$8,665 - $11,291

2011 Hyundai Genesis Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Hyundai Genesis was new.


Performance: 8.6

As a daily commuter and a family car, the Hyundai Genesis sedan is the luxurious, bargain-priced equivalent of more expensive cars from more established auto builders. It offers a choice of two engines. The V6 is easily powerful enough to meet the needs of most buyers while the V8 has enough juice to give performance cars a run for their money. It lacks the sporty handling of some of the sedans Hyundai targeted as rivals, like the BMW 5-Series or Infiniti M. The Genesis does a lot of things particularly well, although some testers say that its handling could use some improvement.

If you’re looking for the Genesis Coupe, it is reviewed separately along with other affordable sports cars. 

  • "An overall lack of composure is Genesis' largest failing when compared with other premium-class sedans." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
  • "Our brief driving impression revealed well-controlled drive motions, predictable handling, and an excellent powertrain." -- Car and Driver
  • "[T]he amalgamation-of-various-luxury-sports-sedans theme continues to the car's driving dynamics. The Genesis puts power down like a BMW and rides like a Lexus." -- Road and Track
  • "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

Acceleration and Power

The Hyundai Genesis is offered with either of two engines: a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower or a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 385 horsepower. Both have their virtues, but more than one reviewer recommends that buyers stick with the cheaper V6 -- it has class-competitive acceleration and is more fuel efficient.

Critics agree that the available 4.6-liter V8 is extraordinary. Armed with 385 horsepower, it offers more power than any other upscale midsize car, and it’s competitive with $55,000 luxury large cars like the Mercedes-Benz E550 and BMW 550i.

For a V8, it’s also surprisingly fuel-efficient, earning 17 in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The V6 Genesis should manage 18/27 mpg according to the EPA.

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

  • "Both sedan engines are quick off the line and responsive at any speed. With either the V6 or V8, the transmission provides prompt and seamless shifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Both engines are very refined, eager to rev, and work seamlessly with their respective transmissions." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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
  • "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

Handling and Braking

Since its debut in 2009, reviewers have consistently said that handling is the Genesis’ main shortcoming. The Genesis has a comfortable ride, but not a sporty one. It’s more than competent to meet the day-to-day needs of most drivers but Hyundai engineers insist this car was built to rival sport sedans like the BMW 5-Series. Unfortunately, the Genesis falls short when compared to cars of that ilk. With its powerful engines and unimpressive handling, it’s more of a luxury car with muscle than a well-sorted sport sedan.

  • "Genesis doesn't wiggle as speed builds and follows whatever line you draw for it without wobble over uneven roads." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "The steering is generally well weighted and precise, though some testers find it too heavy in around-town driving." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While the drive isn’t quite as sporty as similar cars in this class, it is still exhilarating enough for most drivers." -- Automobile.com
  • "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." -- Popular Mechanics

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