2015 Hyundai Genesis Review & Road Test: Is This the Best Used Luxury Car For the Money?

The Hyundai Genesis is an affordable, sensible alternative to upscale flagship German luxury sedans. Or is it? This 2015 model with 24.5k miles will run you about $31k in the used car market. Is it everything it promises to be, does it really save you a ton of dough while offering all the same luxuries as its German rivals? Furthermore, how has it held up over the years and will it make a good used car? Let’s find out! Here is my review and road test of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis

The Specs

-5.0 liter V8 Engine / (*3.8 liter V6 also offered in 2015)
-8 speed shiftable automatic
-420 Horsepower, 383 ft. lb. torque
-MPG: 15 city / 23 highway
-Drivetrain: RWD
-Curb Weight: 4,541 lbs.
-Cargo capacity: 15.3 cu ft.
-Seats: 5

This 2015 model we tested is powered by a 5.0 liter V8 engine, paired with an 8 speed dual clutch automatic transmission. When working in perfect harmony they deliver 420 horsepower and 383 ft lbs of torque. Pretty impressive from the company that brought you the Veloster! What’s not impressive however, is the archaic fuel economy. At 15 mpg city, 23 highway, you might want to look elsewhere if spending less time at the pump is a priority. Fortunately, the 2015 model year did also offer the Genesis with a more reasonable 3.8 liter V6, achieving a more sensible 18city/29hwy while producing a conservative 311 horsepower.

First Impressions

Getting into this gently used Genesis car I already know I’m getting into something just a little special and well loved. This ain’t your grampappy’s Sonata! Im swaddled in amazing new technology right at my fingertips, some fancy looking wood trim and very comfortable leather seats. Of course the seats are fully power adjustable with memory for two. The seats are also ventilated for heat and air conditioning. Until you’ve had cold air blowing right up into your nethers directly from the seat in which you sit, you haven’t lived.

Another of my favorite interior features is the oversized panoramic moonroof. Every car should have one of these. The Genesis’ happens to be one of the biggest I’ve seen. Good on ya, Genesis.

The tech in this car is quite impressive and is focused on mainly safety features and visibility. The car features a variety of systems from stereophonic parking sensors and blind spot monitoring to lane diversion warnings, lane assist and autonomous emergency braking (which I was too chicken to try out!). I am yet to grow accustomed to all these new fangled systems, and the incessant beeping is simply obnoxious. Fortunately it can be turned off. Matter of fact, I turned off most of these systems during the drive so I can focus on the the car’s performance and handling. Again, I still have one foot in the old school world of driving…also I use my mirrors.

What does impress me is the satellite navigation and its ease of use. A cross between BMW’s iDrive system paired with a tactile and intuitive touchscreen, I find myself really taking advantage of the sat nav while driving this car.

Yeah, but is it good looking?

As I have waxed fanatic about Hyundai’s kid brother Kia in recent past, South Korea’s automotive designers have really stepped up their game over the last few years. I can shamelessly say this Hyundai Genesis is stunning. Gone are the days of the “poor man’s S-Class” look. This car is handsome, sharp looking with clean, well proportioned lines. This 2015 model still looks fresh, and I firmly believe its design will continue to age well and stand the test of time.

Why Hide, Hyundai? Why Hide Hyundai?

Before we move on to the test drive, I must address a small elephant in the room. I don’t fully understand why Hyundai chooses to disassociate their own brand from their higher end luxury and performance vehicles like the Genesis sedan and coupe. You don’t see the word Hyundai anywhere on this entire car, nor do you see the italic H logo thing. All you get is the more elite Genesis badge betwixt its signature wings, (which is also the basis behind the entire car’s design.) I mean I sort of get it. Hyundai’s status level, or lack thereof, is far below the cars that this Genesis is going after; your Audi A8, BMW 7, Mercedes S, etc. In order to compete, The Genesis must step out from the shadows of the big italic H, literally take wing and fly solo. But something about this bothers me. It’s not so much that I feel Hyundai is being misleading. It’s just…well If I were Hyundai and I built this car, I’d be proud. I’d want to slap the badge all over the place and say yeah that’s right, this is a friggin Hyundai!

In 2017, Hyundai did indeed take it one step further by finally making Genesis Motors an official luxury subsidiary brand. Like Lexus to Toyota, like Acura to Honda, Hyundai will now be marketing its flagship luxury cars strictly under the Genesis badge. The “Hyundai Genesis” we reviewed was replaced by the “Genesis G80”. It is now joined by an even larger G90, and coming in 2018 a compact, sporty G70.

The Test Drive

This car’s 5.0 V8 really comes to life in a straight line, especially when in Sport mode. The screaming motor rewards you for your wise financial choice. It is a blast to accelerate from 0, and the car really does feel confident at all speeds, smooth and steady on highways and very controllable on winding surface roads. Solid. Confident. Driver’s Car.

The car’s 8 speed dual clutch automatic is fairly intuitive when shifted manually via paddle shifters. Being a V8, I felt connected enough to the engine to know when it was time to shift gears. Manual mode does a nice job of giving you, at least the illusion that you’re in control. Upshifting is sporty, smooth and quite fun. But slightly jerkier downshifts do give me the impression that I’m doing something wrong. I’m not doing anything wrong! Perhaps it is best to simply brake, and let the car downshift itself, even when in manual mode.

Hyundai spared no expense with sound deadening. It is dead quiet in the Genesis’ cabin. I feel isolated, alone, at peace. As I’d mentioned, the connection to the V8 engine is mostly in feel, rumble and G-force. The times when I can hear the Genesis’ 8 cylinders is when I floor it. This juvenile activity is probably something I would do more often than not, had I owned this car.

But at 23 mpg highway and 15 mpg city, that’s probably not the most efficient use of energy. Despite this car having many state of the art features, the gas mileage is less than impressive, with other car companies boasting new innovations in engine design that improve efficiency without sacrificing power, this 5.0 liter V8 gas guzzler just seems like it’s from the dark ages… But it really is a lot of fun.

One quip I do have about the drive of this car is the suspension. It’s not plush enough to be luxurious and it’s not firm enough to be sporty. Unlike some other luxury cars that simply sweep you off your feet and glide you down the street like marshmallow, this car’s suspension adds nothing to the luxury element of this car. But it’s also not quite firm enough to give me the confidence I need to handle corners like a sports car. It’s just…bumpy….plastic. Which is a shame, because a well tuned suspension would really pair well with this car’s fantastic V8 engine.

Lasting Impressions

This car’s purpose in life is to be a slightly more affordable option within the full size luxury segment. Save for what feels like a cheaper suspension setup and a few minor details and cheaper interior materials here and there, you really do get most of the luxury amenities that you expect in a flagship Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, at a fraction of the cost. And if the Genesis is anything like its younger siblings, Sonata, Elantra et al, your maintenance costs will be a fraction of that of its German rivals. Which begs the question, what are you really missing when you buy one of these, instead of one of those? Besides status Of course?

It’s a mighty smooth and powerful engine and I very much enjoy its confident V8 acceleration and torque, especially when in sport mode. But at 23 hwy, 15 city, those numbers are neither efficient nor state of the art. I’m not so sure the straight line acceleration is worth the added fuel costs. So if power is not high up on your priority list, and a 2015 Genesis you seek, the smaller V6 would I recommend.

I must compare the Hyundai Genesis and its features to the latest active suspension technology coming from Audi, or the start/stop function and gas saving technologies coming from BMW. Both cars are more expensive but offer a more sophisticated ride and better fuel efficiency. When you step inside a real luxury car, you can actually tell the difference. There is more than just status at stake here. There are indeed some cheaper elements to this cheaper car, and I feel like it will always be one step behind the Germans. Again, these are things you will have to overlook if you want to save money on purchase prince and maintenance costs.

But besides all that, this car really does have it all… and it’s stunningly beautiful.

As a Used car, this 2015 model with 24k miles still drives like new and holds together nicely. Nothing gives me the impression that it’s falling apart or needs to be replaced.
Yes, there are some cheaper items here and there but nothing that is detrimental to the car aging well. Again, Hyundais are famously reliable drivers, and the materials they reserved for this flagship Genesis means it will stay young and healthy for years to come. It’s held up well and I definitely think it makes a great used car.

So, Had I The Money….

…and wanted high end luxury at an affordable price, would i buy one? No. It’s a Hyundai, I just can’t do it. Cars aren’t about status to me, but I do have brand loyalty. There are reasons I like the cars that I like, and Hyundai just doesn’t check off enough boxes for me, If I was looking for reasonably priced, reliable use luxury, for the same price or less I can find a fully loaded Volvo S60 T6. Better yet, for a lot less money I could seek out a well maintained e39 BMW 5-Series which are famously good. Maintenance might be slightly higher on those brands, but with the 2015 Hyundai Genesis’ poor fuel economy, you’re just going to be dumping at the pump anyway.

What are your thoughts?