Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hyundai Genesis: Nice Luxury, Excellent Value

If a few years ago, Hyundai had tried to launch a luxury sedan, it probably would have been scoffed at, perhaps even laughed at, by auto industry observers.

No one is laughing at Hyundai now.

It has proven itself to be quite capable of making a full range of excellent vehicles, and now the Genesis adds a tally in the luxury sedan column.

The Genesis is fully capable of competing with Lexus, Acura and BMW models in mid-size sedans, but Hyundai adds the element of being more competitive when it comes to pricing.

The Genesis was named 2009 North American Car of the Year – a first for Hyundai - and when you drive it you'll see it's a well-deserved honor. 

Also on the market now is the Genesis Coupe, which hit showrooms this year as a 2010 model. 

That sporty model starts at around $22,000, and while it doesn't offer the same level of luxury as its sedan sibling, has great power and driving characteristics. 

The Genesis sedan, meanwhile, really reminds you of mid-size sedans made by European brands, until, that is, you get a gander at the sticker price.

Starting at around $32,250, you get a base 3.8 model, which features the 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine.

Move to the high end and you get a 4.6-liter V-8 model that makes 375 horsepower.

Starting price for that is around $37,250.

We tested the 3.8, which Hyundai expects to be the choice of most buyers, and even though it was fairly loaded up with goodies, the sticker price was right around $39,250.

Options available include the Premium Plus package, containing 18-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped door and dash, power sunroof, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, rain-sensing wipers, and more.

Opt for the Technology package and you'll have a 528-watt Lexicon audio system, integrated with a navigation system, with HD radio, XM satellite radio, and XM NavTraffic; a rear backup camera; adaptive headlights; front and rear parking assist; and cooled front seats.

The Genesis has a rear-wheel-drive platform with an advanced five-link suspension that provide the handling and ride that you would get from the aforementioned luxury brands.

Both engines are linked to six-speed automatic transmissions, although the gearboxes are different for each model.

With premium fuel, the V-8 makes 375 horsepower, but you can also use regular gas, which provides the owner even more value. Sure, the horsepower falls to 368, but that's OK with me to save a few dollars each time I fill up. 

But even the V-6 offers more power than you'll usually need, and certainly enough to have fun with.

The ride is quiet and silky smooth, even on the highway.

Also, on twisty roads, the Genesis offers precise steering and a stiff ride.

The Genesis has impressive EPA fuel economy numbers for a car with this much power -- 17 mpg city/25 highway for the V-8 and 18/27 for the V-6. That's better than many V-6 engines in smaller midsize cars.

Standard on the V-6 model are electronic stability control with traction control, antilock brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags, the electronic front head restraints, fog lights, automatic headlights, dual power/heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, heated leather seats with power adjustment up front, cruise control, white and blue interior lighting, keyless entry with pushbutton start, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with audio controls, dual front fully automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal garage opener and compass, AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM audio system with iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth and floor mats.

The V-8 models come with most of the features of the V-6, plus 18-inch silver alloy wheels, chrome lower body side moldings, upgraded leather seats, leather-wrapped dash and door trim inserts, power glass sunroof with tilt and slide, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, integrated memory system, Lexicon 15-speaker surround -sound audio system, six-disc CD changer, illuminated scuff plates, wood-trimmed leather steering wheel, power rear sunshade and rain-sensing wipers with auto-defogger windshield.

The car seats five, and as a full-size sedan, it’s quite roomy for both front and rear passengers, with lots of rear legroom even when the front bucket seats are pushed all the way back on their tracks.

The car comes with Hyundai’s great warranty, which includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, along with 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain coverage, seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation protection, and 24-hour roadside assistance for five years with no mileage limit.

Towing, lockout service and trip-interruption expenses are included.

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