I had the good fortune this past weekend to be invited to Phoenix, Arizona to the media introduction for Hyundai’s New Genesis luxury sedan. It is a wonderful car, and my good friend Tony Korologos from Hooked On Golf blog and I spent a day driving up the Apache Trail from the Paradise Valley to Lake Roosevelt and back -a trip of just over two hundred miles. It was a terrific drive in a terrific car.
The two models we drove were the V6 with all wheel drive and a V8 with rear wheel drive. Both offered powerful, luxurious rides.
For me the best thing about the Genesis was its amazingly quiet ride. As regular readers know, I’ve been quite deaf since birth, but have managed to function in the hearing world through lip reading skills and being able to make good contextual guesses about what little I actually do hear. While I can manage to understand what people are saying in most situations, my comprehension falls quickly as background noises are introduced. There simply becomes too much input for me to sort out conversations. Road noises and engine noises in cars present serious challenges. In most cases, it’s just not worth talking to me in a moving automobile.
The Hyundai Genesis is another breed entirely. Throughout our entire 200 mile journey, I had absolutely no difficulty understanding what Tony was saying.
On-site product consultants explained that it had a lot to do with rubber gaskets on all the seams, and seals, and braces in the engines and whatnot. If you want the technical details, visit a car review website. What I know is that the Genesis takes the concept of quiet ride to a new level.
The second best thing about the car is the heads-up-display. Like a jet fighter, the Hyundai Genesis displays relevant driving information on small floating icons in the front windshield. The HUD alerts you to your current speed, the speed limit and whether cars are in your blind spot to the left and right. You’re also able to see driving directions from your GPS (which also displays on an LCD screen to the left of the dashboard). Another neat touch is that it alerts you when you are in a school zone.
Hyundai brings other safety technology into play in the Genesis. Sensors alert you when you are drifting out of your lane and can even be set to automatically turn the wheel back. Tony and I tested this extensively, and it works remarkably well—even on curves and in traffic. Truth to be told, this made me quite nervous at first. I kept imagining the news headlines: Two Golf Bloggers Killed During Driving Test. Obviously, it works flawlessly, since I’m still here. When activated, the HUD displays a small active icon letting telling you whether you are lined up properly in the lane.
There’s also a backup camera, which will be mandated in cars beginning in 2015. On the LCD screen to the left of the gauges, the image shows superimposed grid lines marked in yellow and red to indicate how much room you have to back up. At one point, we stopped to take a photo of the car against the contrast of some graffiti emblazoned box cars (we were getting artsy). To get there, I had to squeeze the car between a couple of trees and a chain link fence and then past that to a little island of dirt.
That’s when it occurred to me that I was going to have to back out. Again, the headlines ran through my head: GolfBlogger Given Thirty Day Sentence For Negligence After Destroying Hyundai Test Car. I need not have worried. With that ‘ol backup camera and grid, I backed right out without giving myself a swing-destroying permanent crick in the neck trying to look over my own shoulder.
Hyundai took the backup camera to a new level, however, with a sensor that detects oncoming objects to the left and right while you’re backing up. At Lake Roosevelt, they set up a demonstration that had the Genesis parked between two large SUVs. There was no way we could see around them. In a typical shopping center parking lot, that’s a back-and-pray situation. In the demonstration, we backed out while another SUV can across our rear. The Genesis alerted us to the danger, giving plenty of time to stop and reverse course. The sensor even indicated from which direction the cross-traffic was coming.
Do you remember the old driver’s education advice about opening a window when you get sleepy? The reason for that, apparently, is that CO2 can build up in a cabin, and one of the effects of that is drowsiness. To combat this, Hyundai engineers installed an on-board CO2 sensor. This measures the cabin’s internal levels and adjust air flow to compensate.
Golfers will be happy to find that the trunk easily accomodates two golf bags—and probably more. I saw two loaded into a trunk on the way to a Sunday morning round at Toon North, and it looked to me as though there was room for two more. I think it is entirely likely that your foursome could ride to the club in complete luxury in the Hyundai Genesis.
Another neat feature related to the trunk is that it can be set to automatically open. With the fob in your pocket, the trunk detects when you have approached to within three feet and opens automatically. That’s perfect for when your hands are full of golf bags (or groceries)
When I review golf clubs, I always make a note of the fit and finish. As a sometime club maker, it is important to me that the ferrules meet flush with the hosel, that the markers on the grips are aligned properly and that there’s no stray epoxy or tape. Fit and finish tells a lot about the quality of a club.
I think that sort of thing is important in a car also. A good fit and finish speaks to the care with which cars are built. In this regard, Hyundai has a lot to be proud of. At the risk of looking like I was fondling the vehicles’s parts, I ran my fingers over all the dashboard and door bits and found no gaps or sharp edges. I even pulled at a couple of nibbins (sorry Hyundai). Everything seemed aligned properly and securely fastened. Just like a good club. Again, I’m no car guy, but I do know quality when I see it. The Genesis is quality.
More nice touches. There’s a USB port inside the “ash tray,” next to the cigarette ligher (does anyone use the ash tray as anything other than a change catcher anymore?). Standard leather seats are very comfortable. They fit my back just right, and even after 200 miles of driving, I wasn’t sore.
Going back to my usual golf reviews, I usually try to offer some sort of indication of a course or product’s price-value ratio. If a course charges $100 a round, it had better offer a top quality experience in every respect or it will be downgraded. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot of forgiveness for flaws in a $20 track.
Hyundai positions the Genesis as a luxury vehicle. It’s a large car, with more luxury features than I can count. The price, however, is very reasonable. You can buy a very nicely appointed V6 AWD for well under $50. Here’s a chart that Hyundai provided on the prices of comparable base models:
That’s a very good price for a very good car. It is probably the automotive equivalent of being able to secure an $80 round at Pebble Beach.
But I’m gushing. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed driving the Hyundai Genesis through some of the most interesting terrain I have ever seen. Deserts may be old hat to some of you, but to this broadleaf deciduous forest living Michigander, it was really quite the change.
Thanks to the team at Hyundai for giving me the chance to participate in their media test drive weekend.