2015 Hyundai GENESIS Review
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sets a skyhigh bar for luxury sedan excellence. This V6 AWD version is the best-driving and most joyful four-door we’ve driven in years.
Why? The Genesis feels inherently right behind the wheel, diving into and out of corners, and singing up to its redline. There is a terrific analog feel to the Genesis at speed — you instantly trust the car implicitly and fall head over heels. We’d even wager most performance sedan owners would prefer the Genesis to the new 535i or E350. Versus the A6 or Cadillac CTS?! No contest. Advantage: Hyundai.
Inside, fantastic build quality and roominess on par with the Audi A7 and A8 mean the Genesis feels worth every penny of its $51k as-tested price.
Up from a base of just $37,000, this elegant sedan has the design elan of the best BMW 7 series and even performance to match with the optional 5.0-liter V8 engine.
An absolute rockstar of a car — the Genesis 3.8 AWD finally hits the perfect note in its flagship-sized back seat, fabulous woodwork and value for money.
Is it perfect? No, it’s not. Just a few detail elements we’d tweak to make this world-class sedan a world-beater with no reservations.
Let’s dive in with Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing, Colors and Summary section heads.
This review feels pretty gush-y already. How can you trust the hack writing it up to have objectivity?
No way to prove it besides sharing a devastatingly-critical concept-to-reality article on the Genesis versus the HND-14 concept that came before it.
When the new Genesis came out, we could barely hold in our distaste for its bland lines and lack of emotional design.
The initial auto show photos of the Genesis did it no favors — but we take back much of our initial horror last summer.
Editing these photos just now, however, is like a labor of love.
Let’s start at the front.
NOSE – DESIGN ANALYSIS
The nose of the Genesis wears a solid block of single-frame grille that is pinched near the lower edge of the bumper. Full-width intakes and an integrated body kit extend the wings deep at each side of the car’s face — and the result is fairly stunning. From afar, this is a gorgeous and super-premium machine.
Up closer, the horizontal slats of the beveled grille are chic yet curious. People truly do not know what kind of Audi, BMW, Merc or Jag this is. They squint for a closer look at the Genesis wings badge at the top-side of the hood — unable to believe this is actually a Hyundai.
Gripes up front? We do not love that the Genesis badge only appears on the nose, versus a Hyundai badge on the tail. Consistency would be better liked among luxury buyers.
Secondly, the active safety systems live behind a gloss-black false plate at the top of the grille. This is a far cleaner integration than some cars — ie Volvo or new Murano — and is at S-Class levels of sophistication overall. But like the S-Class, there are some angles when the black element sticks out strangely versus the depth of the intakes for the other elements of the grille.
One last beef, and our most pressing concern: the Genesis 3.8 AWD runs its amber parking lights as DRLs. The V6 Genesis also lacks the LED fogs of the Genesis V8 — with the area they usually occupy just blanked-out bumper elements now. The LED lining of white light accents in the headlamps only lights up properly outside the Auto light function. Silly to ride around with Buick Century-style amber lights making the car look cross-eyed to other road users.
The LEDs themselves up front are fairly high flicker elements as well. Not perceptible in real life, but the camera has trouble catching both LEDs lit the same time.
That list of nose gripes seems pretty severe, but mostly speaks to our unhealthy obsession with well-executed LED DRLs up front. After all, how can a car truly top the luxury heavyweights with shoddy lamps? Regardless, most owners won’t care one bit.
Around the front three-quarter angle and the pure profile, the Genesis comes into its own. A huge hood lengthening changes the dash-to-axle ratio dramatically versus the previous Genesis. Now this Hyundai has that long, loping and elegant look of true limousines. Explicitly rear-drive and obviously expensive, the Genesis really nails its proportions this year.
A concave pinch of sheetmetal in the front quater panels is chic and exceptionally special. This design cue even found its way onto the Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso in a very Genesis-like way. (This look is hard to stamp in mass production – but has also appeared on numerous Ferrari’s like the 612 in a slightly different style.)
Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso
For the Italian design boutiques to replicate Genesis details — likely unintentionally — speaks to the timeless elegance of the 2015 Genesis outside.
Things stay top-flight as the eye comes to the tail of the car, which looks low and impossibly wide. Individual LED light blocks in the tail are fresh and unique, while LED indicators and LED backup lamps convey premium modernity with every lane change.
A pert integrated tail spoiler extends the length of the sedan visually, cementing the cab-backward look of a country club regular.
Boxed tailpipes at each flank are integrated into the bodywork, looking butch and macho — if not as aggressive as the quad pipes in the 5.0-liter V8 model.