2009 Hyundai Genesis V6
2009 Hyundai Genesis V6. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Hyundai Genesis V6

Surrey, British Columbia – Hyundai is celebrating its 25th year in Canada with the launch of a luxury-class large sedan called the Genesis. For many people, Hyundai’s image is associated with smaller, inexpensive vehicles, but the company’s newer models like the Veracruz, Azera and Genesis have moved this South Korean automaker into another league.

The mid-size rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan seats five and is offered with V6 or V8 engines. It offers amenities and performance comparable with luxury brand competitors like the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but at a substantially lower price point.

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6
2009 Hyundai Genesis V6. Click image to enlarge

Hyundai’s first V8 is the 4.6-litre “Tau”, a dual overhead camshaft engine that can produce 375 horsepower (with premium fuel). It’s a smooth and willing power producer that also delivers decent fuel economy, for its size. Hyundai claims the Genesis can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds with this engine, so it’s certainly no slouch.

The base engine is a 290-horsepower 3.8-litre “Lambda” V6. It offers enough verve for the needs of most drivers and better fuel economy. Both engines run quietly and are mated to smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmissions with a manual-shift mode.

The Genesis’ front and rear suspensions are sophisticated five-point multi-link systems with different layouts and use aluminum components and coil springs. Amplitude selective shocks are designed to produce more damping force in corners and on rougher roads.

The Genesis really starts to shine when you start matching equipment and comparing prices. V6 models start at $37,995 and V8 models start at $43,995. Comparably equipped, there’s a $9,500 saving on a Genesis V6 over an Infiniti M35 and a whopping $38,000 price differential to a BMW 535i.

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6
2009 Hyundai Genesis V6. Click image to enlarge

Hyundai’s $1,610 Destination and Delivery charge seems high, though.

Hyundai benchmarked the BMW 5 Series for the Genesis and a walk around to the rear reveals an obvious resemblance. The tail lights are a little different and the Genesis has smoother lines, but the overall design is very close.

From the front view, the Genesis has a distinctive grille that, surprisingly, doesn’t include the Hyundai logo. The idea behind this, according to John Vernile (vice-president of Hyundai sales and marketing), is to engage people, make them curious about the car and come take a closer look.

Overall style and finish of the Genesis is impressive, right up there with the best in the industry. It’s amazing how far Hyundai has come in such a relatively short time.

Interior impressions

Even if you’re not completely sold on the outside of a Genesis, you will be impressed by the inside. Keyless entry, a push-button start and electroluminescent gauges greet the driver, whose front seats have both a built-in heating and cooling system.

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6. Photos by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

The leather-wrapped steering wheel has a nice substantial feel to it and features video-game style controls for the audio and cruise-control systems. Its tilt and telescopic adjustments are electronic and the wheel moves to an out-of the-way greet position when the driver opens the door — very cool!

The dash and console have high-gloss wood inlay sections with leather and lots of nice touches of chrome trim. A large rotating knob fringed by six switches, similar to BMW’s iDrive sits in the middle of the console. Relatively easy to navigate it’s used to control a bunch of systems like audio, navigation, the heat/ventilation and the multimedia interface.

I don’t generally comment on audio systems unless they are exceptional. The optional Lexicon 7.1 surround sound audio system certainly fits this criteria. It’s a 528-watt, 17-speaker system and the Rolls-Royce Phantom is the only other vehicle with this system — say no more.

The external dimensions of the Genesis are actually a little bigger than a 5 Series and it has an expansive cabin that’s close to that of an S-Class Mercedes-Benz, according to Hyundai. To put it another way, four big people can be really comfortable in a Genesis.

There are no big breakthroughs in safety engineering, but the Genesis does have everything you’d expect in this class of car. There are eight air bags and it comes with traction control and electronic-stability control. The front seats have an electronic version of active head restraints and an active lighting system is an option.

Driving impressions

My test Genesis was a full-load V6 with the optional $7,000 Technology Package pushing the as-tested price to about $45,000. There’s a lot of stuff in it, however, including that Lexicon audio system, a navigation system with back-up camera, active lighting, a rear power sunshade, a chrome-trim package and more.

On twisty roads the Genesis performs well and has a fairly flat disposition through corners. Of the two models, the V6 seems to be a more balanced through turns, but, as you’d expect, the V8 (I drove at the press launch) has more grunt when you call for extra power.

Its rear-drive architecture is a big plus for sports-sedan status and without a doubt the Genesis has the most sophisticated suspension that Hyundai has ever produced. That said, it still doesn’t quite have the steering feel and agility of a 5 Series Bimmer, but it’s certainly a darn good first attempt and a legitimate contender.

2009 Hyundai Genesis V6
2009 Hyundai Genesis V6. Click image to enlarge

The V8 Genesis has a slight edge in steering performance as it comes with an electro-hydraulic steering, while the V6 is hydraulic. The difference is only noticeable if you have to make a number of quick sequential steering adjustments.

The 290 horsepower 3.8-litre V6 is a smooth, willing powerplant that provides effortless acceleration and is very quiet at freeway speeds. Official fuel consumption ratings are 11.4/7.2 L/100 km (city/highway).
It’s mated to an equally smooth six-speed automatic “Shiftronic” transmission that comes with a manual console shift gate — no fancy paddles on the steering wheel here.


A potentially pivotal vehicle, the Genesis will test the waters in the luxury-car market for Hyundai and may be the surprise package of the 2009 model year. An eye-catching Genesis coupe is also headed our way next year.

Pricing: 2009 Hyundai Genesis V6

Base price: $37,995
Options: $7,000 (Technology Package)

A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,610
Price as tested: $46,705
Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

  • Specifications: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

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