Emma Jayne Williams

Hyundai's second-generation Genesis has great styling, lots of new features

The Hyundai Genesis premium sedan enters its second generation for 2015, with a starting price of $38,000. It comes in two versions -- V-6 or V-8 -- and has a variety of standard and available amenities. All-wheel drive is offered with the V-6 engine.
The Hyundai Genesis premium sedan enters its second generation for 2015, with a starting price of $38,000. It comes in two versions -- V-6 or V-8 -- and has a variety of standard and available amenities. All-wheel drive is offered with the V-6 engine. Submitted photos

The second generation of Hyundai’s Genesis arrived for 2015, with lots of new standard features and technology, new styling inside and out, and new dimensions.

Hyundai’s “fluidic, in-motion” design aesthetics are continued for the exterior, adding a single frame hexagonal grille and hi-tech, sculptural rear design.

The new design also features semi-gloss chrome and 3-D sections front and rear. The sculptural full LED taillight design gives the car a wide visual stance.

A dynamic profile brings a long hood, long wheelbase, and sleek C-pillar and window trim.

With the re-do, the Genesis’ wheelbase has increased 2.9 inches, with overall length increasing by 0.2 inches, resulting in reduced overhangs; minus 1.6 inches in front and minus 1.2 inches in back, giving the vehicle a more-planted look.

The new interior design is sophisticated and high-class, with natural materials and excellent fit and finish. Balanced proportions and horizontal design create a spacious atmosphere, and consistent button/switch details allow for ergonomic, intuitive operation.

For 2015, new standard features include a driver’s knee air bag, paddle shifters for the eight-speed automatic transmission, rain-sensing wipers for the auto-defogging windshield, power/heated folding outside mirrors with “Genesis” logo puddle lamps and turn signal indicators, hands-free smart trunk opener, next-generation navigation with eight-inch display and rearview camera, 4.3-inch multi-info display, Blue Link Infotainment System powered by Google, HD radio (system upgraded), SiriusXM Travel Link (with 3-year complimentary service), front passenger seat power height and lumbar, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, rear one-touch up and down power windows, and hill-hold control.

An industry-first carbon dioxide sensor, available in the $3,500 Ultimate Package, opens the cabin’s fresh air vents if more than 2,000 parts per million is detected. This feature was conceived by an employee who struggled to stay alert on his long commute, a problem related to high levels of CO2.

Hyundai’s hands-free smart trunk opener is activated when the proximity key is within three feet for longer than three seconds – a plus if your hands are full, a minus if you are casually standing near. Hazard lights blink and a buzzer sounds three times to indicate the key has been detected and to allow the operator to step away if trunk opening isn’t desired. The system can be disabled from the center cluster.

Genesis continues to offer two engine configurations, a 3.8-liter V-6 and a 5.0-liter V-8. All 3.8-liter models are available with rear- or all-wheel drive. The AWD package adds heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and headlight washers for $2,500.

Rear-wheel-drive models with the 311-horsepower V-6 engine start at $38,000 for the base model. Rear-wheel-drive models are expected to achieve 18 mpg city/29 highway/22 combined. All-wheel-drive models should achieve 16 /25 /19.

The 420-horsepower V-8 model comes only with rear-wheel drive and is priced at $51,500.

All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic paddle shifters and new intelligent Drive Mode Select with Eco/Normal/Snow and Sport modes.

Genesis offers 10 premium exterior colors and four interior colors, depending on which trim is chosen, with new Gray and Ivory for added luxury appeal. The standard leather interior is trimmed in either brown or gray wood grain, with optional matte finish genuine walnut or ash available.

For this review, I drove the Genesis 3.8 rear-drive model in Parisian Gray with black interior, base price $38,000. The Ultimate Package added matte-finish genuine wood trim and aluminum highlights, a color heads-up display, the power trunk lid, premium DIS/navigation with 9.2 inch HD display, Lexicon 17-speaker Discrete Logic7 audio system, and a dual-mode vent control with the new CO2 sensor.

My tester’s head-up display included vehicle speed and local speed limit, turn-by-turn navigation, blind-spot detection warning, smart cruise control with forward collision warning, lane-departure graphics and “welcome”/“goodbye” greetings. The content and function of the display were impressive, especially as it was easy to see and read and helped reduce driver distraction.

The Driver Information System is a communication/entertainment/navigation system introduced in 2009 in the first generation Genesis, consisting of the on-dash monitor and the center armrest joystick-style controller. The controller is conveniently located and easier to use, in my opinion, than a touch screen. The system can also be voice-activated.

Two power outlets, along with auxiliary and USB ports, were conveniently located at the front of the center console inside a covered rubber-lined cubby.

Center stack buttons and knobs were old school – my favorite: well-labeled and easy to use. A phone-size rubber-lined tray was conveniently located between the DIS controller and the armrest cubby. The velvet-lined cubby was deep with a removable tray.

A Tech Package ($3,500) upgraded the seats to ultra leather, and added a seven-inch LCD cluster display, power driver’s seat cushion extender and side bolsters, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, haptic steering wheel, automatic emergency braking, high-beam assist, electronic parking brake with vehicle hold, and front and rear parking-assistance system.

The haptic steering wheel vibrated subtly for functions such as lane-departure warnings, along with the visual warning in the head-up display, which was less startling than bells or buzzers.

Automatic emergency braking uses the forward camera and smart cruise control to avoid a potential collision or reduce the impact by applying brakes if another vehicle or object is detected at an unsafe approaching rate.

The high-beam assist reduced blinding effects on other drivers by changing to low-beam whenever it detected an oncoming vehicle or a vehicle ahead in the same lane at night. It reverts to high when no vehicle is detected.

My Genesis included the Signature Package ($4,000), with a power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system, cooled front seats, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, high-intensity-discharge headlights, auto-dimming outside mirrors, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, parking guidelines, and power rear sunshade/manual rear side sunshades.

Hyundai also provides satellite radio, Assurance Connected Care (standard for three years), and Bluetooth hands-free phone system with audio streaming.

With $11,000 in options and $950 freight, the total delivered price for my Hyundai Genesis 3.8 RWD was $49,950.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne William have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com