In November of 2014, A Wheel Thing was part of the dealer network launch team for the newest entry into the luxury sedan market, the Hyundai Genesis. Over three and a half days, the cars were showcased to members of the Hyundai dealerships. However, it wasn’t quite the chance to consciously evaluate the car for a good period of time….until now.
It’s a 397 Nm, 232 kW, 3.8L V6 between the BMW-esque front fenders. It’s a willing, smooth, but thirsty beast, even with eight automatic gears to choose from, with a Hyundai quoted 11.2L per 100 kilometres of driving being drained from the 77 litre tank (urban is quoted as 15.7L and highway at 8.6L). Part of the issue, well, two parts, are the weight of the Genesis (1890 kg dry) and the rev figure for maximum torque: a very high 5000 rpm. Peak kilowatts are produced just 1000 rpm up the range. A Wheel Thing’s best was 8.5 with cruise set at 115 kph (indicated) on a Sydney freeway.
She’s a big ‘un, sitting just a centimetre shy of five metres in length, putting the Genesis into luxobarge territory and offering heaps of interior space. Width is 1890 mm and height 1480 mm on a 3080 mm wheelbase.
There’s a vast area of grille on the Genesis, with six horizontal bars inside a slightly odd looking hexagonal design. The nose is upright, with LED rimmed headlights flowing back into the fenders, whilst the rear has a mix of Japanese and German design influences. At night there’s a neon tube look to the clusters.
Rolling stock is 18 inch alloys with 245/45 rubber, providing a solid footprint on the road. It’s a full length glass roof with sunroof on top and the whole shebang is based on Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design philosophy, version 2.0.
Front and rear are joined by two scalloped edges, breaking up the profile whilst providing a hint of slimness to the five metres of metal; a touch of luxury is added at night with the Genesis logo beamed downwards from the folding wing mirrors, which help to direct airflow along and around the sides. Underneath is a flat floor, to reduce turbulence and drag. The boot itself is cavernous (493L) and is power operated for the lid itself.
It’s here that the Genesis is showing a touch of age; the car has been available overseas for a few years and although the basic design is ergonomic and legible (for the most part), some of the plastics and ideas used need an upgrade. At least all internal lights are LEDs.
An example is the rear of the driver and passenger seats; just about every other car has a soft material, be it cloth or leather but Genesis has a hard sheet of plastic with elastic straps to pull it away from the seat back. The steering wheel buttons look as if they’ve been lifted from any other Hyundai and the dash buttons lack a premium feel.
There’s a couple of niceties, with a rear window blind and an analogue clock that automatically resets to suit a GPS provided time.
Surrounding the gear lever is a range of buttons, accessing parking sensors, the 360 degree cameras (which display as a top down graphic on screen, with a range of options), drive mode (Normal, Sports, Eco) with the same, not quite as good as they should be, buttons on the dash.
The sound system is fantastic; comprising 17 speakers spread around the cabin, Lexicon have provided a great mix of punch, clarity and channel separation, with kick drums as equally clear as the shriek of a metallic string on a guitar. A 9.2 inch touchscreen takes pride of place in the centre dash, allowing a selection of audio, navigation and the like whilst the dash itself has a four inch or so LCD screen in full colour. The rear seat has access to a set of controls, presumably with the passenger being chauffeured; there’s audio, seat cooling/heating and more.
There’s plenty of driver support in the Genesis Ultimate, which takes the level of technology you may pay more for elsewhere and combines it into one package. Naturally there’s the usual Traction Control, heaps of airbags etc, but you’ll also get Tyre Pressure monitoring, Lane Departure Warning (which beeps and shakes at the driver) Head Up Display, Smart Cruise Control (which reads the distance to the car in front and keeps Genesis at a driver selected distance behind, measured in seconds) with Autonomous Emergency Brake (which will bring the car to a halt automatically), the surprisingly simple Blind Spot Detection, which uses sensors at the rear to flash up on the HUD which side a potentially unseen vehicle is on and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, advising the driver of any vehicles they can’t see as they reverse from a tight car park.
On The Drive.
Sure, there’s a peak of nearly 400 Newton metres of torque to play with but at a hefty call of 5000 revs; there’s enough torque below that to move the two tonnes plus passengers off the line but it’s deceptive. The eight speed auto slurs its way through, there’s a sense of manual gear changing and it FEELS seat of the pants quick…until you look down and see the numbers. It FELT quicker than what it was.
A severe prod of the go pedal changes that, so the revs climb so do the other numbers and there’s a hint of anger from the front, a muted snarl that sounds just right, as the 3.8L V6 winds up. The three drive modes do change the subtleties of the Genesis, however the Normal mode is more than able to deliver.
Steering feel is conversational; there’s a faint sense of numbness on centre, but loads up nicely, especially with the meaty rubber strapped onto the alloys. Ride quality is, for the better part, superb, flattening out all but the bigger intrusions whilst isolating a decent amount of noise from the cabin as well.
Punted hard in turns you can feel the chassis tensing up, with a progressive change from throttle controlled understeer to a touch of lift off oversteer, with the 3.0 metre wheelbase providing a stable footprint. Lock to lock is about three and a half turns, giving good control for normal driving.
Driven hard, the Genesis easily sees plus fifteens for consumption, whilst a cruise controlled freeway stint saw a best of 8.4L/100 km.
It’s a three model range, with the entry level starting in the low $60k bracket and winds up at around $82k plus on roads. The full specification list can be found here: http://www.hyundai.com.au/multimediafiles/cars/genesis/pdf/hyundai_genesis_specification_and_range.pdf and, of course, head across to Hyundai Australia’s website for more.
It’s a good car, a lovely car and aimed at medium wealthy males, luxury car hire and limousine companies. It certainly fits those bills but is already, in the eyes of A Wheel Thing, needing some subtle updates to freshen the interior, to provide more of a luxury office feel with the plastics and seatback map pockets.
The exterior is a different question; the debate about having something that identifies it as a Hyundai will rage for some time but Hyundai Australia needs a hero car. Is this it?
It was parked under the grandstand at Sydney Motorsport Park during the recent V8 Supercar test weekend; comments such as “What is it?” and “Looks nice, a Hyundai? Nahhhh.” were common, as were cameras taking snaps. The styling is inoffensive but, as a result, appears to lack cut through if public feedback is used as a yardstick.
For A Wheel Thing TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAe7CjKxZcs&feature=youtube_gdata