Review: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate

In preparation for reviewing the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, I talked a customer into letting me drive his 2013 BMW 535i sedan. That way I could have a baseline comparison. He asked me what I was going to test this time, and he reacted this way when I told him it was the Genesis:

“That’s not even close the same class of car when compared to the BMW.”

And having driven the Genesis, I can say that he’s right. It’s not in the same class. It’s better. Here’s why. Let’s start from the outside:


The front end is bold and aggressive. People in front of you will know that you mean business:



The side is very well sculpted and gives the Genesis a very bold look. I really like the character line that runs on the side of the Genesis.


I love the look of the rear. The way the tailpipes are integrated into the design of the car is first class. Those taillights look cool too.

In short, it is a very head turning design. Hyundai has that part dialled in. But let’s talk about what’s under the hood:


The engine under the hood of this Genesis is a 5L V8 that puts out 420 horsepower and 383 pound feet of torque. It’s mated to an 8 speed transmission sourced from famed transmission maker ZF and comes standard with all-wheel-drive. Called HTRAC, this is a rear biased AWD system that was tested in some of the toughest places such as the old Nürburgring road course in Germany, the new Yeongam F1 circuit in Korea, and in Europe during the winter in snow and ice. Now all of this is great marketing material, but how does it drive?

Amazing would be my answer.

This car has amazing amounts of power that is direct and linear and keeps building and building. The AWD system gives you the feel of a rear wheel drive car, which is what someone who wants a sporty luxury car wants, while giving you the added ability to carve corners better and stay shiny side up in inclement weather. This vehicle may have 8 gears, but I never, ever, felt the transmission shift gears once. And if you really want some fun, put it into sport mode and hang on. You’ll hear more engine noise when compared to the normal setting, but you also get more aggressive shifting and tighter handling. Let me focus on handling for a moment. There is minimal body roll, the steering is well weighted and has a “point and shoot” feel to it, and you can feel the road perfectly. In fact, compared to the BMW 535i that I drove, the Genesis has much, much better road feel. If you want a great driving experience, this is the car for you. Braking feel is very modular in nature which is something that drivers will love.

One other thing. This car is quiet. There is a minimal amount of road noise, and if you put your foot down you can hear the engine. But other than that, the Genesis is bank vault quiet. That leads me to the interior:


The drivers seat while not being a sport seat will keep you in place during spirited driving. It also supported my back and thighs well and never felt uncomfortable. It can be adjusted in 16 ways and has two memory settings. The front seats are heated and vented.

IMG_0046The steering wheel is perfectly sized and all the controls fall easily to hand.


The gauge cluster is clear, easy to read, and is customizable. If you look carefully on the left side of the steering wheel, you can see one of the paddle shifters. IMG_0030The Genesis comes with a 9.2″ screen that’s not only class leading, but I’m sure that nothing else in any class has anything that size. A smart move by Hyundai was to have all the controls for the HVAC system independent of the touchscreen so that you can adjust the interior climate with minimal fuss. I should also mention that the HVAC system includes a CO2 sensor that monitors the amount of CO2 in the cabin and will turn on the HVAC system to get rid of it. Impressive. The analog clock is a nice touch as well.

IMG_0056Right below the HVAC controls in a cubby that can be covered are 12V outlets, aux-in jack for audio and a USB connector. Plus there’s space left over to put your phone in and hide it from potential thieves.


Here you see the shifter, and in front of it is the cubby that I showed you that has the 12V outlets and the USB port. To the right of the shifter is where the cupholders are and behind it are the controls for the infotainment system. More on that in a second….


But let me show you the cupholders. I think a Venti drink from Starbucks might be a stretch. But a Grande will fit for sure.


Here’s the driver’s (and passenger for that matter) armrest….


That has a tremendous amount of storage inside it.


The moonroof is absolutely HUGE. Plus the sunshade is in two pieces and closes from the front and back at the same time. Very cool!


You have tons of space in the back seats. It will seat three people, but the person in the middle will have to deal with the protrusion on the floor for the driveshaft.

IMG_0048In the middle of the seats are cupholders and controls for the rear seat warmers.


There’s also a ski pass through.


The rear seat passengers get their own HVAC controls as well.

The fit and finish is exceptional. I could find nothing to complain about. Everything was put together with precision and anything that you touched felt very upscale. One thing I liked was the open pore wood as it added a touch of class.

Now about the trunk….. It’s huge and it has one trick up it’s sleeve. Rather than write about it, here’s a video where I explain it:

The trunk isn’t the only cool piece of technology, here’s a list of the safety technology in the Genesis:

  • This particular Genesis came with an automatic emergency braking system that uses both cameras and radar sensors. If a crash is imminent and the driver does not react, the system warns you and can even apply full brake force stopping power from speeds between 8 to 80 KM/H.
  • One of the cooler safety related items is a heads up display that is perfectly placed within the line of sight of the driver. Speed, navigation, warnings for the Lane Departure Warning System and Blind Spot Detection, as well as the speed limits of the road that you’re on are displayed there.
  • You also get Lane Keep Assist which automatically detects when a driver has difficulty staying in their lane and helps by using gentle steering compensation above 70 KM/H. The steering wheel will also vibrate when the vehicle drifts outside the lane without signaling. Additionally, the Lane Departure Warning will alert the driver with an audio cue, or a visual warning on the Heads-up Display.
  • The HID headlights can automatically switch from high beams to low beams when an oncoming car is detected. This is a very handy feature for country roads at night.
  • The cruise control system automatically adjusts its speed based on the car in front of you. It’ll even come to a full stop and then start again without any driver input.
  • There’s blind spot detection and cross traffic alerts which is a radar based system used to detect when a vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot or in the rear cross path while backing up. I will note that the blind spot detection really has an excellent area of coverage that gives you some extra space between you and cars around you.

As for the infotainment system that the Genesis comes with, it has replaced Chrysler’s UConnect system as the best system out there as far as I am concerned. This Genesis comes with a 9.2″ screen that is sharp and readable in any lighting condition. Plus the knob that the driver users to control the system is extremely intuitive. And so is the menu structure that the system uses. Within a minute I had my phone paired with the system via Bluetooth. Two minutes after that I figured out how to dial by voice and enter addresses in the navigation system, stream music from my iPhone 5S, or anything else I wanted to do. All without cracking open the user manual. This alone should make BMW rethink iDrive and Audi to go back to the drawing board to redo MMI.

The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate version that I had was impressive. But what does it cost is the big question? This one is $62,000 with every option checked. But it starts at $43,000 with a 3.8L V6 under the hood. So you’ll find something that fits your budget but still give you the luxury experience. My verdict? I’ll say this: If you cross shop it against the Audi A6, Mercedes Benz E Class, and the BMW 5 Series, you’ll be shocked by how well the Genesis stacks up against them. The Genesis is very much a player in the luxury category and it will make shoppers have to choose between buying a status symbol, and buying a quality luxury car that beats the status symbols in many ways and save some money in the process. If it were me, I’d choose the latter. But don’t take my word for it. Go to your Hyundai dealer and see for yourself.

4 Responses to “Review: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate”

  1. […] time I review a vehicle from Hyundai, I walk away impressed. It started with the Genesis… Long before they spun that off as a separate brand. Then the Tucson impressed me so much […]

  2. […] If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar system that is used in the Hyundai Genesis that I reviewed a few years back. But unlike that system, it is front wheel biased rather than rear […]

  3. […] axles. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar system that is used in the Hyundai Genesis that I reviewed a few years back. But unlike that system, it is front wheel biased rather than rear […]

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