2012 Hyundai Genesis Review [Video]

Fake it 'til you make it

2012 Hyundai Genesis Review [Video]

The answer to the question “Would you buy a Hyundai Genesis or a Mercedes E-Class” is no longer “not ever” but rather, “not yet.” Beyond novelty, there’s no cache to the name. And in the luxury business, where such bragging rights are earned over time, Hyundai’s luxury effort is still in its infancy.

FAST FACTS

1. New for 2012 is an R-Spec model with 19-inch wheels, high-performance tires, bigger brakes, custom transmission and steering settings, a modified suspension and a 429-hp 5.0L V8.

2. All models get an 8-speed automatic transmission and the V6 gains 43-hp for a total of 333-hp.

3. Pricing starts at $34,200 and jumps significantly to $44,500 for the 4.6L V8. R-Spec models retail for $46,500.

4. Fuel economy improves across the board, with the 3.8L V8 now at 19/29-mpg, the 4.6L V8 at 17/26-mpg, while the R-Spec is pegged at 16/25-mpg.

GENESIS DESIGN MATURES

While still short of being a serious rival, Hyundai is getting closer with every update. Most notably for 2012 is an improved exterior, allowing the Genesis to now pass for a genuine luxury sedan in the parking lot of any country club, with more sculpted lines and a bold grille that’s close enough to segment rivals, but finally starting to express a design language all its own.

Notable changes include larger intake openings on the front of the car, plus LED lights. More chiseled side skirts run down the side of the car, while aluminum window trim exchanges faux-luxury for a more premium-athletic style. New rear LED lights jump off the bodywork, while a redesigned bumper with integrated exhaust tips complete the package.

Beyond this new look, Hyundai has also made significant changes under the hood, upping the output of the base V6, while offering a potent R-Spec V8 model with far more horsepower than you’d ever expect from a Korea automaker.

V6 NO LONGER LEAVES YOU WANTING

Through the addition of direct-injection the 3.8-liter V6 gets 43 more horsepower for a new total of 333-hp. Torque also gets a 27 lb-ft bump to 291. Following suit with its targeted luxury rivals Hyundai has even developed its own 8-speed automatic transmission, which works to improve fuel economy and deliver a smoother driving experience. In total, fuel economy is up 1-mpg in the city and 2-mpg on the highway for a total of 19/29-mpg.

The down-side of the 8-speed is that with so many gears it’s never in the one you want for spirited driving. True, there is a self-shifting function, but no one ever uses that. Adding direct-injection does make for a louder engine at idle, a small drawback considering it’s a luxury car and will almost always be piloted with the windows up and the climate control pegged.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Hyundai doesn’t claim any extra performance gain from the powertrain enhancements, but there are benefits. It’s decisively fast and delivers solid torque eliminating any need, and almost all of the want, for a V8.

The same 8-speed box appears on the unchanged 385-hp 4.6-liter V8, and rather surprisingly doesn’t help city fuel economy at all and only improves highway mileage by one tick for a 16/26-mpg rating.

R-SPEC SEDAN KEEPS CONTENT, GAINS PERFORMANCE

Things get exciting when you jump to the newly-introduced R-Spec model. Previously Hyundai had only offered R-Spec versions of the Genesis Coupe, delivering the high-trim performance options without all the frills, making for a car that retails only slightly above the base model. Trying this tactic on the luxury crowd would leave Hyundai with a glut of models on dealer lots, so instead, the first R-Spec sedan adds performance, while keeping all the goodies.

Under the hood is an engine that is easily the most significant shot across the bow of luxury automakers since the introduction of the Genesis itself in 2009. Adding 400ccs of displacement to the brand’s “Tau” V8 and slapping on a direct-injection system the new 5.0 makes 429-hp.

With plenty of extra torque this luxury saloon will power out of a stop sideways like a muscle car while simultaneously delivering a serene highway cruise. What makes the R-Spec V8 a tough sell at first is that despite the difference of almost 100-hp over the V6 the real performance gap between the two doesn’t show fully until above 60 mph, with the big displacement engine delivering thrust at 80-mph like it does at 30-mph.

R-Spec models get more than just a big engine, however, with larger 19-inch wheels and high-performance Bridgestone tires, not to mention a thicker rear sway bar and specific tuning for the suspension, transmission and steering.

There’s little doubt the R-Spec model is the superior performance machine, although no credit can be given to the steering. Instead, we’d argue the largest factor is the pricey performance rubber, helping reduce understeer significantly from the rest of the models. If Hyundais have one overarching fault, it’s in the steering department, and the R-Spec model is no exception. Its issue is unique, however, with good reaction but an overall electronically contrived feel that’ll leave you uncertain about your trajectory, making mid-corner corrections like a real-world version of the Cruis’n USA arcade game. By comparison, steering on non R-Spec models isn’t as heavy or as direct, but it is more natural.

When we first drove the car in Las Vegas we commented on how the glass-smooth blacktop was hardly a test of its real-world capabilities and that mid-western roads might prove a less-forgiving proving ground. We were right. When pushed during this drive on the rural roads outside Detroit the R-spec model was notably less confident in the corners, becoming unsettled by the road’s imperfections. To be fair, that issue only showed itself in the R-Spec model at speeds beyond what the rest of the lineup could muster.

Apart from the performance advantages, the R-Spec model comes equipped with all of the available features, including a few new tricks for 2012: a Lane Departure Warning System, heated rear seats and a TFT LCD display between the two main gauges, adding a touch more high-tech style to the cabin. Other R-Spec upgrades include custom floor mats, a rear badge, black chrome headlight housings and, thankfully, the removal of the woodgrain trim on the steering wheel.

INTERIOR STILL NEEDS WORK

On all models the interior is really the only drawback to the car, lagging behind the rest of the vehicle and in some areas a far cry from the level of refinement the competition has on offer.

Despite being silver, most of the buttons both look and feel like plastic, and when combined with the ice blue lighting used on the rest of the Hyundai lineup it gives the impression that you’re driving a Sonata. There are some nice touches, in particular the leather inserts on the doors and dash, available on the V6 and standard on V8 models, which really gives a true luxury car feel. The same goes for the upgraded premium leather, a significant jump-up from the near-vinyl use on the base V6. Unfortunately, after paying for those upgrades you’re still left with wood trim that’s even out-classed by the cupboards at your cottage.

And while not the final critique of the cabin, the “multimedia controller” used to operate many features on the display screen simply feels low quality to touch and flimsy when you turn it.

THE VERDICT

Compared to rivals in the luxury segment Hyundai has seen a much higher take-rate for its V8 offering and for good reason. For starters, with a lower price relative to the competition it’s possible to drive off in a V8-powered Genesis for roughly the same money as a six-cylinder German or Japanese model. But perhaps the bigger reason is the small price difference between the two, with Hyundai making the V8 too attractive to refuse.

When we first drove the new 2012 Genesis lineup AutoGuide’s Derek Kreindler commented that the V6 is the car to get, with the upgraded 333-hp engine not wanting in the acceleration department. Starting at $34,200 a fully-loaded six jumps to $43,000 and comes with all of the luxury and tech features that are standard on the V8. What makes the V8 an easy option box to tick is the fact that it only adds $1,500 more. The R-Spec model is just $2,000 on top of that.

Taken as a whole, the V6 is the better engineered vehicle, offering a more balanced package of luxury, performance, comfort and price. But considering how little your local Hyundai dealer will want to upgrade you into a serious V8-powered performance machine… it’ll be hard not to.

LOVE IT

  • Refined look
  • Solid engines, even V6
  • Excellent value

LEAVE IT

  • Some low grade interior trim
  • Steering on R-Spec model

RELATED READING

2012 Hyundai Genesis Review 2011 BMW 535i Review 2011 BMW 528i Review [Video] 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Review 2011 Chrysler 300 Review

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked