Critics’ Notebook: 2016 Hyundai Genesis

Redolent of near-luxury.

2017 Hyundai Genesis
Brett Berk/TheDrive.com

I’m not a Hyundai person. I think I drove one, once, and though I don't necessarily dislike what they're serving—though until recently the design has struck me as a combination of derivative and overwrought—it's clear they're making cars for "the average person" and I'm just not inclined to find that segment very interesting. (I'm fortunate enough to focus most of my energies on vehicles befitting a fabulous bitch.) To that end, the new Hyundai Genesis is not fabulous. But it is above average, so much so that the Korean marque plans to spin the nameplate off into a separate, entry-level luxury brand. Entry-level luxury is an oxymoron, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who purchases a vehicle in this category is a moron or addicted to Oxy. I liked Oxy the few times I tried it—it delivers a placid feeling, though it does tend to make me a bit itchy. The same can be said of the new Genesis.

The leather is a huge upgrade from the squirrel skin in the other, earlier Hyundai I drove. The interior is uncluttered in a decidedly Audi-circa-2008 manner. The exterior has doors for ingress and egress, and that’s about the extent of the styling. I would buy this car instead of any Lincoln, though I'm not sure that's saying much, as I would buy a Trabant or a Southwest Airlines ticket to Albany instead of a Lincoln. If the competitive set were widened to include Buick, Acura, and Infiniti, my decision would be more difficult.

The Hyundai Genesis is a lot of car for the money. Maybe that’s what near-luxury means.

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2016 Hyundai Genesis
Price (as tested): $44,700
Powertrain: 3.8-liter V-6, 311 hp / 293 lb-ft, 8-speed automatic transmission
0-60: 5.9 seconds
Proximity to Luxury: Nearish