May 18, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 17 November 2011 13:18
Hyundai is known for inexpensive, reliable cars that are loaded with extras that often are costly options on other automakers’ products. It’s not known for $46,535 sport sedans boasting 429-horsepower V-8 engines – serious luxury performance cars that compete with the best of Lexus and Infiniti. Yet, that’s the mission of Hyundai’s Genesis.
Built in South Korea, the 2012 Genesis is a big, roomy sedan with a long list of standard features even in base form. We drove the high-end, performance-oriented 5.0 R-Spec, which blends taut handling with a firm ride. A softer personality, along with a lower price, can be found in the Genesis’ lower levels: $34,200 for the 3.8, equipped with a 333-horsepower V-6 engine. This model lacks the sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch performance summer tires that come standard with the R-Spec.We haven’t driven a big Lexus in some time, but it’s hard to visualize a more solid, luxurious, accommodating sedan than the full-sized Hyundai. The quality of the switchgear, panel materials, seats and accessories, and the overall refinement of the car itself, add up to a highly competitive luxury sedan at any price.
Hyundai’s marketing challenge with this model and the even pricier Equus ($58,000) is identical to the one Volkswagen confronted when it put out a $70,000-plus luxury sedan called the Phaeton a few years ago. The Phaeton was a very fine car, but American buyers balked at paying so much money for a Volkswagen. Will they pay $50,000 or more for a car wearing the stylized, slanted “H” logo? Or would they rather pay more – a lot more – for a comparable Lexus?
Connecticut’s angry weather gods presented one compelling reason to opt for the Lexus.
We had our Genesis during the autumn nor’easter that wreaked so much disruption and destruction Oct. 29. The rear-drive sedan got hung up in the wet, heavy snow on flat ground despite having traction control. It required a hearty push by hand to break free. A swap to all-season tires would help. All-wheel drive, offered by Lexus in GS models, is unavailable in the Genesis until the 2014 model year.
This deficiency aside, the Genesis is loaded with standard features. Among them are an 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission, heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, keyless starting, smart cruise control, illuminated door sill plates, power sunroof and navigation system, to name just a few.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t tested the 2012 Genesis, but the 2011 model was rated a Top Safety Pick. Genesis models equipped with the V-8 engine, as ours was, have average reliability; those with V-6 engines, above average, based on owner surveys by Consumer Reports magazine.
Through October, Hyundai had sold about 28,000 Genesis models in the United States this year, up from about 24,000 during the first 10 months of 2010. So much for the theory that buyers might be turned off by that oddly shaped “H” on the hood and trunk lid.
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8, 429 horsepower, 376 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with Shiftronic
Weight: 4,046 lb.
Suspension: multi-link front and rear
Wheels: 19x8-in. machine finished alloy
Tires: P235/45R19 summer
Luggage capacity: 15.9 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 20.3 gal.
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city, 25 highway
Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline
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