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Genesis attracts new luxury sedan buyers

This is America, land of opportunity, where anyone can grow up and become president and where products and services not heard of earlier can become overnight hits.

And so it is with a relative newcomer to the luxury sedan market, the Hyundai Genesis. While it’s been around for awhile, the Genesis totally was redesigned for 2015, becoming a serious contender with BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Audi sedans.

After spending a week with the new model, we were confident enough to give it thumbs up for the most part. Like its name, the Genesis claims roots from a lot of supercar makers. Lotus Engineering was tapped for independent suspension tuning that gives the sedan a solid feel on the road.

Forget looking for the Hyundai badge. There isn’t one. Instead, a lone insignia on the hood easily could be mistaken for a Bentley. Exterior styling cues were chiseled from German, Japan and domestic boulevard cruisers, creating a unique look. A front grille has been expanded in all directions to give the Genesis a world-class look.

To make the sedan more attractive than its rivals, the South Korean auto manufacturer priced its sedan well below the competition at about $40,000. Its price and looks seem to be getting traction in the marketplace, with year-to-date sales trending more than 13 percent over last year’s numbers.

Like all serious luxury sedans, the Genesis has rear-wheel torque with all-wheel-drive available for the 3.8-liter V-6. A more potent V-8 can be ordered for more off-the-line oomph. Our V-6 powered test car included three available option packages – Signature, Tech and Ultimate – each priced around $3,500.

Delete the option packages, and the Genesis still is very well-equipped, including the latest safety, powertrain and comfort equipment. Our test car reached 60 mph from a stop in an impressive 6.8 seconds. If raw pedal to the metal power is what you are after, its V-8 counterpart is said to reach the same speed a full second and a half quicker.

Interior treatment is what you would expect from a luxury sedan, and the Genesis does not disappoint. Soft leathers, real wood trim and padded surfaces are evident throughout. A practical heads-up display shows vitals without a distracting look away from the sound-deadened windshield.

Road noise is all but eliminated throughout the cabin, which seats five adults comfortably, although the competition has a slight edge here with more contoured seating.

We found the V-6 acceleration to be brisk and spirited enough to satisfy most drivers. Maneuvering the Genesis in and out of turns is surprisingly athletic for such a large sedan.

Fuel economy suffers compared with the competition, too. EPA numbers are among the lowest in the luxury car segment, although our real world driving in city and highway was 10 percent higher on average.

Other sedans worth considering in this segment include the Acura RLX, BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS, Lincoln MKS, Cadillac CTS and Mercedes Benz E Class.

Bottom line, if you are content without the high-priced logo on the hood and want a good value for the coin, take a test drive in the Genesis. You might get hooked.

• Email automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscarcorner@ptd.net.

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