2015 Hyundai Genesis

2015 Hyundai Genesis

Episode 3347
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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.

Specifications

  • 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 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
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2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
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Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
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2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
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Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs