Friday, January 27, 2012

Luxury for less? Genesis sedan fills the bill

Sacramento, California – I call them the Hyundai Crowd, and they always seem to have smiles on their faces.

Rightly so, because the Hyundai Crowd is populated with buyers who have cars equipped with horsepower, luxury and engineering closely rivaling that found in Lexus, Cadillac Acura and Infiniti automobiles … But they’ve paid thousands of dollars less than the owners of those luxury brands.

Arguably the signature car for the Hyundai Crowd is the Genesis sedan, and my test ride was the top-of-the-line 2012 5.0 R-Spec edition. This car is major league hardware for a song. Charging $46,500 for this particular Hyundai amounts to a veritable giveaway, considering what the similarly equipped competition costs.

For starters, you get a nicely styled body with sexy angular cuts on the front end. Underneath the hood is a 5-liter direct-injection V-8 with 429 horsepower. It’s matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec on the roll is a don’t-let-it-end pleasure.

Smooth, quiet and agile, the engine’s considerable power does not rip-snort oomph so much as dish out silky doses of road-eating juice that you see more than feel. Effortlessly zipping past a flying sports car prompts just as much of a rush as noisily rumbling past it. The Genesis does the former quite well, and the gearbox manages the menu of gears with seamless perfection.

Interior comfort for five adults is top-grade. Interior perks rival anything rolling with a luxury label. Beyond-the-usual perks include folding exterior mirrors with puddle lights, cooled/heated seats, a lane-departure warning system, high-tech damping and smart cruise control.

OK, getting this Hyundai means that you might not get the same level of respect from neighbors who would “ooh” and “ahh” over a Cadillac or Lexus parked in your driveway. But rest assured that you have just as much car with this 5.0 R-Spec … and enough cash left over to finance installation of a backyard pool. Given the economics of the times, I kind of prefer having the extra money as opposed to getting off on the fawning of the neighbors.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.

To be sure, $46,000 and change is still serious money to put down for the purchase of a motor vehicle, but if you’ve reached that stage in your life where you want a luxury-level car that’s likely to run trouble-free for more than a decade (backed up with warranties that will work over that time period), this hot-rod Genesis should be on your list.

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