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Hands-On: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Flirts with Autonomous Driving

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It’s easy to get fooled, but this isn’t an Aston Martin. This stylish luxury vehicle is the brand new redesigned 2015 Hyundai Genesis. This car is a techie’s dream, it’s loaded to the brim with every feature you’ve ever heard of, and then some! Read on, you’ll be surprised with what this bad boy is packing.

The new Genesis falls into the mid-luxury sedan class. It directly competes with cars like the Lexus GS, Mercedes E-Class, Cadillac CTS, or even the BMW 5-series, Audi A6, Lexus ES. Like most people, I had my doubts. Hyundai’s usually not known for “luxury”, but it’s amazing what they came up with and just how well they’re competing with the premium manufacturers.

The Genesis is a four-door sedan with two engine options (both big and fast). There’s a 3.8 liter V6 that puts out an impressive 311 HP and 293 lb-ft of torque. This comes in all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. If that’s not enough power for you, there’s a 420 HP V8 rear-wheel drive with 383 lb-ft. These aren’t sports cars, but wow can they move. They have a premium suspension where you won’t feel like you’re going fast at all. Everyone who came out to the test drive event was blown away with how 70mph felt like 35mph. The ride is surprisingly smooth and quiet, but more on that later.

Holy features! That’s what got us hooked on the new Genesis, the technology. There’s not a feature they didn’t include, and most of them come standard (amazing). Yes, there’s standard navigation, bluetooth, rearview camera, push button start, proximity key, paddle shifters, power seating, authentic leather, rain sensing wipers, instrument panel cluster display, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a sensor surround safety system that can do smart cruise control, automatic emergency breaking, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist, and blind spot detection. Smart cruise control allows you to set a speed and the Genesis uses a front camera and a smart sensor to safely adjust speed depending on traffic. Lane keep assist uses a similar principal to keep you in your lane. If you start to veer out of your lane, the steering wheel will take control and nudge you back into your lane. It was amazing! I don’t want to say that the Genesis can almost drive itself, but between smart cruise control and lane keep assist, it almost feels like it is. These features worked fantastically, but that’s not to say they were perfect. Lane keep assist worked very well if you’re slow to make a slight turn. It doesn’t work for the bigger turns. Similarly, smart cruise control and the automatic emergency breaking system would slow you down a lot, but it won’t bring you to a complete stop. They’re SAFETY features; they’re not intended to auto-drive (yet).

2015 Hyundai Genesis

The next feature is an industry first: the hands-free Smart Trunk. Let’s say you have groceries in both hands, and have your car key in your pocket. Simply walk up the trunk, wait for a few seconds, and the trunk will automatically open. There’s a few beeps and blinks to let you know the trunk is about to open so you don’t accidentally trip it. Another impressive industry first is a CO2 sensor that will detect elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the cabin and automatically pump in fresh air. This is another great safety feature since elevated CO2 leads to drowsiness.

The feature list goes on (and on), so to keep this post from overwhelming we’ll just list off the big ones. Standard, there’s 9 airbags, automatic headlights with LED accents, power folding outside mirrors, heated seats and mirrors, auto up and down windows, proximity key with push button start, dual temperature control, touchscreen navigation system, HD-Radio, Sirius XM, Hyundai Blue Link Infotainment system with Google Search (90-day trial), Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling, remote start with remote climate control, and rain-sensing wipers. Upgrade to a package and you can get a 9.2” 720P navigation system, Lexicon 17-speaker surround sound, remote start with power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, power rear sunshade and manual side shades, air conditioned front seats, genuine woodgrain finish and aluminum trim, a heads-up display (HUD), and all the features mentioned above. There’s really nothing the next Genesis doesn’t have.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

On to the design. The new Genesis most certainly looks like a premium luxury car. Hyundai went for a more progressive and bold design. The face of the car (with the winged badge) really could be mistaken for something like an Aston Martin, Bentley, or Mercedes. There’s a beautifully sophisticated hexagonal grille thats surrounded by chrome and complimented by LED accenting. The interior looks just as luxurious all decked out in leather and premium trim. It’s also one of the most spacious cabins in its class. The Genesis is a few inches wider and longer than the other mid-sized luxury cars mentioned earlier.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

We’re tech savvy drivers over here, but with all these features we were expecting a complicated and tricky-to-learn dashboard and navigation interface. Surprisingly, Hyundai managed to keep everything quite user friendly. There’s not an overwhelming number of buttons and controls. The navigation system is touch screen and works a lot like your phone does (tapping and swiping). Alternatively, you can control everything with a control nob on the dashboard, or using the steering wheel controls. Hyundai did a nice job of allowing the driver to focus on the road. The heads up display shows you pretty much everything you need to see (speed limit, navigation, media, alerts), and the instrument panel display shows you everything else.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

The Genesis is also a big music center on wheels. There is a surprising number of methods for listening to music: SiriusXM, HD Radio, CDs, MP3s using the built in storage, bluetooth, USB, auxiliary cable, and probably more on top of that. You can also sync your Pandora, Aha Radio, and SoundHound apps from your phone. The Lexicon 14 and 17 speaker sound systems are the perfect complement to all that music.

As the driver and the passenger, the ride was extremely comfortable. It was a little scary at times because we’d find ourselves driving a lot faster than it felt. You can tell that Hyundai invested a lot into the suspension, which is electronically controlled. You can shift the car into three drive modes: eco, normal, and sport. You can also get a little more control of the car with the paddle shifters. We loved there’s no underpowered model. The V6 wasn’t the V8 in terms of power, but it was still really fast and peppy. The all wheel drive kicked in when it needed to. Both models stuck to the ground very well and took turns quite smoothly. The lane assist was by far our favorite driving feature. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you get too close to the edge of your lane; lane assist was quick to gently guide us back on track.

On to the pricing. Hyundai simplified options and have just 10 available Genesis builds.The 3.8 liter V6 starts at $38,000. There’s 3 packages available, the signature, the tech, and the ultimate. They go for $42,000, $45,500, and $49,000. The all wheel drive model is $2,500 extra. The 5.0 liter V8 starts at $51,500 and the ultimate goes for $54,750. It’s a lot of money, but not for its class (and not for everything you’re getting). Similarly packaged, the 3.8 V6 is $11,740 less than the Lexus GS 350 and $17,605 less than the Mercedes E350. The 5.0 V8 is $15,670 less than the Mercedes E550 and $20,100 less than the BMW 550i.

The Verdict:

Hyundai’s done a really impressive job with the new Genesis. It really is a techie’s dream. It’s also nice to see that Hyundai is not simply copying features, they’re innovating too. For the price you’re getting a lot of car. It has the luxury design, first class cabin, and features up the wazzoo. The only thing it’s missing is the luxury badge. You’re saving up to $20,000 over the luxury car manufacturers. Genesis buyers will understand that they’re buying a luxury car for the comfort, safety, and convenience of enabling themselves; they’re not paying a premium to show it off as a status symbol.

 

2015 Hyundai Genesis