The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is one of the most anticipated Four Seasons cars to arrive at the Automobile Magazine offices in recent memory. Yes, you read that right. After driving the Genesis on Hyundai's test track in Korea, and being thoroughly impressed, we decided we needed to spend a year with Hyundai's first foray into the luxury-car arena to see how it measured up against more seasoned rivals from Europe, Japan, and America.
Because we are a power-hungry bunch, we bypassed the base V-6 engine and went straight for the V-8. It's a Hyundai-designed and -engineered 375-hp, 4.6-liter unit with variable-valve timing, and it's mated to a ZF six-speed transmission. The V-8-equipped Genesis starts at a reasonable $38,000 and comes with a list of standard features that one would expect on a premium sedan, including stability and traction control, rain-sensing wipers, a tire-pressure monitoring system, 18-inch wheels, a power rear sunshade, and bluetooth. But we didn't stop there. To get the full luxury experience, we added the technology package which includes an upgraded stereo with satellite radio, navigation system, DIS (Hyundai's version of iDrive), parking assist sensors front and rear with a backup camera, and HID headlights that swivel in corners.
Thus our Genesis is equipped with seemingly every convenience, safety, and luxury feature known to man. The question is, can it, over the course of a year, hold its own against the best from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus? Or will the Genesis shrivel under the heat of our intense scrutiny? Only time will tell.
Here are some of our thoughts on the Genesis after living with it for three months:
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
I was really looking forward to driving the Hyundai Gensis, the North American Car of the Year, but I was not expecting such appalling ride quality. Yes, our winter-ravaged roads are bad, but the Genesis seemed incapable of absorbing the smallest road imperfection.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
My nephew Vince got into the Genesis, looked around, and said, "What is this, some sort of Lexus?"
The next morning, when I returned from walking my dogs, I caught a glimpse of the back end of the Genesis from behind the garage, and I thought to myself "Who has arrived at my house in a Mercedes E-class?" And then I remembered that I had driven the Genesis home the night before.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I've now spent two weekends and about 725 miles in the Genesis, and it still leaves me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. On one hand, you've got an anonymous-but-expensive-looking big car with a very attractive, feature-laden interior and a smooth, muscular powertrain. On the other hand, the ride is very harsh for a luxury car. During my first weekend with the car I attributed the harsh ride to the weather, which was cold and snowy. But when ambient temperatures crested 40 degrees this past weekend, the poor ride became even more annoying and noticeable. Most luxury cars insulate you from road imperfections much better than the Genesis does.
Marc Noordeloos, Former Road Test Editor
Overall, I'm quite impressed with the Hyundai, but it needs some work on the details. The chassis tuning is disappointing. The ride is very busy over bumps and harsh over expansion joints and it's also slightly floaty on smoother pavement. The steering is quite good at lower speeds, but there's an artificial heavy feeling at highway speeds. Still, for the price point, you get a strong engine, a BMW 7-series-size interior, and a ton of equipment.
Evan McCausland, Assistant Web Editor
Although I love much of the interior's fit and finish, the switchgear is a mixed bag. Some of it looks and feels uplevel, but the steering column stalks look and feel as if they came from an Accent.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Viewed from the inside out, the Genesis is quite remarkable. The leather on the seats has a dead-on perfect feel, while the colored dash is subtle without being dour. I also found the DIS controller easier to use on first blush than the interfaces in most luxury cars. Overall, this is a very impressive effort, especially when you remember that Hyundai, unlike Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and the rest, does not have a parts bin full of luxury-car components. When you're in the Genesis, you never think to yourself, "I'm in a gussied-up Sonata."
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
During my night with the Genesis, the ride quality wasn't an issue. Perhaps it was due to the damp conditions and the fact that my average speed was quite a bit lower than usual, or that the road I use for half of my commute probably looks worse than the average street in Baghdad, but the suspension on this Genesis felt about average to me. Although the price point of the V-6 Genesis makes more sense to me, even at $42,000 for the V-8, there aren't any other cars that come to mind that offer this much room and this nice of an interior. Given Hyundai's previous work, the Genesis deserves a lot of praise.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
Winter is now over and we are preparing to remove the snow tires from our Genesis. It's possible the complaints about ride quality are at least partially related to the snow tires, so we're eager to sample our Genesis with the proper tires. Check back next month and we'll let you know whether the tire swap improved the Genesis's ride quality.
2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6
Base price: $37,250
As Tested: $42,000
Technology Package, $4000
-528-watt, 17-speaker Lexicon HD radio
-Rear Backup Camera
-Driver Information System (DIS)
-HID Auto-Levelling Headlights
-Adapive Front Lighting System
-Front and Rear Parking Assist Sensors
-Cooled Driver Seat
Body style: 4-door sedan
Accomodation: 5 passengers
Construction: Steel unibody
Engine: 32-valve DOHC V-8
Displacement: 4.6 liters (230 cu in)
Power: 375 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 333 lb-ft @ 3500
Transmission type: 6-speed automatic
Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 36 ft
Suspension, front: Multilink, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes: Vented disc, ABS
Tire size: P235/50R18
Headroom f/r: 38.1/37.7 in
Legroom f/r: 44.3/38.6 in
Shoulder room f/r: 58.3/57.9 in
L x W x H: 195.9 x 74.4 x 58.3 in
Wheelbase: 115.6 in
Weight : 4012 lb
Cargo capacity: 15.9 cu ft
Fuel capacity: 19.3 gal
Est. fuel range: N/A
Fuel grade: 93 octane
EPA Fuel Economy: 17/25/19