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    First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Genesis


    • Hyundai Genesis, Take 2.. and Action


    To say Hyundai grabbed everyone’s attention when they launched the Genesis at the 2008 North American International Auto Show is a true understatement. Here was a model that came with rear-wheel drive, a choice of either a V6 or V8 engine, many luxury appointments and features, and the value the company was known for. The Genesis left many wondering what the devil the company was doing, but Hyundai had a plan. The Genesis was a model they thought would not only bring new people into the Hyundai fold; it would raise the allure of the brand. That’s just what the model did. Consider this: In 2009 when Genesis was on sale for a full year, Hyundai sold 13,604 Genesis models. In 2013, that number rose to 19,804, an increase of 46 percent.

    Now enter the 2015 Genesis. The second-generation models builds on what the first has done with improvements to theinterior, powertrain, chassis, and refinement. But Hyundai also has bigger ambitions as well with this model. During the presentation at the Detroit Media Preview, Hyundai named the likes of the BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class as competitors to the Genesis. Big names to say in the least. Does the Genesis have what it takes? Read on.

    The 2015 Genesis is the first model in Hyundai’s lineup to introduce their latest design language named Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 which basically boils down to the design being a bit more restrained and losing a bit of the curvy-ness that the company was known for. Despite the loss in curves, the 2015 Genesis still seems to stand out. Cues such as the large, hexagonal grille up front; a choice of eighteen or nineteen-inch wheels, LED lighting along the outer edges of the headlights, and chrome exhaust tips give the 2015 model an identity. The same cannot be said for the first-generation Genesis. Overall length has increased to 196.5 inches, which allowed Hyundai’s designers to give the model a bit more aggressiveness by sharply raking the roofline at the rear to give a somewhat of a fastback shape. After seeing the Genesis in person, I can say for the most part that I like the design. My only problem is the front with the large grille. It makes the Genesis look too comical.

    2015 Hyundai Genesis 2

    Moving inside, the 2015 Genesis’ interior has been fully changed. The dash is logically laid out and controls are within easy reach of the driver and passenger. Materials are top notch with leather on the seats, an abundance of soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels, and real aluminum and wood trim. Seats offer a nice balance of comfort and support, along with twelve-way power adjustments. The seats were so comfortable in fact, my drive partner was falling asleep during the drive. Back seat passengers will be impressed by the amount of head and legroom on offer. Hyundai says the Genesis has more cubic feet of interior room than just about anything in the class.

    2015 Hyundai Genesis 10

    On the technology front, all Genesis models come with eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, a 4.3-inch color screen in the instrument cluster providing trip computer info, BlueLink telematics, and what the company calls Smart Trunk. Smart Trunk is where you stand near the back of the vehicle with the proximity key on you and within three seconds, the trunk will automatically open. Now before you think that the trunk will open up whenever you are near the vehicle, Hyundai says you have to have the vehicle locked and away from it for fifteen seconds before you can use this feature. Options include a 9.2 HD touchscreen, head-up display, and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system.

    Powertrains carry over from the last-generation model, but have received a number of tweaks to improve drivability. The 3.8 V6 now makes 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque, while the 5.0L V8 makes 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. An updated eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission for both engines. New for this generation is HTRAC all-wheel drive. The system which was developed in-house by Hyundai utilizes an electronic variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between both the front and rear axles. The system normally operates at a 40/60 split, but can send up to 90 percent of power to either the front or rear axle. The system is available on the V6 only.

    Alright, enough about the details on the 2015 Genesis. Lets take a drive.


    Even though the 2015 Genesis weighs more than the outgoing model (4,138 lbs for the V6, 4,295 lbs for the V6 HTRAC, and 4,541 lbs for the V8), both engines are up to task of moving the vehicle at a brisk rate. The V8 produces a nice growl when you step on it and power comes very effortlessly. However the V6 engine is the sweet spot as feels just as powerful as the eight and gets better fuel economy overall. During the drive loops, I recorded an average 22 MPG in the V8, while the V6 with HTRAC AWD system got 25 MPG. The eight-speed showed the same characteristics as in theEquus I drove last year; smooth and quick shifts up and down the eight speeds. As for the all-wheel drive system, I couldn’t say if it improved handling or not. I’ll need to spend some more time with a Genesis to find out.

    2015 Hyundai Genesis 9

    Under the skin is a stronger structure with high-strength steel used throughout, revised multilink suspension front and rear, new variable-ratio, electric power-assist steering, and an optional continuous damping control system on the V8. What this means is that the Genesis is one of the first Hyundai models that actually drives pretty well. Both models showed no body roll and stability when pushed into corners, while steering provided good feel and weight. Now I can’t say whether it's as good to drive as a BMW 5-Series or Cadillac CTS till I drive either one. What I can say is compared to past Hyundais, the Genesis shows signs of improvement. Now all of those changes I talked about which improving the driving dynamics also help in thecomfort and quiet department. The Genesis’ suspension setup was able to soak up potholes and imperfections like they were nothing. Wind and road noise were kept to a minimum.

    Now onto the price tag. Hyundai has bumped the price of the 2015 Genesis by $2,500. So the base Genesis with the 3.8 V6 will now cost $38,000 (not including a $950 destination charge). That price increase nets you more standard features such as navigation, backup camera, Hyundai’s BlueLink Telematics, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, and much more.

    With the first-generation Genesis, Hyundai made a statement of intent. The brand who was known for the Pony and the 10 Year/100,000 Mile warranty wanted to show that it could reach higher and become something to aspire to. With the second-generation Genesis, Hyundai begins to solidify that.

    2015 Hyundai Genesis 6

    Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the vehicles and a lunch during this first drive event.

    Year: 2015

    Make: Hyundai

    Model: Genesis

    Engines: 3.8L V6 (311 Horsepower, 293 Pound-Feet of Torque), 5.0L V8 (420 Horsepower, 383 Pound-Feet of Torque)

    Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, All-Wheel Drive

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/29/22 (3.8L V6 RWD), 16/25/19 (3.8L V6 AWD), 15/23/18 (5.0L V8 RWD)

    Curb Weight: 4,138 lbs (3.8L V6 RWD), 4,295 (3.8L V6 AWD), 4,541 lbs (5.0L V8 RWD)

    Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea

    Base Price: $38,950 (3.8L V6 RWD), $41,450 (3.8L V6 AWD), $52,450 (5.0L V8 RWD) (Includes a $950 destination charge)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice write up, I find the interior very boring and dull, exterior is conservative but easy on the eyes till you see the Billy Big Mouth Bass grill in front. WOW :o They need to change that. Engines are just not impressive, heavy decent horsepower with little torque. Just proof that Dual Over Head Cam Engines are very over rated.

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    Hyundai desperately wants this to compete with the S-Class... and it simply doesn't.

    Besides... if that's the case, then what is the Equus for?

    Hyundai isn't trying to compete with the S-Class with Genesis at all. The E-Class is one of the main competitors.

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    Eh... in my interactions with Hyundai reps... they specifically mention S-Class.

    Those reps either got the Genesis confused with the Equus -- like you mentioned above -- or they don't know crap about the company they're paid to promote.

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    I don't like the new front end, but I think the interior looks nice on this car. The car is still a good value, $40k gets you a lot of equipment and a 311 hp V6, $50k gets you a V8 and the Infiniti Q50, Acura RLX, Lexus GS, CTS/XTS and Lincolns have a V6. So if you compare the Genesis to those, it does still give pretty good bang for the buck.

    The Genesis is a big car though, it is about 5-8 inches longer than cars like the E-class and Q50, and it is a heavy car too. So you can't really say the Genesis competes directly with them it isn't a sporty car, it is more of a big luxury car. The Genesis I think on size, price and features compares more to an XTS or RLX, maybe Infiniti Q-whatever number the M37 is now.

    Genesis or Equus definitely not competing with the S-class. The S-class outsells the 7-series, LS460 and A8 combined and all 3 have base prices about $20k less than the S-class. Very few cars in any segment can outsell the next 3 closest competitors combined. What the S-class does would be like the Camry selling 70,000 cars per month at a $5,000 premium over the Accord, Fusion and Altima.

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    Yes, the Genesis is a BIG CAR. The Equus is meant to take on the S-Class (albeit not that well). Then again, the Genesis does compare very favorably to the large FWD luxury sedans these days.

    One Q: are the Genesis sedan and the 300/Charger twins competitors, or are the twins in a totally different market?

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    Yes, the Genesis is a BIG CAR. The Equus is meant to take on the S-Class (albeit not that well). Then again, the Genesis does compare very favorably to the large FWD luxury sedans these days.

    One Q: are the Genesis sedan and the 300/Charger twins competitors, or are the twins in a totally different market?

    I believe the 300 competes with the Genesis, but not the charger.

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    I actually liked the Kia K900 better. It feels more premium than the Hyundai. It would be the super-luxury car I would choose if I was trying to buy something on the company account that wouldn't upset the shareholders.

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      Nissan worked on making the 2017 Pathfinder look a bit more SUV-like. The front end gets a new hood and bumper to make it look somewhat wider. Around back, the tailgate and taillights have been reshaped. Here is the thing, you’ll have to look closely to spot the changes. If you were to park a 2016 and 2017 Pathfinder next to each other and ask someone to point out the differences, the only thing they would likely spot is the new grille. The Pathfinder’s interior hasn’t changed much and that isn’t a bad thing. Materials used in the Platinum are for the most part very good for the class. There is plenty of soft-touch materials on the door panels and console.  But Nissan loses some points for the materials used for the dashboard and the surround for center stack. It might look like something soft. But it is hard when pressed. This would be ok if it was the SL and lower trims, not in the top Platinum trim. The center stack is very easy to understand thanks to a simple layout and the use of buttons and knobs. Glad to see Nissan has added their latest version of NissanConnect to the Pathfinder. I really liked this system when I drove the Murano and Maxima last year with a modern interface and being very easy to use. Second-row seating is towards the top of the class with a large amount of head and legroom. Also, the second-row seat is very flexible. The seat can tip forward to allow for easy access to the third row. If you’re wondering, the third row is best reserved for small kids. The 3.5L V6 has been tweaked to produce 284 horsepower (up 24) and 259 pound-feet of torque (up 19). The improvements in power do make a big difference. Compared to the last Pathfinder I drove back in 2013, the updated V6 feels a bit more energetic to get up to speed. Although, the V6 does sound somewhat unrefined when you step on it. Nissan made some changes to the chassis to improve body control and ride. Such changes include revised spring rates, stiffer shocks, and improved steering system. The changes make the Pathfinder feel more stable on stable on the road, especially in corners. At the event, Nissan announced pricing for the 2017 Pathfinder. The base S two-wheel drive begins at $30,890 and climbs to $44,460 for the Platinum 4WD. (Prices include a $900 destination charge) Nissan has made some noticeable improvements for the Pathfinder. But even with these improvements, I can’t think of a reason of why I would pick the Pathfinder over the Kia Sorento, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, and Mazda CX-9. The Pathfinder is good, but competitors at the moment do it better. 2017 Nissan Armada
      There isn’t really much difference between the new Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80 aside from different front ends. Both are very polarizing in terms of their overall looks, but I would say the Armada is slightly more tasteful. The interior is a huge improvement over the old Armada. A new dashboard, noticeable improvements in terms of materials, and bits of style strewed about make for a pleasant experience. Yes, there are a fair amount of interior bits from the QX80 in the Armada’s interior, but it doesn’t feel out of place. Most Armadas will feature seating for eight people. The Platinum which was the model I drove features seating for seven (captain chairs in the second row). Sitting in the second row is quite comfortable with a large amount of head and legroom. The Platinum’s second row also features a removable center console that adds more storage. The third-row seat is best left for small kids. Adults will complain that they don’t have any legroom. The standard equipment list is quite generous with all models featuring push-button start, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and navigation.  Speaking about the navigation, I think Nissan made a massive oversight. Unlike the Pathfinder which boasts the latest generation of Nissan Connect, the Armada features a system from the late-oughts. The graphics look quite dated and it doesn’t feature any of Nissan’s latest technologies such as the NissanConnect telematic services. Power comes from a new 5.6L Endurance V8 with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The V8 has more than enough grunt to leave a stop light in decent time and makes a passing a breeze. It doesn’t hurt the V8 has a nice growl during acceleration. The automatic seems quite smart with shift points and gear changes are very smooth. One item we’ll be looking at closely whenever we get in an Armada for testing is fuel economy. The Armada Platinum AWD is rated at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. The last Armada we drove in 2014 only got an average of 12 mpg. The ride is very pleasant with bumps being smothered. This is impressive when you consider the Platinum is riding on 20-inch wheels. Nissan also worked on the Armada very quiet. On the freeway, barely any wind noise came in. Some road noise made its way inside, but that is likely due to the large wheels. Somewhat surprising is how the Armada felt in the corners. There was little body roll which is impressive for a seven-seat SUV. Not so impressive is the steering; it feels quite light when turning and there isn’t any feel.  The Armada starts at $45,395 for the base SV 2WD and climbs to $60,985 for the Platinum AWD Think of the 2017 Nissan Armada as an Infiniti QX80 with a significant price cut. There are a lot of improvements for this SUV that might make it an interesting alternative to the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and Ford Expedition. 2017 Nissan Titan
      Finally! Nissan has brought out the half-ton Titan. There isn’t any difference in terms of looks between the standard Titan and the Titan XD. The only real difference comes in size: Titan is about 14.7 inches shorter in terms of overall length and its wheelbase is about a foot shorter. Still looks like an older F-150 to me in the front. Everywhere else, the Titan does have some unique touches such black and silver wheels for the Pro-4X, and a large chrome bar on the tailgate of the top Platinum Reserve. The Titan will be offered in regular and king (Nissan-speak for extended) cabs. Sadly, Nissan didn’t have a regular cab Titan to look at in person. The interior might not be anything special in terms of looks, but build and material quality are excellent. Dash layout is a bit button-heavy, but most controls are arranged in a logical fashion. All Titans feature a touchscreen infotainment system, either 5 or 7-inches. The trucks available for us to drive came with a larger 7-inch screen. I’m not a fan of the NissanConnect system used in the Titan and Titan XD for a number of reasons: the interface is looking somewhat old despite being one of the newer systems on the market and having issues with devices plugged in via USB. One area that the Titan shares with the XD is comfort. The front bucket seats provide excellent levels of comfort and support. The backseat is quite spacious with plenty of head and legroom for most passengers.  A storage bin under the back seats provides a handy space for storing tool and other random bits. A clever trick that the bins offer is the ability for the lid to flip out and provide a flat surface for carrying large items in the back. Powering the Titan for the time-being is a 5.6L Endurance V8 with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A V6 is coming, but Nissan isn’t talking details about it at the moment. The V8 moves the Titan with authority, although it takes a moment for the throttle to realize that your foot is on the gas before anything happens. Provides a nice growl during acceleration and doesn’t show any signs of harshness. The seven-speed automatic provides smooth gear changes, although it does take its sweet time to downshift in certain maneuvers such as passing. During the short drive loop, the Titan provided a smooth and relaxing ride. One area that Nissan might want to do some more work is in noise isolation. I found a fair amount of road noise coming into the cabin. Handling is quite surprising for a truck. The Titan felt planted around corners and showed no sign of body roll. Steering is where the Titan really shined as it felt connected to the road and had the right amount of heft. This is due to Nissan using a rack-and-pinion setup, not a recirculating ball steering system in the XD. Pricing for the Titan starts at $35,975 for the base S 2WD Crew to $56,595 for the Platinum Reserve 4WD. Prices for the crew cabs are on the high side and that is making us wonder how much the regular and king cabs will start at. Nissan is making progress with the 2017 Titan in a number of key areas. But we have to wonder if the slow rollout that Nissan is doing with the Titan is actually hurting them. Consider that when other truck manufacturers launch a pickup, they have a number of cab and bed variants ready to go, along with a range of engines. The Titan only has one cab, bed, and engine at the moment. The regular cab goes on sale this fall, but the King Cab and V6 aren’t due till later. This could put Nissan and the Titan in a difficult spot. Author's Note: Cheers & Gears would like to thank Nissan for inviting us to this first drive event. 

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