2015 Hyundai Genesis first drive
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The 2015 Hyundai Genesis Challenges for the Ultimate Driving Machine Title

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The Hyundai Genesis has asserted itself as a high quality luxury sedan with an affordable price, but with the introduction of the 2015 Genesis sedan, the Korean automaker has a car that can truly stand up with the best that Germany or the US have to offer.

Hyundai has spent the past few years showing that not only can they offer high efficiency, low cost vehicles for the masses, but they can also provide an incredible luxury sedan – a point which is crystal clear after just a short time driving the 2015 Hyundai Genesis. While the first generation Genesis sedan was very impressive, it still fell a little short when being compared to the likes of the BMW 5 Series. The first generation Genesis sedan offered luxury amenities and powerful drivetrain options at a stunning low price relative to the competition from Cadillac, BMW or Mercedes, but it was still missing that special something that you get with the likes of the popular BMW 5 Series.

On the other hand, the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis has the same level of wow factor that you get with the biggest names in the midsized luxury sport sedan segment so while the new Genesis is still thousands less than the European competition – the difference between the Genesis sedan and the biggest competitors has been dissolved with this new generation.

2015 genesis front

I recently had the chance to spend a day blasting around Phoenix Arizona in a 2015 Hyundai Genesis fitted with the 5.0L V8 engine and as a former BMW 5 Series owner; I can say that I am truly impressed with this new Hyundai sedan on every possible level.

The Exterior of the 2015 Genesis

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is all new and that starts with the exterior design. The new Genesis is a little longer through the middle with a long nose and a very short trunk area giving this big sedan (technically midsized) a couple like form even though it has four doors. From front to rear, the 2015 Genesis has a very elegant look starting with the big, bold grille up front that is flanked by a pair of projection headlight housings underlined with LED trim lights. The muscular lines of the hood angle down and in towards the grille, bolstering the scowling appearance of the front end and while lots of silver trim gives the Genesis a high end look, the aggressive face helps to bring out the sporty nature of this new Korean sport sedan.

2015 genesis rear

Out back, the new Genesis sedan has a set of big, bright LED taillights that wrap from the quarter panel around to the trunk lid for a sporty, high tech look while the raised rear end with a very wide track really gives the Genesis a sport sedan feel. The 5.0L V8 models also come with quad exhaust tips mounted in the lower corners which, when combined with the flow of the prowling stance of the car, caps the styling off with a bright, shining period.

This new Genesis sedan is a beautiful example of Hyundai’s newest design language, combining the aspects that are must-haves for the luxury sedan market with lines that give this midsized sedan a very sporty posture whether you are looking at it from the front, the back or the side. In a luxury segment packed with sporty sedans, the new Genesis fits in perfectly while the distinctly Korean styling allows it to stand apart from the crowd in a very positive way.

The Interior of the new Hyundai Genesis

Truthfully, I was so pleased to get behind the wheel of the 420 horsepower 2015 Hyundai Genesis that I didn’t spend much time climbing around the interior. I spent the entire time driving so I got a great feel for the driver’s seat and in spending a very short time in the passenger’s seat and rear seats, I can attest that passengers will be comfortable no matter where they are seated. Thanks to the longer wheelbase, the rear seats offer impressive leg room for rear riders and a bucket-seat like feel that keeps those folks out back in place better than some of the flatter, less comfortable rear seating options in the segment. Also, the reclined angle of the rear seat backs make sitting in the back of the new Genesis coupe far more comfortable than some other sedans of this size class that force you to sit like you are in reform school.

2015 genesis rear sets

When you are sitting in the driver’s seat of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, there is no question that you are in control of a modern luxury sedan. The driver’s seat is both heated and cooled with intricate positional adjustments providing comfort for drivers of all sizes with plenty of leg, elbow and head space for even the tallest drivers. These seats are wrapped in soft, plush leather with both base and side bolsters that keep you firmly planted during stints of spirited cornering. Mind you, these seats are not as narrow or as rigid as some other sport seats in the segment, but they offer very comparable grip while offering higher levels of comfort. This is a car that you could drive from LA to NY and not have a single ache from being in the driver’s seat for all of that time.

2015 genesis front seats

Aside from the high level of comfort and spaciousness offered by the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, the cabin looks the part of a proper luxury sedan with leather covering the seats, the door panels and parts of the dash accented by silver trim scattered throughout and a matte wood finish on the dash that doesn’t look as shiny and artificial as the dash face of so many other luxury sedans. The crown jewel of the 2015 Genesis interior is the center stack which features a huge 9.2 inch touchscreen infotainment system underlined by a collection of knobs and buttons for those who prefer less touch sensitive controls. These buttons and knobs offer control of the sound system, the navigation system and the HVAC system in cooperation with the massive touchscreen and for those who want to make adjustments while driving – a spread of buttons on the face of the steering wheel allows you to adjust the radio station, the volume and the driver’s information screen in the gauge cluster with your thumbs. Like so many cars on today’s market, there is also a voice control button that will work with the nav system to find landmarks, addresses or even specific businesses with the help of the World Wide Web. For instance, while cruising along I could push the voice control button and instruct the system to find Subway – and it would locate all of the options in the area and provide directions to those stores. This system works with any business that is indexed in search engines online so pretty much anything that you can request, the Genesis infotainment system can find it.

As you would expect, the new Genesis comes with a high end sound system that pumps out the tunes whether you are listening to classic rock or modern hip hop.

2015 genesis dash

Finally, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis features PC like controls with the knob located on the center console just in front of the center armrest. This small panel behind the shifter allows the driver to change between modes on the infotainment system and adjust various parameters while your arm is resting comfortably on the soft center armrest. A control panel located in front of the arm rest has become a popular option in the luxury segment and the new Genesis makes good use of that simple technology.

Whether you are focusing on level of comfort, interior space or level of high tech gadgets, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis has a cabin that will hang with the best luxury sedans in the world on every level. Pretty much anything that you can ask for from the luxury midsized segment is included in the new Genesis and, as I have mentioned more than a few times in this review, the Genesis offers this all for thousands less.

The Drive
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis comes with three different drivetrain configurations: a 3.8L V6, an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear wheel drive, a 3.8L V6, an 8-speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive or a 5.0L V8, an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear wheel drive. I was excited to spend the vast majority of my drive time in a new Genesis sedan powered by the 5.0L V8, which sends 420 horsepower and 383lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels by means of the new 8-speed automatic transmission. The addition of the 8-speed transmission to the new Genesis sedan allows the engineers to tune the numerically lower gears (1-4) more aggressively for supreme acceleration through the low and mid range, while the numerically higher gears are geared to keep the RPMs low and the MPGs high…or as high as we can expect from a 420 horsepower V8 in a midsized luxury sport sedan.

20156 genesis v8

The new drivetrain configuration in the 2015 Genesis sedan makes good on the expectations of impressive acceleration, with the 8-speed transmission affording this roomy sedan serious launch force from a stop. On a good, hard launch, the Genesis offers just a quick spin of the tires before gripping and rocketing away from the line – shoving everyone in the car firmly back in their seats. The 8-speed transmission quickly pops from gear to gear, with the small gear ratio changes and the lightning quick gearbox keeping the big V8 well within its desired powerband…leading to very level, very strong acceleration from a stop up to well beyond any posted speed limit in this country. Not surprisingly, all of that power makes for strong acceleration when cruising at higher speeds so when you feel the need to blast around slower moving traffic, shoving the pedal to the floor brings about a quick shift into a lower gear and the 5.0L Tau V8 happily pushes the Genesis sedan around traffic that is puttering along at the speed limit. Best of all, if you would rather control the shifts of your new Korean sport sedan yourself, the 2015 Genesis has paddles mounted on the steering wheel that offer excellent control of the shift points.

My one key criticism of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis with the 5.0L V8 is that it just doesn’t sound like a V8 powered sport sedan. I understand that most midsized luxury sedan buyers don’t want their car to scream like a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Corvette, but this is a high performance luxury sedan and I would prefer that it cleared its throat a little louder when you are hard into the throttle. Fortunately, while it doesn’t sound like a high performance sedan, it feels like one and that is all that really matters in the long run. The good side is that the Genesis is near whisper quiet in any driving condition with almost no wind noise or road noise making into the cabin. You cannot hear the Tau V8 roar, but you also don’t hear much else from outside of the car.

2015 genesis low front

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan packs big power with the 5.0L V8, but so did the outgoing models. Where the new Genesis has really improved is in the handling capacities, thanks to the help of the folks from Lotus Engineering. When developing the new Genesis sedan, the Hyundai team sought out the help of Lotus to make sure that this new sport sedan handled like the best sport sedans in the world. Those efforts are immediately felt as soon as you begin hitting the twisties, as this is one of the more confident feeling midsized luxury sedans I have driven. Around town and when driving under normal circumstances in and around the greater Phoenix area, the new Genesis was is smooth and comfortable as you would expect, but when we got outside of town to an area with curvy roads cutting through the mountains – the Genesis really began to shine. The 2015 Genesis sedan is equipped with an Intelligent Drive Mode system that lets you pick between Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow and while the car performs beautifully in Normal mode, selecting Sport mode allows you to push this big sedan to the limits.

Sport mode adjusts the throttle, transmission, steering and suspension system of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, allowing for crisper throttle response, more performance minded shifts, a far sportier ride and steering that provides a far more connected feel than in Normal mode. Honestly, if I owned a new Genesis sedan, I would leave the car in Sport mode all of the time as, while it improves handling quite a bit, it doesn’t negatively impact the ride quality enough to worry about. I was able to throw the Genesis sedan into sharp canyon curves with very little body roll and in the hardest, tightest turns – the Gen sedan will overpower the back tires and oversteer (or drift, if you prefer that term) before it will push the nose out. On roads where the motorcycles in front of me were leaning way into the turns to take them at speeds, the Genesis sedan stuck to the road and cut through the corners with amazing accuracy. In the rare occasion that you get a little too hard into a sharp turn, the Genesis braking system is quick to get the big sedan slowed down to more manageable speeds while allowing you to still maintain control.

2015 genesis side

I have driven the comparable BMW, Mercedes and Lexus midsized luxury sedans and the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan provides the power, the ride quality and the handling to compete with the best of those models. Most impressively, the Genesis will out corner and out run many of the other cars in the class for tens of thousands less so while it is hard to call a $55,000 luxury sedan a bargain – the new Genesis sedan is just that. This is a big Hyundai sedan that offers all of the driving excitement that you would get from much pricier models so if you really enjoy driving, you will enjoy driving the new Hyundai Genesis sedan.

The Final Word

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis has a sleek, styling exterior, a plush, loaded interior and a drivetrain that makes it a ton of fun to drive without compromising ride quality so in the world of the midsized luxury sedan – the new Genesis sedan checks all of the boxes. Really, this car leaves very little to ask for so for someone who wants every amenity of a premium luxury sedan without the $70k price tag of the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Lexus or Cadillac – the 2015 Genesis sedan is a beautiful option. While this new Genesis might not impress as many people with its name (or price tag), it is hard not to be impressed with every other aspect of the car whether you are in the driver’s seat or just riding along.

2015 genesis high angle

If true luxury with serious performance is more important to you than being able to say that you drive a European luxury sedan – the 2015 Hyundai Genesis can put you in a car that can compete with the best from Europe while also saving you $15,000-20,000. I don’t like the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan because it only costs $55,000, I like it because it is fun to drive, stylish and super plush inside while STILL only costing $55,000 where the competition will milk you for thousands more – often for less car.


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Comments

I was a Mercedes owner (S Class, CLK 430 Sport Convertible and an SL) no longer, I bought a Hyundai Azera and now the new 2015 Genesis Sedan with more techno-goodies than my Mercedes had. I actually like the Hyundais better, I've had ZERO repairs even though there is a 100,000 mile/10 year warranty. Oh... Did I mention, I'm going to spend the $$$ I'm saving on my wife and grandkids? Of course the Genesis doesn't have the "Stars Upon Thars" medallion on the hood. If you want that you'll have to pony up $20,000 to $30,000 extra.
This is a fine appearing car with an excellent choice of engines. Car shoppers should note that the Genesis comes with many features standard that other cars of similar or higher cost charge extra for. Put simply, the Genesis is a better deal and in some respects a more luxurious car. The seats in my Mercedes E550 4Matic, for example, become acutely uncomfortable on long trips.
I purchased one and I regret it. The car is painfully loud at startup, the doors feel cheap and floppy when opening and closing, not that refined smoother gear feeling you get with luxury cars. The roof rattles, the gas mileage is deplorable. The vehicle doesn't remember heating or cooling settings and randomly forgets iPod settings. It has strange malfunctions with the iPod as well, for example there are albums that simply won't play or keep playing the same song no matter what selection on make? The matts and carpets are cheap and poor quality, mine are already shedding and piling. The rear seats are not cooled, something Mercedes was doing with their e class many moons ago. Let's not even talk about Hyundai service as it is very low brow.
I happened to buy a 2014 Mercedes E-550 sedan instead of the Hyundai Equus model, which is a bit larger than the Genesis. My car does not have heated rear seats, though it may have been available as part of some very high cost package, such as was the case with a heated steering wheel. My car is also painfully noisy at startup. So much so, that the owner's manual takes pains to advise the owner that the engine will make noise upon startup. Unlike our other family car, a Subaru, the Mercedes has the old fashioned foot operated parking brake. The Subaru has a very much nicer electrically operated parking brake.