Cabin comfort and technology
I've said it a dozen times before: Hyundai is a master of making cheap cabin materials seem more expensive than they actually are. Most of the points where the driver comes into regular contact have received a bit of extra attention to feel good to the touch and in the hand. Nowhere is this more true than the center-console-mounted rotary controller for the infotainment system. This metallic knob twists around and nudges in four directions to make selections, clunking into its various positions with a nice, heavy feel. Surrounding it are metallic buttons that access the handful of functions available through the standard infotainment system.
Hyundai's Ultimate Navigation infotainment system is standard for 4.6 and 5.0 models and features a large, 8-inch color display that is commanded by the control knob. The system is built around flash-memory-based navigation software that features SiriusXM NavTraffic and weather. This is a fairly simple navigation system (there are no 3D maps or Web connectivity), but the system has aged surprisingly well, for the most part.
Audio is provided by a 528-watt Lexicon 7.1 premium audio system that features 17 speakers. Audio sources include an in-dash six-disc DVD changer, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and USB and auxiliary audio inputs that can be bridged to form a high-speed iPod input with a $35 cable (the only optional feature that our 5.0 R-Spec model was equipped with). Bluetooth hands-free calling features voice command and address book sync. Users can also voice input addresses via a series of spoken prompts.
It doesn't do much, but what it does, Hyundai's Ultimate Navigation system does well. However, there are a few features that I would like to see in the next iteration of this aging vehicle. For starters, Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system is not available on this, arguably the automaker's flagship model. Likewise, there's no Bluetooth A2DP audio-streaming option, which is bad news for owners of non-Apple smartphones who want to listen to audio on their devices. These are small omissions, but the tech landscape has changed over the last few years, and Hyundai needs to evolve the Genesis to keep up.
As I said, the cabin of the $46,500 Genesis 5.0 R-Spec is a nice place to sit. It's comfortable and rather quiet. However, look closer and you will notice all sorts of places where Hyundai has cut corners to keep the sticker price below $50k. For example, the buttons on the dashboard are of the same cheap plastic that you'd expect to find in the Elantra. So is the dull, black plastic that make up the hub of the steering wheel. The "ultra-premium leather" that wraps the dashboard, steering-wheel rim, door panels, and seat surfaces is of the thinnest variety; and while both front buckets are heated, only the driver's seat receives cooling ventilation. Avoid looking too closely and you'll likely be pleased with the economy with which Hyundai have chosen to tackle this cabin, but direct comparisons between the latest German and Japanese premium models paint the Genesis as a decidedly "economy car" light.
If I can continue to pick nits, the 5.0 R-Spec's steering wheel is the same, rather large tiller that you'll find in any Genesis model (albeit wrapped in leather rather than trimmed with wood). This wheel simply never really felt right in my hands, sitting at an odd angle regardless of how I adjusted it. I would like to see a smaller-diameter, thicker-rimmed wheel with a heavier steering feel for at least the R-Spec model to help it to feel sportier and special. Perforated leather trim and sportier pedals would also help here. While you're in there, Hyundai, a retune of the R-Spec's power steering for a weightier feel and fewer turns to lock would also be nice.
While the Genesis sedan starts at about $35,000 for the 3.8-liter model, choosing a $46,500 R-Spec model is an all-or-nothing affair. Everything is standard, with the only option being that $35 iPod cable. Add $875 for destination charges and you reach our as-tested price of $47,410.
At that price, the Hyundai Genesis seriously undercuts the cars that Hyundai would like us to believe it competes against. However, put this sedan next to a Mercedes Benz E Class, the BMW 5 Series, or even the Lexus LS, and it becomes obvious that you get what you pay for. Personally, I think Hyundai's comparison expectations are a bit high, and choose to compare the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec to something like theor -- both arguably premium large sedans, but still grounded in the Genesis' pricing and quality reality. In this company, the Genesis 5.0 compares more favorably, but it does lose some of its "value alternative" appeal. If performance is why you're looking at the R-Spec model, then the SRT8 is definitely worth a second (and even a third) look -- it's clearly the most badass of the bunch.
|Model||2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0|
|Powertrain||5.0-liter, direct-injected V-8, eight-speed automatic transmission, RWD|
|EPA fuel economy||16 city, 25 highway, and 19 combined mpg|
|Observed fuel economy||n/a|
|Navigation||Standard, flash-memory-based, SiriusXM NavTraffic|
|Bluetooth phone support||Yes|
|Disc player||Six-disc, in-dash DVD changer|
|MP3 player support||Standard analog 3.5mm auxiliary input, USB connection, optional iPod connection|
|Other digital audio||SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio|
|Audio system||Lexicon 17-speaker premium audio standard|
|Driver aids||Lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear camera with proximity sensor, adaptive cruise control|
|Price as tested||$47,410|