Saturday Road Test – Hyundai Genesis – The First of the Breed.

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2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8

A Most Comfortable Week

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – In case you have forgotten, Hyundai has announced it will spin off its Genesis brand as a separate luxury offering.

This week’s test car, the Genesis sedan, will become the G80 and if the models that follow are as good Hyundai may well shout down the critics that say it can’t compete in the luxury side of the market.

Here is a major/minor matter that helped me gain a favorable first impression. It was easy to operate the ventilation and audio systems at first sitting. Don’t laugh. I have tested cars where that can only be accomplished by checking first with a huge owner’s manual stuffed in the glove box.

While some may question the idea of paying big bucks for a Hyundai, the driver and passenger will not for they are surrounded with an abundance of soft surfaces, leather, wood and aluminum trim.

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Very comfortable 12-way power adjustable front seats are heated and cooled and side bolsters can be adjusted along with the thigh cushion for that JUST RIGHT driving position.

The rear seats are heated and there is plenty of space back there for two adults. At the push of a button one can raise the sunscreen to discourage nagging photographers.

On the test car was a 17 speaker, 900 watt, Lexicon Logic 7 audio system that was simply excellent. Navi controls are housed in a hefty 9.2 inch touchscreen.

A head up display gives you more than just speed. There is a reminder of the speed limit, and what direction you are headed in.

Basic radio controls and ventilation adjustments are controlled with well titled knobs and buttons. Hyundai has won wide praise for the simple procedures used in matching up phones.

One small glitch. I would prefer to be able to see the current interior temperature selection on the big screen continuously rather than having it disappear.

The 3.8 liter, 311 horsepower six with 293 lb-ft of torque delivered all the power I think most owners would want with a very refined sound that nicely fades into the background on the interstates. Wind and road noise were virtually non-existent.

For those who live in snow country be aware that AWD is available only with the 3.8 engine if I dare mention the white stuff at this time of year.

The test car came with paddle shifts but they were seldom used because the eight speed automatic did such a good job on its own. Drivers can alter the shifting and throttle response by selecting Sport, Normal or Eco modes using a button on the console. Sport was fun and I used Normal around town.

Economy wise, the EPA said you can expect 16 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway for a combined 19 mpg, and that is on regular unleaded. I came in at 20.

Those seeking more oomph can opt for the 5.0-liter V8 with its hefty 420 horsepower.

On curvy rural roads, the Genesis delivered not quite the handling of the German offerings, but I wonder how much that matters to the average buyer.

Three major option packages, Signature, Tech and Ultimate brought desirable equipment such as a panoramic sunroof, auto-leveling HID headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems.

Safety equipment made up much of the Tech Package along with an upgraded 7-inch display for the gauge cluster.

Ultimate introduced a power trunk lid, dual-zone automatic climate control, a color head-up windshield display, an upgraded navigation system with a center console multifunction controller, a carbon dioxide sensor for the climate-control system and the Lexicon audio system.

So this was a very well equipped set of wheels.

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While the three option packages added $10,900 to the total vehicle price it still came out to a reasonable, for its class, $53,100. That tops some of the competition when you match up dollars with the standard and optional equipment offered.

If you are not one of those moving into an SUV and want some luxury in your life, especially if you are one to take long road trips, do check out the Genesis sedan.

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