When preparations began for the Rally North America (RNA) 2014 US 50 Rally, I began thinking about which vehicle my father and I would co-pilot this year. You can think of the rally as a giant scavenger hunt and this year’s event was especially long. Instead of the usual Rally North America three-day adventure, teams would be driving for five days this year across historic Route 50.
|Engine: 3.8-liter V6 with 311 HP, 293 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Fuel economy: 16 MPG city, 25 MPG highway, 25.6 MPG observed.
Price: $41,450 after destination charges for Genesis 3.8 AWD. $52,450 as tested.
We traditionally drove a sports car to RNA events, but not this year. We wanted to change things up. Daunted by the thought of traversing Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri in something with stiff suspension, we adjusted our focus for comfort, space and luxury.
That brought us to the 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan. While comparing it to the Cadillac CTS Vsport, I fell in love with the 5.0-liter V8-powered model for its on-road comfort and admirable interior build quality not to mention the generous equipment list. The new Genesis is a serious contender in the mid-size luxury market, even though it costs a lot less than its competition.
V6 Might Surprise You
Since our upcoming drive would require a lot of miles on the open, unpredictable road, we picked the Genesis V6 AWD as our driving steed. Outfitted with a 3.8-liter V6, the car develops 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque sent to the HTRAC all-wheel drive system through an eight-speed automatic. That might not sound like much for a car that tips the scales at 4,295 lbs., but we were quite impressed with the cars straight-line performance.
Thanks to the quick acting transmission, the Genesis is never out of its power band. Roll onto a freeway onramp from a stop and the car picks up speed with respectable haste. During the road adventure we stopped at a quarter mile drag strip. With the car fully loaded and facing a strong headwind, we knocked off a 15.4 second quarter mile time at over 91 MPH. In better conditions we’re confident this car would crack the 14-second range. Not bad for a big car with only 311 HP.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Review
More impressive than the engine response from the Genesis was the fuel economy. Rated at a less-than-stellar 16 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway, after 4,000 miles our average was an EPA beating 25.6 MPG and I wasn’t exactly hypermiling the car either. There were a few laps around Pueblo Motor Sports Park in Colorado, some quarter mile runs, spirited drives through the mountains of West Virginia and a climb up Pikes Peak. The fact the Genesis sedan has a slippery drag coefficient of just 0.26 certainly didn’t hurt.
Wanting all the toys and technology on our trip, our Genesis came with Signature, Tech and Ultimate packages that raises the base price of the Genesis 3.8 AWD from $41,450 after destination charges to $52,450. Although that’s is a steep increase, it adds a long list of road trip friendly features including ventilated front seats, a power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a color head-up display, a 9.2-inch navigation display screen and a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system. Better still, the car can record radio broadcasts and play them back later if you want to listen to something again.
During the jaunts across corn country, we had ample opportunity to test the adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping systems. The adaptive cruise control works as advertised and will bring the car all the way to a stop if need be. We found it’s a bit too touchy at times though, as the brakes are applied too early and too often. A lot of this has to do with the system not allowing us to cruise as close to the car in front as we would like. If stuck in traffic, the system would keep braking the car whenever the speed of the car in front of us changed in the slightest, producing a less-than-smooth driving experience.
Almost Drives Itself
The active lane keep system works well once you get used to the steering wheel tugging from side to side to make adjustments. It’s also important to point out that if the car is heading off the road at too great of angle, won’t be able to keep you in the lane; a features most likely built in so the car won’t snap too aggressively on the driver. Fun fact: if the car senses the driver is allowing the system to keep it in a straight line on the freeway for too long, it will flash a warning to put their hands back on the wheel.
The V6 Genesis sedan is equipped with 245 mm width tires mounted on 18-inch wheels. Even with a relatively quick 11.8:1 steering ratio, it’s not meant to be a sport sedan. Lugging the big car through the mountains of West Virginia and around Pueblo International Raceway drove this point home, but it’s not a complete land yacht either. It can negotiate corner without rolling over on its side, but would prefer to be driven at a more relaxed pace.
Space and Comfort Inside
The Genesis looks longer than it really is. At 196.5 inches in length, it’s shorter than a Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus or Dodge Challenger. The Hyundai is said to only offer 35.0-inches of rear legroom, but like we’ve stated previously when reviewing this car, there seems to be a lot more real world space back there.
Add a 15.3 cubic foot trunk and the Genesis is capable of taking four adults and their luggage on a long road trip. Comfort in the Genesis is top notch. Every day we applauded the front seats for offering ample support in all the right places. After nine-hour driving days neither of us felt particularly fatigued or stiff.
The Genesis is almost the total package when it comes to a great road trip car. For the money, it’s hard find a vehicle that is as comfortable, luxurious, efficient and technology laden. After 4,000 miles, the car felt ready for another 4,000 and so did we.