The fully redesigned second-generation 2015 Hyundai Genesis has arrived, and it certainly makes a strong statement. From its imposing upright grille and regal profile to its beautifully trimmed, high-tech interior, the Genesis announces Hyundai's arrival as a maker of genuine luxury cars.
Not that the previous Genesis (or the top-dog Equus, for that matter) was chopped liver, but we didn't see it as a true rival to established makes such as BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. It was kind of like a generic, off-brand product at the supermarket -- it had all of the features at a better price, for sure, but it was missing that special character that sets the familiar names apart.
This time, the Genesis forges its own identity, and we like it. A lot. The styling is right on for this segment, oozing both confidence and class. The available V8 engine delivers great power and refinement, while even the base V6 is no slouch. Inside, the Genesis gives up little, if anything, to its rivals, boasting truly premium materials and excellent technology with an up-to-date feel. Yet somehow the prices continue to be many thousands less than what cars of this type tend to command.
We were already plenty impressed by the original Genesis, but it turns out Hyundai was just getting started. For no-apologies luxury at an astonishing discount, the 2015 Genesis stands alone.
What's New for 2015?
Hyundai has fully redesigned the Genesis this year, keeping the previous model's engines but overhauling just about everything else.
What We Like
Imposing styling; smooth, confident ride; strong acceleration with either engine; executive-class interior; well-executed technology; exceptional value
What We Don't
Short front seat cushions; not very sporty
The Genesis is powered by either a 3.8-liter V6 engine (311 horsepower, 293 lb-ft of torque) or a 5.0-liter V8 (420 hp, 383 lb-ft with premium fuel). Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, with all-wheel drive (AWD) optional on the V6 model only. An 8-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties for every Genesis.
Fuel economy checks in at a satisfactory 18 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for the RWD V6, dropping to 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy for the AWD V6. The V8 brings up the rear at 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan is offered in three trim levels that correspond to powertrain choice: 3.8, 3.8 AWD and 5.0.
The Genesis 3.8 ($38,950) comes remarkably well equipped right out of the box, boasting standard luxuries such as 18-inch alloy wheels, dual power-folding heated mirrors with Genesis-logo-adorned puddle lamps, an electroluminescent gauge cluster with a 4.2-in, thin-film-transistor (TFT) screen, wood-grain accents, dual-zone automatic temperature control, leather upholstery, 12-way power heated front seats with lumbar adjustments, a 7-speaker audio system with Bluetooth streaming audio and an 8-in touchscreen interface with a navigation system and a rotary controller on the center console.
The Genesis 3.8 AWD ($41,450) adds all-wheel drive, headlight washers, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The Genesis 5.0 ($52,450) reverts to rear-wheel drive but throws in a slew of upgrades, including 19-in alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED fog lights, quad exhaust tips, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a power rear sunshade, a larger 7-in TFT screen between the gauges, matte-finished wood interior trim, premium leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, an electronic parking brake, a 16-way power driver's seat with adjustable side bolsters and a cushion extender, driver memory settings, a power adjustable steering wheel and a 14-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system.
Many of the 5.0's standard features are available on the 3.8 models via the Signature and Tech packages, though be advised that if you add both (the latter requires the former), it'll pump up the price by a whopping $7,500. The 3.8 Ultimate package tacks on a heads-up display, a 9.2-in HD touchscreen, 17-speaker Lexicon audio, a carbon-dioxide sensor with automatic air circulation and a power trunk lid. The 5.0 Ultimate package starts with the 3.8 Ultimate package's features and adds exclusive adaptive dampers.
Trunk capacity in the 2015 Genesis is a generous 15.3 cu ft. Notably, the Ultimate package's power trunk senses when you're standing behind the car with the key fob and automatically opens after three seconds. It's a neat feature when your hands are full.
The 2015 Genesis comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and nine airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee, rear-side, full-length side-curtain).
Standard on 5.0 and optional on 3.8 are a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with automatic steering correction, and a forward-collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
Behind the Wheel
In our interior evaluation of the 2015 Genesis, we were amazed by the transformation from the previous-generation model. The Genesis used to be nice for the price, but now it's just nice, period, with uptown materials and a sophisticated dashboard that evokes the BMW 7 Series. The controls are impressively intuitive for such a complex car; we didn't refer to the owner's manual once, yet we were able to explore all of the Genesis' high-tech features with ease. Although even the base 3.8 comes loaded with tech, it's mighty tempting to spring for the Ultimate package with its upgraded touchscreen, because once you see that 9.2-in HD display, chances are you'll want one of your own.
Seat comfort up front is satisfactory, though the front seat cushions are rather short -- a common trait in Korean cars. Longer-legged drivers will appreciate the optional 16-way driver seat with its extendable thigh support. In back, there's legroom on par with full-size luxury barges such as the aforementioned 7 Series, even though the Genesis is priced more like a 3 Series.
On the road, the Genesis is composed and confident, taking most pavement imperfections in stride. This is a large car, no doubt about it, yet it manages to feel light on its feet during quick steering transitions. The steering itself is isolated from the road, but it's more accurate than past efforts from Hyundai, with fewer mid-corner corrections required. Cruising on the highway, the Genesis is in its element, tracking straight and true in classic executive-sedan fashion. The base V6 has more than enough power for most folks, but the V8's melodious sounds and sub-5-second sprint to 60 miles per hour should be enough to get any car fan's attention.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW 5 Series -- Although the 5 Series has a tighter back seat and costs more when similarly equipped, some will contend that it's worth the premium price.
Cadillac XTS -- If you're looking for a classic American highway cruiser, the XTS delivers, and its available twin-turbo V6 adds some serious motivation.
Lexus LS -- Check out the LS' features and specs compared to the Genesis 5.0. The Hyundai has more power and comparable content for a whole lot less coin.
We like the whole Genesis lineup, from base 3.8 to fully loaded 5.0 Ultimate. The former delivers full-size luxury at the price of a small European sport sedan, while the latter nips at the heels of BMWs and Benzes. This Hyundai is a real contender.