2015 Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai’s path from replaceable econobox to highly desirable automotive brand has been a quick one. But, the track of their Genesis sedan from import-premium pretender to notable contender took an even faster pace. And, this 2nd generation of Hyundai’s new beginning appears to be the real deal. So, should established luxury-sports carmakers be worried? Let’s find out.
Hyundai’s Equus may be the brand’s posh flagship. But, it’s the 2015 Genesis that is the most important car for this brand and its efforts to expand into luxury sedan territory, especially if they ever hope to be a notable challenger to Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and other top-tier luxury marques.
That’s because the Genesis is not just a middle weight luxury car, it’s one that Hyundai has infused with enough sportiness to actually make us eager to hop in and drive it. And, when you do, you’ll find some of the seriously good interior quality that is required to be world class. It’s not all there yet, but it’s close. Hyundai has done a fine job of upping the “classy” with genuine materials such as great looking satin finish wood.
Also to play in this class, it takes the latest in high tech. Updates such as Smart Cruise Control and a Head-Up Display are in line with its competition, while available safety systems like lane keep assist and Sensory Surround have the Genesis bordering on being a self-driving car.
The hands free trunk release is pretty trick. Just stand by the trunk with the key on you for 3-seconds and the lid pops open. Virtual gauges are bold and direct while the general dash layout is very nice.
The driver’s seating position is great, with lots of adjustments and good bolstering, though some found the wide cushions a little on the hard side. The back seat borders on huge, with lots of room to spread out, even for adults.
To be a true luxury contender you also need something else, a “big” grille! The Genesis’s has one even if it is Audi-like. And, in similar fashion, this face will also soon work its way through the rest of the Hyundai brand.
Fractionally longer in overall length, yet with 3-inches more wheelbase, proportions are now more modern. It is without a doubt more upscale, and the longer arching roofline gives Genesis a far more aerodynamic profile. In the rear, panels are more rounded as well; and the jewel-like LED tail lights are mounted high.
The same 5.0-liter V8 and 3.8-liter V6 engines are available, but both have been revised for smoother operation and better torque delivery. Our tester sported the 311–horsepower V6 and its 293 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is available with a new HTRAC all-wheel-drive system that works with Intelligent Drive Mode select to divert power forward or rearward depending on wheel slip.
But, all this means less if the makeover de elegance doesn’t carry over to the driving experience. Well, it does, but also to a point. Ride quality is very close to the Big-3 German luxury cars, even if the sporty feel still comes up a tad short.
Things have gotten more responsive and perhaps a little more settled, but when driven aggressively there’s still plenty of roll; nothing a proper ride-and-handling package wouldn’t fix. The V6 engine sounds great, but launching torque is still low, taking our Genesis to 60 in 7.2-seconds.
Response improves markedly as RPMs climb and shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission are quick yet smooth, making the trip through the quarter mile in 15.4–seconds at 96 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, steering feel was numb; like most of the Germans; but on the plus side, this rear-driver still retains some of the first gen car’s tossable nature even with its big improvement in smoothness. Braking is not too shabby either, with stops from 60 averaging a short 120–feet.
The original Genesis sedan surprised us in Biblical proportions. Not just with its luxury feel, but by the fact that we liked driving it a lot. It got Genesis off to a good start and we’ve loved every namesake sedan and coupe we’ve driven since, including this car.
For which government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18-City, 29-Highway, and 22–Combined. Our 23.4 mile-per-gallon average of Regular was a good one. Though the Energy Impact Score remains average, at 15.0-barrels of oil burned and 6.8 tons of CO2 emitted yearly.
And, as nice as the Genesis has gotten, it’s still a great value proposition. The “more for less-ness” starts at $38,950. Most of its direct competition, with far better name cache, start around $50,000.
Genesis signifies birth. And, while the original 2009 Genesis sedan was certainly that, it’s this 2015 Hyundai Genesis 4-door that has the potential of being a brand changing vehicle, if they can follow up with additional models in the same vein. Then, established luxury makers will have something to worry about. Not so much about losing their current customers, but about attracting future ones.
- Engine: 3.8 liter
- Horsepower: 311
- Torque: 293 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 96 mph
- EPA: 18 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.8 tons/yr
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970