Reviews

2015 Hyundai Genesis Walk Around

Debuting a new design language that Hyundai calls Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis loses some of its previous swoopiness for more solid, assured lines. A tall, imposing trapezoidal single-frame grille sits upright and juts out prominently, replacing the old smaller, slightly raked double-wing design. Strong, wide horizontal silver bars run the width of the its gaping maw.

Newly designed headlights are recessed in the inside corners, nestled against the bulge of the front grille, rising upward and finishing in outward corners that wrap around the front quarter panel, but not obnoxiously so. A new LED accent light design underscores the bezel headlamps and curves up and around the light housing. Genesis 5.0 models get a horizontal row of LED foglamps below.

The Genesis' weightiness is evident in the car's stance, though not in a bad way. Designers use the word volume to describe the substantial base of the car, with the bulk of vehicle sitting below the high beltline and relatively small daylight opening. The side view reveals an ever-so-slightly arcing character line that runs from the outer corner of the protruding front grille, across the top of the headlamps, through the door handles and into the tail lamps. Below, a strong rocker panel gives the appearance of a wide indentation. Standard wheels are 18-inch alloys. Genesis 5.0 models roll with 19-inch wheels.

The rear is tasteful, with a slightly arcing decklid that's subtly upturned for improved aerodynamics. New LED taillights mimic the double-wing design without being too obvious. Below, wide-set exhaust pipes (dual on the 3.8, quad on the 5.0) underscore the vehicle's width. A new hands-free trunk opening feature works differently than most. Instead of sweeping a foot under the car, one must only stand behind the trunk (while in possession of the key) for three seconds, and the trunk will automatically open. This feature can be turned off in the vehicle settings.

Interior

Additional refinements and space make the 2015 Hyundai Genesis even more appealing than before. Strong horizontal lines are immediately evident in the cabin design. The instrument panel sits very far forward in the cabin, we presume in order to push the engine compartment as far back as possible to achieve those short overhangs. As a result, controls sit closer than an arm's length, and it's a short reach for the gear shifter. An analog clock mimics those found on other luxury cars.

Genesis 3.8 models get a standard 4.3-inch TFT LCD display; optional (and standard on the 5.0) is a larger, 7-inch TFT display that is crisp, clear and easy to read. Also available is a color head-up display that will show the current speed limit and other information, such as when entering a school zone.

Hyundai's BlueLink infotainment controls appear to be modeled after those of German cars. A knob on the center console, similar to those found on Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz controls navigation, audio, phone and settings. And unlike those German cars, the standard display is a touch-screen that allows you to access some features directly by pushing one button, instead of going into an endless series of menus. Also unlike many luxury cars, navigation is standard, though an upgraded system comes with a larger touch screen and more features, like enhanced real-time traffic and weather alerts. For the most part, we found the navigation easy to use.

Genesis can pair with compatible phones via Bluetooth for hands-free phone and audio streaming. It can also integrate with Siri, but it's not plug-and play; one must download Hyundai's app to access the full suite of functions.

Optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 5.0 is a premium sound system by Lexicon, a Grammy-winning company whose sound processors are widely used in the music industry. The Lexicon system is rich, clear and satisfying, and should please audiophiles. Though, we found the standard base audio system just fine.

Standard leather upholstery in all models is a nice touch, and our 3.8 test car had the upgraded leather included in the Tech package (standard on the 5.0). Although, we found the material to be thick and slightly waxy, not buttery soft like that found on some German luxury cars. On the upside, its texture also made it appear quite durable.

Other trim, such as the simulated leather on the wraparound two-tone dash, gives the interior just the right touch of luxe. Standard faux-woof trim does look more plasticy than posh in certain places, but genuine matte wood is available as an option, which we quite liked.

Storage space in the cabin is adequate, though not abundant. Two cupholders on the passenger's side of the center console hold average and larger water bottles. The small compartment beneath the center stack houses 12-volt plugs, an auxiliary jack and a USB port. There's also just enough space to hold a mobile phone, propped up on its side. More storage space can be found in moderately sized door pockets and in the center armrest.

Seats are supportive, and are made for larger adults. Smaller and average-sized people might find the side bolsters too widely spaced to hold them in around corners, but then again, the Genesis is primarily a freeway cruiser. Standard heated seats and optional ventilation make for a comfortable ride in any weather.

Rear seat space is fine for most adults. Headroom measures 38.2 inches, more than the Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES or Lexus GS. However, rear legroom comes in at a modest 35 inches, less than the Cadillac CTS or Lexus GS, and a far cry from the cavernous 40 inches of rear legroom available in the Lexus ES.

Cargo space measure 15.3 cubic feet, about on-par with the Lexus ES, and more than the Cadillac CTS or Lexus GS.

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