2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8Posted on February 7th, 2009
Hyundai’s premium sport sedan gives other luxury brands a run for the money
By Nina Russin
I’m sitting behind the wheel of the new Hyundai Genesis sedan, pinching myself. Although the Korean automaker has significantly improved its build quality since entering the U.S. market in the early 1990s, this time, they’ve hit one out of the park.I feel as if I’m driving a sixty-thousand dollar Lexus. Base price on the test car is about half that: $32,250 to be exact.
The rear-wheel drive Genesis comes with a choice of two engines: a 290-horsepower V6, or 375-horsepower V8.
Both powertrains feature a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift option: the six-cylinder utilizes an Aisin unit, while the eight-cylinder has a beefier ZF box..
The V6 is about half a second slower than the V8 in zero-to-sixty acceleration. But 6.2 seconds is nothing to sneeze at.
Since curb weight on the six-cylinder car is two-hundred fifty pounds less than the eight cylinder, fuel economy is significantly better: about 27 miles-per-gallon on the highway, compared to 25 for the bigger engine. The V6 runs just fine on regular fuel, while engineers recommend premium for the eight cylinder.
Seamless ride and handling
As suggested up front, the Genesis has ride and handling characteristics that rival much pricier luxury cars. Peak torque for the six-cylinder engine comes on at 4500 rpm: low enough to make full power available during an average merge into high-speed traffic.
The six-speed automatic transmission boosts fuel economy, and essentially eliminates shift shock.
A five-link independent front and rear suspension gives the Genesis a compliant, though not overly soft ride.
Anti-roll bars keep the chassis flat in the corners. I took a couple of cloverleaf ramps at speed, just to be sure.
Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides plenty of assist at low speeds: a thirty-six foot turning radius makes it easy to pull the occasional U-turn. Yet on-center feel on the highway is excellent. Emergency lane changes are not a problem.
The side mirrors are quite large, but don’t obstruct the driver’s forward view when cornering to the left. Indicator markers on the side mirrors alert driver’s in neighboring lanes when the driver signals.
Visibility to the sides and rear is excellent, with minimal blind spots.
Engineers did an excellent job of isolating the cabin from road noise. On a similar note, there’s a conspicuous lack of wind noise around the windshield and side mirrors.
Front and rear disc brakes include four-channel antilock braking, to help the driver maintain directional control on wet or snowy roads.
True to its heritage, Hyundai included many of the comfort features buyers look for as standard equipment: leather trim, heated front seats, satellite radio with iPod and MP3 connectivity, and a Bluetooth phone system.
A premium package on the test car upgrades the standard seventeen-inch wheels to eighteen inch wheels, adds a power sunroof, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and surround-sound audio system. Two-position memory is also part of the upgrade, allowing multiple drivers to share the car.
Overhead reading lamps for both rows of passengers come in handy after dark. Keyless entry and start allows the driver to turn on the ignition using a button on the dash, and keep the key fob in his pocket.
Redundant audio and trip meter controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
A clean-looking center stack includes audio and dual-zone temperature controls. The seat heater buttons are on either side of the gate shifter, while the hood and fuel cap release are conveniently located on the driver’s side door.
A lockable glovebox is a handy place to stash valuables at the trailhead. Two twelve-volt power points allow multiple passengers to recharge electronic devices on the go.
The second-row seats have an exceptional amount of legroom in the outboard positions. A tunnel through the floor makes the center position impractical for anything but a child safety seat.
A fold-down armrest in back includes two cupholders. Behind it, a small door opens to create a pass through for skis and other long cargo.
The trunk is spacious enough for luggage, groceries and average-sized cargo. Lack of a wider pass-through makes putting a bike inside all but impossible.
The Genesis received five-star safety ratings for federal frontal, side and rollover collision tests. Standard safety features include front, side and side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control with traction control.
Hyundai’s ten year/100,000 mile warranty is the industry leader. It includes five years of unlimited roadside assistance.
Twelve-month vehicle return program
At the beginning of January, Hyundai announced that it has teamed up with Walkaway USA to offer customers a twelve-month vehicle return option on any car financed or leased through its dealerships. The program gives new car buyers additional protection from debt in these uncertain economic times.
Hyundai produces the Genesis at its assembly plant in Ulsan, Korea.
Likes: A well-equipped, reasonably priced sport sedan with segment-leading safety, and excellent ride and handling.
Model: Genesis 3.8
Base price: $32,250*
As tested: $36,000
Horsepower: 290 Hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 264 lbs.-ft. @ 4500 rpm
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Fuel economy: 18/27 mpg city/highway
Comments: Base price does not include a $750 delivery charge.
One response to “2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8”
Ron Novolker March 11th, 2009 at 20:55
I’ve been driving the G
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