With a V6 and optional 380 hp V8 powerplant the Genesis is the new flagship of the Hyundai lineup and is the Korean manufacturer’s first true luxury vehicle.
In fact, initial reviews of the Genesis state that Hyundai might have out-Lexused Lexus with this ES350 killer.
While it certainly isn’t a sign of the times that a luxury car has won the North American Car of the Year award, it is a sign of the times that the luxury sedan is an economical one with a starting price of just over $32,000.
It should be pointed out that not only is this the first North American Car of the Year win for Hyundai but it is the first time a Korean car manufacturer has won.
Official release after the jump:
HYUNDAI GENESIS NAMED 2009 NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR HYUNDAI TAKES HOME ITS FIRST NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR HONOR
DETROIT, 01/11/2009 After months of expert test-drives, critical acclaim and independent awards, the Hyundai Genesis took top honors in the most exclusive award in North America when it was named 2009 North American Car of the Year.
A jury of 50 independent automotive journalists evaluated all the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2009 Hyundai Genesis as the best new model. The award was announced at a news conference at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“Genesis represents everything we’ve learned, so far, about engineering great automobiles – and we’re delighted that the judges have recognized the good work of our R&D teams,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America acting president and chief executive officer. “And we’re not stopping here…Genesis will share company in Hyundai showrooms this spring with its rear-wheel drive platform-mate, the Genesis Coupe.”
This year the jurors considered more than 50 new vehicles before selecting the top three cars and top three trucks. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI and Ford Flex were the other finalists.
The North American Car of the Year award is decided by a jury of 50 independent, full-time automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. This is the 16th year of the awards, which were inspired by the prestigious European “Car of the Year.” They are administered by an organizing committee and are funded exclusively with dues paid by the jurors. Jurors judge the cars on a number of factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.