2015 Hyundai Genesis

By June 17, 2014
2015 Hyundai Genesis

If the badge were missing, one might easily mistake the 2015 Hyundai Genesis for a European luxury sedan. All-new for the 2015 model year, the Genesis, already impressive in its previous incarnation, gets even better.

First introduced for the 2008 model year, the Hyundai Genesis sedan received much acclaim in the automotive press. It was refreshed for 2012 and is completely redesigned for 2015.

Size-wise, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan grows in length by only 0.2 inches, but the interior is roomier thanks to a wheelbase that’s been stretched by nearly three inches, allowing for more room in the cabin and shortening overhangs for improved performance. It’s longer and wider than other midsize sedans, and is technically classified by the EPA as a large vehicle. That’s good news when it comes to space, but it also means more bulk.

Unlike most new versions of cars that boast lighter, more aerodynamic designs, the Genesis takes a different tack. It feels solid and substantive, and despite the use of some new lightweight materials, the Genesis manages to gain about 100 pounds. Hyundai argues the gain is, in part, to boost safety ratings, and despite the increase, the 2015 Genesis manages to improve fuel economy by 1 mpg.

Two engines are available on the 2015 Hyundai Genesis and carry over from the previous generation (pre-2015), but have been heavily revised for the 2015 models. The standard 3.8-liter V6 produces 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque and runs on Regular gasoline. It’s available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. The 5.0-liter V8 makes 420 hp and 383 lb.-ft of torque with Premium fuel, or 407 hp and 372 lb-ft with Regular gas. Both engines are naturally aspirated.

All models use Hyundai’s 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters (Shiftronic), which uses fuel-saving measures like skip-shift technology help to reduce emissions.

We found the V6 perfectly capable, and the best choice for most drivers. Available all-wheel drive makes the Genesis even more appealing for those in snowy climes. The V8 is silky and satisfying for those looking for even more power.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is 18/29 mpg for the 3.8-liter RWD model and 16/25 mpg City/Highway for the 3.8-liter AWD model. With the 5.0-liter V8, fuel economy understandably suffers, with 15/23 mpg City/Highway.

In the cabin, materials are of good quality, and the layout is attractive and intuitive. Standard leather upholstery on the base model is nice, but not buttery-soft like one might find in more expensive luxury cars; we prefer the upgraded leather that comes on the 5.0. Rear passengers have adequate headroom, though rear legroom falls short compared to some. Cargo space is plentiful at 15.3 cubic feet.

Infotainment controls are modeled after those of German cars. A knob on the center console, similar to those found on Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz controls navigation, audio, phone and settings. And unlike those German cars, the standard 9.2-inch LCD display is a touch-screen that allows you to access some features directly by pushing one button, instead of going into an endless series of menus.

Hyundai says it is aiming squarely at German midsize sedans, but although the 2015 Hyundai Genesis offers far more features for the money, those looking for brand cachet still might have a hard time being convinced. We think the Genesis boasts superior driving dynamics to those of the Lexus GS or ES, and the Hyundai comes with more standard features. The new Cadillac CTS offers similar value, but its race-bred powertrain and chassis offer a much more engaging ride, and the available V6 engines are more powerful. Though the Genesis is thousands of dollars less than the BMW 5 Series, the Genesis really can’t touch the BMW in terms of dialed-in performance. As for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Genesis comes close with ride and handling and offers many more standard features, but may never achieve the status afforded by the three-pointed star.

Model Lineup

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis seats five passengers and is available with a 3.8-liter V6 or a 5.0-liter V8 with rear-wheel-drive only. All models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Genesis 3.8 ($38,000) comes standard with automatic climate control, pushbutton start, leather upholstery, 12-way power and heated front seats with lumbar, power windows/locks/mirrors, trip computer, leather-wrapped manually tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multifunction controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, imitation wood interior trim, cruise control, a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, the Hyundai BlueLink infotainment interface with 8-inch touchscreen, voice activation and navigation, a 7-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio and satellite radio capability, iPod/USB connectivity, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink, rear seat pass-through slot, compact spare tire, hands-free smart trunk opener, rain-sensing wipers, auto-windshield defogger with humidity sensor, LED headlight accents, LED taillights, automatic headlights and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels on P245/45 all-season tires.

Genesis 3.8 AWD ($40,500) adds all-wheel-drive. Options on this model include a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and headlamp washers.

Option packages for Genesis 3.8 include the Signature Package ($4,000), which adds ventilated front seats, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a Lexicon premium 14-speaker sound system, memory function, power rear sunshade and manual rear side shades, power sunroof, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors and HID headlights. The 3.8 Technology Package ($3,500) adds upgraded leather seats, power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, a haptic (vibrating) steering wheel alert, 7-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster display, electronic parking brake with automatic hold, pre-tensioning seatbelt function, adaptive cruise control with full-stop and start capability, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking assist and automatic high beams. The 3.8 Ultimate Package ($3,500) includes dual-zone climate control with CO2 sensor, genuine matte finish wood and aluminum exterior trim, upgraded 9.2-inch touchscreen display with navigation, the premium Lexicon 17-speaker sound system, a color head-up display and power trunk lid.

Genesis 5.0 ($51,500) includes most everything found on the 3.8 Signature Package plus genuine matte wood and aluminum interior trim, the 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, illuminated door sill plates, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, the haptic (vibrating) steering wheel alert, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, a pre-tensioning seatbelt function, rearview camera with parking guidelines, LED fog lamps, quad exhaust tips and 19-inch alloy wheels with P245/40 front and P275/35 rear all-season tires. All-wheel drive is not available.

Safety features on all 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedans include driver and front passenger front airbags, driver and passenger side-impact airbags, a driver knee airbag, rear side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags (front and rear), power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control. Optional safety features, or those found on upgraded models or packages include pre-tensioning seatbelts, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind sport detection with rear-cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.

Walkaround

Debuting a new design language that Hyundai calls Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis loses some of its previous swoopiness for more solid, assured lines. A tall, imposing trapezoidal single-frame grille sits upright and juts out prominently, replacing the old smaller, slightly raked double-wing design. Strong, wide horizontal silver bars run the width of the its gaping maw.

Newly designed headlights are recessed in the inside corners, nestled against the bulge of the front grille, rising upward and finishing in outward corners that wrap around the front quarter panel, but not obnoxiously so. A new LED accent light design underscores the bezel headlamps and curves up and around the light housing. Genesis 5.0 models get a horizontal row of LED foglamps below.

The Genesis' weightiness is evident in the car's stance, though not in a bad way. Designers use the word volume to describe the substantial base of the car, with the bulk of vehicle sitting below the high beltline and relatively small daylight opening. The side view reveals an ever-so-slightly arcing character line that runs from the outer corner of the protruding front grille, across the top of the headlamps, through the door handles and into the tail lamps. Below, a strong rocker panel gives the appearance of a wide indentation. Standard wheels are 18-inch alloys. Genesis 5.0 models roll with 19-inch wheels.

The rear is tasteful, with a slightly arcing decklid that's subtly upturned for improved aerodynamics. New LED taillights mimic the double-wing design without being too obvious. Below, wide-set exhaust pipes (dual on the 3.8, quad on the 5.0) underscore the vehicle's width. A new hands-free trunk opening feature works differently than most. Instead of sweeping a foot under the car, one must only stand behind the trunk (while in possession of the key) for three seconds, and the trunk will automatically open. This feature can be turned off in the vehicle settings.

Interior Features

Additional refinements and space make the 2015 Hyundai Genesis even more appealing than before. Strong horizontal lines are immediately evident in the cabin design. The instrument panel sits very far forward in the cabin, we presume in order to push the engine compartment as far back as possible to achieve those short overhangs. As a result, controls sit closer than an arm's length, and it's a short reach for the gear shifter. An analog clock mimics those found on other luxury cars.

Genesis 3.8 models get a standard 4.3-inch TFT LCD display; optional (and standard on the 5.0) is a larger, 7-inch TFT display that is crisp, clear and easy to read. Also available is a color head-up display that will show the current speed limit and other information, such as when entering a school zone.

Hyundai's BlueLink infotainment controls appear to be modeled after those of German cars. A knob on the center console, similar to those found on Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz controls navigation, audio, phone and settings. And unlike those German cars, the standard display is a touch-screen that allows you to access some features directly by pushing one button, instead of going into an endless series of menus. Also unlike many luxury cars, navigation is standard, though an upgraded system comes with a larger touch screen and more features, like enhanced real-time traffic and weather alerts. For the most part, we found the navigation easy to use.

Genesis can pair with compatible phones via Bluetooth for hands-free phone and audio streaming. It can also integrate with Siri, but it's not plug-and play; one must download Hyundai's app to access the full suite of functions.

Optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 5.0 is a premium sound system by Lexicon, a Grammy-winning company whose sound processors are widely used in the music industry. The Lexicon system is rich, clear and satisfying, and should please audiophiles. Though, we found the standard base audio system just fine.

Standard leather upholstery in all models is a nice touch, and our 3.8 test car had the upgraded leather included in the Tech package (standard on the 5.0). Although, we found the material to be thick and slightly waxy, not buttery soft like that found on some German luxury cars. On the upside, its texture also made it appear quite durable.

Other trim, such as the simulated leather on the wraparound two-tone dash, gives the interior just the right touch of luxe. Standard faux-woof trim does look more plasticy than posh in certain places, but genuine matte wood is available as an option, which we quite liked.

Storage space in the cabin is adequate, though not abundant. Two cupholders on the passenger's side of the center console hold average and larger water bottles. The small compartment beneath the center stack houses 12-volt plugs, an auxiliary jack and a USB port. There's also just enough space to hold a mobile phone, propped up on its side. More storage space can be found in moderately sized door pockets and in the center armrest.

Seats are supportive, and are made for larger adults. Smaller and average-sized people might find the side bolsters too widely spaced to hold them in around corners, but then again, the Genesis is primarily a freeway cruiser. Standard heated seats and optional ventilation make for a comfortable ride in any weather.

Rear seat space is fine for most adults. Headroom measures 38.2 inches, more than the Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES or Lexus GS. However, rear legroom comes in at a modest 35 inches, less than the Cadillac CTS or Lexus GS, and a far cry from the cavernous 40 inches of rear legroom available in the Lexus ES.

Cargo space measure 15.3 cubic feet, about on-par with the Lexus ES, and more than the Cadillac CTS or Lexus GS.

Driving Impressions

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan strikes a good balance between comfortable and responsive. With the 3.8 tuned to the more luxurious side, it's a good highway cruiser without feeling too billowy.

Two engines are available on the 2015 Hyundai Genesis and carry over from the last generation, but have been heavily revised. A 3.8-liter V6 produces 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque and runs on regular fuel. It's available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. The 5.0-liter V8 makes 420 hp and 383 lb.-ft of torque with premium fuel, or 407 hp and 372 lb-ft with regular fuel. Both engines are naturally aspirated.

All models use Hyundai's 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters (Shiftronic), which uses fuel-saving measures like skip-shift technology help to reduce emissions. The 8-speed transmission does an admirable job staying efficient while offering up adequate power.

Acceleration in the 3.8 is smooth and satisfying, but it won't leave you breathless. We found the V6 perfectly capable, and the best choice for most drivers. Cruising is pleasurable, and there's plenty of oomph for merging or passing without making passengers nervous. Available all-wheel-drive makes the Genesis 3.8 even more appealing for those in snowy climes.

Moving from the 3.8 to the 5.0 is a little like checking out of the Hilton and into the Mandarin Oriental. The V8 is silky and satisfying. We merged and passed in seconds, finding ourselves accidentally speeding without feeling a thing. While this is definitely the most impressive incarnation of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, we also think the big V8 is overkill for everyday driving.

Hyundai worked with Lotus Engineering (the same company that makes those exotic sports cars) on the all-new Genesis chassis and tuning. Suspension is revised with a front and rear multilink design and aluminum shock absorber housing that's lighter and more rigid than the old steel design. The result is a stable and solid road feel, without much body roll, especially considering the hefty 4,138 curb weight of our 3.8 test car (4,541 pounds for the Genesis 5.0). Weight distribution has also been slightly improved from 52/48 to 51/49, which equates to a more balanced ride.

Also new on the 2015 Genesis is a rack-mounted, motor-driven electric steering system, replacing the old hydraulic steering. The variable-ratio setup is more relaxed in straight lines for stable freeway cruising, and tighter for low-speed maneuvering such as in parking lots. We found the steering responsive in normal driving but tuned more to the comfortable side, even in sport mode, requiring just a tad more effort around high-speed sweepers than one would need in a BMW 5 Series. Though, the Genesis' handling has the edge over the Lexus GS and Lexus ES, both of which can feel somewhat boaty.

Four-wheel-disc brakes are responsive, yet at higher speeds we found we had to get our foot into it a couple of times to really stop quickly. Really mashing into the pedal will kick in Brake Assist, which will help to stop the car even faster in an emergency braking situation. Optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 5.0 is full-speed adaptive cruise control, which can automatically bring the car to a full stop and start up again, as well as automatic emergency braking to mitigate a collision. Drivers can choose to set a desired speed, or set a following distance.

Optional safety features, some standard on the 5.0, include blind spot detection, cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist and lane keeping assist. Also optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 5.0 is a haptic steering wheel, which will vibrate to alert the driver when he or she veers out of the lane, or has a fast-approaching vehicle in the blind spot. An audible chime will also sound when any of these safety systems are activated. We didn't like the vibrating steering wheel and found the default blind-spot and lane-keeping assist systems to be overly aggressive, but opinions of these systems often vary according to personal preference. The Genesis also offers an in-between solution, with a less aggressive threshold that can be changed in the vehicle settings. The systems can also be turned off with the touch of a button.

With the previous (pre-2015) Genesis, the cabin was quiet, but rough roads did produce a moderate amount of noise and vibration. Now, additional sound dampening is everywhere. Even the engine compartment is sealed, much like a door with weather stripping. That keeps the ride blissfully quiet under most circumstances. Though, at highway speeds through the very windy desert, we did notice some wind noise coming from around the A-pillar.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is 18/29 mpg for the 3.8-liter RWD model and 16/25 mpg City/Highway for the 3.8-liter AWD model. With the 5.0-liter V8, fuel economy understandably suffers, with 15/23 mpg City/Highway. After a nearly 200-mile drive of our 3.8-liter RWD test car, we averaged 21.4 mpg mixed city and highway roads, including some driving in sport mode. That's about on-par with its EPA ratings of 18/29 mpg City/Highway and 22 mpg combined.

Summary

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan is a handsome, affordable alternative to a more expensive luxury car and comes packed with standard features. The 3.8 offers fine performance and optional all-wheel drive, while the 5.0 offers an abundance of silky-smooth power. We thought the Genesis 3.8 offered the best value and had plenty of power.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Genesis RWD 3.8 ($38,000); Genesis AWD 3.8 ($40,500); Genesis RWD 5.0 ($51,500)
Engines:311-hp 3.8-liter V6; 420-hp 5.0-liter V8
Transmissions:8-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):driver and front passenger front airbags, driver and passenger side-impact airbags, a driver knee airbag, rear side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags (front and rear), power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control
Safety equipment (optional):pre-tensioning seatbelts, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind sport detection with rear-cross-traffic alert, lane change assist
Basic warranty:5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in:Asan, Korea
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Hyundai Genesis RWD 3.8 ($38,000)
Standard equipment:automatic climate control, pushbutton start, leather upholstery, 12-way power and heated front seats with lumbar, power windows/locks/mirrors, trip computer, leather-wrapped manually tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multifunction controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, imitation wood interior trim, cruise control, a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, the Hyundai BlueLink infotainment interface with 8-inch touchscreen, voice activation and navigation, a 7-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio and satellite radio capability, iPod/USB connectivity, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink, rear seat pass-through slot, compact spare tire, hands-free smart trunk opener, rain-sensing wipers, auto-windshield defogger with humidity sensor, LED headlight accents, LED taillights, automatic headlights, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
Options as tested (MSPR):Signature Package ($4,000); Tech Package ($3,500), Ultimate Package ($3,500)
Destination charge:$950
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested (MSPR):$49950
Layout:rear-wheel drive
Engine:3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 w/CVVT
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):311 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):293 @ 5000
Transmission:8-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:18/29/22 mpg
Wheelbase:118.5 in.
Length/width/height:196.5/74.4/58.3 in.
Track, f/r:64.1/65.3 in.
Turning circle:36.2 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:39.4/55.7/45.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:38.2/54.8/35.0 in.
Cargo volume:15.3 cu. ft.
Payload: Lbs.
Towing capacity: Lbs.
Suspension, f:independent, 5-link with coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension, r:independent, 5-link with coil springs, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:5.3 in.
Curb weigth:4138 lbs.
Tires:245/45R18
Brakes, f/r:ventilated disc/solid disc with ABS, EBD
Fuel capacity:20.3 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of June 17, 2014.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: - www.hyundaiusa.com

Related Vehicles