Full 2010 Hyundai Genesis Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis capitalizes on a successful inaugural year by adding adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake and touchscreen navigation. This year, premium leather is included for well-appointed 3.8 models.
The Hyundai Genesis has effectively changed the game of luxury cars. This four-door Korean luxury model competes in an arena dominated by upscale Japanese and European brands. But with a starting price of $33,000, the 2010 Genesis seriously undercuts those competitors without sacrificing style, quality, performance or features.
From outward appearances, the Genesis resembles a toned-down Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- understated, substantial and elegant. Inside, the styling is graceful, with tasteful wood grain accents and rich leather surfaces. There's also abundant space and comfort, even for full-size adults seated in the rear. Under the hood, a potent 3.8-liter V6 or an impressive 4.6-liter V8 sends power to the rear wheels. Altogether, these are qualities most people associate with a BMW, Cadillac, Lexus or Mercedes and not a Korean brand that up until a few years ago was mostly synonymous with budget cars and small SUVs.
All of that changed with the Hyundai Genesis' introduction last year, as it enjoyed nearly unanimous praise from critics, even garnering the coveted North American Car of the Year award. But don't think Hyundai has been resting on its laurels since then. On top of all the qualities that made the inaugural model a hit, the 2010 Genesis adds adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake with a hill-hold feature and an upgraded touchscreen navigation system. Toss in Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, and the Genesis should be a hard act to follow.
Should be? Despite all of the accolades and exceptional attributes, the 2010 Genesis is unfortunately saddled with the company's economy car reputation. As much as we avoid judging a book by its cover, the reality in the luxury car segment is that branding is important to many consumers. But we strongly encourage you to look past the badge on the trunk, as the 2010 Hyundai Genesis is fully on par with more expensive sedans like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. It also has many advantages over cars more in its price range like the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS, Chrysler 300 and Lexus GS. In either arena, the Genesis is a must-see.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The rear-wheel-drive 2010 Hyundai Genesis is offered in two trim levels that are aligned with the engine offered. The base Genesis 3.8 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, full power accessories, power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Genesis 3.8 can be further enhanced with the optional Premium package, which includes a sunroof, automatic windshield wipers, premium leather seating surfaces and interior trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, driver memory settings and a Lexicon 14-speaker surround-sound system with a six-CD changer and HD Radio. A Premium Navigation package (requires the Premium package) adds 18-inch wheels, a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic and a rearview camera.
The Genesis 4.6 includes all of the 3.8's features, as well 18-inch wheels and the Premium and Premium Navigation packages. Optional for both the Genesis 3.8 and 4.6 is the optional Technology package that adds adaptive xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, an upgraded 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, a six-DVD changer and navigation system, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, a ventilated driver seat and an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold. This package also includes the Driver Information System, which switches out the navigation system's touchscreen with a multi-media control knob similar to Audi's MMI, BMW's iDrive and Mercedes' COMAND.
Powertrains and Performance
The base Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. The range-topping Genesis 4.6 features a 4.6-liter V8 with 375 hp and 333 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control sends the power to the rear wheels in both models.
Despite the large sedan proportions and comparably low price, the 2010 Genesis is remarkably quick. In recent testing, a Genesis 4.6 sprinted to 60 mph from a standstill in only 5.9 seconds. The 3.8 trailed only slightly at 6.3 seconds. Fuel economy is also fairly close between models, with the 4.6 achieving an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 19 mpg in combined driving. The 3.8 squeezes out a few more miles at 18/27/21 mpg.
All Hyundai Genesis sedans feature antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front- and rear-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags as standard safety equipment. At the track, the Genesis' stopping distance from 60 mph registered 124 feet -- a respectable distance for a 2-ton luxury sedan.
In government crash testing, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis scored a perfect five out of five stars for frontal and side-impact protection for all occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the Genesis its highest score of "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact protection, and even named it one of their Top Safety Picks for 2009.
Interior Design and Special Features
If it weren't for the sweeping "H" Hyundai logo on the Genesis' steering wheel, we're convinced that most drivers would think they were driving a Lexus. This is especially true for 4.6 or fully loaded 3.8 models with their full complement of modern conveniences and top-notch interior materials. Even the brilliant and sharp electroluminescent gauges have a Lexus-like appearance.
The dashboard itself is comprised of several sweeping arcs that elegantly encapsulate the instrument panel and center stack controls. Despite the abundance of buttons on the dash, center console and steering wheel, taking command of these systems is simple and intuitive, thanks to the logical layout and redundant controls.
The front seats of the Genesis provide plenty of padding and support to comfortably cradle the driver and passenger on long road trips, and the same can be said for the rear seats. In regard to the rear quarters, we were notably impressed by the ample head- and legroom, as they ably accommodated some of our tallest staffers. The rear seats do not fold down for added cargo space, but there is a pass-through feature for longer items that won't fit in the 15.9-cubic-foot trunk.
On the road, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis' soft ride is a good indicator of the car's luxury car leanings. Thankfully, the ride isn't overly floaty like it can be on some other luxury sedans. When called upon, the Genesis can perform evasive maneuvers predictably with little drama. Steering feel is rather numb for our tastes, but its light and precise nature seems well suited to this car's purpose. Power is also right up there with premium brands, with V6 and V8 models delivering smooth and linear acceleration. As expected, the Genesis is also pleasingly quiet when cruising at highway speeds.
Read our Hyundai Genesis Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test