We’ve already weighed in on several aspects of the new Hyundai Genesis Sedan, from its design to its pricing, its road manners and its quality, but recently I had a chance to spend back-to-back weeks in the 3.8 V6 and 5.0 V8
Of course, the question first and foremost on everybody’s mind is whether the 5.0 V8 is worth the $9,000 premium over the top-trim 3.8 Technology model, or the astounding $19,000 price leap over the base 3.8 Premium, which is why I’ll save that question for last.
How much of an efficiency penalty is there?
A. Almost three litres per 100 kilometres is a tough pill to swallow.
B. Who cares? My estate handles my fuel bills.
Granted, a large luxury sedan isn’t the natural first choice for someone looking to keep costs in check, and the Genesis isn’t exactly saintly in either trim, but our week in the 3.8 yielded a reasonable 12.4 L/100 km, not far off our government estimates of 12.1 combined (14.4 city/9.4 highway). The 5.0 V8 positively leapt out of the gate, showing a truly spectacular 49.4 L/100 km after peeling out of the Hyundai corporate offices lot, but after a week of more typical but lusty driving, landed at 15.2 L/100 km, though a very slow highway cruise had it right down to 14.0 – a number you might achieve if you drive sedately on 80 km/h roads. Natural Resources Canada pegs the V8 at 14.3 Combined (17.3 city/10.5 highway). Is it worth it?
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 V8, engine bay, engine, fuel economy estimate (wait, what?). Click image to enlarge
What is your driving style?
A. The Transporter
B. Go with the flow
If always wanting more power is a crime, then I am guilty as charged. Guilty as sin. Oh, that V8. It’s not just a V8, it’s a good V8, a lovely, silken, purring V8 that envelops you with power and surges forward with delight, responsive, yet smooth, and just the right quiet growl when really pressed. It is oh-so perfect for a luxury car. And with 2,143 kg in 5.0 Ultimate, its 420 hp and 383 lb-ft are appreciated, and some would even say necessary.
The V6, despite offering direct injection and variable valve timing (as with the V8) to push output to 311 hp and 293 lb-ft and sporting a lighter 1,948 – 2,069 kg curb weight, is superb for mundane shuttle service and commuting in style, but will leave some drivers wanting more. When looking for that surge up from ramp to highway speeds, it takes just a little too much effort and a little too much time to feel satisfying. Perhaps not slow compared to Elantras or Sonatas from which many customers might be upgrading, but the V8 is the one that can actually hang with the German V8s and turbodiesels.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 V6, engine bay, dashboard, trip computer. Click image to enlarge
Who are its competitors?
A. Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon, Volkswagen CC
B. Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Can Hyundai really steal sales from any traditional luxury brands and their intenders? Not with some of the misses in the cabin. For example: the dead pedal and floor. The dead pedal felt loose and light, and the carpet felt like it was installed over a layer of cardboard insulation. Sure, the wood trim is nice and the switchgear firm and substantial, but Hyundai doesn’t have the luxury of having even one misstep – it needs to be a rolling bank vault, every millimetre of it solid and substantial from those chintzy floors to the admittedly lovely microsuede headliner on the 5.0. Otherwise, it risks being relegated to mainstream purgatory for another generation, for shoppers looking for feature content rather than the ineffable sense of luxury and prestige that come from some of the storied luxury marques.