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April 8, 2009 > Auto Review: Hyundai Genesis

Auto Review: Hyundai Genesis

Did I hear you say you were looking for a large, four-door luxury sedan? And you don't want to spend a lot of money? Have I got just the car for you. Take a look at the 2009 North American Car of the Year, the Hyundai Genesis.

The Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai has produced an all new flagship model. The Genesis is a 5-passenger sedan packed full of luxury items. Then they wedged a high horsepower V-8 into one model to give it top line performance. A jury of 50 independent automotive journalists (excluding me) awarded it Car of the Year honors for things like innovation, design, safety, driver satisfaction, and value.

There are two Genesis models, one with a 3.8-liter, 290 HP, V-6 and one with a 4.6-liter, 375 HP, V-8. Each one uses a six-speed automatic transmission. They both share the same body structure, safety features, seating layout, and suspension. Speaking of safety, the Genesis was also named a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The safety features include electronic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, eight airbags and active head restraints. It received the highest rating in the Institute's side-impact, frontal offset impact and rear crash tests.

All Hyundai models have America's best warranty. This includes five year, 60,000-mile bumper to bumper protection. The power train is warranted for 10 years or 100,000 miles. 24-hour roadside assistance is included for five years. Any Hyundai purchased before April 30, 2009 also gets the new, innovative "Assurance Plus" coverage for free. This allows the purchaser to return the vehicle if the owner loses his/her job within one year of the purchase date. A second program allows 90 days of payment relief for the owner to keep the vehicle while trying to replace their income. A dealer can give you details of these programs.

Our test Genesis was one of the V-8 barn burners. It's easy to compare the Genesis to the high-end German and Japanese sedans and it does compare very well to that set of vehicles. The fit and finish quality is very good and the interior is very well done. Seats are very comfortable and fully adjustable to anyone's body shape and size. Controls are easy to use and convenient to find. The back seats have plenty of room and feel like they should be in your living room, not your car. Genesis' styling is understated. It doesn't scream out, "I am a luxury car," but a number of people I talked to liked it.

One of Genesis' huge advantages is its value. I didn't do an exact comparison, but, at the V-8's MSRP of $38,000, it probably costs 50% to 60% of the well-known German or Japanese luxury brands. Throw in Hyundai's great warranty and the Genesis is an easy pick over some of the more recognized hood emblems. The V-6 engined Genesis starts at $33,000 although it doesn't get some of the luxury features like rain-sensing wipers, automatic windshield defogger, leather dash, wood grain steering wheel, power rear window shade, sunroof, and seven less audio speakers.

The V-6 Genesis gets EPA mileage ratings of 18 for the city cycle and 27 for the highway test. As you would expect, V-8 ratings are lower, but only a bit at 17 mpg & 25 mpg. But the fun of driving a car like this is charging up hills and twisty roads; then the mileage plummets. Saving $10,000 or $20,000 on the purchase price will go a long way to buy some gas to have some hard driving fun with your new Genesis.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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