$6,856 - $7,676

2010 Hyundai Genesis Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Hyundai Genesis was new.


Performance: 8.9

As a daily commuter and a family car, the Hyundai Genesis sedan is the luxurious, compliant equivalent of more expensive cars from more established luxury auto builders. It offers a choice of two engines, one easily powerful enough to meet the needs of most buyers, and one extraordinarily quick. But it lacks the sporty handling of some of the fine sedans that Hyundai says the car was built to rival. The Genesis Coupe, reviewed separately, is a genuine sports car that shares very few parts with this car. 

  • "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
  • "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

The Hyundai Genesis is offered with either of two engines. Both have their virtues, but more than one reviewer recommends that buyers stick with the cheaper, more fuel-efficient V6. At 3.8-liters, it offers 290 horsepower -- more than enough to give the car class-competitive acceleration. A V6 Genesis should manage 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

The available 4.6-liter V8, however, is extraordinary. At 375 horsepower, it offers more power than anything else in the upscale midsize car class and is competitive with $50,000 sport sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E550 and BMW 550i. It’s surprisingly fuel-efficient for a V8, earning a 17/25 mpg EPA rating. 

There may, however, be reasons to choose the V8 that have nothing to do with speed. Hyundai offers different standard equipment with its two engines. V8 buyers get goodies like a touchscreen navigation system and an extraordinary stereo system that V6 buyers can only get as added-cost options.

Both engines send power through the same six-speed automatic transmission. No manual option is offered.

  • “Quick off the line and responsive at any speed. Hyundai's estimates of 6.2 seconds 0-60 mph for the V6 and 5.7 seconds for the V8 feel right. With either engine the transmissions provide prompt and seamless shifts.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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

Since its debut last year, reviewers have clearly said that the Genesis’ handling is its main shortfall. The Genesis is tuned softly, offering a cushioned ride, but not a sporty one. It is more than competent to meet the day-to-day needs of most drivers, but Hyundai engineers insist this car was built to rival large luxury sport sedans like the BMW 5-Series. Compared to those cars, it falls short in the sort of hard cornering tests that some automotive publications conduct. With its powerful engines and somewhat sluggish handling, it’s more a luxurious muscle car than a balanced sport sedan. V8 and V6 models have different steering systems, but reviewers don’t clearly prefer one over the other.

We should note, however, that these traits come out in high-speed maneuvers that most drivers will never have any reason to accomplish. It may not do as well on a skid pad as an Audi A4, but it will easily impress you on your daily commute. Hyundai engineers claim to have re-tuned the car’s suspension for 2010 in an attempt to improve handling, but we haven’t yet found any reviews that evaluate the changes. 

We find no complaints about the powerful brakes of the Genesis.

  • "An overall lack of composure is Genesis's largest failing when compared with other premium-class sedans…Steering is well weighted, too well weighted for some testers, and precise. Genesis feels stable at speed and is well balanced in turns, but as with its ride quality, this car trails other premium sedans." -- Consumer Guide
  • 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
  • "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

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