The horizon in the distance is ablaze as we navigate the Genesis sedan up out of the calm Los Angeles sunset and head toward the San Gabriel Mountains. Peering over the long hood we can see the emergency water deliveries from the sky as each payload cascades upon the bright orange glow that has sparked above the city. I look down to check the speed as the car moves along the freeway under its own control – stopping and going as it pleases. Closing in on a fire that serves to remind us that we aren’t always in charge of our fate, in a car that represents the mechanical progression of further “letting go of the wheel”.
Okay, so the 2016 Hyundai Genesis sedan can not completely drive itself – but it’s getting there. With the advanced smart cruise control set the Genesis can accelerate and stop on its own and move without much input through the traffic flows in Southern California. Our model was also equipped with the lane keep assist that will essentially steer the car and keep it within the lanes on the highway so long as the markers are well defined. The heads up display will show you when it has detected the lines on the highway and will give steering inputs. The car featured one of the best heads up displays we have ever encountered and even showed blind spot alerts to let you know when a vehicle was approaching from the left or right. These driver assist features make the Genesis the most relaxed car on the road to help deal with the often exasperating drive through DTLA. Outside of traffic the system can be used at any speed but it can be a bit unnerving when the car tries to correct itself with your hands on the wheel at highway speeds around 70MPH. Our only critique in regards to the lanke keep assist is that the button to turn if off is not on the steering wheel but below and to the left. At times when the system is giving too much input it seemed to require a couple seconds with your eyes off the road to reach and disable. Otherwise the system is one of the best that we have experienced and goes beyond systems from premium brands like Volvo and Audi. Check out the video below for a bold demonstration by Hyundai on the lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
For passengers in the interior they can enjoy the comfortable leather seats with a spacious 35 inches of rear legroom – about the same as a Mercedes Benz E-Class. The styling inside is rather typical Hyundai with loads of nice plastics and the occasional wood trim and analog clock to remind you of the car’s premium intent. While the general trim and finish won’t blow you away, features like the sunshades on all three rear windows and the audio system by Lexicon are surprising touches to help give elements of luxury. Hyundai has gone to great lengths to ensure everyone from driver to passenger is comfortable and absolutely relaxed. The 8″ touch screen system was not updated with the latest version to get Android Auto or Apple Car play and unfortunately the Hyundai support website only allows downloads of the update to authorized users. So we left that to the experts but from what we have read the download only takes anywhere from 1-3 hours and then installing the update may take about 40 minutes. The upgrade to Android Auto would be well worth the effort as we recently fell in love while testing the new Kia Sportage.
When you take the wheel yourself you will be happy to find near-effortless steering input and swift acceleration from the 3.8L V6 and the 8-speed transmission. Power output is rated at 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque to help move the large 4,000 lb sedan. Acceleration won’t throw you back into the comfortable seats but the car will move about the highway with minimal effort from your right foot and sip gasoline at the tune of around 28 MPG. Where many large brand name competitors in the luxury market strive from driver engagement – the Hyundai Genesis sedan is pure comfort. My weekly commute generally involves 400 miles of LA’s worst and the Genesis Sedan ranks in the top five for the most relaxed cars to drive. At just over $50,000 the Genesis lives as a budget luxury vehicle for those that want all the amenities but don’t care to shout to their success to the neighbors. For those that want to endure a long commute in comfort and even let the car do some of the driving on its own – the Genesis is ready to take control.