$5,810 - $6,127

2009 Hyundai Genesis Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Hyundai Genesis was new.


Performance: 9.0

Hyundai compares the Genesis to sport sedans from the famed luxury marques of Europe and Japan. The automotive press is nearly unanimous in saying the Korean automaker got it right -- almost. The Genesis is powered by a choice of two engines, and both are probably the best Hyundai has ever built, with smooth acceleration and power in reserve. But, with a few exceptions, most reviewers say the Genesis doesn't handle like its rivals in the sport sedan market.

  • "The Genesis puts power down like a BMW and rides like a Lexus." -- Road and Track
  • "On the whole, the Genesis is a legitimate sport sedan, but it's not as agile as top performers, such as the BMW 5 Series." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Tuned more toward the luxury end of the spectrum, the Genesis' suspension offers a soft ride with respectable handling." -- Edmunds
  • "Before we buckle up, we must first invoke a temporary vocabulary-restraining order: At no time will the term luxury sports sedan be used to describe this car. At least not by us. Luxury, yes, and sedan, obviously. But sports, nope, sorry, we're putting that appellation on hold." -- Car and Driver
  • "The tuning shouldn't confuse buyers into believing the Genesis is a sports sedan. The buyer-in-the-know will realize that particular truth the first time you take a hard turn. Despite an admirable performance on Hyundai's Namyang R&D Center's ride-and-handling course, the now-stiffened Genesis still felt like it was floating through a bucket of marshmallow fluff." -- Jalopnik
  • "My heart rate was certainly above its normal level as I circled Hyundai's test track at 150 mph in a Genesis equipped with Hyundai's advanced new 375-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 engine. The big sedan was composed, predictable, and vigorous as the high banks dumped us onto the long straights and the scenery blurred. Yes, I was driving a Hyundai. What is this world coming to?" -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

With either of its available engines, the Genesis is powerful. Its V8 even outguns similar engines from BMW and Mercedes. But while many buyers will gravitate toward the smaller V6 out of fuel-efficiency concerns, its 21 mpg combined EPA rating is barely better than that of the V8. 

  • "Press the Start Engine button, and it's immediately obvious that Lexus was the primary target. The 32-valve V-8 comes to life with a discreet growl and virtually goes silent at idle. Ease your right foot onto the throttle pedal, and the ZF 6-speed automatic transmission smoothly works its way up the gears, as the car seamlessly gets to freeway speed. Even at 100 mph, things remain remarkably quiet in cabin." -- Road and Track 
  • "At a rocket-like 375 horses, the optional 4.6-liter Tau V8 packs the rails under the hood with the right figures for our taste, while the 290 HP standard 3.8-liter V6 ain't too shabby-sounding either." -- Jalopnik
  • "The new Tau V8 has more horsepower per liter than any of its V8 competitors and outperforms all V8 performance sedans with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 17 city miles per gallon and 25 highway, according to Hyundai research." -- Detroit News
  • "The DOHC 32-valve all-aluminum Tau V-8 is the most significant engineering achievement connected with the Genesis." -- Car and Driver
  • "Even the V-6 model stormed around the high-speed oval with little drama, the speedo needle swinging around to 100 mph in no time and then rising steadily to 135 mph." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "For a big luxury sedan, the Genesis is quick -- we timed the butter-smooth V8 at just 5.9 seconds for the 0-60-mph sprint and 14 seconds flat for the quarter-mile." -- Edmunds
  • "The V8 version of this sedan is much like a Korean muscle sedan -- limited handling ability but plenty of scoot. We found ourselves happier with the V6, at least in the twisty turns of the ride-and-handling course." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "We tested Genesis with both engines, but spent the most time with the V-8. Both are smooth and quiet, but the V-8 takes off like Road Runner in the cartoon, with zero-to-60 m.p.h. acceleration in 5.7 seconds versus 6.2 with the V-6." -- Chicago Tribune

Handling and Braking

Where the Genesis falls short of the lofty goals Hyundai set for the car is in the corners. The automaker compares the Genesis to some of the best sport sedans in the world, but with a few exceptions, most writers say the comparison falls apart when it comes to handling. The two models each have separate steering systems, but neither emerges as the obvious winner when reviewers test both. The big car's brakes are impressive. And while the Genesis may not handle like a Mercedes, it is a comfortable car to drive, and would meet the needs of most buyers.

  • "Of the two models, the V6 rotates easier through turns, while the V8 is more prone to push. The V8 model, on the other hand benefits from electrohydraulic steering that keeps the boost up in the tightest slaloms, while the V6's hydraulic steering can bind in quick changes of direction." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Genesis doesn't wiggle as speed builds and follows whatever line you draw for it without wobble over uneven roads." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "This car can be aimed with one finger on the wheel even at highway speeds, not that I would attempt it, but it's that effortless to drive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Turn-in is crisp, thanks in part to its solid and communicative chassis. On the tight stuff, the car exhibits slight understeer, but the rear end will hang out if you're too assertive with the throttle. Some complained about the Genesis' ESC system (Electronic Stability Control), saying it kicked in too aggressively when either the front or rear tires lost traction." -- Road and Track
  • "A well-tuned suspension" -- Edmunds
  • "The tuning shouldn't confuse buyers into believing the Genesis is a sports sedan, as we quickly found out on the grade-simulation course. The Genesis tended to float above the changing grades. And despite an admirable performance on the ride-and-handling course, the now-stiffened Genesis still felt like it was floating through a bucket of marshmallow fluff." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The Genesis made pretty smooth work of lane-change and slalom courses at Namyang, with body control well in check, but the V-6 model is let down by a disappointing lack of steering feel, an old Korean-car bugaboo. Thankfully, V-8 models have electrohydraulic power steering...which we found to provide a far clearer line of communication between the front wheels and the palms of our hands." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "But on those back roads, contoured and crinkled by Michigan winters, it was not difficult to use up all of the suspension travel, yielding hard bumps and episodes of head toss." -- Car and Driver

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