By Tony West and Jamar Lee
I can still remember my friend’s Hyundai Sonata from senior year of High School. A lot has changed since 1998. In the last few years though, Hyundai has grown leaps and bounds with their mid-size and full-sized luxury cars. U.R. Flair got the first peek at the 2011 Hyundai Equus at the Chicago Auto Show last year and we were impressed with Hyundai then. Now the 2012 Hyundai Genesis and the 2012 Sonata are in a class by themselves. Hyundai has done a wonderful job making luxury affordable-more affordable than Lexus,Toyota, and Nissan’s luxury brands.
I tried to test the 2012 Hyundai Genesis with no preconceived notions, but I couldn’t help how impressed I was at how much Hyundai changed their interior, the technology, and their look to capture a more affluent consumer. For $35,000 the Genesis is about a 6 on exterior attractiveness, but the inside is more like a 7 ½ or an 8. The base Genesis comes with leather and chrome interior, heated power seats, and satellite radio. Additional options include a sunroof, navigation, heated rear seats, and other safety technology like the Lane Departure Warning System. When it’s illuminated, the spacious interior is just plain sexy. That’s when I forgot all the jokes I used to make about my friend’s old Hyundai. Then I sped off.
The ride in the Genesis is surprisingly smooth because of its revamped suspension system. Instead of feeling every pot hole I ride over, the cabin remains quiet and steady. The 2012 Hyundai Genesis also maneuvers much better steering hard corners and braking. There’s also more power in the Genesis. The base Genesis comes with a 3.8 liter V6 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Accelerating to 60mph takes about 5 seconds and feels more powerful. The new Genesis also has better stamina at 19mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
My biggest kudos for Hyundai is that weeks later, my friends still ask me, “what was that gold car you were driving called, that was real nice?”