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2011 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Sedan. Photo by David Arnouts.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: One might wince at spending more than $40 large for a Hyundai, until, maybe, one drove this car. It's quiet, the cabin is very nicely appointed, and the car has a level of sophistication not seen in Korean cars before.
When I went to pick up my daughter, I told her on the phone that I was driving a Hyundai. She walked around the parking lot for a minute until she saw me behind the wheel. “Sorry, this looked like a Mercedes to me,” she said. Pretty good compliment from someone who sees a bunch of different cars all the time, even if she is just 15.
I'm still not a big fan of Hyundai seats. The bottoms are still way too flat for any sort of comfort on long-distance drives. This car handles better than I expected, with the suspension doing a better job of swallowing up harsh bumps and undulations. Jounce and rebound are way better managed than on any other Hyundai that I can remember.
Regardless of how this car sells, Hyundai should be commended for what it has achieved in such a relatively short period of time in the marketplace. The company's aspiration of building high-quality cars for a variety of segments, from entry-level to luxury, is taking place right before our eyes.
DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Having spent quite a bit of time in an original Hyundai Excel back in the late 1980s and not many others since, I tried to go into the Genesis with an open mind. A lot has happened in 20 years, and the execution both inside and out is perhaps derivative, but extremely well-done. This reminds me of the original Lexus LS--a huge leap forward for the manufacturer and the country of origin.
The engine has a lovely reserve of torque at most speeds, and the transmission is smooth and confident even if it has “only” six speeds. Handling was linear at lower speeds, but I found the Genesis was not particularly stable at speeds of more than 70 mph, particularly in crosswinds. I really had to fight the car on the expressway to maintain my lane during the stormy night on which I drove it.
Navigation and infotainment uses an interface much like that of our Honda Odyssey has, and I find it very intuitive.
Fix the high-speed stability, and this car is a real winner, especially at the as-tested price. It gives up remarkably little to the BMW 5-series for $15,000 less. I don't think Hyundai will have any problem finding takers if it can get customers looking to spend this kind of money in the showroom.
COPY EDITOR CYNTHIA L. OROSCO-WRIGHT: This Genesis seems to me a symbol of Hyundai's rise in consideration and quality. I've been in three Hyundai cars over the past week--our long-term Sonata 2.0T, a new Elantra and this Genesis--and each offered a solid ride, good interiors and good looks.
This Genesis kicks it all up a notch with its luxury efforts, and they are good ones. The cabin materials are pleasing to the eye and to the touch. The seats could use more bolster but overall, they were fine. All of the necessary controls are right at hand and easy to use. The infotainment interface is very user-friendly, and entering a destination into the nav was a snap. The heated seats took the chill off a cool morning, and the V8 gets this big car up to speed and beyond with ease.
The hubby said the sheetmetal reminded him of a BMW, and I wouldn't disagree. That's a fine compliment, indeed.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR--AUTOWEEK.COM BOB GRITZINGER: This is a very nice sedan in a Lexus kind of way. That is to say it is very refined, quiet and competent, handsomely styled, well-built and fitted out with a top-notch interior. It's also relatively devoid of character other than its refinement.
For Hyundai, I'd say that's a grand accomplishment--to be rated for its excellence rather than downgraded for shoddy materials, engineering and workmanship. Everything here is precise and well put together, and it shows in the drive quality, functionality, ease of use and quiet calm it projects. This is a nice car, and it's definitely worth considering against more expensive models. Just don't start thinking you're getting BMW-level of driving dynamics.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I thought the car was merely OK at best. The good, or decent: It seemed fairly well built, not ugly (but dull), with a decent interior but no more.
The driving was a real letdown. Start with the flat, too wide seats, and it is downhill from there. Andy touched on the high-speed stability woes, and I can add that while it might have been in bad weather, last night in good weather, the car was no prize either. The steering is way too light and sensitive and overly responsive on the freeway, needing constant corrections. At low speeds the suspension is too choppy. The car does not ride well on Detroit streets.
This car, to me, is as bad as the Sonata or the Elantra is good. I like those two cars way better as Hyundais go. That the company only sold 2,600 of these in April doesn't really surprise me.
INTERACTIVE ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I like the way Andy put it: This Genesis doesn't break any real ground, but it's a leap forward for Hyundai.
If a buyer is looking for a good luxury ride without the name recognition or the sporty character of a BMW, this is the car. I think there's a good segment of people who do want that, but the fact that Hyundai sold only 2,600 in April surprises me.
The sheetmetal is slick, if not a little boring. The shape is almost perfect. I saw a profile view with the front and rear ends blocked and it reminded me of an Infiniti. It's really just the front end that's too plain. The conspicuous absence of a Hyundai logo in front says something as well.
The as-tested price of $43,000 includes everything from navigation to the DVD player, heated and cooled seats and a sunroof. The BMW 528i we just had carried a $45,000 base price with $13,000 in options! And the Hyundai has a V8.
The engine/trans combination is strong in the Genesis. The 385 horses are plenty, enabling the Genesis to give a little squawk as I was pulling out of the parking lot. It has a good feeling of thrust when you step on the pedal. The soft suspension adds to the luxury feel of the power.
I didn't think the ride was choppy, as Wes said, but I did hit a few bumps that really transmitted into the cabin to startle me a bit. One of the few things the Genesis is missing is a sport mode. All of the luxury competitors have it. Even without adjustable suspension--which I guess would add some bucks to the price--Hyundai could at least have two different throttle maps.
The navigation system was clean and easy to control. It's not as good as that on our long-term Honda Odyssey with the iPod, but close. The car has super-loud speakers though, which are great when you're in the mood for them.
The weather was perfect last night and this morning, so no need for heated seats, but I'm sure they'd come in handy.
The Genesis sedan is a great step for Hyundai, which is on a serious roll right now.
2011 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Sedan
Base Price: $43,850
As-Tested Price: $43,885
Drivetrain: 4.6-liter V8; RWD, six-speed automatic
Output: 385 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 333 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,012 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 20/19.1 mpg
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