As an exercise in upgrading the brand image, the Hyundai Genesis does a decent enough job. It has set the ground nicely for the arrival next year of a new generation of Genesis cars that will be much more of a challenge to German rivals.
While this current Genesis is very easy on the eye and loaded with luxury, it won’t find many takers in the UK. This is largely due to the lack of a diesel engine version – and the enormous emissions from the 3.8-litre petrol engine.
You have to imagine that depreciation on a £47,000 Hyundai will be pretty hefty too. Quite possibly massive.
At least it’s a refreshing change from the BMW/Mercedes/Audi offerings that dominate the executive market. But come the day when you have to open your wallet, you know it’s going to have a German badge on the bonnet, don’t you?
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…
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!
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 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…
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.
I’ll admit it. I’m probably too old buy a Veloster. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what Hyundai is trying to do here. Remember the Hyundai Coupe? It was legendary for being a cut-price 2+2 that looked just that little bit different to everything else that was on the market.
The Veloster is cut from the same cloth – although this top spec Turbo version is a little pricey at £22,000. It therefore comes up against other great coupes, like the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane.
That said, it out poses both for looks. You will see other drivers scratching their heads trying to work out exactly what has just overtaken them. And overtake them you will because the Turbo’s strong engine is surprisingly quick too.
It has a little trick up its sleeve too, two-doors up front and one at the rear, just like the Mini Clubman. The only difference is that Hyundai got it right – they put the rear door on the pavement side.
The Veloster is one of those cars that is going to take some getting used too. There’s lots to discover, especially around the space age dashboard. Cool, funky and rather in your face. The Veloster promises to be a fun drive for the next seven days.