Introducing the Genesis
When thinking luxury car brands, the names that come to mind include BMW, Audi and Mercedes. But many people wouldn’t consider Toyota, Nissan or Hyundai. And yet, all three are making waves with their own independent luxury brands in Lexus, Infiniti and Genesis respectively.
Launching the Genesis as an independent brand for the first time in Australia is a bold move for Hyundai. However, if the quality and service continue along the lines portrayed at launch, it is destined for success.
Jumping into the G80, there is a distinct feeling of maturity. Cream leather interior, sleek styling with walnut-look finishes on the dash, and an analogue clock all speak to the market Genesis is trying to attract.
Genesis has been building cars in Korea for the past 11 years, so they have had time to refine the design.
However, adapting it for the right-hand drive market isn’t without its challenges. The engineers have done well to maintain a comfortable and well-balanced drive - if a little heavy on the steering at times.
Available in two variants – 3.8 and 3.8 Ultimate – with optional sports styling on each, the G80 feels like the type of luxury sedan you would buy if you wanted to stand out from the crowd.
The wide body gives it a broad stance on the road, and combined with a head-turning colour range, front grille and badging, as well as 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels makes for an impressive first impression.
Inside, the mature styling continues, combined with two driver position memory settings; 12-way automatic driver and front passenger seats in the 3.8; the 3.8 Ultimate gaining a 16-way driver seat with seat base extension for the longer-limbed, inflatable side bolster and adjustable lumbar support. The Ultimate also features power adjustable rear seats, which return to upright when the corresponding rear door is opened.
Under the bonnet, the 3.8L V6 engine produces 232kW @ 6000rpm and 397Nm of torque at 5000rpm, with an 8-speed automatic transmission on the rear-wheel drive that can be controlled by steering wheel mounted paddles. The driver can select from four modes – normal, eco, sport and snow – depending on the conditions. Testing the vehicle out in normal and sport modes showed quite a difference in performance and handling – something that would take a bit of practice to know which is best for the individual.
Safety features abound, including nine airbags, blind spot collision warning, driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance assist for cars and pedestrians, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic collision warning, as well as smart cruise control, surround view monitor and parking distance warning.
For me, the better Genesis model is the G70. You can choose between a 2L turbo (179kW and 353Nm) or 3.3L twin turbo V6 (272kW and 510Nm). Both have been tuned to Australian roads and are capable of producing a sporty drive, so it’s up to you how much power you want at your fingertips.
Zipping around the roads of country Victoria the car was more than comfortable as both a driver and passenger. And when time got tight to make our flight out of Albury, the twin-turbo V6 proved more than capable of handling whatever I asked of it.
The styling is more sleek, more modern than the G80, and along with nine exterior colours and six interior colours to choose from – some with optional contrast stitching - the difference in the target market is clear.
The G70 boasts a similar suite of safety features as the G80, albeit with only seven airbags instead of nine and the surround view monitor only available in the Ultimate variants.
Similarly the intelligent seating options mirror those of the G80, including the driver position memory system.
For those into tech, all G70 models feature an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system, including sat nav with up to 10 years of free map updates, digital radio, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The G80 has 9.2 inch screen, sat nav (with the same 10 years of updates), Bluetooth, video on demand, DVD player and ‘jukebox’ function – which I didn’t test out but sounds like fun.
All Genesis models come with five years’ complimentary scheduled servicing (up to 75,000km), five-year warranty and five years’ roadside assistance.
My only concern for the future of Genesis is the sales and service process. Starting with a showroom, or ‘studio’ as the makers like to call it, in Sydney, much was made at launch of the ‘Genesis to you’ service.
This means if you want to test drive the Genesis, they will bring it to you. If you want to test drive all models and variants, they will bring them to you.
And when it comes to servicing, they will come to you, leave you with a courtesy car and take the vehicle away for a service – provided you live within 70km of the service agent.
If not, you may have to spend more time behind the wheel – but if you’re driving a Genesis, I don’t think you’ll have much cause for complaint.
Genesis G70 starts at $65,408 drive away for the 2.0T; G80 starts at $75,957.80 drive away for the 3.8.
Written by our Journeys Editor Paula Sward.