The Hyundai Genesis sedan offers smart styling, solid build quality and upmarket features at compelling price points. Genesis is rear-wheel drive, offers V6 and V8 engines and seats five.
The Genesis sedan was last redesigned for the 2009 model year. Genesis received a major upgrade for 2012, with revised styling, new direct-injection engines and a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Changes for 2013 are more modest but still significant. The 2013 Genesis offers a new navigation option incorporating Bluetooth telematics. The mid-range, 4.6-liter V8 is gone, and the 5.0-liter V8 is now available only on the performance-oriented Genesis R-Spec model.
Equipped with the standard 333-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, the 2013 Genesis is rated at an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. Hyundai's 8-speed transmission offers manual shifting capability, dubbed Shiftronic. More gears, in addition to skip-shift technology, help to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.
With its 5.0-liter engine, the 2013 Genesis R-Spec cranks out a class-competitive 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It's capable of a 0-60 mph time in just over five seconds while still achieving a respectable estimated 25 mpg EPA Highway rating. Genesis R-Spec also gets a sport-tuned suspension, steering and transmission along with 19-inch alloy wheels and unique headlamp trim.
The Genesis sedan is best compared with the Chrysler 300 and Buick LaCrosse. Features and performance, however, are on par with luxury models such as the Lexus GS, Lincoln MKS and Cadillac CTS. The 5.0 R-Spec proves to be a good contender with the likes of the INFINITI M56 at a much lower sticker price.
Also compelling is Hyundai's Assurance trade-in value guarantee, which assigns a future value to a vehicle at the time of purchase, based on a 24- to 48-month time frame. This guaranteed value can then be applied to a future Hyundai trade-in, as long as it's within the 24- to 48-month period. Even if the car is worth more than projected at the time of trade-in, the customer gets the higher amount.
Whether it's a true luxury car in the minds of buyers, the Hyundai Genesis in all its incarnations remains a top choice, both on paper and on the road.
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis ($34,200) comes standard with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, fog lights, heated power outside mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power accessories, power heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt function, steering wheel-mounted controls, cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree phone system, seven-speaker audio with CD player, SiriusXM radio capability and USB, iPod and auxiliary connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels.
Options are rolled into two packages: The Premium Package ($4,800) upgrades to 18-inch alloy wheels and adds a glass sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors, integrated memory system for seats and mirrors, rearview camera, rain sensing wipers with auto defogger windshield, power rear sunshade, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, leather dash and door trim, and DVD navigation with 7-inch display and XM NavTraffic (including 90-day trial subscription), as well as a premium Lexicon 14-speaker audio system with surround sound. The Technology Package ($4,300) requires the Premium Package and adds adaptive HID xenon headlights, front and rear park assist systems, lane departure warning system, smart cruise control, an electronic parking brake, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated driver's seat, heated rear seats, Ultimate Navigation with 8-inch display, and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with HD radio and 6-disc CD changer. New for 2013 are Blue Link telematics, with an integrated display for the Bluetooth phone system.
Genesis R-Spec ($46,800) comes with all of the above, while upgrading to 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS), and auto-dimming outside mirrors. Visual distinction is added by unique headlamps with dark chrome inserts, a chrome molding at the bottom edge of the doors, and R-Spec badging inside and out.
Safety features on all 2013 Hyundai Genesis sedans include eight airbags including front and rear seat-mounted side-impact bags and side-curtain airbags, electronic active front head restraints, four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control. Rearview camera is optional.
Surprisingly good looks set the Hyundai Genesis apart from its more affordable competitors. Fluid body lines and styling cues are reminiscent of higher-end luxury lines, yet remain distinctive.
Hyundai subtly but effectively freshened the exterior of the Genesis sedan for 2012, and all of those styling tweaks carry over to the 2013 model. Up front Hyundai jumped on the bandwagon with other luxury car makers by adding integrated LED accent lights (a la Audi), as well as a revised wraparound headlamp design. A modified front bumper sports a new air intake, while the redesigned front grille incorporates cleaner, straighter lines.
On the sides, a darker trim around windows aims to convey a more upscale feel, while more prominent rocker panels give a slightly more assertive look. A bright chrome molding further accents the rockers on R-Spec models. New side mirrors are reshaped and now include a power-folding feature and integrated puddle lamps.
In back, wraparound tail lights are more pronounced and the rear bumper features and integrated rear exhaust design, which lends a seamless, attractive appearance.
The cabin of the Hyundai Genesis sedan is elegant and tastefully executed. We took a Genesis 3.8 model for a spin in the Nevada desert and found the leather seats to be supportive and supple. Other leather trim, such as the wraparound two-tone dash gives the interior just the right touch of luxe. However, the wood grain trim looks more plastic than posh, especially around the doors.
The LCD gauges are bright and sharp, and are pleasing on the eye. Center stack controls are large and easy to read. Despite numerous buttons, layout is intuitive for the most part, although it takes a while to find certain functions. The mode button for the climate control, for example, is on the opposite side of the stack from the other HVAC buttons, which left us momentarily grasping at vents to direct cool air onto our feet in blazing 103-degree heat. Dual climate control worked nicely and the cooled, ventilated driver seat was a Godsend in the hot sun, although our front passenger was understandably put off that the feature was not included on both seats.
Due to the myriad buttons and knobs, there isn't much center storage space. Curiously, the small compartment between the shift lever and the center stack is dedicated to an ashtray and cigarette lighter, perhaps designed for the Asian market, since many U.S.-bound vehicles have long abandoned these (or make them available in a separate smoker's package). Using Hyundai's navigation system is less time-consuming than others on the market, although one passenger found it faster to punch up our destination on a Google Maps-powered smartphone.
Visibility is good, thanks to a large rear window, well designed side mirrors and minimally invasive B- and C-pillars. Front head- and legroom were more than adequate for drivers and passengers ranging from petite to tall, but in back, the head of one six-foot passenger nearly grazed the headliner while sitting behind the driver. And because the center seat is slightly raised, it's not an option for taller riders. Rear legroom is plentiful, as long as the front seats aren't all the way back.
Unlike many of its competitors, the Hyundai Genesis doesn't offer folding split rear seats, only a pass-through slot. Trunk space is average for the segment at 15.9 cubic feet.
The Hyundai Genesis sedan strikes a good balance between comfortable and responsive. With the Genesis 3.8 is tuned to the more luxurious side, it's a good highway cruiser without feeling too billowy. The cabin is remarkably quiet, although rough roads do yield some noise and vibration. Handling in the Genesis 3.8 has the edge over the somewhat boaty Chrysler 300. Brakes are responsive and stop the car with confidence.
Acceleration in the Genesis 3.8 is smooth and satisfying, but it won't leave you breathless. The 8-speed transmission does an admirable job staying efficient while offering up adequate power. Not too long ago, that many gears would have seemed preposterous, but in the days of mandated fuel economy standards, automakers seem keen on ever increasing gear span in hopes to eek out an extra mpg or two (which usually means cruising at pitifully low rpm). Yet, in this case, Hyundai seems to have done a pretty good job with the power curve, keeping torque readily available at low engine speeds.
Moving from the 3.8 V6 to the 5.0 R-Spec V8 is a little like checking out of the Hilton and into the Mandarin Oriental. The former is perfectly nice, but the top-of-the line model makes us wish we could linger just a bit longer. And order room service. Acceleration is smooth as silk, and gears shift at higher rpm for and extra power boost. The sport suspension makes the Genesis sedan more agile around corners and lessens body roll at turn-in.
Fuel economy for the Genesis 3.8 is an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg City/Highway on Regular gasoline. The 5.0 R-Spec is EPA-rated 16/25 mpg on Premium gas.
For those who can look past the H-shaped logo, the Hyundai Genesis remains a stylish choice and a great value for the money when compared with its more established luxury rivals. Its confident and able handling, bevy of comfortable features and a solid trade-in value guarantee keep it a top contender in the midsize sedan segment.
Laura Burstein filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after her test drive of Hyundai Genesis models near Las Vegas.