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Still Considered Luxury? | 2009-2014 Hyundai Genesis Sedan Review

The all-new luxury brand from Hyundai, known as “Genesis” is close to making its debut with the rebadged G80 that is basically similar to the Hyundai Genesis that was redesigned for 2015. When the 2nd-Gen Genesis was redesigned it proved to be a big hit with an audi-inspired design and luxurious refined interior that proved a big step forward in Hyundai’s luxury direction.

Hyundai first debuted the Genesis in 2009 and produced the first-gen Genesis (codenamed BH) up until 2014 and was marketed as a “Premium Sports Sedan” that was also known to be reliable and affordable when compared to similar vehicles produced by luxury brands. With a competitive base price of around $33,000, comparable performance, plus an outstanding warranty program from Hyundai. It seems like the right choice.

The BH Body Genesis Today

Now one year into the re-designed 2nd-generation “DH” Genesis with good success, it’s time to take a look at where the first-generation Genesis Sedan stands today. Not many first generation Genesis sedans have been spotted on the road lately, they are around, but we’ve noticed more Genesis Coupes on the road as opposed to sedans.

2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Interior Shown Without Navigation Option
2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Interior Shown Without Navigation Option

Style wise, the Genesis has a pretty sleek exterior design on the front and side, with a little more stance for the 5.0 R-Spec, but when compared to the new Genesis/G80 it does look somewhat dated when compared to other models from premium makes. The same holds true for the inside, although the interior finishes and materials are holding up well, the interior has become quickly dated and the interior materials tend to have somewhat of a premium but cheap look. The cabin was lacking the premium feel you might expect when you get into a Lexus GS of the same year and shared some characteristics from its cheaper priced models at the time. To us, the interior feel was comparable to a 2007-2008 Toyota Avalon, but not the premium Lexus-like feel that Hyundai was aiming for. Although the premium feeling was a little more noticeable in the R-Spec, you may notice a much more of a premium and comfortable feeling in a Brand New Sonata Limited today.

2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Engine | Credit: GTCarlot
2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Engine | Credit: GTCarlot

Performance wise, the Genesis is comparable to premium-brand competitors with better reported reliability, and affordability. The 3.8L Lambda V6 puts out 290HP for models 2009-2011, and 333HP (more than the current-gen Genesis/G80) for models 2012-2014. The 4.6L Tau V8 puts down 375HP for 2009 & 2010 model years, then bumped up to 385HP for 2011 & 2012 model years. The 4.6L was eventually dropped in 2013 in favor of the range topping 5.0 R-Spec (which we cover in another article) that features a 429-HP Tau 5.0L V8 that was not required to run on premium-grade fuel. Driving the Genesis today, it tends to have flimsy ride quality and unimpressive handling for 2009-2011 models, with some improvement in 2012 onward. You will find a little more acceleration kick and handling refinement from the R-Spec model.

The overall build quality of the Genesis is quite exceptional for the price. With average care shown to the vehicle (similar to taking care of any other modern Hyundai), very few mechanical and electrical problems have been reported, the exterior paint has proven to be durable, and the interior for the most part has held up quite well over the years. We have seen some minor fading with some interior materials but only from normal wear. The vehicle is definitely not a high maintenance car despite its “premium” status. Owners have been shown a pattern of properly maintaining their Genesis sedan at the time of ownership. Hyundai does show a special treatment to Genesis owners, with unique service programs for those who purchased new.

With more 2009-2014 Genesis Sedans becoming available for sale, you can now find a pre-owned Hyundai Genesis Sedan from as low as $10,000 to around $26,000. Quite a bargain when a similar model BMW, Mercedes, or Audi could be anywhere from $4,000-8,000 more. So whats the catch?

One major issue we found with the Hyundai Genesis is brand identity. The Genesis was aimed at taking on models like the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, Acura RL, Infiniti M Class, and Lexus GS series. All of which are luxury brands. Hyundai is particularly known as being a more of an economical car brand that offers vehicles that are more affordable and economical. Owning a “premium” car that has an economy brand tends to hurt resale values dramatically. The same issue also applies to the Equus. Which is why Hyundai decided to launch the Genesis brand. Try explaining to someone that your luxury sedan is a Hyundai. Again it doesn’t have the same effect or identity that luxury/premium asian brands such as Lexus, Acura, or Infiniti have, even though Lexus is manufactured by Toyota, Acura is manufactured by Honda, and Infiniti is made by Nissan. Launching the standalone Genesis brand was a good move for Hyundai.

So what about the first-generation Hyundai Genesis. Will it be able to maintain a luxury or premium identity that Hyundai once intended? With the new Genesis luxury brand being launched soon, it is likely that the first-gen Hyundai Genesis will not maintain a premium or luxury identity especially with it’s poor driving quality on earlier models. We predict the BH body style Genesis to have more of an identity similar to the Chrysler 300 or a fully loaded Sonata but with much less popularity. Maybe, a little more desirability shown towards R-Spec, but it may be able carry the same identity as other established marques.

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