By: Joey Redmond
Photo: Ricky Cervantes/Joey Redmond

The Hyundai Genesis sedan is everything you never thought Hyundai could be packed into one affordable luxury sedan. I had a week to take around the V6 model that starts at $33,000 MSRP. On top of the great value this car was the 2009 North American Car of the Year marking the first time in history this award would be given to the automaker Hyundai.

The exterior at first glance has the look of an S-class Mercedes-Benz with its long headlights and tall chrome grill in the center. The White Satin Pearl finish really made the car stand out like a true European luxury sedan.

Gazing at the car from the rear as I stood out on the Pacific Coastal Highway I almost feel like some BMW inspiration possibly came out in crafting the rear end. A set of big and brash taillights send a statement to all people stuck behind it in the traffic. A nice dual exhaust system comes out the back even on the V6 model. The car at startup sounds amazing with the windows down and with a quick closing of the windows you can barely tell the car is turned on.

When you walk up to the car the doors have a single button touch to lock and unlock the doors as long as your have your proximity key in your pocket or close by the car door. Once inside the car starts with a push button start just to the right of the steering wheel while the car greets you from the navigation unit.

The disc changer actually allows you to play DVD’s when the car is in park. Quite a few factory DVD/navigation systems don’t actually have the technology or capability to let you do this so it was a nice treat. During our road trip nobody wanted to drive so we put in some Entourage and enjoyed a couple episodes before heading down the road to our final destination.

The Lexicon 7.1 Dolby Digital System gave the show a better sound experience than my home entertainment system or the local movie theater that floored everyone in the car as we watched some episodes. When listening to some music you could hear some quality but nothing like watching a film in the car. You might find yourself sitting in the driveway for Netflix date nights after you purchase this car.

While on the navigation system it does feature XM NavTraffic that rerouted us around some typical Los Angeles construction/traffic saving us hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic you would expect to sit in on a daily basis from construction and drunken idiots crashing at 3:00pm in the afternoon.

The whole unit is controlled by a driver information system that looks like the i-drive unit from a BMW. While the functionality and buttons are not quite the same you spin and depress the wheel to perform actions with your telephone, navigation, and full radio features.

Inside the center armrest you will find a 12v power outlet accompanied by a USB and AUX outlet ready for iPod’s and other audio devices you might own. The center armrest has quite a bit of storage and is big enough to share it with your passenger. You won’t need to be elbow wrestling the other executives in your company on those long two-hour lunches you take.

The back seat has some serious space and can realistically pack in two full-grown adults with no problems. Your passenger shouldn’t even need to scoot forward to accommodate for a passenger sitting behind them. In case you have some curious little kids piled in the back seat the rear windows do have a “pinch protection” which stops the window from going up if it encounters any resistance.

The gauge cluster has an older S-class inspiration that I just couldn’t get enough of while driving it. All these luxury cars want to do these days is cram technology, floating digital gauges and messages at you while driving but the Genesis keeps a simple yet elegant look to its gauge setup.

All and all my favorite feature of the car is by far the AUTO HOLD button which can be found to the left of the steering wheel. When it is on a green light appears on the dash with the same words letting you know the system is active. When you come to a complete stop anywhere for any reason that green light will turn white that means you can let off the gas pedal. The car holds itself in place until you depress the gas pedal regardless if you’re on a hill or sitting in traffic. This feature comes especially when you find yourself in traffic it is nice to give your leg a rest.

While the V6 model only make 290hp the pick-up of the car never seems to feel that sluggish. While your not feeling the neck snapping power of a performance car it has enough to get you through the daily commute in the left lane. A nice note about the V6 setup is the car does take 87-octane gasoline, which is hard to find these days in the large luxury car market.

Throughout the week we took this car to the hottest climates in the United States and some of the most fun climates and I was never ready to hand the keys back to Hyundai. If you are in the E350 or 550i market shopping around you need to add this car to your list of items to test drive. On my way to tennis match a friend of mine even described the car as “classy” which isn’t a word you thought anyone could use as an adjective for a Hyundai. That phrase isn’t off base and for a car in the low 30’s it is not something to ignore. Do yourself a favor and go find out why this car won the North American Car of the Year.