Hyundai's new Genesis full-size sedan takes aim at established luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class with its rear-wheel-drive layout, available V-8 power and upscale features. Competitive pricing should enhance the Genesis' appeal when it hits dealerships in summer 2008. Primary competitors include the Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon.
The Genesis doesn't break new ground with its exterior styling, but it still manages to look upscale, if a bit conservative. The headlights are angular, like Lexus', and when viewed from the side the sedan brings to mind the Infiniti M and BMW 5 Series. Wheels are available in either 17- or 18-inch sizes.
The influence of the luxury segment can be seen in the design of the Genesis' cabin. The middle of the dash bulges outward like the one on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Hyundai has picked up on the German luxury brands' fascination with integrated control knobs with its new system that's used to operate the available navigation system, among other things.
Standard features include XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth-based cell phone connectivity. Available luxury features include a heated and cooled driver's seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a leather dashboard, a Lexicon audio system, a power sunshade and adaptive cruise control. The large backseat should have plenty of space for most adults.
Under the Hood
The base engine is a 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6. The top-of-the-line 4.6-liter V-8 produces 375 hp and 333 pounds-feet of torque. Regular gas is recommended for the V-6 engine, premium for the V-8. Both engines team with a six-speed automatic transmission that includes a clutchless-manual mode for driver-controlled shifts.
Standard features include antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags for the front and rear seats, side curtain airbags and active head restraints for the front seats. Front and rear parking sensors and a backup camera are available.