Hyundai Genesis – Quick verdict

Every February & September I drive and chaperone supermodels from show to show for London Fashion Week.

Hyundai have provided us (Storm Model Management and me) with their cars over the past couple of years, and last September I was lucky enough to have use a very special new car in their European line up – they sent me the first ever Genesis in Europe.  It was a real head turner, especially being on German plates.  I was, however, given a British spec press car in Feb and thought I’d share my experience/views.

The Genesis getting lots of attension (or was it the model)

The Genesis getting lots of attension (or was it the model)

The Genesis is a bit like Lexus is to Toyota – it’s an upmarket Hyundai.  During my time with the car I must have asked 100 randoms (mostly car lovers) to guess who made the Genesis I was driving around in and nobody had the faintest!  Most people said Aston Martin.


Anyway below is a quick summary of my thoughts …

Pros –

  • Looks fantastic – honestly, photos don’t do it justice and the front end particularly looks very Aston Martin Rapide (not just because of the similar shaped badge)
  • It rides, handles and stops well for a 2 ton limo
  • It’s aimed at the 5 series, E-Class & A8, but certainly has more cabin space – I would say it’s identical to a standard wheelbase 7 series, S-Class or A8!
  • Very comfortable and fairly supportive electric, heated & ventilated leather seats all round.  Rear reclining seats is a rare sight in this segment
  • At £48k it really isn’t cheap, but … it does come fully loaded.  A similar spec 5 series would weigh in at over £55k and lag behind in space and ride comfort
  • A 5 year warranty



Cons –

  • My main gripe of this car is the engine which looks great on paper – 3.8 litre V6 with 311bhp.  In reality, it confirms you either need the torque of a turbo diesel or a thumping petrol V8 to move 2+ tons around. To put this into context, it weighs exactly the same as my BMW 730LD, the Genesis has an extra 56bhp but it feels like the underpowered car here – it wouldn’t see which way my 730 went. This is all down to torque of course.  The BMW’s diesel pumps out an extra 120 ft lb of torque & that’s what helps to move weight around with ease!  One result of having too little torque meant the best mpg I saw was 16.5 combined.  I can manage around 26-28mpg for similar journeys in my BMW.  To make matters worse it doesn’t like to rev out & sounds gruff over 4000 revs;  yeah I’m not impressed with the motor at all, sorry Hyundai!
  • The infotainment is a dated touch screen system which does everything okay but is miles behind its German rivals, probably in line with Jaguar’s current setup (which isn’t saying much and is about to be replaced)
  • Poor trim in places – a 1 series, Golf or A3 uses mostly nicer plastics/rubber. Not really acceptable in a £50k car
  • £500 a year on tax due to its high Co2 output from emissions

Verdict – It’s certainly an “alternative” choice.  Priced under £45k & with a decent motor it would really give the Germans a run for their money.  Unfortunately, in its current spec, I believe it will struggle to sell in the UK.


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