The standard features of the Hyundai Genesis 3.8 include 3.8L V-6 333hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability. (en)
Acceleration in the Genesis 3.8 is smooth and satisfying, but it won't leave you breathless. The 8-speed transmission does an admirable job staying efficient while offering up adequate power. Not too long ago, that many gears would have seemed preposterous, but in the days of mandated fuel economy standards, automakers seem keen on ever increasing gear span in hopes to eek out an extra mpg or two (which usually means cruising at pitifully low rpm). Yet, in this case, Hyundai seems to have done a pretty good job with the power curve, keeping torque readily available at low engine speeds.
Moving from the 3.8 V6 to the 5.0 R-Spec V8 is a little like checking out of the Hilton and into the Mandarin Oriental. The former is perfectly nice, but the top-of-the line model makes us wish we could linger just a bit longer. And order room service. Acceleration is smooth as silk, and gears shift at higher rpm for and extra power boost. The sport suspension makes the Genesis sedan more agile around corners and lessens body roll at turn-in.
Fuel economy for the Genesis 3.8 is an EPA-estimated 19/29 mpg City/Highway on Regular gasoline. Genesis 4.6 and 5.0 R-Spec are both rated 17/26 mpg on Premium gas.
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis gets refreshed front and rear fascia including tweaked headlamps and bumpers, a revised front grille and an integrated exhaust design, along with more upscale-looking exterior trim. New for 2012 are heated rear seats and a lane departure warning system, both included in the optional Technology Package.
Most significantly, the 2012 Genesis boasts new, more powerful and more efficient powertrains, including three gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and Hyundai's first proprietary 8-speed automatic transmission.
Most 2012 Genesis models come with the base 333-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. For those who want more oomph, a 4.6-liter V8 version available in one nicely equipped trim level will get you a satisfying 378 hp.
Enthusiasts will salivate over the new 5.0-liter Genesis R-Spec for 2012, which cranks out a class-competitive 429 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque capable of a 0-60 mph time in just over five seconds, while still achieving a respectable estimated 25 mpg highway rating. The 2012 Hyundai R-Spec also gets a sport-tuned suspension, steering and transmission along with19-inch alloy wheels and unique headlamp trim.
In keeping true to its passion for drivetrain advancement, Hyundai's new 8-speed transmission with manual shifting capability (dubbed Shiftronic) was developed fully in-house. More gears, in addition to other features including skip-shift technology, help to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Purists will bemoan the lack of a manual gearbox on any 2012 Genesis models.
Hyundai would like us to believe the 2012 Genesis sedan competes head-to-head with midsize luxury four-doors such as the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. And while the Genesis sedan offers superb value over these German mainstays, it might be a tough sell for the badge-conscious. Plus, those who live in snowy climes might leave the Genesis off their lists for lack of a four-wheel-drive version. The V6-powered Genesis is best compared with midsize sedans such as the Chrysler 300 and Buick LaCrosse. Features and performance, however, are on par with luxury models like Lexus GS, Lincoln MKS and Cadillac CTS. The 5.0 R-Spec proves to be a good contender with the likes of the Infiniti M56S, but with a much lower sticker price.
Also compelling is Hyundai's Assurance trade-in value guarantee, which assigns a future value to a vehicle at the time of purchase, based on a 24- to 48-month time frame. This guaranteed value can then be applied to a future Hyundai trade-in, as long as it's within the 24- to 48-month period. Even if the car is worth more than projected at the time of trade-in, the customer gets the higher amount.
Whether it's a true luxury car in the minds of buyers, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis in all its incarnations remains a top choice, both on paper and on the road.
For 2012, exterior tweaks on the Genesis sedan are subtle, but effective. Hyundai jumps on the bandwagon with other luxury car makers by adding integrated LED accent lights (a la Audi), as well as a revised wraparound headlamp design. A modified front bumper sports a new air intake, while the redesigned front grille incorporates cleaner, straighter lines.
On the sides, a darker trim around windows aims to convey a more upscale feel, while more prominent rocker panels give a slightly more assertive look. New side mirrors are reshaped and now include a power-folding feature and integrated puddle lamps.
In back, wraparound tail lights are more pronounced and the rear bumper features and integrated rear exhaust design, which lends a seamless, attractive appearance.
The LCD gauges are bright and sharp, and are pleasing on the eye. Center stack controls are large and easy to read. Despite numerous buttons, layout is intuitive for the most part, although it takes a while to find certain functions. The mode button for the climate control, for example, is on the opposite side of the stack from the other HVAC buttons, which left us momentarily grasping at vents to direct cool air onto our feet in blazing 103-degree heat. Dual climate control worked nicely and the cooled, ventilated driver seat was a Godsend in the hot sun, although our front passenger was understandably put off that the feature was not included on both seats.
Due to the myriad buttons and knobs, there isn't much center storage space. Curiously, the small compartment between the shift lever and the center stack is dedicated to an ashtray and cigarette lighter, perhaps designed for the Asian market, since many U.S.-bound vehicles have long abandoned these (or make them available in a separate smoker's package). Using Hyundai's navigation system is less time-consuming than others on the market, although one passenger found it faster to punch up our destination on a Google Maps-powered smartphone.
Visibility is good, thanks to a large rear window, well designed side mirrors and minimally invasive B- and C-pillars. Front head- and legroom were more than adequate for drivers and passengers ranging from petite to tall, but in back, the head of one six-foot passenger nearly grazed the headliner while sitting behind the driver. And because the center seat is slightly raised, it's not an option for taller riders. Rear legroom is plentiful, as long as the front seats aren't all the way back.
Unlike many of its competitors, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis doesn't offer folding split rear seats, only a pass-through slot. Trunk space is average for the segment at 15.9 cubic feet.
Genesis 3.8 ($34,200) comes standard with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, fog lights, heated power outside mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power accessories, power heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt function, steering wheel-mounted controls, cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree phone system, seven-speaker audio with CD player, satellite radio capability and USB, iPod and auxiliary connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels.
Options for the 2012 Genesis 3.8 are rolled into two packages: The Premium Package ($4,800) upgrades to 18-inch alloy wheels and adds a glass sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors, rearview camera, rain sensing wipers with auto defogger windshield, power rear sunshade, power tilt and telescoping steering wheels, leather dash and door trim, and navigation with 7-inch display and real-time traffic capability, as well as a premium Lexicon 14-speaker audio system with surround sound. The Technology Package ($4,000) adds adaptive HID Xenon headlights, front and rear park assist systems, lane departure warning system, smart cruise control, an electronic parking brake, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated driver's seat, heated rear seats, navigation system with 8-inch display and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with HD radio and 6-disc CD changer.
Genesis 4.6 ($44,500) includes the features in the Technology Package plus auto-dimming outside mirrors, chrome lower body side moldings, electro-hydraulic power steering and a wood-trimmed leather steering wheel.
Genesis R-Spec ($46,500) includes 19-inch alloy wheels plus all the features found on the 4.6 trim. The trim is further differentiated with unique headlamps with dark chrome inserts and R-Spec badging inside and out. The woodgrain steering wheel found on the 4.6 is deleted in favor of an all-leather version.
Safety features on all 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedans include eight airbags including front and rear seat-mounted side-impact bags and side-curtain airbags, electronic active front head restraints, four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control.
Laura Burstein filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after her test drive of Hyundai Genesis models near Las Vegas.
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