Full 2011 Hyundai Genesis Review
What's New for 2011
The Hyundai Genesis 4.6 model gets a 10-horsepower bump for 2011 along with a now-standard Technology package.
As "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" showed so many of us, Genesis is the creation of life from lifelessness. Well, Hyundai might not have been lifeless when it introduced the Genesis two years ago, but this rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan certainly represented a rebirth of sorts. Thanks to Genesis, Hyundai has become recognized for more than its outstanding (and much copied) warranty.
While other luxury sedans in its price range are generally smaller and have sporty handling intended to keep the driver amused, the 2011 Hyundai Genesis offers a big, remarkably quiet interior and a comfortable ride to keep passengers and the driver alike placated. After all, logic does dictate that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. An elegant interior design will quickly make everyone onboard forget the badge on its steering wheel, especially when it features the available leather upholstery and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system. Powering the Genesis is either a V6 or V8, both of which are smooth, powerful and reasonably fuel-efficient given their output and the car's size.
Considering its price and non-luxury badge, the Genesis would seem to compete with full-size sedans like the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon. But in actuality it's more of a bargain-priced rival to cars like the Infiniti M, Lexus ES or GS, or even the German midsize luxury models. True, there are a few downsides, such as the lack of available all-wheel drive or a fold-down rear seat. But the biggest obstacle for the Genesis is whether customers can get over the humble badge on its deck lid.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis is a full-size, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan available in 3.8 and 4.6 trim levels (the numbers denote engine displacement).
The Genesis 3.8 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and a seven-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.
The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, automatic wipers, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery, leather dash and door trim, driver memory functions, a power rear sunshade and a 14-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system with a six-CD changer and HD radio. The Premium Navigation package includes all the above items plus a navigation system, touchscreen interface, real-time traffic and a rearview camera (HD radio is deleted).
The Technology package adds to or supplements Premium package equipment with adaptive HID headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, a ventilated driver seat, Bluetooth, a rotary-knob-based multimedia interface, real-time traffic updates and a 17-speaker Lexicon "Discrete" sound system with DVD-audio capability.
The Genesis 4.6 has a V8 engine, a wood-trimmed steering wheel and the Technology package as standard equipment.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 gets a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control are standard. In Edmunds testing, a Genesis 3.6 (with 10 fewer horsepower) went from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
The Hyundai Genesis 4.6 features a 4.6-liter V8 good for 378 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque with regular gas, and 385 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque with premium. Rear-drive and a six-speed automatic are again standard. In Edmunds performance testing of an '09 Genesis with 10 fewer hp, the 4.6 was good enough for a 5.9-second run from zero to 60 mph. Estimated fuel economy is 17/25/20.
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis comes standard with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags and side curtain airbags. Parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 4.6. In Edmunds brake testing, the Genesis 3.8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet, while the 4.6 stopped in 124. Both are average distances.
Not average are the Genesis' perfect crash scores. The government gave it a perfect five stars in all front- and side-impact categories, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Genesis the best possible score of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
If it weren't for the sweeping "H" logo on the steering wheel of the Genesis, 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, as they offer a full complement of modern conveniences and top-notch interior materials. Even the crisp, bright 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, it's simple and intuitive to take command of these systems thanks to a logical layout that comes with either the available touchscreen or knob-and-screen interfaces. The audio quality of the available Lexicon sound system is also quite impressive.
The front seats of the Genesis provide plenty of padding and support to comfortably cosset 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 are notably impressed by the ample head- and legroom. 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.
The soft ride of the 2011 Hyundai Genesis is a good indicator of the car's luxury leanings. Thankfully, the ride isn't overly floaty like it can be in some other luxury sedans. When called upon, the Genesis can perform evasive maneuvers predictably with little drama. The steering doesn't provide much in the way of feedback but its light and precise nature seems well-suited to this car's purpose. Engine power is also right up there with premium brands, with V6 and V8 models delivering smooth and linear acceleration. The Genesis is also a remarkably quiet car thanks to extensive sound insulation.