2016 Hyundai Genesis: The End and the Beginning

For years, the Hyundai Genesis had that invisible touch as the penultimate luxury car in the automaker’s line — one notch below the Equus halo car. Now, the automaker will hope it’s not in too deep as it breaks the Genesis off into its own luxury line — adding more models to what will become a new make and a sister company to Hyundai.

As Lexus is to Toyota, as Acura is to Honda and as Infinti is to Nissan, so Genesis will now be to Hyundai – with the new G80 and G90 coming to special Genesis showrooms later this summer. Hyundai and Genesis will look to each other as partners, with the new automaker thinking, “I’ll follow you, if you follow me.”

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So, the 2016 Hyundai Genesis is the last such car to come out of Hyundai’s line before it becomes its own make. Since the more simply labeled 2016 Genesis is technically the last of its kind as named and built, the minds behind it weren’t throwing it all away when they put together this sort of farewell edition.

The coining of a new, Korean-built luxury car brand is a risky move for Hyundai, and it could forge a land of confusion as buyers consider if they want to buy in to a newcomer in the face of constant pressure from established German brands Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW. In short, Genesis will face the same battle Lexus, Acura and Infiniti faced for years now.

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If the 2016 Genesis was the to be the last of its kind in the Hyundai line before driving off on its own, there should be no misunderstanding that designers and engineers somehow phoned in their effort. The car offers a 3.8 liter, V6 engine married to an eight-speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shifters. All that rolls off of a well-balanced frame and chassis that keeps the car squarely on its feet.

When you turn it on again, that powertrain puts out 311 horsepower with MPG numbers of 18 city and 29 highway. From behind the wheel, the power is immediate, smooth and considerable — but cultured. This is a luxury car first and foremost, and it’s not built for raw performance.

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It’s the interior where the 2016 Genesis ups its game. I know what I like, and the car packs in the best luxury features for its price just south of $40,000. From its Heads Up Display, complete infotainment system and Blue Link communication service to its all leather seats, dual climate control and power everything, Hyundai makes sure their luxury sedan has everything the German rivals might offer.

Optional features owners can selectively include are satellite radio and roadside assistance. But, as a would-be buyer, if I had enough money in the bank to take home a $40K car, the extra couple grand for the complete Genesis package is nothing I can’t dance with financially.

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While the new Genesis line will face its challenges, the 2016 version of the luxury sedan is well-built and absolutely loaded with features for the money.

If this is the framework on which Hyundai will kick off the work of its Genesis sister company, the new guys in the marketplace should get off to a good start. I can’t say no son of mine will never own one, and that’s all an automaker needs to hear.