Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8

2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 Review

By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman


With a major makeover in 2015, the second generation Hyundai Genesis continued it ascension in the ranks of luxury cars.  While there are few changes to the 2016 model year, the Genesis continues to amaze with its price, content, and quality. The sedan is quickly distancing itself from luxury models coming out of Japan and Germany, which it rightly rivals, in the “bang for the buck” category. Simply put, you can’t find another car in the marketplace that has the features and performance of the Genesis and not have to spend $10,000 to $12,000 more.

The Genesis was introduced as a rear wheel drive car only, but is now offered in both rear wheel and all-wheel-drive.  There are two engine choices – a 3.8 liter V-6, that now makes a stout 311 horsepower and 293 ft. lbs. of torque.  Our test car is the AWD, V-6 model.  The optional 5-liter V-8 bumps the power numbers up to 420 hp, and 383 ft. lbs. of torque, but  it is only marginally quicker than the V-6, and in our opinion, not at all necessary.  And the mileage numbers from the V-6, which runs on regular gas, is a respectable 16 city and 25 highway.

The power is put to the pavement via an 8-speed Shiftronic transmission with paddle shifters, and it is a smooth and well sorted unit. When changing gears yourself, the shifts are quick and sharp, and when left in Drive mode, a push of the Sport button, gives the driver a bit more time to find the upper rev range before shifting into a higher gear.  It also quickens throttle response and stability control, and with the All-Wheel-Drive, you can confidently push the Genesis around turns and not worry about wet or snowy road conditions.

The Genesis isn’t designed to be a sports sedan – the suspension is tuned more for luxury comfort as with a Lexus, rather than an Audi or BMW, however the Genesis still corners without much body lean, and the grip from the 18” wheels and tires allows the driver to enjoy driving on a challenging road.  The steering feedback is good, and the car tracks through turns at speed without the need for mid turn corrections.  It feels lighter than its 4295 lbs. curb weight, and the ride quality when cruising the highway or urban streets is plush and comfortable.

The exterior styling is mostly understated elegance.  You can trace some cues back to the other luxury automobiles it competes with.  The hexagonal front grill reminds one of the face of the larger Audis.  Thank goodness they weren’t inspired by the huge new Lexus “spindle grills”. The rear quarter panels and taillight treatments have a little BMW influence.  But the sleek profile shape of the roofline, and the character lines that flow from the front fenders through the door handles and meet the rear taillights are unique to the brand, and echo the flowing lines on some of Hyundai’s more boldly styled cars like the Sonata. The overall look is clean and smart, and attracts some attention from other drivers.

In fact, as I was entering the Genesis in a parking lot, a guy was just getting out of his late model Mercedes E-Class and stopped me to ask what my car was. (There is only a small Hyundai logo on the rear trunk, and otherwise the front winged badge and the rear badge say Genesis.)   I told him it was a Genesis.  He asked who makes it. I said Hyundai.  His response was “Really ! that’s a Hyundai?  Great looking car.  Can I look inside?”  I invited him to sit in the driver’s seat and after a few minutes he got out and said, “I’ll have to check this out.  This is a really nice car”.  I explained that I wasn’t the owner, and showed him the copy of the window sticker.  That surprised him most of all. “Wow, replacing my car costs a LOT more than this one.  I’ll really have to check this one out”.


The cabin is very quiet and well insulated. The premium interior materials, from the leather to the real wood grain on the dash and doors feel and look luxurious. Soft touch leather is found in all the right places.  The heated and cooled soft leather perforated seats are nicely bolstered and very comfortable, and sport light grey piping to accent the design style.  The driver’s seat has an electric sliding seat bottom that extends the thigh support, and the side bolsters are also electronically controlled to dial in the right amount of shoulder grip when driving aggressively. That’s a nicety only found on cars in much higher price ranges. Other niceties include door pockets which are lined with soft materials so nothing rattles, and the sunglass holder in the headliner has the same treatment.  There is just a bit of brightwork on the door trim and accents on the dash to break up the look of the black materials.

The large NAV screen is easy to use for setting destinations, either by touch screen or a round knob on the console that is user friendly, unlike those on some other luxury brands (Lexus) that require you use a mouse or haptic control pad that can make you want to pull your hair out.   HVAC controls on center stack, and radio controls make it easy to operate those quickly and easily without taking eyes off the road.

Passengers in the rear are treated to heated and cooled seats, and plenty of head and leg room.  The Panoramic moonroof allows light in to make it feel more open and airy.  The huge truck will gobble up plenty of luggage, and has a pass-through for skis.

The Genesis comes with a long list of luxury features as standard, enough to satisfy most drivers.  The base price starts at $41,250.   This test car added the $3,900 Signature Package which buys the Panoramic Sunroof, the Cooled front seats, Power tilt and telescope steering wheel, Auto dimming side mirrors, the outstanding Blind Spot detection and rear cross traffic alert system integrated into the rear camera, and power rear window sunshade and manual shades for the rear side windows.

The Tech package at $3,500 ads premium leather seat surfaces, (nice leather is standard) 7” multi Info Display, the power seat cushion extinction, and side bolsters, Lane Departure warning, and Lane Keep assist, which gently helps you steer back into your lane, Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Auto Emergency Braking, Front and Rear Parking Sensors and High Beam Assist.

And last, the $3,500 Ultimate Package, which puts the matte finish wood trim and aluminum trim inside the cabin.  A full color Heads-Up Display (which is a great feature), Power trunk lid, a larger 9.2” touch screen upgrade for the standard nav screen, and an upgraded Lexicon 17-speaker Discrete Logic 7 Audio System that is outstanding.

With the $950 freight charge, the total price came to $53,100.  That is a strong number to be sure, but not when you go to compare it to similar sized and optioned cars in a Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, or Cadillac showroom.  And from a quality, luxury, and fit and finish standpoint, this Genesis is right in the mix. If you’ve ever owned any of those vehicles, you won’t find anything missing on the Genesis.   It also earned an overall 5-star Government safety rating, and comes with a 5-year / 60,000 new Vehicle Warranty, and 10-year /100,000 miles Powertrain Warranty.


The 2016 Genesis is a large luxury sedan that is comfort oriented, but still capable under all driving and road conditions.  It will surprise with small luxury details, and delight with major technology features and comforts.  And you get to own this true luxury car at near-luxury prices.


2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 Review

By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman