Hyundai Genesis Ultimate is Hyundai’s finest effort in luxury
Name: Hyundai Genesis Ultimate
Engine: 3778cc petrol V6, 232kW@6000rpm and 397Nm @ 5000rpm
Price: $82,000 plus on road costs
Country of origin: Korea
The Hyundai Genesis theoretically finds itself in a more comfortable position than ever before, with main rival Holden Caprice soon to go out of production, both private and commercial buyers need to seek out an alternative that is similar in size to the Caprice, but without the price tags associated with long-wheelbase Europeans.
The base model Hyundai Genesis partially fills this brief – it’s around $60k and has ample interior space – but it can’t match the Aussie on legroom, performance and standard equipment.
There are two other offerings in the Genesis range, should the base model seem too, well basic: the mid-range Genesis Sensory and the ambitiously named Hyundai Genesis Ultimate, as tested here.
The Hyundai Genesis takes every luxury, safety and technological weapon – bar automated parking, yet the Santa Fe Highlander is fitted with this as standard – from Hyundai’s artillery and crams it all into one almost sinister (in the case of our test car) package.
And the price? Well, we hope you’re sitting down when you’re reading this, because the Hyundai Genesis is priced from $82,000 plus on road costs. Yes, $82,000 for a Hyundai.
Customers do get quite a lot of equipment for their money though: there’s a 360 degree camera system with a huge array of settings, rear cross-traffic alert, emergency braking, heads up display, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled seats and sunblinds for the rear passengers.
The basic interior is the same as the base Genesis: a choice of grey and cream interiors (grey) on our test car with glitter infused (don’t ask) woodgrain inlays throughout the cabin.
Yet, there’s a stately feel about the place. The Genesis feels like a car for important people, which is very important in this class. The layout is fairly logical and there are some aspects of the interior that are exceptional. The air conditioning and climate control for instance, are excellent. So good in fact, the air conditioning managed to make a 40 degree summer’s day in Melbourne feel almost insignificant.
The cooled front seats also helped insulate against the heat. These mightn’t sound like big ticket items, but they do highlight the fundamental quality behind the Genesis’ engineering.
The seats themselves are firm and supportive, but they’re not what plush. The leather was supple and of good quality.
A heads up display (HUD) system is standard, and offers drivers a number of different options, the most interesting and helpful feature was that it could project blind spot monitoring information, something we have yet to encounter on another car.
A 360 degree camera system is standard on the Genesis Ultimate and we were impressed by both the system’s ease of use and picture clarity. The system offer’s the driver a number of different angles to assist with parking and negotiating tight spaces – at 4990mm long and 1890 width the Genesis Ultimate isn’t what you’d call small – and the system is helpful and intuitive, and prestige manufacturers such a Land Rover could learn a thing or two from Hyundai is this area.
Large limousines are all about comfort and space. The Genesis Ultimate has comfort under its belt, but rear legroom is slightly underwhelming if you’re sitting behind someone who is around 6ft. It’s by no means cramped, but you can’t exactly recline and lounge about either.
However, should you be sitting behind a vacant front passenger seat – or perhaps you want to simply annoy front seat passengers, there are controls mounted on the chair so that rear passengers can move it forward appropriately.
Propulsion is provided by the same 3.8 litre petrol V6 found in the rest of the Hyundai Genesis range. The engine makes for 232kW@6000rpm and 397Nm @ 5000rpm. As mentioned in our previous Genesis review, the engine is quiet, refined and smooth, but a little too peaky for this class of car.
Hyundai’s eight-speed shifts quickly and seamlessly, and should you or your chauffeur be feeling a little cheeky, there are gear selecting paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
Average fuel consumption is a claimed 11.2 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. We managed a combined figure of 12.5 litres per 100 kilometres, commendable considering the car’s size.
The Genesis Ultimate’s drive experience is much the same as the base model – big, solid, firm but well-sorted ride. It does, lack the light and effortless driving experience of rivals such as the brilliant Volvo S90 (more on this later) and the dynamism and driving pleasure of the Holden Caprice.
So all in all the Hyundai Genesis Ultimate is a good car then. Well, yes, it is. But the Genesis Ultimate has two major faults: firstly, the price. People are going to find it incredibly difficult to spend in excess of $80,000 on a Hyundai.
Secondly, the Volvo S90 in Momentum trim is essentially the same price has similar equipment levels – and even has autopilot – and has slightly more badge cache, along with better economy – although it loses out on performance – more rear legroom, a more beautiful interior and a driving experience that is befitting of a luxury car.
The Hyundai Genesis Ultimate is covered by Hyundai’s five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.