2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Introduction
Hyundai needs to head to Vegas and put it all on black, because the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 demonstrates just how much of a roll the Korean automaker finds itself on these days. If the original Genesis sedan was a wakeup call to traditional luxury marques that there was a weasel loose in the henhouse, this second-generation model sounds and air raid siren indicating things will never again be the same in the high-end sedan segment.
The full-size Hyundai Genesis 5.0 offers four-door shoppers all of the comfort and much of the style proffered by German, Japanese, and American premium rides, but without asking buyers to pay for any built-up brand equity. In short, the Genesis 5.0 can be seen as a bargain Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or a classy alternative to the Cadillac CTS. Are there shortcomings to be had with the Hyundai? Yes, of course there are - but name me a luxury vehicle that doesn't under-deliver in at least one area and I'll still show you a price tag that dwarfs the very reasonable ask for the Genesis sedan.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Models and Prices
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis comes in two trim levels tied to its cylinder count. The base Hyundai Genesis 3.8 (MSRP $38,000) features V-6 power, 18-inch rims, automatic climate control, heated leather front seats with power adjustment, a navigation system, the Blue Link telematics system, heated mirrors, cruise control, a rearview camera, automatic windshield wipers, a CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, and HD and satellite radio.
Stepping up to the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 (MSRP $51,500) introduces a raft of additional luxury fare. Over and above its eight-cylinder engine, the Genesis 5.0 provides HID headlights, ventilated front seats with a memory function for the driver, a power rear sunshade, a panoramic sunroof, a surround sound audio system, adaptive cruise control, the 'vehicle hold' feature for the transmission (keeping the car in place in stop-and-go traffic without having to leave your foot on the brake), a larger gauge cluster, LED fog lights, wood and aluminum trim throughout the interior, illuminated door sills, parking assistance, and a number of active safety features.
My test vehicle was fully loaded, which meant that it also came with the Ultimate package: dual automatic climate control, a head-up display, an upgraded LCD touchscreen paired with a controller on the center console, an air purity monitor, three additional speakers for the surround sound audio system, a power trunk lid, and an adjustable suspension system. My Canadian-market car additionally offered all-wheel drive, a feature available in the U.S. with six-cylinder Genesis models, but not eight-cylinder editions of the car. The total MSRP for the vehicle I drove for a week came to $54,750.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Design
- The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 is an all-new design.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 is a mixture of the monolithic and the lithe, depending on which angle you happen to catch it at. From the front its enormous grille continues the industry' intimidation trend, but tracing one's eye back along the sides of the sedan finds several scalloped detail lines and a strip of chrome tracing the rocker panel that help to break up the Genesis' slab look. At the rear of the car the slope of the roof combined with the car's curved trunk lid and quad exhaust tips give it a much sportier personality. Overall, the Genesis offers an imposing presence that is well in keeping with its full-size luxury sedan standing. There's an Easter egg hidden in the car's side mirrors, too: a Genesis logo that projects onto the ground inside the outline of its puddle lamps as you approach the vehicle, which is a nice upscale touch.
The passenger compartment of the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 is equally handsome, if somewhat conservative. Matte wood trim on the dash and door panels is accented by aluminum-look metal, and the leather wrapped around the car's seats feels softer than the Hyundai's price point would suggest. Fit and finish are excellent, if not perfect - there's still a feeling that some buttons and switches in the car are shared with lesser Hyundai models, which is only a problem if you choose to make it one in your mind. My one minor beef with the Genesis' interior has to do with its monochromatic appearance - the wood does break up some of the darkness that permeates the cabin, but there's not a lot of contrast to be found inside the car.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Comfort and Cargo
- The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 is an all-new model.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 was designed with the full knowledge that it would have to out-German the Germans when it came to ride comfort and interior trappings. While the Genesis might not eclipse its European rivals, it certainly draws level with vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5 Series in terms of how it coddles driver and passengers. Rear seat room is enormous in the car, thanks in part to Hyundai's decision to stretch the new Genesis' wheelbase by almost three inches compared to the original model.
Sampled from the front buckets the Genesis is equally pleasing, and cabin noise levels are whisper quiet - you get just the slightest aural sensation of the world passing whipping by outside the car's windows with all four snugly sealed. I was also satisfied with how the Genesis' suspension system absorbed potholes and cracks in the pavement, for when set to 'Normal' mode the car's suspension gives the impression of an air spring setup. Trunk space for the Hyundai checks in at a very useful 15.3 cubic feet.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Features and Controls
- The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is an all-new design.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 lacks for nothing when taking into account its content-rich set of features, especially in the range-topping Ultimate package car that I was driving. The vehicle's LCD touchscreen was simple to use, as was its navigation feature which allowed me to set waypoints without an exact street address, which was useful for plotting a course through the small towns that lay between my home base of Montreal and the small bed and breakfast I had booked for the weekend in northern Vermont. At first I found the interface for the Hyundai's entertainment features to be a bit overly-complicated - there's a lot of extra functionality on the SiriusXM satellite radio screen that I was not used to, for example - but I eventually got the hang of it. Still, I found it odd that sometimes the car locked me out of assigning radio station pre-sets, forcing me to scroll through a sub-menu to accomplish what should have been a simple task.
Heated and cooled seats are a welcome addition to any luxury car, and the Hyundai Genesis did an adequate job of keeping my back dry during a searing weekend road trip without making me wish I had brought a sweater along for the ride. The vehicle's adaptive cruise control system also performed admirable, and I appreciated the ability to change the color of the information presented on the vehicle's head-up display. I must say that I found the head-up's output to be a little crowded, however, especially when certain safety features were in use: there was an overload of information crowded into the virtual real estate floating just above the Hyundai's hood.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Safety and Ratings
- The 2015 Hyundai Genesis introduces lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance.
- Adaptive cruise control also offers collision detection with automatic braking.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis includes side impact airbags front and rear, side curtain airbags that run the entire length of the passenger compartment, dual forward airbags, and a driver's knee airbag as standard equipment. Also offered free of charge are electronic stability control and traction control, as well as the ability to halt a stolen vehicle via the Blue Link 2.0 telematics system. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection remains optional with the car, while a number of new advanced safety features make their debut for 2015, including forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assistance. Each of these features comes as part of the Ultimate package and performed well during my time with the Genesis 5.0.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Crash-Test Ratings: The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 received a rating of 'Good' in each important crash test administered by the IIHS, and it also scored five out of five starts in NHTSA crash testing.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Engines and Fuel Economy
- The 2015 Hyundai Genesis carries over slightly de-tuned versions of last year's V-6 and V-8 engines.
- All-wheel drive is now available with V-6 models.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is initially offered with a 3.8-liter V-6 that sends 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, a drop of 22 horses as compared to the 2014 model. Fuel mileage for the six-cylinder gains two miles per gallon on the highway (29-mpg) while sticking at last year's 18-mpg city, and this drivetrain makes optional all-wheel drive available for the first time.
The 5.0-liter V-8 that was outfitted to my test vehicle is rated at 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, nine horsepower less than the year before. The eight-cylinder model's fuel efficiency is listed at 15-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, which is identical to the year before. An updated eight-speed automatic transmissions is standard with each edition of the Genesis.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Driving Impressions
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 might be marginally less mighty on paper than it was in 2014, but Hyundai elected to suffer the incremental loss in favor of broadening the power band to the point where torque comes on earlier in the rev range. This was seen as more desirable to American drivers than loftier output figures achievable only at the redline. In my all-wheel drive tester, which is admittedly somewhat heavier than the U.S.-spec rear-wheel drive eight-cylinder model, the results are mixed. There's no doubt that the Genesis 5.0 has more than enough gumption when you dig in the spurs on the highway, but off of the line there's not a lot of drama to suggest that the vehicle is packing V-8 power. This is perhaps by design: the word I would use to describe the Genesis' acceleration is 'smooth,' an adjective well in keeping with the comfort-first luxury market that Hyundai has targeted with this car. The vehicle's eight-speed automatic is also worthy of similar praise, as it performed transparently during my time with the Genesis.
From a handling perspective the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 feels like the large sedan that it is, even at lower speeds. That is to say that although it never feels unstable around a bend in the road, it's also not the kind of vehicle that could be described as nimble - more -E-Class or Lexus LX than 5 Series in the chassis department. The Ultimate package offers somewhat of an antidote to this state of affairs, however, as switching the car from 'Normal' to 'Sport' mode introduces a more competent cornering character that speaks to the brand's association with the famed engineers at Lotus, who helped consult on the car's suspension system. All Ultimate package models gain an adaptive suspension system that offers noticeably crisper response to go with the heavier steering found in Sport mode. For those seeking a more relaxed, frugal experience in the Genesis 5.0, there's also an Eco setting that dials back the throttle and transmission shift points to maximize efficiency.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Final Thoughts
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 is quite an accomplishment. Here we have a $50,000 luxury sedan that feels almost the equal of rivals costing tens of thousands more. There's no question that the Genesis 5.0 is a much better choice than the similarly-priced yet far less-equipped Mercedes-Benz E350 for luxury sedan shoppers who price comfort, features, and style over the badge on the bonnet. Despite its definite comfort-over-sport leanings, the Genesis is also a better drive than the much pricier, yet only somewhat larger Lexus LX 460.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 meets all of the important criteria associated with a luxury sedan, and then goes one step further by dazzling buyers with its affordable price. I can only hope that the Genesis 5.0's affordability doesn't transmute into an economic cloak of invisibility concealing it from the well-heeled buyers who might dismiss the model, sans test drive, simply due to its window sticker.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Pros and Cons
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Review: Pros and Cons
- Price undercuts all comparable luxury sedans
- V-8 power
- Roomy, comfortable interior
- Loaded with premium features
- Strong suite of active safety features
- Attractive styling
- Price tag might see the Genesis passed over by traditional luxury shoppers
- Direct-injected engine is loud at idle, but only from outside the car
- Somewhat complex on-screen entertainment functionality
- No all-wheel drive for V-8 models yet in the U.S.
Hyundai Canada supplied the vehicle for this review.