Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2014 Hyundai Genesis

2014 Hyundai Genesis a mixed bag of luxury, style, performance

Hyundai knows a lot about styling and creating a quality car these days, and it continues to build market share.
But its large Genesis luxury sedan is a mixed bag.
The tested Genesis 5.0 R-Spec reflects a new Mercedes look. Obviously Hyundai designers were heavily influenced by Mercedes styling as its mid-size Sonata also borrows from the German car maker's designs.
Hyundai one-ups Mercedes with the interior. Hyundai successfully executes simple, elegant interior design with logical button and control placement and layout.
Likewise, Hyundai has figured out how to create a large amount of power matched with a smooth transmission. The test car's 5.0-liter, V8 with dual CVVT (Continuous Variable Valve Timing) creates a monstrous 429 horsepower. That was linked with an 8-speed automatic with the Shiftronic feature so that you can manually shift if you so desire. The automatic delivers seamless shifts.
Genesis leaps to freeway speeds in a well-controlled burst, up to 60 in just a few seconds.
However, the steering is so heavy that only weightlifters and bodybuilders will be comfortable for long drives. Steering effort is so weighty that it's tiring, even on just a drive from the suburbs to downtown and back.
If this were heavy and BMW precise, you might forgive the effort. But the Hyundai delivers a numb feel to the steering with a fair amount of play in the wheel that makes it feel you're aiming the big car down the highway.
Genesis rides on a 115.6-inch wheelbase, which gives it a pretty fair luxury sedan ride. This one has a sport-suspension, which tends to firm the ride up. But the car is quiet and feels substantial, which it is at 4,046 pounds.
Braking is good from four-wheel discs brakes, with traction and stability control. The sedan also features 19-inch tires on machined aluminum wheels with a fancy 10-spoke design.
In back is a generous 16-cubic-foot trunk. The interior is large enough for four adults to take a trip in comfort. Five adults will fit well for driving around town.
I like the interior better than those in many luxury makes, the test car featuring black leather with a soft-touch dash and door trim, and a stylish silver trim line separating the top dash from the lower portion. There's silver trim around the air vents and brushed metal facing on the center stack and console, and fake black wood trim on the door's arm rest and console.
Seats are perforated leather, with the driver's seat being both heated and cooled. Front passenger and rear outboard passenger seats are heated, too. The front seats feature fairly flat bottom cushions and well contoured back cushions. The driver's seat has two memory settings and there's a power tilt-telescope steering wheel that powers up and away when you exit the car.
Main gauges are white with a blue digital trip computer readout between them, and the navigation screen is large with climate controls spread below the screen. Radio controls spread out below those, but here's where I had a problem. While I could tune the fancy Lexicon stereo just fine, I could only get sound to come from its 17 speakers when it was set to satellite radio. AM and FM channels delivered no sound. I studied the owner's manual and quick-start booklets and could not find a solution.
Hyundai delivers on many other fronts, including a rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, Blue Link telematics system, side mirrors that fold flat against the car when the car is stopped and locked, and a lane-departure system.
Genesis features push-button start, inside trunk and fuel-door releases and radio, phone, cruise and trip computer buttons on its steering wheel hub. Again, everything was easy to figure out. Sadly there also is a large metal knob mid-console to rotate between various computer and radio functions. This is cumbersome to use while driving.
Overhead is a sunroof, sliding visors, and a HomeLink system. There's a pass-through opening in the rear seats, but the backseats do not fold down. There is a power rear sunshade that you activate with a button on the driver's door.
I got 17.6 mpg in about 60% highway driving, while the EPA estimates 16 mpg city and 25 highway.
A base Genesis 3.8L model starts at $34,200 with a $875 delivery charge. That model features a solid 333-horse V6, while the tested R-Spec with its V8 goes for $46,800. But this one had no options so ended up at $47,675 after the delivery fee.
The Genesis looks great, has plenty of power and refinement, but overall the drive is less fulfilling than many luxury sedans.
Mark Savage welcomes your questions and comments regarding new vehicles at Savageonwheels@yahoo.com.

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