There's a style that writers use called "the reveal." It involves first sending the reader in a perceived direction only to pull a zinger out of thin air at the last moment for dramatic effect.&nbsp; I've used this technique in my video reviews. Imagine close-ups of high-end luxury car features like rich wood, satellite navigation systems and supple leather, then snap zoom to a most unlikely logo - Hyundai's Flying H.&nbsp; There will be people who can't accept it, but Hyundai has revealed a very good premium offering with the Genesis.
The Genesis sedan is a number of things.&nbsp; It's an excellent upscale four-door. Certainly it's a good value.&nbsp; Most importantly though, Genesis is a shot across the bow to the rest of the car world.&nbsp; Here is proof that this Korean brand will not be regulated to making only cheap and cheerful transportation.&nbsp;
Movin' on up
Hyundai has dabbled in higher end offerings before but the XG and Azera have hardly been serious threats to the established players of Ritzville.&nbsp; Motor Trend stirred up controversy by proclaiming Veracruz the winner of a shootout against the Lexus RX350.&nbsp;&nbsp;Now Genesis arrives, eager to take on Mercedes E Class, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS.&nbsp; Winning the 2008 North American Car of the Year title is a good start.&nbsp;
Let's start with one thing the Korean doesn't have - a premium badge.&nbsp; The right one perched on a grille might impress the neighbors, Genesis' noggin will just confuse them.&nbsp; There's no logo at all.&nbsp; The grille, with a vague resemblance to a Klingon's forehead, is bare.&nbsp; Genesis is in fact understated in almost every way.&nbsp; The general consensus is that it looks like a larger Infiniti G37 with some BMW in the back loins and Mercedes up front.&nbsp; Let's just call it conservatively attractive if not overly distinctive.&nbsp; Remember, Lexus was pretty derivative before they got their confidence up.
Two different flavors
High end models get a velvety 4.6-liter 375-horsepower V8.&nbsp;&nbsp; My tester has the 3.8-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 264&nbsp;lb-ft of torque.&nbsp; Its thrust goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode on its way to driving the rear wheels.
0-60 happens in 6.2 seconds according to the Dynolicious app installed on my iPhone.&nbsp; According to Hyundai's specs this is just a half second off pace than the smoother V8.&nbsp; Why choose the larger engine?&nbsp; It's a buttery smooth piece of engineering and makes the car feel more spendy.&nbsp; For $5,000 you not only get the big motor, there's a number of upgrades including things not available on the V6-special wheels, a wood trimmed steering wheel, oh-so-cool illuminated sill plates and ultra-super premium leather.&nbsp; My words, not theirs.
On the road
True to its upscale aspirations, Genesis coddles everyone with a hushed cabin (thanks to laminated windshield and front side glass) and a comfortable but controlled ride.&nbsp; Genesis is not as engaging in corners as BMW or as clinically isolated as a Lexus.&nbsp; Still there's no wallowing around in the S turns; it seems like Hyundai tuned Genesis along the lines of a Mercedes.&nbsp; In mixed driving I'm seeing 22 MPG.&nbsp; The EPA rates it at 18 city, 27 highway.&nbsp;&nbsp;The V8 scores 17/25.&nbsp;
Once under way, electronic stability and traction control helps to keep Genesis on the road and out of harm's way.&nbsp; Anti-lock disc brakes are at all corners (vented up front).&nbsp;&nbsp; With Electronic Brake Force Distribution the binders are very well done with good modulation and excellent stopping power.
Priced to move
Starting at $33,000, my tester with the Premium Plus Package stickers for $36,000. Genesis is quite a value.&nbsp; Leather seats and keyless ignition are standard.&nbsp; They definitely didn't cheap out in the cabin to make a price point.&nbsp; Everything touched - &nbsp;the hand stitched instrument panel, the door handles and pulls - have a quality feel to them.&nbsp; Even the smell is rich.&nbsp; It's all very close to the established players.&nbsp; Phone controls located up near the sunroof are a bit awkward to use; I'd like to see them on the wheel.&nbsp; Everything else, like the Lexicon sound system with iPod integration and firmness of the heated leather chairs, is appropriate in class.
For an additional 4 large the Technology Package offers up HID adaptive headlights, satellite navigation with XM NavTraffic, a back-up cam, an even better Lexicon sound system with 7.1 surround and a 40-gig hard drive - plus the driver's seat chills your backside as well as toasts it.&nbsp; Tempting, but even though Genesis undercuts the competition by a wide margin; it's tough to get your head around a $40,000 Hyundai.&nbsp;&nbsp;
If the badge doesn't impress, the interior will
In back the outboard passengers will find the seats are especially comfortable.&nbsp; Plenty of foot and legroom too. The center position has a drive shaft tunnel to deal with and the seat is raised.&nbsp; Even an average guy like me will bonk their head on the roof here.&nbsp; Keep it to kids in the middle.&nbsp;&nbsp; There's no separate climate zone back here but vents on the door pillars are welcome.&nbsp;&nbsp;A nice touch?&nbsp; Rear passengers get side torso airbags to augment the full curtain units.&nbsp;
Even people driving luxury cars need to haul stuff.&nbsp;&nbsp;Genesis' trunk looks pretty big but the devil is in the details.&nbsp; Hinge arms eat up space and the seat back doesn't fold, just a ski pass through.&nbsp; In the end, (no pun intended) 7 packs of Kirkland brand 2-ply bath tissue is about average for a car this size.&nbsp; With space-saving scissor hinges I'm sure I could get at least another bundle in.
A new genesis for Hyundai
Hyundai has been bucking the trend of lower sales partly due to the brilliant marketing of their Assurance + plan.&nbsp; Lose your job and Hyundai makes the payments for three months.&nbsp; After that Hyundai will let you bring the car back if things are still bad.&nbsp; Keep in mind other brands have followed Hyundai's lead.
All things considered, Hyundai's Genesis is an exceptional car.&nbsp; It's biggest drawback is not the engineers fault.&nbsp; They can't change a buyer's emotional reaction to a badge on the trunk lid.&nbsp; There was talk of Genesis becoming its own brand, like Acura or Infiniti, but that's a lot of heavy lifting for just one car.&nbsp; The sedan's companion, the Genesis coupe, is built for performance not luxury.&nbsp; It's poised to take on Camaro, Mustang and 370Z.&nbsp;
Keep this in mind as you reevaluate your mind set:&nbsp; Genesis may be Hyundai's flagship in the states but that's not the case in other parts of the world.&nbsp; At the New York Auto showed they revealed the Equus, perhaps to tempt Americans and concern the competition.&nbsp; It's meant to go up against Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series, and Lexus LS.&nbsp; For now though Genesis will do fine.&nbsp; Shoppers who seek refinement will find Genesis to be more than just a good deal, it's the real deal.&nbsp;