Hyundai Genesis road test review | Badge grows wings
FIFTEEN centimetres. That's the distance covering hood and boot emblems the Hyundai Genesis must overcome to become a key player in the luxury market.
Badge snobbery is one of the greatest hurdles ahead of the South Korean brand which has launched a prestige large car offering developed to joust with the best from Europe.
Starting from $60,000, the Genesis is Hyundai's thought-provoking proposition to Aussies who want luxury without the price tag.
Hyundai has equipped the Genesis well for the prestige battle, with a whole heap of features, along with an outstanding safety score and, to further sweeten the deal, is also throwing five years or 75,000km of free servicing into the mix.
John Elsworth, chief operating officer of Hyundai Australia, admitted there was a challenge to lure buyers away from established top-shelf brands, but believed there was a market for a luxury offshoot for those wanting substance over show.
Hyundai marketing general manager, Oliver Mann, said the Genesis was charged with further lifting brand perceptions.
"Hyundai has made tremendous strides in the seven years since the first generation i30 was launched and Genesis now signals the next phase of the company's development," Mr Mann said.
Prestige styling reverberates throughout the cabin. Refined buttons, the trademark luxury analogue clock central in the dash, spongy soft touch materials across the dash and leather trim (some man made) create an environment worthy of the luxury genre.
Interior space is commensurate with what you'd find in a Holden Commodore or BMW 5 Series.
Large car proportions justifiably deliver ample space for five adults, although with the arm rest dropped between the outer rear seats, chauffeur drivers will be looking long and hard at the Genesis proposition.
Seating is firm yet comfortable, with the front pews having electric adjustment along with lumbar support.
Having the large colour touch-screen allows for uncomplicated interior design and easy use of the main operations.
There are light and dark interior colour schemes, and we feel the darker option looks more high-end.
On the road
Plant your foot and the V6 flexes its muscle.
The 0-100kmh sprint time of 6.5 seconds shows the Genesis is no slouch in the power department.
Yet it can also weave with small car like precision.
While we sampled Korean variants on their home turf earlier this year, the vehicles sold Down Under have been on the receiving end of extensive Australian tuning.
Hyundai Australia's technical team worked for a year to improve handing and ride characteristics which have been honed for our roads and driving style, and the Genesis is one well sorted offering.
Benchmarked against a range of cars, a key comparison vehicle was the BMW 5 Series. Quiet and accomplished on the road, the Hyundai offering is every bit the prestige large sedan.
What do you get?
Going standard doesn't mean going without. Basic kit includes airbags, radar cruise control, one departure warning, 23.3cm colour touch-screen, push button start with proximity key, automatic wipes, Lexicon 17-speaker sound system, 12-way power operated heated front seats, leather trim, 18-inch alloys, dual zone air con, parking sensors front and back.
The $11k Sensory pack includes blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, head-up display, premium leather trim and power steering wheel adjustment.
For those who want their Genesis with the lot, there is the $22,000 Ultimate Pack which gets everything from the Sensory collection, as well as a panoramic sunroof, soft-close doors, heated rear seats, sound reducing acoustic glass, power boot lid, larger digital instrument cluster for the driver, 19-inch alloys and rear window blinds.
Achieving about 12 litres/100km on test, that's not far off the official average figure which is just over 11. That is thirsty by comparison to the Europeans, although the V6 runs on standard unleaded.
Making the package even more alluring is the free servicing deal, along with capped price servicing for the lifetime of the vehicle.
Forecast resale from Glass also ranks the Genesis as number one up against the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Audi.
Dual cup holders are in the console, and another pair pop out from the rear arm rest.
The rear seats don't fold, with only a ski port for awkward-sized items. Although the boot space is reasonable enough for a couple of large suitcases, it isn't class-leading.
Three child seat anchorage points are on the rear parcel shelf, with two Isofix points.
With a regal appearance the Genesis has a premium presence. It's a nice blend of muscular character lines; typical of this genre, the design is nothing over the top.
The winged Genesis badge is worn at the front, while the Hyundai flying 'H' features on the boot. There are different schools of thought as to whether the standalone Genesis badge should be worn front and back, but Hyundai said it's proud to wear the brand and it wants to trumpet the achievement.
Six subdued colours are available - black, blue, metal, silver, white, blue and tan (with Ultimate pack only).
Hyundai will not die wondering. The Australian team knows it won't entice those who love the kudos which comes with a prestige badge and proudly leave their key on restaurant dining tables.
But is there a market in the luxury sector for those willing to part with this coin? That is the $60,000 question, and a lot of interest surrounds the Genesis's progress over the next two years.
It's well equipped, drives beautifully and boasts executive styling, Hyundai is well poised to fly high.
What matters most
What we liked: Accomplished ride and powerful performance, long features list for this price point.
What we'd like to see: Improved fuel efficiency, Genesis badge on the boot - but we can understand Hyundai is justifiably proud.
Warranty and servicing: Five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 12-month roadside assistance which can be expanded when serviced by Hyundai dealers. Lifetime capped price servicing and free maintenance for the first five years or 75,000km, with annual or 15,000km servicing intervals. Three years' of map upgrades are also included.
Model: Hyundai Genesis
Details: Four-door large rear-wheel drive luxury sedan
Engine: 3.8-litre V6 generating maximum power of 232kW @ 6000rpm ad 397Nm @ 5000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Consumption: 11.2 litres/100km (combined average)
Performance: 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds; top speed 240kmh
Bottom line plus on roads: $60,000, Sensory Pack $11,000, Ultimate Pack $22,000