Hyundai’s mid-luxury sedan, Genesis was brought ot the US market place in 2009. In that time it garnered a reputation of being a well equipped and capable automobile. But Hyundai wanted this vehicle to be more as it matured. The 2015 Genesis moves the bar much higher and Hyundai gave us a chance to take a spin in the newest versions of their popular full-sized sedan. Well, actually they let us have the Genesis sedan for few hundred miles of testing including a run out to Arizona’s Roosevelt Lake from The Sanctuary, in Paradise Valley, our base for the few days we spent with the Genesis.
Beyond the redesign and major changes within the structure and new engines one major factor has unveiled a new genesis for the Genesis, all-wheel drive. The 2015 Genesis includes for the first time for this mid-luxury sedan all four wheels getting the power to the road. Audi, maybe Subaru can claim to be the leaders in all-wheel drive development. However, Hyundai wasn’t going to take a back seat so they went to Magna Powertrain, the largest independent global provider of all-wheel drive to assist giving the Genesis the best system possible.
The V-6 equipped Genesis has an advantage over the V-8 because it is the only version that is fitted with the optional all-wheel drive system. Hyundai’s new HTRAC AWD is a multi-mode system which provides electronic, variable-torque-split clutch including an active torque control between the front and rear axles. According to Hyundai, this lightweight system (only 165 pounds) can achieve up to 100 percent torque or combination between the front or rear axles. That can make a difference with holding the road on a clear day and a huge one when the clouds open up and the road becomes a slippery mess.
Even in this day of electronic equipment taking control away from the driver the HTRAC AWD system brings the driver into play. The driver can select between Normal, Eco or Sport settings to get the absolute most from their Genesis. As their names imply the Normal setting is for everyday driving while adding confident control in all normal conditions. The Eco changes the system for maximum efficiency according to the driver’s inputs, braking, acceleration etc.. Sport on the other hand gives the driver the maximum in handling and agility by sending more available torque to the rear wheels obtaining the rear wheel biased dynamic feel.
Though the V-8 may trump the V-6 in the power department with its 420 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, I believe that many folks are going to be quite satisfied with the V-6 performance. After all, 311 horsepower is nothing to scoff at, and once you get a grasp on the shifting of the 8-speed automatic transmission you will be pleased with the overall performance.
Speaking of that 8-speed automatic transmission, thankfully Hyundai hasn’t gone the way of some other companies by abandoning the traditional automatic gear box for a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). We are not a big fan of those rubber band-like boxes and certainly not for an automobile that is striving to be highly desired for its luxury and performance as we have here with the Genesis.
No matter if you chose the V-6 or V-8 power you get a transmission that offers a wide range of enhanced shifting. This is a transmission that has enhanced shift-logic for shifting speed, gear holding acceleration plus an excellent combination of shift mapping giving you sport shifts when you want them and comfortable smooth shifting when you do not want to feel the gear changes. Hyundai has found excellent common ground.
Glory-be, we have paddle shifters. Yep, that’s right folks the new generation Genesis has finger tip shifting via well placed and quick to react steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. These little devices are ones that we harp on all auto manufacturers to add to their vehicles, no matter the price point. For our money every car from the econo-boxes to pickup trucks, luxury or near-luxury cars and especially any car that leans toward sporty must be fitted with manual-mode paddle shifters.
Following our drive of each Genesis model with V-6 and V-8 engines we continually looked at the V-6 with high regard. Yes, the V-8 is much more macho and adds a higher degree of performance that satisfied our inner race car driver. However, looking at the more practical side of the equation we feel the V-6 model is nearly as exciting to drive. Anyway, this isn’t the Genesis Coupe, which we look to for high performance and heart pumping excitement. The sedan fills different voids in our psyche with a touch of machismo.
You may have noticed that Hyundai, as well as other manufacturers have been able to pull surprising performance from smaller engines. Proof is in the pudding as they say. Hyundai slipped a 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 under the hood of the 2015 Genesis that delivers an admirable 311 horsepower and more importantly 293 lb.-ft. of torque. That translates to a luxury sedan that can ably handle jumping on the freeway with little concern. It isn’t so bad when taking off from starts either. Plus it can get upward of 25 miles per gallon on the highway. However, we did not see that as you well know we have just a tad bit of a heavy accelerator foot. But even with that we were in the low 20s.
The Genesis redesign includes a great deal of new features that take the price up just a bit, but again according to the Hyundai folks, it really isn’t that big of an impact because the equipment you get with the move up is more than one would have gotten in earlier versions. Essentially, that translates to more for you money, but it is more money.
As we said before you just might like the V-6 so much that the V-8 will not entice you to move up to more power. Truth be told, we would be quite happy with the V-6 partly because we love the all-wheel drive and you can’t get that with the V-8 power. Drive each one, then you decide.