If there is one takeaway from our time with the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 long-term test vehicle, it’s that the Korean automaker is well-positioned to launch its luxury Genesis division by incorporating this handsome sedan into the lineup. The styling, level of equipment, interior trappings and performance of the rear-drive Genesis reminded us of the 2014 Lexus GS 350, a similarly-sized V6 powered luxury sedan that preceded the Hyundai in our fleet.
The major difference between the two is price—with a sticker of $49,950 including destination, the Genesis was more than $8,000 less than the Lexus’ MSRP of $58,794. (It should be noted, however, we tested the Lexus as a used CPO unit with 7,000 miles on the odometer and an estimated market price ranging from $47,527 to $51,314.) So, would you rather have a new Hyundai or a near-new Lexus—perhaps it would boil down your personal choice of the badge on your car.
Equipped with a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 mated to an 8-speed transmission, the Genesis didn’t lack for power or a smooth, seamless ride. A V8 is available, but for the most part, like in the GS 350, the 6-cylinder powerplant is more than enough and in the process delivers decent fuel economy for a car offering full-size space and comfort. On a few city-intensive stints, our worst mileage was around 18 mpg, but for the most part it hovered consistently in the 20-23 mpg range, pretty much spot on with the 22 mpg combined EPA rating. On longer freeway cruises, like several road trips to Las Vegas, we netted nearly 25 mpg, still well below the official 29 mpg highway rating for the car.
Longer service intervals (oil changes are recommended at 7,500 miles) meant fewer trips to the dealer. We had one service call over the year for scheduled maintenance that cost $31.95 for an oil change. There was also a recall on the car’s tires which were replaced at no charge. The original fitments (Hankook P245/45R18 tires) were swapped out for Michelins. Hyundai originally responded with a service bulletin for the free swap to address owner complaints of tire vibration and noise and changed to a full recall when some tires were found to have developed cracks on the inner sidewalls. However, we never experienced any of the noise or vibration issues and the fact that Hyundai was quick to respond to consumer complaints bodes well for the level of service buyers can expect from the new Genesis division.
Other than the tire replacement, we covered nearly 16,000 miles with no major issues. There was much to like about the Genesis, from its ease of operation thanks to intuitive and redundant controls, to the safety provided by its blind-spot-warning and park-assist systems which operated with an unobtrusiveness that alerted you without alarming you. Comfort and convenience is one of the car’s calling cards, and its generous trunk with a lid that would automatically open when you approached was quite useful.
The bottom line
The handsome Genesis 3.8 may not be the flagship of Hyundai’s lineup (that has been left to both the V8 version and the Equus), but it definitely has done a tremendous job of building the automaker’s image. It offers Lexus-like quality and comfort with the bonus of a long warranty (5 years/60,000-mile overall and 10 years/100,000-mile powertrain) and a lower sticker price. In assessing the car’s resale value, the Kelley Blue Book price range for our test car, which is in good to excellent shape with minimal wear, is $37,830 to $38,627 on the private sale market and from $34,495 to $35,261 in dealer trade-in value. A similarly equipped Lexus is about $2,250-$2,500 higher, but also remember that it costs about $8,000 more when new. Just as the original Lexus appealed to buyers seeking high feature content, good quality and reliability at an affordable price, Hyundai is following the same playbook on its way to establishing itself as true luxury player.