The Hyundai Genesis is designed for roads the width of a football pitch – not ones in the UK


You can forgive the soft suspension and boat-like handling of the Genesis if you take into account that the Hyundai is not designed for British roads – it’s primarily targeted at North America. Straight, dull roads about the width of a football pitch.

I wonder if there is anyone in the UK who is mad enough to have bought one instead of a BMW 5 Series, which is by far the better car for UK conditions. (except the Hyundai has a far better five-year guarantee, of course).

The real reason Hyundai has brought the Genesis to this country is to change the way we perceive the Korean brand. They want us to think upmarket when we utter the name – not just very good, value for money family cars.

And now we know why of course. A whole range of Genesis models will arrive over the next couple of years. Genesis will include a number of premium brand-style cars aimed squarely at German car buyers, of all shapes and sizes.

So what you are seeing here is the start of a whole new era for Hyundai. Hence the name perhaps…

The psychedelic door mirror downlights are a night-time treat in the Hyundai Genesis


So my favourite feature on the Genesis isn’t the panoramic sunroof, or the air conditioned seats. I like the head-up display too but that isn’t it either.

What I really like about the big Hyundai are the door mirror lights that flash the name ‘Genesis’ down onto the road at night when you walk up towards the car. Cool.

Jaguar Land Rover do it on their top spec cars too. It’s pretty neat and just adds that touch of class.

Just be warned – it doesn;t work if you park on gravel. However, for a psychedelic effect of great note, try parking next to a big puddle. The reflection is brilliant!

The Princess and the Pea of driving in a Hyundai Genesis


I’m starting to feel like the Princess and the Pea driving the Genesis. Here’s a big, luxury car – almost five metres long – that cossets passengers with air suspension and armchair seats.

In the back, you can electronically recline the seats. Back seat passengers sitting on the left can also remotely operate the front seat to give themselves more leg room. Clever.

Yet even with all these comforts and luxuries, there’s just something about the position of the driver’s seat that isn’t quite right, despite multiple electronic adjustments and lumbar supports.

I think it’s the angle of the seat back, or the way it has been sculpted. But after 300 miles in the big Hyundai yesterday, I just can’t find the perfect ‘BMW-style’ driving position…

The Hyundai Genesis takes you back to the future… if you fancy a 1990s Lexus LS that is


The strangest thing. I found myself sat in the Hyundai’s executive fuel-burner this morning, on the long drive up to Leeds. I was heading north to interview the championship winning Yorkshire Cricket Team. Nice bunch of lads.

Anyway, somewhere around Leicester I had this huge sense of deja vu. What was it about the Genesis that took me back to the bad hair days of the 1990s?

I’ll tell you. The interior could have come straight from a Lexus LS. There is lashings of perforated leather (hot and air cooled seats), some rather naff wood veneer on the dash, and less than impressive plastics.

I couldn’t say there was anything wrong with the cabin but it felt and almost smelt old fashioned. Mercedes trim can be questionable these days but the Hyundai really isn’t premium feel.

This isn’t helped by a raft of buttons and dials that could have come from lesser Hyundai models. The sat nav is excellent – easy to use and logical – and there’s a stonking sound system.

However, I’m not going to pay £47k just for that pleasure…

Here comes another Genesis… The Hyundai one!


How many Genesis can there be? Not the biblical tale, or the rock group but the car. Six months after launching the Genesis luxury saloon in the UK, Hyundai this week announced the new ‘Genesis’ brand.

A line-up of six models, all aimed at the luxurious end of the market. Just like Infiniti is linked to Nissan, Lexus to Toyota, Genesis will take on key German brands like Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

A new beginning? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

For now, Car Couture has just taken delivery of the executive Genesis saloon. It’s packed with a 3.8 petrol engine, tons of executive kit and enough styling cues to worry Mercedes.

But is it all style and no substance? Join us for a week of reviews to find out. A day with Yorkshire County Cricket Team tomorrow, let’s see how it goes.

Attitude? The Skoda Yeti has all the appeal of a pile of stale underpants after a stag party


It’s all about attitude. Some cars have it, others don’t. Take the Skoda Yeti. A perfectly sound motor, practical and, erm, worthy. Yet it has all the appeal of a pile of stale underpants after a stag party.

You don’t buy one to make a statement. You buy one because you’ve worked out the repayment figures, assessed secondhand values and know you can pack an awful lot of meaningless lifestyle stuff in the back.

On paper, the Yeti is a better car than the Mazda CX-3. On paper, you’d probably pick it every time. Except when you park the CX-3 beside it, the Yeti looks as prehistoric as it’s name.

The Mazda has cool, edgy styling, a slick profile and actually says you care about what you drive. Everybody else can buy their pants from M&S and drive a sensible Skoda.

Which driver are you?

Compact cross-overs without 4×4? Shouldn’t be allowed. We drive the new Mazda CX-3


Yes, yes, yes, you’re always going to choose a Porsche 911 S Cabriolet over a compact crossover, right?

Well, temperatures dipped to -2 in the Cotswolds last night and this morning I had one of those bonkers dilemmas. Do I drive the 4×4 Mazda CX-3 to Silverstone, or my trusty 911?

Surprising as it might seem – and purely because I knew the backroad route I would take wasn’t salted – I picked up the  Mazda keyset.

And then I put them back down again. Because our CX-3 test car doesn’t actually have four-wheel drive. It’s one of those pseudo 4x4s, equipped with two-wheel drive only.

What I would probably have done is launch into a corner too fast in the CX-3 and become unstuck.

I’m not sure I’m cut out for compact crossovers without all-wheel drive. I mean, what’s the point? It looks like a 4×4, you can pay a little extra for a four-wheel drive version. So why bother with this model?

Big wheels aren’t always better – why the Mazda CX-3 might feel better on smaller-sized wheels


Despite the CX-3’s 2.0-litre, 118bhp petrol engine, the compact crossover doesn’t feel that comfortable blatting along at motorway speeds.

The key issue here is not a lack of power but an increase in noise as you move up through the six-speed gearbox. There’s some wind input too.

You also might want to consider whether the Sport’s 18-inch alloys and firmer suspension offers a better ride than the 16-inchers offered on other versions.

I think you might find the Sport set up a little on the firm side. This is not a car you can push hard through a tight corner. So perhaps, for once, the lower spec SE model might be a more comfortable choice…

Don’t give me no lip, Mazda CX-3. How not to light a compact crossover


So it was blowing a gale last night. My cat refused to got out, despite my attempt with an ‘assisted’ exit. Winter has arrived in the UK, with snow, rain and Christmas stuff in Waitrose (OK, that started in September, to be honest).

I’m packing up my CX-3 with bags, dog on the back seat, emergency banana in the centre console. The time comes to load the boot.

Hmm. It’s not the easiest operation. The button is underneath the lip of the hatchback lid, like most cars these days. Except that because of other paraphernalia located there, it’s tricky to find and a good place to collect muck.

Once inside, I discover there is no interior boot light. Well, there is but it’s in the hatchback door which is now above my head and unable to shed any light on the luggage room available.

The space is tiny, which may explain why Mazda has turned to subtle lighting to fool me. In the darkness, I overload the space and curse the fact the hatch won’t shut.

So, riddle me this. Why does a car with head-up display, a spanklingly good infotainment system and bendy headlights NOT have an interior boot light?

Let’s get basics right before we add the fairy dust, Mazda.

The Mazda CX-3 is a giant handbag but hell, I’d buy one


Girls have big handbags these days. You never know what you are going to find hidden in those dark corners at the bottom – a gentleman just shouldn’t even go there.

The Mazda CX-3 a giant handbag. It’s definitely not a bloke’s car but in the same way that a Mazda MX-5 is a ‘feminine’ two-seater and a stonkingly brilliant sportster, the CX-3 is a cute and very good compact crossover.

Just have a look at the styling – it really does look the part. Not sure about the maroon paintjob on our test car but in grey, well, hell, I’d buy one.

Snow is forecast this weekend. I was excited about trying out the CX-3 on the slippery stuff. Then I remembered this is the two-wheel drive only version.

You see, that’s why I like my macho compact crossovers to not only look good but fulfil the promise of their rufty tufty image too…