The logbook told a familiar story about the 2009 Hyundai Genesis:
"I had a friend in town over the weekend who just bought a two-year-old BMW 5 Series. It's his third BMW in a row and he loves it. Given his car-owning history, I was curious what he might think of our 2009 Hyundai Genesis, since it's pretty close in price, size and performance to his 528i.
"His initial reaction was generic. He said, 'Looks pretty good, better than I would have expected from a Hyundai.' As we drove around he started to notice some of the smaller details in the Genesis, like the iPod interface, LED interior lights and quiet highway ride. 'Hmm... This thing really is nice. Feels like it's built solid, too.'
"At one point, I let him drive for a bit to get the final word. 'Wow, this Hyundai has much more power than my BMW. Rides a little soft but my wife would probably love it. I'm very surprised. It's really a much better car than I would have imagined.'"
This is a standard refrain when it comes to the 2009 Hyundai Genesis. But hearing a longtime BMW owner praise its luxury and value is a good sign that Hyundai is not only headed in the right direction but also close to reaching its destination.
Why We Got It
Hyundai delivered the 2009 Hyundai Genesis as an all-new model for 2009. And the marketing plan for this mid-yet-full-size luxury sedan sought to woo customers from the likes of BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The early advertising campaign described the Genesis as "the size of the BMW 7 Series with the performance of the 5 Series and at the price of the 3 Series." Offered with both V6 and V8 alternatives, the Genesis instantly challenged the premium brands by creating a niche that didn't directly compete with any of them. It was a strategy that caught our attention.
We chose the impressive ULEV V6 engine. But the engine choice was secondary to the luxury of its cabin. Interior elements of the Genesis rivaled those of much higher-priced sedans. Were they as durable? For years now Hyundai has successfully groomed its reputation for affordable luxury. The "affordable" preface always proved to be nice, but never proved to be in the end quite up to the levels of Lexus or BMW. With the Genesis, Hyundai wants to accomplish more. It wants to redirect our perception from affordable luxury to legitimate luxury. So with this in mind, we added a 2009 Hyundai Genesis to the long-term fleet and our 12-month durability test began.
Hyundai had Lexus in mind when it built the Genesis. And that was clear by how the car drove. It began with a forgiving suspension capable of Lexus levels of composure over all surfaces. Add in seats that were comfortable and supportive of all body types, airtight separation from the elements and a fuel range over 400 miles, and it was clear this Genesis had a natural propensity for life on the open highway. And so we hit the road. From our Santa Monica, California, headquarters we made round trips to Fresno and Monterey. We cruised across Highway 15 to Las Vegas on multiple occasions. We even drove the Genesis to Wyoming, testing the new 80-mph speed limits in Utah along the way. Clear skies were the order for these trips. That was until we crossed Mother Nature in Mammoth Lakes, California.
Edmunds.com Editor in Chief Scott Oldham enjoyed two days of sun and freshly plowed roads on his three-day family ski trip to Mammoth. On Day Three, Oldham wrote, "When we woke Sunday morning to blizzard conditions, I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I knew the Genesis had traction and stability control and rolled on all-season tires, but it has rear-wheel drive and I had no tire chains. As we left the hotel that Sunday morning I looked at my wife and said, 'Look, we'll give this a shot, but if it gets ugly we'll just turn around, come back and stay another night.' I drove for about 40 miles in reasonably heavy snow conditions. And I admit I drove very gingerly, but the Hyundai was sure-footed on its nearly new Dunlops, and only a few times did I feel the stability control system kick in. But we made it home. Seat heaters on all the way, of course."
When we were inside the cabin of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis, we enjoyed the many luxurious details. But not everything was up to our standards. Senior Editor Erin Riches blogged, "I'm not against corporate parts-bin sharing. It's a reality. But I've never liked the power mirror-adjuster Hyundai has used in recent years. I don't like it in less expensive Hyundais and I really don't like it in our Genesis. The left/right slider nub is kind of sharp and unpleasant to the touch." Lead Senior Editor Ed Hellwig agreed. "And look at the gauge cluster," he started. "For a luxury car they don't look very luxurious. And what do luxurious gauges look like? Well, a little chrome might help. Maybe a different font? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that every time I look at the current setup it reminds me of Hyundais of old. And that's not a good thing."
We experienced no significant mechanical issues of note during our term with the Genesis. Maintenance intervals arrived every 7,500 miles and were reasonably priced, totaling just under $300 for 22,000 miles of driving. An airbag control unit recall was the only service item out of the norm. And a visit to the body shop after we misjudged a tight parking spot marked the only time the Genesis was out of service over our test.
Total Body Repair Costs: $650
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $291.29
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: Airbag control unit replaced per recall
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 3
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: 4
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Performance and Fuel Economy
Our 2009 Hyundai Genesis showed no signs of aging between the start of its test one year ago to its completion just days ago. Instrumented tests at each interval were virtually identical.
Our V6 Genesis matched up favorably compared to the optional V8. Both completed the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds for starters: the V6 with a 96.5-mph trap speed and the V8 doing 101.1 mph. It required just 6.2 seconds (5.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) to propel the V6 to 60 mph from a stop. This was only 0.2-second slower than the V8. Senior Road Test Editor Josh Jacquot said following testing, "With the traction control off, power brake the Genesis to about 2,000 rpm then release the brake and wood the throttle in 'D.' No need for manual shifting. The right rear wheel spins on launch, but only minimally. This is a strong V6."
All other performance tests were predictably similar between the V6 and V8. Brakes stopped the 3,800-pound sedan from 60 mph in 115 feet with moderate fade. Our Genesis completed the slalom at 63.9 mph and generated 0.84g around the skid pad. The 18-inch Dunlop SP Sport all-season tires offered favorable grip. Jacquot commented during these tests, "Good stability control calibration follows steering inputs closely and doesn't punish overshoots with too much throttle interference. There is decent body control for a car this comfortable."
Fuel economy averaged a respectable 21.3 mpg over the span of our test. For comparison, the last V8 Genesis we tested averaged 17.6 mpg.
Best Fuel Economy: 28.5 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.3 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 21.3 mpg
We began this test with a well-equipped 2009 Hyundai Genesis V6 costing $40,000. By the conclusion of our 22,000-mile test, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator depreciated the sedan by 25 percent based on a private party sale. Our long-term Sonata depreciated 30 percent, which reminds us that Hyundai products have not historically been seen as a desirable quantity by the resale market. The performance of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis V6 in this regard is very significant, because it ranks with the our long-term Honda Accord, which depreciated 26 percent in similar circumstances. We'll see if continuing sales of the Genesis on the resale market continue to meet this exacting standard.
True Market Value at service end: $29,813
Depreciation: $10,187 or 25% of original MSRP
Final Odometer Reading: 22,869
Each year seems to bring us a more refined Hyundai. The resale value of our 2009 Hyundai Genesis reflects the final piece of the puzzle. Hyundai began its time in America by emphasizing a value price, then later moved on to improving reliability and durability. Next, the quality of the components was improved, making the ownership experience more of a pleasure. The final piece of the puzzle is resale value, always an issue for Hyundai as the company has struggled to get its message out. If the relatively controlled depreciation of this Genesis is a sign of things to come, then Hyundai continues to move in the right direction.
Hyundai seeks to expand upon its reputation for affordable luxury. It wants to be considered a legitimate luxury brand. And it's getting there quietly but steadily. Hyundai's decision to let the Genesis name stand on its own without any distinguishing Hyundai badges is a unique strategy that makes this car a kind of blind taste test. Hyundai wants us to like this car before we realize that it's a Hyundai. And like it we do.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.