In the past you might have considered purchasing Hyundai’s Genesis luxury sedan on the grounds that it offered strong value and lots of standard features versus its more respected German and Japanese competitors. Those points still ring true, but these days, the 2016 Hyundai Genesis stands on its own as much for its clean styling, refined ride and well-appointed cabin. Would we go so far as to define it as dynamic to drive, but quiet, comfortable and coddling? Without question.
The Genesis won’t wow you with character, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its roomy cabin, and many will breathe a sigh of relief when they take in its simple yet elegant interior layout. This is a car you can get in and drive without first skimming the owner’s manual to explain any “what does that button do?” moments. Luxury and tech features abound. About the only thing odd here is the surprisingly limited rear-seat headroom.
Unlike the original version, the 2016 Hyundai Genesis Sedan has more unique exterior styling. It’s classy-looking from any angle.
Both the V6 and V8 engines are smooth and strong, although fuel mileage lags behind rivals. Both engines send power to the rear wheels through a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, with all-wheel drive available on the six-cylinder for those living in snowy climates.
Although no other car offers the equipment, interior quality, power, size and sheer presence for the money like the Hyundai Genesis, there are better luxury sedans out there if you’re willing to pay more. Definitely check out the surprisingly athletic Cadillac CTS and the extremely refined Lexus GS 350. If you have a few more dollars in your pocket, take a look at the class standards: the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Sure, the Hyundai Genesis may not have the badging or tradition of these cars, but it stands mighty fine on its own as a refined and luxurious sedan.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis is a full-size, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan available in 3.8 (V6) and 5.0 Ultimate (V8) models, with all-wheel drive as an option for the Genesis 3.8. There is a Genesis coupe, but it’s a very different vehicle and is covered in a separate review.
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis comes with mega-adjustable front seats, but they’re not as comfy as those found in many of its rivals.
Standard features for the Genesis 3.8 include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic/auto-leveling HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, heated 12-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a hands-free “smart” trunk, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, real-time traffic, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Hyundai’s Blue Link emergency telematics system, a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio and satellite radio.
The Genesis 3.8 can be equipped with three option packages: Signature, Tech and Ultimate.
The Signature package adds a panoramic sunroof, LED foglights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems, parking guides for rearview camera, ventilated front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, manual side window shades and a premium Lexicon 14-speaker surround-sound audio system.
The Tech package requires the Signature package, and adds automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors, an automatic emergency braking system, an electronic parking brake, automatic vehicle hold function (allows the driver to remove their foot from the brake while stopped), upgraded leather upholstery, additional driver seat adjustments (cushion extension and side bolsters) and an upgraded 7-inch display for the gauge cluster.
The Ultimate package requires both the Signature and Tech packages. It adds a power trunk lid, a color head-up windshield display, an upgraded navigation system with a center console multifunction controller and a bigger display, matte-finish wood and aluminum trim, a carbon-dioxide sensor for the climate-control system and a Lexicon 17-speaker surround-sound audio system.
All-wheel drive can be added to any Genesis 3.8 and with it comes headlight washers, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The Genesis 5.0 Ultimate has all the content of the Signature and Technology packages and adds a 5.0-liter V8, 19-inch alloy wheels, illuminated door-sill plates, the matte wood and aluminum trim plus driver-selectable suspension adjustment.
The interior of the 2016 Hyundai Genesis is more traditional than some rivals, but it’s well laid out and easy to use.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 comes with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 311 hp and 293 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission is an eight-speed automatic. The V6-powered Genesis comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but can be fitted with optional all-wheel drive.
The EPA’s estimated fuel economy for the rear-drive Genesis 3.8 is 22 mpg in combined driving (18 city/29 highway). Selecting all-wheel drive drops that to 19 mpg combined (16 city/25 highway).
The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate has a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg combined (15 city/23 highway).
At the Edmunds test track, a Genesis 3.8 AWD sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, while the V8-powered version performed the same test in a very quick 5.3 seconds. Both times are impressive for a sedan of its size.
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, dual front airbags, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag. Also standard is Hyundai’s Blue Link 2.0 connectivity suite, which features automatic crash notification, an SOS button, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and remote start, geo-fencing (allowing owners to set limits for teenage drivers), stolen vehicle slow-down/immobilization/recovery and turn-by-turn navigation.
Blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert are optional for the Genesis 3.8 in the Signature package and standard for the Genesis 5.0 Ultimate. Optional through the 3.8’s Tech package and standard on the 5.0 are lane-departure warning and a lane-keeping assist system, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and an automatic emergency braking system that can reduce the severity of collisions or potentially prevent lower-speed collisions.
During Edmunds brake testing, a Genesis 3.8 AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in just 109 feet while the Genesis 5.0 took 112 feet, both excellent performances.
In government crash tests, the Hyundai Genesis earned a five-star overall rating, along with five-star ratings for its performance in frontal- and side-impact crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Genesis the best possible rating of “Good” in its moderate-overlap frontal offset, small-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The Genesis’ seatbelts and head restraints also received a “Good” rating for their whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Thanks to a long-for-the-class wheelbase, the 2016 Genesis has a roomy cabin, with more interior volume (123 cu-ft) than its main rivals. This translates to an abundance of rear-seat legroom, yet headroom in the rear remains at a bit of a premium, one of the few criticisms we can level at this palpably high-class cabin. The one other criticism is that although the front seats are highly adjustable, they aren’t as comfortable over the long haul as the ones found in several rivals.
Hyundai designers took a minimalist approach to the dashboard and center console, and we like how it brings a distinct airiness to the cabin. The center stack and center console aren’t overwrought with buttons, controls or busy shapes. There’s everything you need, but it’s never in your way and never cluttering. We particularly like the simplicity and straightforward operation of the rotary-dial input for the optional, upgraded navigation system.
Materials on the dash, doors and seats are as good as any in the class, and we didn’t find a visible interior piece or panel with even a whiff of cost-cutting. The gauges are clear and concise and free from extraneous and distracting details, although you can, of course, dial up all manner of extra information if you desire. Even the base Genesis comes with appealing leather for the seats and steering wheel, and the standard navigation system and its 7-inch screen is more than acceptable. Capping it off is a meticulous level of assembly: Every panel and piece inside the Genesis fits with intense precision that matches just about any premium sedan you’d care to compare from Germany or Japan.
Like the cabin, the 2016 Genesis’ trunk is expansive with a generous opening for easy loading. At 15.3 cubic feet, it’s large for the segment.
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis isn’t a sport sedan, even with the 5.0 Ultimate’s adjustable suspension and engine and transmission control parameters set to “Sport.” But most drivers should still be quite happy with the way it drives. Around turns it responds precisely to steering inputs and has adequate grip for a sedan of its size, despite gaining considerable weight over the previous generation car. The ride quality is decent enough, it’s never unruly, but it doesn’t do as good of a job soaking up bumps as the luxury class leaders. The cabin, on the other hand, is impressively quiet, as you’ll be hard-pressed to hear wind whoosh, tire whine or engine noise.
The 2016 Hyundai Genesis isn’t as dynamic to drive as its German rivals, but the driving experience is calm and comfy.
Both engines feel strong when it comes to acceleration. Although the V8 model clearly has more low-end punch and is the dictionary definition of a “smooth operator,” it doesn’t feel appreciably faster than the V6 in normal day-to-day driving. In fact, the only reason we can see to get the 5.0 over the 3.8 is if you really feel the need to tell people that you sprung for the V8.