make it feel super luxurious – the outer air vents that open up when you start the car and disappear when you turn it off, for instance.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-297

It’s those touches that made our judges agree that the plushness of the Jaguar was the best of this bunch, with the XF clearly offering the most “cachet” inside the cabin.

That’s not say the Lexus was drab: in fact, our judges lauded the finishes on the dash and doors, and its lush factor was high.

The Genesis, while a bit derivative of Hyundai’s styling and finishes, felt nice enough, but perhaps not quite enough to justify the cost.

The Infiniti had plenty of soft leather finishes and the nautical-theme wood lock sorted, and that may appeal to the elderly golfer set – but it felt more like a $50K interior than a near-$70K cockpit.

Space

Prettiness is one thing, but practicality is another. And every one of our judges felt the Skoda was the most practical car here.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-175

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-53

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-48

Pictured above: Skoda Superb

The main reason is the Superb’s, er, superb boot. Rather than a small porthole through which to load your golf bags, prams, surfboards, skis or bicycles, the hatch helps.

It has a considerably larger aperture through which to load items, and in turn you won’t struggle when lifting in heavy or awkward items to the Skoda’s cargo hold than you would in the conventional three-box sedans.

With 625 litres of cargo capacity, the Skoda’s boot is the biggest of these five, and it has a very fast electric boot mechanism, too. Plus there are triggers in the boot to easily drop down the rear seats, and the Skoda lives up to its “simply clever” tag line by offering nets, plenty of hooks for bags, and even a rounded shopping bag container to stop your items from spilling all over the floor of the boot.

The next largest boot of these five is the Jaguar, with its 540L cargo hold offering a decent sized aperture, but it’s seat folding mechanism is on the fiddly side (you need to go from the boot to the back seat, they don’t just drop in one motion). It’s also the only one here without a ski port.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-58

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-59

Pictured above: Skoda Superb

The Lexus has the best boot aperture behind the Skoda, and its cargo hold is a handy 520L: easily enough for two sets of golf clubs, according to the brand. It has simple seat fold mechanisms, too.

The next biggest boot is the Infiniti’s at 500L, though it has a weird sloping shape to it, and the Genesis – despite being the longest car here at 4990mm – has the smallest boot of the lot, at 493L.

Obviously these types of sedans are also big on rear seat space, and none of them were labelled as cramped in the outboard seats by our resident tall (six-foot-two) businessman, Christian – that’s not him in the photos, it’s Rob, our considerably shorter production chief.

He found the rear seat comfort of the Genesis, for instance, to be fine apart from the fact he could feel a lot of the bumps of the road at the rear. As for space, he said the toe room was slightly snug, and that really tall occupants would have “no head space” due to the roofline impinging. “It’s hard to stretch out and it’s hard to relax”, he said. As is the case with all of these cars, the transmission tunnel in the Genesis eats in to the foot room, and in the middle seat Christian couldn’t sit up straight, such was the squish.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-208

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-143

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-141

Pictured above: Hyundai Genesis

But the fact the Genesis Ultimate had a flip-down centre armrest with its own media controls, and rear heated seats and temperature controls, as well as manual side window shades, an automatic rear windscreen shade and the big glass roof, it felt upmarket. If you have to wear a suit to work, the four coat hooks could be good, too.

Up front the Genesis offers good levels of comfort, with well-bolstered seats (including adjustable side bolsters for the driver), and while you sit low in the cabin, the height adjustment for smaller drivers is excellent. It, like all of its rivals, has memory seat settings, too, and in this spec the Genesis – as with the Infiniti and the Skoda when equipped with the Comfort pack – has ventilated and heated front seats.

There are long door pockets up front but they aren’t capable of holding bottles, but there is a big centre console bin with well-placed cupholders.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-148

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-161

Pictured above: Hyundai Genesis

As the shortest car on test (4861mm long) the Skoda offered astounding space. Indeed, it’s hatchback design means it betters the more coupe-like Genesis for rear seat space, though its seats couldn’t match any of its rivals in terms of comfort and bolstering in the back.

The harder, flatter seats meant it wasn’t as comfortable to be a backseat passenger, according to Christian, but he wasn’t left wanting for leg and headroom in the outboard seats, and it was more comfortable for him in the middle seat, too – but three big blokes across the back seat could be tight.

The rear doors of the Skoda are quite large, too, and that could make it difficult when dealing with tight car spaces despite the fact the ingress and egress is excellent when they’re fully ajar.

The rear seats of the Superb are heated, and there are vents with temperature control. It matches the Hyundai with side sunblinds, but doesn’t have the rear one.

The seat comfort and bolstering issue isn’t just confined to the rear, and there were found to be lacking in support through corners.

But for practicality it smashes the competition, with lots of storage caddies and bins, big door pockets with bottle holders and smart little rubbish bins, and the centre console box is cooled, too. Shame the centre cup holders are a bit small.

The Skoda’s steering wheel is very nice, too – it has a great feel in the hand and its button layout is supreme.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-241

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-123

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-121

Pictured above: Jaguar XF

With the Jaguar’s cabin being rated the most lux of these five, how does it stack up in terms of space? Pretty well, actually.

The back seat of the Jag was found to be an extremely likeable place, according to Christian.

It was the only one that could fit three tall adults across the back with ample headroom, though for legroom it was found to be middling. The back pew offered good bolstering and Christian said it was “the most pleasant back seat of these five at speed”. Like all of them it has rear vents, but the seats aren’t heated (up front, or in the rear).

The Jaguar’s storage isn’t great in the back, with slim door pockets and the map pockets are cheap looking mesh things. The centre armrest is a little low, too.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-127

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-134

Pictured above: Jaguar XF

There are ergonomic issues up front, too – all of our judges felt the front electric window switches were in the wrong spot: where you’d think they would be, instead you found the driver’s seat memory seat buttons, so it’s a bit of a reach to drop a window.

The gear selector was also criticized – it’s a fashionable looking thing, the pop-up round selector, but it can be a bitch to get from drive to reverse and vice-versa.

Further, the XF’s slim door pockets can’t fit an upright bottle, and its central storage was limited in comparison to the better examples here. Still, it had excellent seat comfort and adjustment, with very good bolstering through our series of twisties.

The Infiniti is the oldest of these cars, having been around in its current generation since 2009 (previously it was called the Infiniti M) and it felt it inside. The dash design is intrusive, and as mentioned previously the button layout and screen are painful.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-217

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-75

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-72

Pictured above: Infiniti Q70

It also has small door pockets, and hardly any storage compared to the other cars here, and the buttons and switches aren’t as intuitive as the other cars here. But hey – it’s the only one with a heated steering wheel.

The front seats are fine for those with shorter torsos, but taller drivers or passengers may find the tops of their backs being pushed forward, such is the bolstering of the seats.

In the back the Q70 was found to offer the best headroom of these five in the outboard seats, and knee room was also good. The middle seat was tight for both, though.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-79

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-86

Pictured above: Infiniti Q70

The design of the rear armrest isn’t great if you need to store a bottle or cup, but the seats were otherwise comfortable.

The Lexus perhaps offered the most comfortable seats of these vehicles, with very good support and cushioning all around. Up front the seats hug the round of your back very well.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-192

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-96

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-94

Pictured above: Lexus GS

Like the Infiniti, the Lexus’ interior makes you feel quite hemmed in. The centre console is quite high between the front seats, and the dash juts into the cabin area.

It also suffers from slim door pockets, and it misses out on a sunglasses caddy, and there’s a lack of centre storage because the media controller eats into space.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-101

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-111

Pictured above: Lexus GS

Christian reported that the rear seat knee room was the worst here, and it also had the worst foot room of the five. Further, the middle seat was poor for headroom, but the centre bin between the rear seats was deep.

Power

Power is only valuable if you can make use of it. I’m sure some wannabe dictator said that, or maybe it was just something I made up. I’m not a wannabe dictator, I promise.

Either way, it rings true when it comes to cars, and there’s an array of drivetrains on show in these four vehicles: one is diesel, two have small capacity turbocharged petrol engines, and two have V6 petrol engines.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-138

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-114

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-68

Pictured above: Jaguar XF (top); Lexus GS (middle); Skoda Superb (bottom)

The sole diesel model is the Jaguar, which is propelled by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit that pushes out 132kW of power at 4000rpm and 430Nm of torque from 1750-2500rpm. It is rear-drive, with an eight-speed automatic doing the shuffling.

The least powerful petrol engine here is the Lexus 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo, which has just 180kW of power at 5800rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1650rpm. It uses rear-wheel drive and has an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Next in the power stakes is the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine in the Skoda Superb. It has 206kW at 6500rpm and 350Nm from 1700rpm all the way to 5600rpm. Swapping cogs is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, and as mentioned above, this car is all-wheel drive.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-163

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-91

Pictured above: Hyundai Genesis (top); Infiniti Q70 (bottom)

Under the bonnet of the Hyundai Genesis is a 3.8-litre V6, with 232kW at 6000rpm and a chunky 397Nm at 5000rpm. It has an eight-speed automatic, and is rear-wheel drive.

The most powerful engine is the 3.7-litre V6 in the Infiniti churning out 235kW at 7000rpm and 360Nm at 5200rpm, which should give you an idea as to how this car likes to be driven. It has a seven-speed automatic – the only car here without paddleshifters – and it’s rear-drive.

You can only learn so much looking at facts and figures, though, and during our test there were some surprising findings.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-39

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-263

The Genesis, for instance, was found to be lacking torque down low in the rev range, and its eight-speed automatic gearbox showed a tendency to want to choose a higher gear at every opportunity as a means of keeping its fuel use down.

Using Sport mode in the Genesis helped that issue when we asked more of the engine, and it revved smoothly in that application, particularly from about 3000rpm.

The other V6 model here, Infiniti’s Q70, had some similar gearbox qualms. In Sport mode it was eager to hold gears, which was good, but it was overly keen to drop it back a gear under even the slightest deceleration, meaning you could be braking downhill into a bend, drop back a gear, and you’ll find the engine revving up near 3500rpm.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-259

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-28

The worst part of that is the engine is considerably coarser than that in the Genesis, with a level of harshness under load making feel less refined. And because of the way the engine is calibrated, you have to rev it hard to get the best out of it, which can become tiring.

When you’re just scooting around town in the standard drive mode, though, it is a fine cruiser. Not overly thrusty under sudden acceleration, but fine under light-to-mid throttle.

The downsized turbocharged engine of the Skoda was instantly critiqued for offering up more vibration and noise at idle than the abovementioned V6 models, and it also offered a touch of hesitation from a standing start at low speeds.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-253

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-255

That comes down to a combination of slight turbo lag and the DSG transmission, which – once you’re in second gear or higher – offers rapid shifts that are decisive and extremely intelligent.

Unlike the other two, the Skoda’s drivetrain knows what the driver is expecting to get out of it in different situations. Braking into the same corner that perplexed the Infiniti, the Skoda’s gearbox waited until the precise moment that the testers would have chosen to downshift. And on the upshifts it was excellent, too – allowing the engine to rev out under harder acceleration, but swapping cogs more succinctly under light-to-mid throttle.

In fact, our testers labelled the engine of the Skoda “amazing” for its responsiveness and eagerness. It was found to offer “terrific power and so much oomph”, and all testers agreed “it really doesn’t need to be this quick”.

On the other side of the four-pot-turbo coin is the Lexus, which never felt as urgent as we’d hoped it would.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-252

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-25

Its engine offered good refinement in the way it allowed the car to build pace on the straight, but up hills it lacked the push of the Skoda. The worst bit was that the traction control system robbed it of power so much that it felt as though it “fell in a hole”, with no grunt available to use. At one stage it caused the car to almost come to a complete halt – not ideal with traffic in arrears.

Further, its eight-speed gearbox was another that wanted to get to the highest gear available and stay there. Sports+ mode helped in that regard, but it simply lacked so much punch in comparison to the other vehicles on test. It felt its weight more than the others, too.

The Jaguar’s diesel engine was up there with the Skoda in terms of response and usability, with its four-cylinder diesel engine offering excellent willingness when you put the boot in.

The gearbox offered nice response and shift times, and allowed the engine to operate in its best zone – so, around town it would shift a little sooner and rely on the torque, but it also revved quite freely before shifting at higher speeds on the open road.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-33

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-249

The punch of 430Nm of torque meant there were a few “wow” moments for our testers, and that effortless progress would be enough to see some people sign on the dotted line.

The payoff with this drivetrain is a bit of turbo lag from a standstill, and it also exhibited the most vibration at idle. The stop-start system was a bit jerky, too.

As for fuel consumption the diesel-powered Jaguar was, unsurprisingly, the most efficient. It claims a staggeringly low fuel use figure of 4.3 litres per 100km, and we averaged 6.3L/100km on test.

The four-cylinder models took the honours for the next most frugal, with second spot going to the Skoda. It used just 8.8L/100km on test, a bit above its claim of 7.2L/100km. Next best was the Lexus, which used 9.8L/100km on test, where it claims 8.0L/100km.

Then it was the V6 models, with the big engines meaning big thirst. The Hyundai displayed an average of 12.6L/100km, up on its claim of 11.2L. The Infiniti was the least efficient, using 12.9L/100km, a jump on its claim of 10.2L.

What it boiled down to, in the end, was preferences for petrol or diesel.

Control

While using power is one thing, doing it in a controlled manner is another matter entirely.

Control can be linked to weight, because in some instances the heavier a car is the harder it can be to handle.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-43

There’s a massive different in terms of the weights of these five sedans, with the Skoda and Jaguar’s big bodies hiding surprisingly lithe frames.

The Jaguar’s aluminium structure aids it in being the lightest vehicle on this test at just 1556 kilograms (tare weight), while the Superb 206TSI tips the scales at only 1573kg – amazing considering it is bigger than the Jaguar and has all-wheel drive, too.

The Infiniti is 1675kg; the Lexus is 1705kg; and the Hyundai is a porker at 1995kg.

The Hyundai doesn’t necessarily feel as heavy as that number suggests it should, though. It steers true and holds the road nicely, with the reaction at the tiller not ultra direct but quick enough for this application.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-267

However we did experience some issues with the rear suspension over sharp, rutted sections through corners. The back end thumped up and down on rebound, and our back-seat tester Christian said the noise and the vibration of the suspension was clearly noticeable in the cabin.

That thumping was exacerbated by the car’s eager traction control, which tended to bite down on the brakes when we were trying to acceleration out of tight corners.

Generally, though, the ride was supple on smoother surfaces, and the Genesis was one of the quietest vehicles on test.

The Lexus’s firmer F-Sport suspension setup with variable dampers was more jittery over bumps than the other four cars here, and while it wasn’t perfect in terms of supressing bumps, the suspension did a great job at keeping the Lexus level through corners.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-283

The steering of the GS200t was nice and accurate, too, with good weighting and response both when dealing with the day-to-day duties of driving, and when pushing hard through twisties.

The mid-weight Infiniti fell short of its rivals in terms of dynamism. Its suspension never settled as well as its competitors on rougher road surfaces, with some side-to-side wobble noticeable over offset bumps.

The suspension wasn’t up to task through corners, either – it had the most body roll of all five cars here, and was the least comfortable to be a passenger in through sharp bends.

It was also the least fun in the driver’s seat, with the steering lacking the directness and accuracy of its rivals. There was kickback through the steering wheel, too, and that wasn’t present in any of the other vehicles.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-278

That said, the Infiniti proved a good companion on the highway and even did a good job around town, with lower speed bumps dealt with more convincingly.

If we’re talking outright control, the Superb – with its all-wheel-drive system –must be considered the control freak of this group.

It offered tremendous traction through corners, something the three models above simply couldn’t due to physics – and all five cars had good rubber fitted, too. The fact there’s power available to all four wheels ensured tremendous grip and excellent grunt usability upon exiting sharp bends.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-275

Despite its AWD underpinnings the steering of the Skoda was quite accurate, not suffering from understeer as you may expect. The handling was neutral, and it exhibited great balance.

The suspension was generally beautifully damped, though at lower speeds the ride could be a little sharp at the front end when encountering really sharp edges.

The XF was this group’s dynamic highlight. It may not have the same level of traction as the Skoda, but its road manners were so natural and predictable that it was judged the most fun to drive and to be a passenger in.

2016 Luxury sedan comparison Hyundai Genesis Ultimate v Jaguar XF 20d Prestige v Infiniti Q70 GT v Lexus GS200t F Sport v Skoda Superb sedan 206TSI-290

It offered the best steering of these five cars, with excellent feel to the driver’s hands and superb linearity when applying lock.

The ride, too, was brilliant – it was on the firm side over sharper bumps but it never lost its cool in corners, “oozing a sense of sporting character”, according to our judges.

It remained the most steady at speed and offered the most sports car-like driving experience of these five cars, with hardly any body roll through the bends, and a high speed assuredness that saw us call it a “proper sports sedan – even with a diesel engine”.

Verdict

In the end there could be only one winner – one car out of these five that best summed up luxury across the five criteria, with the most consistency and exclusivity to boot.

And the winner was the Jaguar XF, which offered the best blend of the qualities we listed from the outset, just not in totally perfect measure. It is expensive and somewhat underequipped in this company, but it has the pace, grace and space to answer the luxury car brief relatively comprehensively.

The big surprise of this pack was the Skoda Superb. Admittedly it fell short of the others in terms of plushness, but when it came to space, control and power it was – dare we use that pun again – superb.

The Lexus GS came in the middle of the pack, and to be fair to that car it was let down by its F-Sport pretences. It wasn’t as dynamic as we’d hoped, and its engine was somewhat underdone in this company. Still, if you like the GS, get the base model Luxury version which is cheaper and still offers good cruisability and plushness.

Fourth spot was the Hyundai Genesis, with the Korean model proving a strong offering for potential hire car buyers – partly because of the space on offer, and partly because of its excellent free servicing campaign. You could do a lot worse.

And in last was the Infiniti Q70, a large sedan with some redeeming features but one that falls short on modern niceties that could have seen it score higher here.

Final Rankings

How did our judges come to their final judgment? Taking our test criteria into account, each judge was asked to individually rank the field first place through to last – no sharing. Here’s a table of the result:

luxury-sedan-scoring-table-1

Then we translated these to rankings of how each car stacked up: a first place ranking in the table above saw one point tallied, second place managed two points, and so on.

The final overall ranking, then, reflects the lowest score for the win through to the highest score for last place:

luxury-sedan-scoring






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