Hyundai Genesis Saloon (2014 - ) review
Hyundai takes on the big boys - the Audi A7 Sportback and BMW 5 Series - with its own executive saloon
Interested in buying Hyundai Genesis?
This is Hyundai’s executive car, and the Korean firm obviously think its regular logo isn’t befitting of something that’s competing with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A7 because it’s created a bespoke Genesis badge for the bonnet. This is an imposing car, at nearly 5 metres long, but despite the large hexagonal grille and plenty of sharp creases on the bonnet and down the flanks, the styling is fairly anonymous. It’s better news at the rear, where a steeply raked window, angled tail lights and twin chromed tail pipes give it a more sporting look.
Step inside and you’re struck by the wide, leather front seats, which adjust every which way electrically and are supremely comfortable, thanks to back and base cushions that can be pumped full of air to alter their firmness. The dashboard, however, looks as bland as the exterior. Sure, it’s functional, with a modicum of buttons below a centrally mounted touchscreen and around the automatic gearlever, but there’s no hint of flair to the design. The top of the dashboard is topped with quality leather, beneath which is a section of fake wood that continues along the tops of the front and rear doors. It’s all well put together, but the quality overall isn’t quite up to the standards you’ll find in the car's German rivals.
The front seats can cater for the largest adults, who will be more than happy with the amount of head-, leg- and shoulder room on offer; and, while the rear seats offer plenty of legroom for two, tall adults may find their heads brushing the ceiling. There is room for a third occupant, but the middle seat is narrow and raised, and their feet will have to straddle the transmission tunnel. When there are only two occupants, they can fold down the centre armrest, which contains controls for the rear audio, ventilation and electrically operated seats. Boot capacity is 493 litres - good, if not quite as big as key rivals - and the space narrows towards the rear seats, but the seats are split 60/40 and fold electrically to extend the load bay.
Ride and handling
The Genesis has adjustable air suspension which, when left in default Normal mode, does a good job of keeping occupants isolated from the road surface. It can get caught out by bridge expansion joints, though, which cause the rear end to thump noisily, but potholes are dealt with well. Sport mode is best left turned off for two reasons. First, it adds a pattery quality to the ride, especially at lower speeds, and second, it doesn’t do much to help the handling. The Genesis weighs nearly two tonnes and doesn’t feel at home being hustled down a twisty B-road, where the body rolls and the steering’s inert feel hardly inspires confidence.
There’s only one engine: a 311bhp 3.8-litre V6 petrol unit, which sends drive to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s at its best on the motorway, where it's remarkably hushed in top gear (there’s also very little wind and road noise). Head for a B-road, though, and despite the official figures claiming the Genesis gets to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, the engine needs to be worked hard to make decent progress. To make matters worse, it’s pretty raucous at higher revs and doesn’t sound at all pleasant. When you’re pootling along, the gearbox gets it right most of the time, but put your foot down and it tends to pick too low a gear and is then reluctant to change up; it’s quicker to react when you switch it to manual mode and use the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Most executive rivals provide the option of diesel power for company car drivers who want to keep their BIK tax payments down. Unfortunately, the Genesis has just the one V6 petrol engine, which emits 261g/km of CO2, placing it well and truly in the highest tax bracket. It’s not good news for private motorists, either, who will find it hard to get more than 20mpg in real life (despite an official average of 25.2mpg) and will have to pay the top rate of VED. Despite the car being a fairly rare sight on UK roads, Genesis resale values are expected to be weaker than those for the A7 and 5 Series. It’s bad news on the insurance front, too: it’s in group 49 (out of 50).
Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index doesn’t have enough data on the Genesis to bestow the model with a rating, but as a brand, Hyundai performs well in customer satisfaction surveys. For extra peace of mind, like all Hyundais, the Genesis comes with a generous five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty.
The Genesis shines in this area, with seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, brake assist, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, lane departure warning system with lane keep assist, tyre pressure monitoring, an electronic stability programme, an active bonnet system, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert fitted as standard.
The Genesis is Hyundai’s flagship model, so it’s packed with all manner of goodies as standard. In fact, Hyundai thinks it’s thought of everything, because there isn’t an options list. You get a choice of three leathers for the seats, seven paint finishes, 19-inch alloys, three-zone climate control, heated, cooled and electrically operated front and rear seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors with a parking camera and smart park assist, radar cruise control… you get the idea.
You’ve got to have a pretty strong aversion to the accomplished competition to consider the Genesis. An extremely lengthy kit list is high on your list of priorities and you’re not too concerned about future resale values or running costs.