If you’re the sort of person who values comfort, features galore and understated style, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis might be the luxury sedan for you. Why pay for a fancy badge when you can get a comparable car for thousands less that also includes the industry’s best warranty?
Hyundai’s value-packed luxury sedan straddles the size divide between European midsize and full-size sedans. Choosing one is pretty easy, as there are just two trim levels. The 2014 Genesis 3.8 comes standard with leather upholstery, heated seats and a strong V6 engine. Its options are mostly bundled into two extensive packages that include upgraded interior materials and state-of-the-art infotainment features. Your other choice is the V8-powered Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, which provides a more thrilling drive as well as practically every 3.8 option as standard equipment.
From a value-minded standpoint, the Genesis delivers plenty of luxury without the high expense of premium-brand sedans. On closer inspection, though, you will find some differences. For example, some interior materials’ quality and the overall workmanship just come up a little short in comparison to the industry’s more established standard-bearers from Europe and Japan. The Genesis also lacks an all-wheel-drive option, and its non-folding rear seat limits its maximum cargo capacity. Of course, many of these issues will be addressed in the redesigned 2015 Genesis (reviewed separately), but even in the current car, these faults amount to a small sacrifice in light of the sedan’s many positive attributes.
Compared to similarly priced entry-level luxury sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis delivers similar features and more interior space. It’s also a legitimate alternative to the more expensive Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS 350. Granted, the Hyundai might not look or feel as special as some of these more established luxury nameplates. However, if you’re willing to shop outside the box a little, you’ll find that the 2014 Hyundai Genesis delivers an authentic luxury-sedan experience without the premium price tag.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Hyundai Genesis is a nearly full-size, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan available in 3.8 and 5.0 R-Spec trim levels (the numbers denote engine displacement).
Standard features for the Genesis 3.8 include a V6 engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, foglamps, heated mirrors, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a four-way power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and satellite radio.
An optional Premium package adds a power sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors, automatic wipers, premium leather upholstery, driver seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, a navigation system, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera and a premium Lexicon 14-speaker audio system.
The Technology package (requires the Premium package) adds adaptive xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, front and rear parking sensors, an upgraded gauge cluster display, a ventilated driver seat, heated rear seats, hill-hold assist, a more advanced navigation system with multimedia controller and a larger 8-inch touchscreen display, enhanced Bluetooth phone functions with audio connectivity, Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system with HD radio.
The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec includes all of the above, plus a V8 engine, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, illuminated sill plates, a heated steering wheel, sport-tuned suspension and steering, and unique exterior and interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission offered is an eight-speed automatic with manual shift control that sends power to the rear wheels. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine took the Genesis from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which is a typical time for a midsize luxury sedan with a V6. The EPA’s estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway).
The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec packs a 5.0-liter V8 engine making 429 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the R-Spec hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, a respectable time for a V8-powered luxury sedan. Estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg combined (15 mpg city/23 mpg highway).
The 2014 Hyundai Genesis comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front- and rear-side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.
Lane-departure warning and Hyundai’s Blue Link system are optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 5.0 R-Spec. Blue Link features automatic crash notification, an SOS button, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, geo-fencing (allowing owners to set limits for teenage drivers), stolen vehicle slowdown/immobilization/recovery and turn-by-turn navigation.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Genesis 3.8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 133 feet, which is significantly worse than most other luxury sedans, even accounting for its all-season, low rolling-resistance tires. The R-Spec’s 112-foot stop with its summer tires does, however, measure up to its competition.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Genesis the best possible rating of “Good” in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength tests. The Genesis’ head restraints and seats also earned a “Good” rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
If not for the sweeping “H” logo on the steering wheel of the Genesis, your co-workers might think that you’re taking them to lunch in a Lexus. This is especially true of a fully loaded 3.8 or 5.0, as both pack a full complement of modern comforts and conveniences. Even the crisp, bright electroluminescent gauges appear Lexus-like. Take a really close look, though, and you’ll likely find that the quality of the Hyundai’s interior materials and overall craftsmanship isn’t quite a match for the A6 and GS 350.
The control layout is well organized and functional. The upgraded infotainment system has an accessible learning curve, regardless of whether you use the touchscreen, the central control knob or the car’s voice control. The two Lexicon sound systems are impressive, and the top-tier 17-speaker version is one of the best systems in any car at any price.
Befitting a luxury touring car, the Genesis front seats provide plenty of driver and passenger comfort even on longer trips. The same can be said of the rear seats, which offer ample head- and legroom, three headrests and optional outboard seat heaters. The rear seats don’t fold down for additional cargo space, but a pass-through center armrest accommodates longer items that won’t fit in the large 15.9-cubic-foot trunk.
With its soft, forgiving ride, the 2014 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is a plush cruiser first and foremost. However, the car’s handling is respectable, and when called upon, the Genesis can perform evasive maneuvers predictably and with little drama. Thanks to extensive acoustic insulation, it’s also a remarkably quiet car, even compared to other top-tier luxury sedans.
Get on the gas and the Genesis 3.8’s V6 engine and eight-speed automatic deliver smooth, quick acceleration. The 5.0 R-Spec’s V8, on the other hand, makes the car feel downright fast, and indeed, it’s as quick as some V8-powered sedans that cost thousands more. Although it has a sport-tuned suspension, the R-Spec doesn’t handle as well as many of its premium-badged rivals, nor is it as involving to drive. In addition, its firmer state of suspension tune brings about some unwelcome ride harshness, especially when driving over rough pavement.