Transforming Hyundai from a maker of cheap compact sedans into a legitimate global brand was no easy task, but the Korean manufacturer is doing it and the Genesis was a key product in that metamorphosis. The Genesis is significant because it’s Hyundai’s entry into the premium segment and it’s rear-wheel driven (a lesson that Lincoln and Acura need to learn in order to survive).
When the first Genesis arrived in 2009, it looked like a project car with donor parts from Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW. That car had other issues which prevented it from becoming a World Class Sedan such as steering, handling and overall ride quality. For the 2015 model, Hyundai started fresh with new sheet metal, elegant styling and a resolve to make it drive like a luxury sedan…….for much less money.
Starting with the exterior of the 2015 Genesis, you immediately notice that the swooping, curvy lines of the old genesis have been replaced with bolder, broader and edgier ones. That’s because this vehicle is the first to follow the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy. Fluidic Sculpture 1.0 was introduced with the 2010 Sonata and it did wonders for the brand by drawing in new buyers seeking stylish, affordable cars. From now on expect to see Hyundai vehicles look clean, sleek, bold and aggressive.
There is a new LED DRL or day running light design that really pops at night and looks more sophisticated. Every panel has been reworked to transform curves into broader strokes. Wheels are bigger and create a fuller effect in the wheel wells. In general we like the side and front 3/4 views much better than the rear 3/4 view. The tail end of the Genesis is a bit of a letdown and almost looks incomplete or not in sync with the rest of the vehicle. One cool thing about the rear is the trunk when you opt for the Ultimate Package. Let’s say your shopping and walk up to your Genesis with arms full of shopping bags. All you have to do is stand close to the Genesis (as long as the key fob is on you) and in a couple of seconds the trunk will open automatically. No foot waiving or button pressing required, just a key fob close to the Genesis.
The Genesis’ interior has been completely re-thought and the result is nothing short of spectacular, especially on the Ultimate Package. The entire cockpit has been upgraded with new gauges, new TFT information screen (4.3″ is standard and 7″ is part of the Technology Package) and a new steering wheel. We complained about the lack of paddle shifters on the outgoing model, especially the R-Spec version, and Hyundai listened by making paddle shifters standard on every trim level. The center stack is new and every Genesis comes standard with navigation, but the Ultimate Package will get you a 9.2″ screen with premium audio from Lexicon. You will also notice the beautiful matte wood finishes and real aluminum trim pieces, but that’s only on the Ultimate package which costs $3500 but requires the $4,000 Signature Package and the $3,500 Technology Package. Add that to the base price ($38,000 for the V6 RWD and $40,500 for the V6 AWD) and you’re looking at a range of $49,000 – $51,500 for a fully loaded V6 Genesis. The V8 base starts at $51,500 and only offers the Ultimate Package which costs $3,250 for a total of $54,750.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is a rolling technology box with some cool driving aids like the lane keep assist which uses torque vectoring steering to move you back in place if you drift out of your lane and a full-color HD heads up display that helps keep your eyes on the road. Add Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning and nine standard airbags, and you are driving one of the most technologically advanced sedans.
The last Genesis did not offer All-Wheel Drive which proved detrimental in the Northeast, so the 2015 Genesis will offer AWD in the V6 only and it will cost $2.500. Hyundai tells us that the Northeast region will only receive AWD or H-Trac V6s in their inventory. As they see it, the Genesis with AWD is still less expensive than any of the competitors with Rear Wheel Drive.