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Hyundai Plays The Luxury Card

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On: Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 5:00PM | By: Karen Cook

Hyundai Plays The Luxury Card

Hyundai hasn’t been known for its luxury vehicles. Korea could produce decent, dependable cars, but no one thought of them as luxurious. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is about to change that.

Hyundai tried to break into the luxury vehicle business about five years ago with the first generation Genesis. It wasn’t particularly groundbreaking and didn’t come close to outselling its main competitors, the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The new Genesis doesn’t look a whole lot different from its predecessors. It has plenty of room on the inside and is a smart but common looking sedan on the outside.

The engine isn’t all that flashy either. You can choose between a 335-hp 3.8-liter V6 or a 430-hp 5.0-liter V8. Both are 8-speed automatic transmissions. Either will also give you IDMS, or Intelligent Driver Mode Select, which allows the driver to adjust things like transmission, steering, stability control, and suspension settings. This feature is new to the Genesis, but not to the industry in general. The vehicle is also equipped with emergency brake and lane keeping assistance.

So what is it that makes this otherwise mundane luxury sedan more unique than its competition? Hyundai engineers have designed what they call “Blue Link”. The first Genesis had it, but it wasn’t nearly as attractive as the version in the 2015 model. It’s completely updated with big analog dials in the instrument panel, a large navigation screen in the center of the dash, and is equipped with thoroughly advanced swipe gestures and advanced voice recognition systems. The dials control most of the main functions, but if you don’t like them you can perform the same tasks with the touch screen or voice commands.

Hyundai has kept the price more affordable than comparable vehicle from its German counterparts and this, combined with the new technology, should secure its place in the luxury vehicle niche. If you are in the area you can check out the new model at the Consumer Electronics Show or at the Detroit Auto Show next year.

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