Up: Looks great, drives great, starts at $40,000
Down: H-TRAC only comes with the 3.8 V6
Neutral: Funny enough, the 2015 comes with the Genesis badge on front and the Hyundai badge on the rear.
You did it. You started at the bottom, climbed the ladder, and made upper management. You’ve saved money, you have a retirement plan, and you’ve started a family. You want to reward yourself for your hard work and the first order of business is shopping for a new car. It’s time to get rid of that late 90’s Camry and upgrade to a German sedan… only this one isn’t from Germany.
I recently had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a 2015 Hyundai Genesis and let me tell you, it’s no Accent. Hell, it’s hardly even a Hyundai anymore. Even though they still make it, Hyundai has gone to great lengths to separate the two brands. If you even want to shop for a new one of these for 2017, you have to visit genesis.com. The new, new one is called the Genesis G80 but we’re going to stay in this year where it’s still the Hyundai Genesis.
From the outside, about 95% of people (real statistic) will ask you what this car is. When you explain to them that it’s a Hyundai, you can enjoy the looks on their faces for a few moments. Seriously, this car looks handsome. From the big look-at-me grille to the long wheelbase to the shark fin looking tail lights, the Genesis has presence. Even the Montecito Blue paint makes it feel more exclusive. Yes, this car won’t have trouble turning heads for luxury vehicle shoppers.
So how does the Genesis stack up on the interior? Build quality and materials are usually what set Mercedes, Audi, and even BMW from the rest, but Hyundai keeps up. The seats are extremely comfortable and wrapped in full grain leather. The seats are also adjustable 12 ways on standard and 16 on the option so even the tallest of people can find comfort (I know this because I tested it with a 7′ friend of mine).
Once you’ve found your comfort setting, you can move on to all of the cool tech in the cabin. The first thing you’ll notice is you have plenty of displays for information. The Genesis has the standard analog speedo and tach, but accompanying them is a 7″ information display and another 9″ high definition display on the dash. Right below that you’ll notice full climate control, heated and air conditioned seats, and drive mode selections. Above that, on the ceiling, you can control the panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting for your car.
Speaking of drive modes, the Genesis has quite a few! There is Standard Mode, Eco Mode, Sport Mode, and a super secret Snow Mode and they all take advantage of Hyundai’s awesome H-TRAC system.. Standard is for your every day commuting with a 40:60 ratio of power to the front. Eco lowers throttle response and sends most power to the rear wheels while cruising. Sport increases throttle response, sends almost 100% of torque to the rear, and stiffens up the chassis for a traditional “sports car” feel. But the real magic is in the Snow Mode. If you hold the drive mode button in for 3 seconds, you’ll see “snow mode” appear on your dash. This will put the H-TRAC system to work to adjust on the fly during snowy conditions, sometimes sending as much as 90% of the power to the front wheels. I only got to test in on dry summer roads but it felt like a world class system.
So what makes the Genesis special? As with most luxury vehicles, it’s the little things that make the difference. The panoramic sunroof screen opens from the middle instead of from one side, you can open and close the rear window shade from the front seat or back seat, the hazard light button is neatly cut into the aluminum trim, and, as every luxury vehicle needs, there is a classy analog clock in the dash. It’s also next to silent on the road so you can hear all 14 speakers (17 if you opt for the Ultimate) as clear as day.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sets the benchmark for the emerging “affordable luxury” market. It exceeds where cars like the Kia Cadenza and Chevy Impala fall short, and avoids all of the unnecessarily pricey options from the likes of Mercedes and Audi. The Genesis looks fantastic, operates flawlessly, and has all of the tech you’d expect in a German sedan. When you arrive at the next company event in a Hyundai Genesis, the valet won’t know you also had money left over for a family vacation.