When you buy into a Genesis, what matters is what you are let to have. Beyond the mist of brand halos, that is what counts. In its rise to being the ‘viable alternative’, originality is not something Hyundai has cared for; oneupmanship and value are. And with the 2015 Genesis, thankfully, the bundle becomes a brand in itself, finally come of age, having walked in the path of pioneers for long enough.
THE UPSIDE: Imposing and pleasing presence, Enjoyable drive, High-end gadgetry, Smooth and silent ride, Service priority at Hyundai
THE FLIPSIDE: Practicality over originality, Minor power surge in sports mode, Lack of steering feedback
THE PRICE: 3.8L V6 GDI AED 152,800 – 188,800; 5.0L V8 GDI AED 207,000
THE SPECS: Lambda 3.8 V6 GDI engine, 311 hp, 397 Nm @ 5000 rpm, 0-100 kmph: 7.5 sec / 5.0L V8 GDI, 407 hp, 505 Nm @ 5000 rpm, 0-100 kmph: 5.4 sec / both 8-speed transmission, Rear Wheel Drive
THE DIMENSIONS: L x W x H: 4990 x 1890 x 1480 mm Wheelbase: 3010 mm / 19” alloy wheels
The premium league
If you suspect the new Genesis snout is sniffing out an Aston Martin, think about this: even the Ford Fusion and the upcoming Audi TT seems to have picked some codes from those genes. It really doesn’t matter if projecting a spotlight with the logo from the underside of the mirrors was an idea that had its genesis in the Range Rover Evoque. What matters is that the 2015 Genesis has it too. Whether it was the new Range Rover or the Land Cruiser that introduced the 5-way camera view matters no longer. The 2015 Genesis shows off the same gadgetry these giant egos flaunt!
From nudges on your driving hand and foot-free braking to self-parking, things are only a few degrees south of autonomous driving. The Genesis doesn’t come with the humbling self-parking option but everything else that has ever enticed the customer is thoughtfully lined up in its plush cabin, finished with wood and leather trims. The Heads Up Display shows the speed, the navigation cues and the blind spot warnings right in your eye-line – not visible through polarized glasses by the way!
Even at times when I overruled these inputs, seeing that other cars were still a ‘safe distance’ behind me, I felt a lot safer for the intelligence report. As for the navigation, reliability is rather high and the map uses the current style of representing roads and bifurcations with realistic graphics.
If my 3.8L test car takes 7.5 seconds to touch 100 kmph from start, it is the quickest 7.5 seconds I’ve sped through. The Genesis doesn’t hesitate at take off and feels fast when you want to zoom ahead in your lane or cross over to another. Its 305 hp of power never leaves you wanting and with the torque rising till the 5000 rpm mark, the Genesis only gets faster and smoother, moving on its 8-speed grid – except for an occasional overhang of power in the sport mode. The driving mode of the Genesis offers a choice of standard, eco and sport (snow or slippery too if you press the switch long enough) besides the paddle shifts.
The rear wheel drive Genesis maneuvers rather deftly with brakes that feel reassuring. Sure, the steering feels nothing like a Hyundai but it is still hesitant in sharing info from down under and the straight drive isn’t anything close to race-precise, demanding your inputs from time to time.
The fuel efficiency on my long drive to Yas was around 9 km per litre, while the overall test produced readings of 6.8 km per litre of 98 octane fuel. With a 77 L fuel tank, that could mean over 500 km on a mixed run!
When you drive the CEO of home around, along with the chairman of baby seats, having a silent cabin that can keep out wind and road noise matters. I had once written that the Hyundai Azera emulates Lexus. The 2015 Genesis could urge Lexus to upgrade its benchmark of silence.
The rear came up with an unfolding central armrest stacked with a whole set of controls, from air-conditioning to media. The front seats can be adjusted conveniently using switches on their sides. Surprisingly, there were no rear entertainment screens (available in top end), but the 17 speakers of the Lexicon system filled the cabin with mirth.
A 430 L boot that is weekend-grade, thoughtfully assigned cabin storage, and safety features that include 9 airbags make it smooth sailing for the Genesis into the family shortlist. Interestingly, while the over 3000 mm wheelbase affords legroom like a first-class cabin, the under 5000 mm overall length saves the car from spilling out in your parking lot.
The soft-shut automatic closures, a button for the boot lid that can lock the whole car at a touch, and a panoramic glass roof that has a normal-sized opening are a boon for the family, when you wish to pamper them with full-size luxury.
The essential 2015 Genesis
Hyundai has chosen to build pedigree from scratch, by scraping out its own name and signature off the Genesis. But for the ‘mulkiya’ (registration card) and the driver’s handbook, there is nothing that gives out its source or status. By the way, sloppiness in this car is thankfully restricted largely to the same driver’s manual. With every turn, each leaf simply fell apart and reminded me that if divinity is in the details, Hyundai is yet to achieve it.
The Genesis has priced itself deservingly between AED 150,000 and AED 188,000 for the 3.8L version and at AED 207,000 for the 5.0 L version. Count all those thousands saved against sheer badge premium. With the promise of royal treatment in after-sales service, it is good to be the big fish in a small pond.
Agreed, it is at least thirty-five grand beyond the official flagship of Hyundai, the Azera. But then, the Azera is still a Hyundai, decked up with Lexus aspirations and driven by the slapdash steering character that runs in the family. Genesis is… Genesis.
Drive Courtesy: Hyundai Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy