Our love affair with the "impossibly good" Hyundai Genesis just got stronger for 2016!
Testing out a rear-drive version of the 2016 V6 is a nice counter-point to the V6 AWD we fell so hard for a few months ago as a 2015 model.
The 2016 Genesis has a few very notable updates to the V6 model lineup: standard HID headlights and available LED foglamps for the V6 -- lamps that were previously a V8 exclusive.
And even better, the Genesis now runs its gorgeous -- and standard -- LED headlamp accents as the main DRLs for normal driving. This was impossibly before, curiously, and Hyundai has banished the old amber DRL look with this new update.
All fantastic news -- enhancing the stellar chassis, handling, luxury and roominess of the Genesis in this generation.
The rear-drive Genesis V6 is not exactly the corner carver of its AWD sibling, however, and this makes it still a bit less-than-perfect overall as a BMW replacement.
All in all, though, this $50k-as-tested luxury sedan is a full-size dream, but at mid-size prices.
Three HD videos to accompany these words, plus the standard headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.
Are we too excited about this detail tweak for the Genesis LEDs and standard HIDs for 2016?
It is very possible. But as demonstrated in the above video walkaround, the 2016 Genesis looks 1000% cooler with its LEDs glowing bright in the headlights' Auto setting. Basically, the Genesis now cruises the fast lanes of the world demanding and commanding the respect of the best Audi and Mercedes sedans. Where the old LED accent on the headlights was visually lost beneath the bi-xenon projector balls, it now makes a strikingly three-dimensional visual signature when driving during the day.
Our wishlist for the Genesis was almost complete for the LED makeover and the Signature pack's LED fogs. The foglamps are still disabled unless the main headlights are lit up... but this makes some sense. All the LEDs seem like decent actual headlights until you flick on the real beams -- which shine farther and illuminate the road in a superb way. Auto highbeams are a nice touch in the Tech package. These are called High Beam Assist and the feature automatically flicks the highbeams on or off based on the presence of other cars on the road.
The Tech pack integrates a variety of the best active-safety features like active lane keep assist and full-speed dynamic cruise control, detailed below in the Interior section.2016 LED Demo / Walkaround
More time with the design of the Genesis (beyond its lights:) has reinforced the good and great elements of the design.
The satin pewter of the silvery, singleframe grille seems more gorgeous and original than ever. The proportions and overall length recall the best of the low-slung BMW 740s, while the width and scale of the machine is clearly aimed at the Jaguar XJ and S-Class Mercedes.
The RWD Genesis is quite a good-looking car in almost every situation -- as shown by our exhaustive photoshoots. We've even come to like the 3D red brake light fins -- which live inside the upper edges of the trunk glamourously. Same goes for the LED amber blinkers in back and the hidden, roof-mounted central brake light just above the back glass.
It is a cohesive piece of design -- and one that aces the fundamentals of luxury sedan style for 2016.
We especially love the brighter colors, but this Montecito blue does have a nice metallic topcoat that gives the car a premium sheen -- even when dusty or dirty.
Wishlist? Perhaps some sportier wheels and a lower ride height. The RWD and AWD Genesis models both look similarly tall on the road versus the air-spring Audi S6 and even the most-basic 528i. This makes sense for the awesome Htrac AWD cars, but is slightly more curious on the rear-drive cars.
The cabin of the Genesis is one of its real hidden talents. In photos, we saw the same thing as you: a plain design with functional, if unsexy, details.
But then you meet it in the flesh.
That geometric look for the main center stack is elegant and timeless. The materials are of phenomenal, touchable quality all around. The upper dash proves its lux credentials with open-pore wood trims for this loaded test car, as does its giant central touchscreen.
The Genesis comes standard with side mirrors that fold up and away as you tap the 'lock' on the keyfob. Then swing down to greet you on approach -- along with a GENESIS globo puddle light. Unexpectedly sexy and chic.
3.8 Signature Package cost $3,900
A collection of amenities designed to increase luxury, convenience and comfort.
- Power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof
- Integrated Memory System (IMS)
- Power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel
- Auto-dimming outside mirrors
- Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross-traffic Alert
- Lexicon® 14-speaker Discrete Logic 7® surround sound audio
- LED fog lights
- Parking guidelines for rearview camera
- Power rear sunshade and manual rear side shades
- Ventilated front seats
3.8 Tech Package cost $3,500
Advanced technology features that enhance your driving experience. Requires Signature Package
- Premium leather seats
- Power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist
- Smart Cruise Control with stop/start
- Haptic steering wheel
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold
- Pre-safety seatbelt
- High Beam Assist
- Front and Rear Parking Sensors
- 7-inch color LCD Multi-Information Display
3.8 Ultimate Package cost $3,500
Advanced technology features that give you added options for enhancing your driving experience. Requires Tech Package
- Genuine matte-finish wood trim and aluminum trim
- Full Color Heads-up Display
- Premium 9.2-inch touchscreen and DIS navigation with HD Display
- Lexicon® 17-speaker Discrete Logic 7® surround sound audio
- Power trunk lid
- Dual-mode front vent control HVAC and CO2 Sensor
Of the three option packages available, we'd say the Signature package is the must-have. The giant moonroof is a really fantastic piece of design and one that dramatically enhances the mood inside. A full blackout shade is power operated, while the entire front half of the roof glass sides up and over the roof when opened. It makes a standard $1k moonroof look like a huge missed opportunity for other luxury brands.
There are features in the Tech Pack that we might miss, however. The power-extendable seat squab and power lateral bolsters are exceptional for long-haul driver comfort -- and a favorite feature in all cars.
We love the overall comfort of the Genesis from all seating positions -- but the back seat is really something to write home about. It is huge back there, with fantastic seat shaping and backrest angles fit for a posh dinner outing for four. The giant central armrest is also pretty helpful at backseat comfort enhancement; same goes for the power rear window shade and manual side window blinds.
One wishlist item we noted on the drive position of this Genesis RWD? The power adjustments all around are easy for seat and steering wheel. But the seat base in its lower positions still seems a bit higher than ideal. We love that feeling of sinking inside the vehicle for a road trip, but the Genesis thrones seem to miss that last bit of lowness -- both in seat and steering wheel. Paddle shifters and a slightly thicker steering-wheel rim would be appreciated too, while we're griping.
Overall isolation on any Genesis road trip will be superb, of course. As you can see in the drive videos below, the Genesis rides like a dream and is eerily silent at 55-mph. True comfort and luxury, indeed.
The Genesis has three awesome powertrains: the V6 and V6 AWD with standard 3.8-liter V6 making 311-horsepower, sent through an eight-speed automatic. The $53k Genesis 5.0 V8 is the top choice, but we've yet to try that one out. The Genesis V8 is only rear-drive, by the way.
HD Drive Review
What we loved best about the Genesis AWD was its Sport mode's eager grip and energetic handling feel. The car is literally rearing to go the moment the mood strikes you. On hard throttle, the Genesis V6 AWD glaws forward with determination. It just feels so engaging and playful around corners thanks to its unstickable grip and excellent steering feel. The downside of this? A fairly noticeable ding in AWD fuel economy when driven hard.
Nice surprise? The Genesis V6 does not demand premium fuel. The RWD car sticks to its 18/29 city/highway estimates in real-world driving, while the AWD car was much thirstier in our hands.
We hoped the Genesis V6 RWD would pack the same handling finesse to the steering and on-throttle corners. But it does not. The steering is significantly lighter in RWD form, which is no bad thing, of course. It is still very accurate and relishes a late-braking corner entry. Classic rear-drive luxury car stuff.
But take that same corner out the other side, and the Genesis RWD starts to feel a bit spooky. When the AWD car would be charging ahead in a very confident way, the RWD Genesis is more unsure of itself. In fast transitions left/right and in certain 10mph--->40-mph dynamic moments, the helm goes too light. You basically hang on for the ride as the tail sinks with weight transfer on launch.
Very curious behaviour -- unlike what we hoped for in the rear-drive Genesis. Ideally, this car would handle even more purely than the AWD model around corners. Its steering would be able to pick up and describe every pebble as you wing it around corners.
The Genesis V6, as a result, feels much floatier in rear-drive form than it does in all-paw spec. That Htrac option is a $2500 bump over the ~$39k base price of the Genesis, and we strongly recommend it for fast drivers.
Second Rear-Drive Surprise
The other thing we did not love about the Genesis V6 RWD on the road? The car had a tough time putting its power down around corners. Like we see in the video above, the Genesis rear-drive has a very active stability and traction-control system. Even with it fully 'off.'
This is normal for luxury cars lately, but not to such an extent.
The problem with this heavy-handed intervention is that the Genesis can struggle to gain speed when there's no grip. Imagine you are turning left out of a shop, re-entering a four-lane road. There is big wheel slip when you first hit the gas. You stay on the gas -- to avoid being broadsided -- but then the brakes start grabbing each back wheel to regain control. Then, if you are really in hard rain or loose grit, the Genesis starts dulling its ignition timing too. Yes, this might be helpful for setting off in snow or ice. But in 70-degree, rainy weather? Not okay.
In the situation described above, the car should just shoot out past traffic with zero drama.
Our vote to solve this in a future tweak? Much wider rear tires, better ESP system with faster reactions, and perhaps a limited-slip differential of some kind. Sounds extreme to resort to this for a luxury car... but the Genesis RWD really needs help in this arena. The lower-priced Azera from Hyundai is front-drive, but suffers none of this grip shortage.
The Genesis is priced from $39,700 in rear-drive form, and from $42,200 for the Genesis AWD. The options are grouped into the Signature, Tech and Ultimate packages, as detailed above. Either of the top packs requires the Signature package.
As tested, the Genesis RWD Ultimate in light blue came in with an exceptionally-fair $51k sticker price.
This is just below the 420HP, 5.0-liter V8's $54k base price.
Build and price your Genesis over at this link.
The 2016 Genesis is such a great car. It makes one think that the upcoming GENESIS luxury division can handle anything. The standalone marque will solve the only other question most shoppers have about buying such a great car from a showroom that sells far more $20k vehicles than $50k ones.
Genesis breaking out onto its own should also fix another detail gripe: the Hyundai badge on the back not matching the Genesis wings up front.
We love the Genesis V6 and are thrilled to recommend the machine to anyone with 750 and S550 dreams, but stuck in a humdrum Avalon for its big-backseat value.
The LED updates for 2016 make a terrific luxury car even better than ever. The gripes above on traction issues are really just a detail thing that most owners will never notice. You might, though, and we're sharing to help you love the new Genesis as much as we do.
For those who love a full-throttle blast around twisty mountain roads, the RWD Genesis falls behind its AWD sibling on grip and handling feel.