Hyundai Genesis a luxurious ride

The largest, most powerful and best-equipped Hyundai ever sold in the United States, the Genesis offers a value-priced alternative to premium European and Japanese sedans, according to a spokesman for Gaddis Hyundai of Muncie.

New for the 2009 model year, the first of the Genesis models began arriving recently at the local dealership, said Jim Raines, sales representative.

“The Genesis compares favorably to a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus,” he said. “Hyundai’s objective in designing this car was to offer value-minded buyers the chance to have the performance and luxury of a $45,000 to $50,000 car for a price $9,000 to $15,000 less.”

Hyundai did not create the Genesis by starting with an existing model and hanging extra options and equipment on it, Raines said: Instead, the car is built on a new full-size, rear-drive chassis that offers rigid construction and nearly 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution.

“Rear-drive is the standard among most cars in this class, and this chassis offers the balance and handling people expect of a performance-oriented sport sedan,” he said.

Raines added that some features of the Genesis are not available on other cars in the same class.

“The only other car to offer the Genesis’ available 17-speaker Lexicon audio system is a Rolls-Royce,” he said. “This audio system is set up much like a home-theater system for the car.”

In addition, the Genesis has an internal fiber-optic network that connects many components and accessories to the car’s computer system. Hyundai says the fiber-optic system is more reliable than conventional wires and allows faster transfer of data.

Safety features include eight airbags: front, side and head-curtain airbags for the front as well as side and head-curtain airbags for the rear. The Genesis also comes standard with stability control, traction control and active front head restraints that move forward to reduce the chance of head or neck injuries in a rear-end collision.

The Genesis is covered by Hyundai’s standard ten-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which should enhance the car’s appeal to value-seeking buyers, Raines said.

Billed by Hyundai as “America’s Best Warranty,” coverage also includes a five-year or 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year, unlimited-mileage roadside assistance plan.

Two Genesis models — the 3.8 and the 4.6 — are available.

The Genesis 3.8 comes with a 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 engine and starts at $32,250, while the Genesis 4.6 has a 375-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 and a base price of $37,250. Both models come standard with six-speed “Shiftronic” automatic transmissions that can be shifted manually if the driver wishes.

Other standard features on both Genesis models include a dual-zone automatic climate control system with air filtration and a “smog sensing” air quality system, electroluminescent instrument cluster, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, electronic pushbutton starting, leather upholstery, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, XM satellite radio and heated outside mirrors with integral turn signal indicators.

Additional or upgraded features on the Genesis 4.6 include 18-inch “Hyper Silver” wheels, a power rear sunshade, power tilt-and-telescoping steering column with memory features, rain-sensing wipers, illuminated door sill plates and a woodgrain-trimmed steering wheel.

Options include a 14- or 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, HD (hybrid digital) radio, a hard-drive based navigation system, rear backup camera, cooled driver’s seat and automatically-leveling HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights.

By KEN WICKLIFFE – July 20, 2008

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