2009 Hyundai Genesis V6: Yeah, It's Just a Car, But It's a Good Car
July 21, 2009
During my first 15 minutes with our 2009 Hyundai Genesis V6, I decided it was just a rear-drive evolution of our long-term Hyundai Azera. Melt-in-your-mouth ride quality? Check. Light, overboosted steering? Check. Hyperactive throttle response from 3.8-liter V6 at tip-in? Check.
Then, I accelerated up to speed on the freeway and realized I had it all wrong. Our Genesis is about 10 times more refined than the Azera, and like the Genesis Coupe, it gives the impression that Hyundai has turned a corner in vehicle dynamics. The more I drive it, the more I like it.
To start, the six-speed Aisin automatic transmission Hyundai uses on the V6 model is quite good. It upshifts smoothly under heavy throttle and downshifts promptly in passing situations. It all happens so unobtrusively, that I just can't imagine wanting any other engine in this car. Two-hundred-ninety horsepower is plenty. I can't really hear the V6 and I'm fine with that. A loud exhaust note wouldn't make sense in a Genesis sedan.
Then, there's the chassis tuning. This Genesis feels a lot more sophisticated than the Azera ever did. I notice it accelerating out of a long, sweeping entrance ramp. Body motion is well controlled, and the steering, although not especially communicative, is very precise.
Later in the weekend, I notice that I'm having an easy time parking the car. And I think it's the accurate steering combined with a good driving position that makes it easy to get a feel for the car's perimeter.
Back on the freeway, the ride remains soft and forgiving, but the choppiness you sometimes get in the Azera over rain-grooved sections and seams in the concrete has been banished. The Genesis just rides well -- wherever it is.
Noting my enthusiasm for the long-term Genesis, a friend commented, "I like how it's just a car. It's not trying to look overly trendy or high-brow."
And I like how that ethic carries into the driving experience.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,980 miles