Getting into this Hyundai Genesis sedan naturally brought back thoughts of our departed Four Seasons 2009 Hyundai Genesis. I immediately felt at home and comfortable behind the wheel and realized how much I had missed the Genesis being in our regular rotation of vehicles. There’s something simple and honest about the controls for everything from the climate control to the navigation and stereo systems. No finicky touch screens, no need for voice commands, and it all seems to work effortlessly when you just want to make a quick adjustment.
The 2012 Genesis upgrades were just announced at the Chicago auto show, and the biggest changes are revised suspension/chassis tuning and the availability of an R-Spec sedan with a 5.0-liter Tau V-8 rated at 429 hp. Non-R-Spec sedans will use an eight-speed automatic, and the V-6 sedans will take advantage of direct injection to produce an amazing 333 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque (up from 290 hp and 264 lb-ft) while increasing highway mileage to 29 mpg.
I’ve always favored the V-6 Genesis sedan over the eight-cylinder, and wished for a more complacent and comfortable ride over the broken highways that make up my daily commute, so these upgrades are most welcome. During my weekend with the 2011 Genesis sedan, I found the highway ride to be as busy as I had remembered, and it remains my biggest complaint with the Genesis sedan. As soon as we get behind the wheel of a 2012 version, we’ll find out if Hyundai has solved the ride equation. Then this might be the perfect luxury sedan for customers who don’t need to flaunt a brand name.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
That’s excellent news regarding the Genesis’s 2012 powertrain improvements. Interestingly, the Chrysler 300 will also get an eight-speed automatic this fall, but only with the standard V-6, not with the Hemi V-8. The 300 and the Genesis are really the only large, affordable, rear-wheel-drive sedans on the market, and even though they are completely different in character, they do beg comparison.
Along with the powertrain improvements, I hope Hyundai will take the opportunity of the mid-cycle update to offer some more attractive wheels for the Genesis. I still stand by the comments I made to Hyundai executives when I first drove the Genesis in May 2008 in Korea, that these wheels look like, ahem, cheap Korean knockoffs, and they don’t match the car’s otherwise premium look.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
The Genesis sedan sure is a fine luxury car. Granted, it probably won’t wow badge snobs or passionate enthusiasts, but just about anyone else who wants a luxurious large car would likely be very happy to live with a Hyundai Genesis. Especially since its starting price (with a V-6) is only $33K and it comes with Hyundai’s excellent warranty (including a ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain guarantee). Clearly, based on sales numbers (the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, for instance, handily outsell the Genesis), most buyers DO care about their vehicle’s branding, but nearly 30,000 luxury Hyundais sold is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
I’ve yet to drive the new, larger Hyundai Equus, but after driving our Four Seasons Genesis a lot and getting back into this 2011 model, my overall verdict remains quite positive. Still, like Phil, I was disappointed that the ride quality is still subpar, and I look forward to the pending improvements for the 2012 model year.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
When we first drove the Genesis, we were all blown away that a company like Hyundai could produce something so good. In the two years since, the Koreans have dramatically raised our expectations with product after excellent product. Now the Genesis impresses on its own merits. Flawless interior quality, quiet ride, smooth power delivery. What stands out most to me is the click-wheel infotainment system, which navigates all the usual functions – radio, navigation, iPod – with a naturalness that makes you wonder what the Germans have been doing for the last decade.
As Rusty notes, the Genesis won’t really impress those who buy BMWs for their handling or, for that matter, those who buy BMWs for their BMW badge. But anyone in the market for say, a Buick LaCrosse or Lexus ES (or GS) better check this car out first.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
It’s been about a year since the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 left our long-term test fleet, and the short time I spent in this 2011 Genesis only served to cement my opinions about the car. The Genesis is a luxurious cruiser that somehow has managed to carve a niche for itself in an already crowded market. It is very unobtrusive, yet it is that very unobtrusiveness that makes it such a winning proposition. It doesn’t seem to try to be anything other than a comfortable, well-engineered, relatively affordable sedan that gives good value for the money. And with an eight-speed automatic and a direct-injected V-6 on the way next year, it appears that the Genesis will only continue to raise Hyundai’s status as a manufacturer.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Price notwithstanding, the Genesis is an excellent vehicle that is still relevant despite few updates since its introduction in 2009. This is largely due to the fact that Hyundai managed to get so many things right the first time around, from the attractive, quick, and user-friendly multimedia system to the Hyundai-built V-8 that is as powerful as it is refined. There are a few fumbles that still need to be addressed — specifically the busy ride and the anonymous exterior design — but if the new Sonata and Elantra are any indication, I have no doubt that Hyundai will meet or exceed our expectations with the upcoming 2012 Genesis sedan.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
2011 Hyundai Genesis Sedan 4.6
Base price (with destination): $43,850
Price as tested: $43,885
4.6-liter V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Electronic stability control with traction control
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Amplitude selective damping (ASD)
18-inch alloy wheels
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
Heated auto-dimming outside mirrors
Leather seating surfaces
Heated front seats & cooled driver seat
Leather-wrapped dash and door trim
Power tilt/telescoping steering column
Power tilt/slide sunroof
Lexicon 17-speaker audio system
6-disc DVD changer
Navigation system with 8-inch display
Woodgrain-trimmed and leather-wrapped steering wheel
Proximity key entry with push-button start
Smart cruise control
HID Xenon adaptive headlights
Front and rear parking assist
XM satellite radio
Options on this vehicle:
iPod cable — $35
Key options not on vehicle:
17 / 25 / 20 mpg
Size: 4.6L DOHC V-8
Horsepower: 385 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 333 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Curb weight: 4012 lb
Wheels/tires: 18-inch aluminum wheels
235/50R18 Dunlop SP Sport all-season tires