The Hyundai Genesis has been a very traditional designed car and a good selling vehicle for the Korean motor company. However, sales have dropped very noticeably during the first few months of 2014. Perhaps the new 2015 will be a turning point and bump sales up where they need to be. Letting go of the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may be a big part of the turn-around.
A special ride-and-drive media event was held the last week of April in Greenville, South Carolina and I was privileged to be a part of that group. We heard from a number of company spokesmen, visited with engineers and PR folks, but most importantly, we spent 'seat time' driving on super highways as well as twisty back roads. The 2015 Genesis sedan had been introduced at this year's Detroit Auto Show, but this was the first behind-the-wheel test drive.
The new 2015 Hyundai Genesis has a new exterior that is referred to as a 'Progressive' design. The interior has also been redesigned and includes a lot of consistent switch and button combinations. The car has been stretched two inches in length to improve driving dynamics, and that was very noticeable during the test drive. It has a very impressive (spell that: large) cargo capacity. There are new high pressure die-cast shock absorber housings that help deliver a balanced performance.
There will be two engines offered for 2015, a 3.8-liter V-6 and a 5.0-liter V-8. Both of these are mated to an 8-speed Shiftronic transmission that offers Eco, Normal, Snow, & Sport driving modes. Last year's Genesis Coupe offered an entry-level vehicle that was powered by a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This is being dropped and the 2015 Genesis Coupe will only be available with the 3.8-liter V-6 powertrain.
The 3.8 GDI V-6 is built by Lambda and provides 311 horsepower with 293 lb-ft of torque. The rear wheel drive model has a combined 22 mpg. The all-wheel drive model has a combined 19 mpg. The 5.0 GDI V-8 engine is built by Tau and provides 420 horsepower with 383 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is a combined 18 mpg, 15 mpg city, and 23 mpg highway.
The Genesis Coupe had been planned to be a 'pony car' that would be very sporty and compete with the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, and a few others. This will probably not be the case for the new year, most notably since the turbocharged engine is going away. Both the Genesis sedan and the coupe are moving more upscale. Observations and guesses are about all that is well known at this point. The pony car image and promotion may still be in the mix.
Hyundai company spokesman Derek Joyce was quoted as saying that the rear-drive sporty coupe will have equipment and packaging that can be reconfigured to compensate for the loss of less-expensive models that featured the 4-cylinder turbo.
There is a lot more technology and infotainment features on the 2015 Genesis cars. The sedan sports an 8-inch touch screen navigation with a much brighter screen. Additional premium touches can be added to make the Genesis an almost luxury vehicle. These include power folding outside mirrors with puddle lamps, power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, 12-way power seat for both driver and passenger, driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, tire pressure monitoring, power trunk lid LED fog lights, power rear sunshade, and more.
With the combination of powertrains, all-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and choice of several packages, there are actually ten different build-able packaging combinations. The Signature Package a lot of basics found on most premium-level vehicles. The Tech Package is what you would expect with a lot of special safety features thrown in extra. The Ultimate Package goes up-up-and-away with genuine wood trim, full color heads-up display, 17 speaker surround sound, hands-free power trunk opener, and dual mode climate control with a CO2 sensor.
From the test drive, it was easy to feel 'at home' in the new Genesis Sedan because of all the first-class interior features and the confident driving dynamics. Simply stated, it felt good. Never mind the new exterior sculptured look, body lines, better suspension, 5-star safety, smart cruise control and all those other special features. All of these blended together so nicely to make for an enjoyable and pleasurable riding experience.
Moving upscale is practiced day-in and day-out by most Americans. Moving from a 1-bedroom house to 2-bedrooms to 4-bedrooms 2-baths. Changing jobs is part of our way of life. Moving more upscale in our vehicles is also a part of our everyday existence. Although the Genesis Coupe is dropping their 4-cylinder turbo, it probably is a good thing overall. The Coupe accounts for only a third of the US sales while the premium sedan accounts for the other two-thirds. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is moving upscale.