2009 Hyundai Genesis Review and Prices

Last Updated: Aug 5, 2011


  • Room, power, and luxury features at prices that can't be ignored
  • The V-8 version in particular proves this ambitious South Korean automaker can build a premium sedan


  • Backlit in a blue/violet glow, some of the dashboard displays can be difficult to read in certain light conditions or through polarized sunglasses
  • All-wheel dirve is not offered

Like this Review

2009 Hyundai Genesis Buying Advice

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is the best car for you if you like rear-wheel drive, want a lot of car for the money, and don’t care if the neighbors think luxury begins with Lexus.

Hyundai is the seventh best-selling brand in the U.S. on the strength of its economy cars. Now it dives into the entry-luxury field with the 2009 Genesis, its first car with rear-wheel drive and an available V-8 engine. Base prices start at $33,000 for the Genesis 3.8 model with a 290-horsepower V-6 and at $38,000 for the Genesis 4.6 model with a 375-horsepower V-8.

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis counts among its competitive set the Chrysler 300, Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES 350, and maybe the Infiniti M. Hyundai would like to you to believe BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class buyers would be interested too, but that’s it’s attempt to market by association.

The 2009 Genesis 3.8 model won’t leave you wanting for performance or driving pleasure – unless you also sample the 2009 Genesis 4.6. This V-8 sedan performs on par with higher-priced cars and feels more composed on the road than the Genesis 3.8. If you have the extra scratch and aren’t frightened by fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city/25 highway (versus 18/27 for the Genesis 3.8 model), the 4.6 version is the 2009 Hyundai Genesis to consider.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Changes back to top

Styling: It’s conservative, but Hyundai’s goal is a look that allows the 2009 Genesis to fit in, not stand out. In fact, the word “Hyundai” is nowhere on the car’s exterior; the only brand identification is a stylized “H” logo on the trunk lid. The shape of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis is gently rounded, even a little dated, but it does emphasize the car’s rear-wheel-drive layout. A generous wheelbase (distance between front and rear axles) and a wide track places the tires near the corners of the body to create a visually sure-footed stance. The 2009 Hyundai Genesis acquires most of its identity from its grille, a carefully executed series of graceful wing-like bars. A horizontal chrome strip bridges the tail lamps to give the rump some distinction. In overall size, the Genesis compares directly with such familiar entry-luxury sedans as the Infinity M and Chrysler 300, though Hyundai says it has more interior volume than a BMW 7-Series.

Mechanical: To be taken seriously as a premium sedan, the 2009 Genesis needed to be rear-wheel drive, not front-wheel drive. A rear-drive layout best distributes a car’s weight for optimal steering and handling; it’s the starting point for Jaguar, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and for Lexus’s top models. The chassis, suspension, and structural design of the Genesis are up-to-the-minute modern, but the car does not offer all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is the trend in upscale motoring. On slippery surfaces, it provides better traction than rear-wheel drive. Every key competitor offers it.

Hyundai expects 80 percent of Genesis buyers to choose the 3.8 model, which has a 290-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 engine. The 4.6 model has a 4.6-liter V-8, which Hyundai rates at 375 horsepower using premium-grade fuel and 368 horsepower running on less-expensive regular-octane gas. Both engines mate to a six-speed automatic transmission that allows the driver to toggle the shift lever in a separate gate to mimic the gear-holding capabilities of a manual transmission. The 3.8 comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, the 4.6 with 18s. Antilock brakes and an antiskid system with traction control are standard on both.

Features: Included on every 2009 Hyundai Genesis is leather upholstery with heated power front seats, heated power mirrors with turn-signal indicators, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Also standard is remote keyless entry with pushbutton ignition. The standard audio system is an 11-speaker Lexicon-brand unit with CD changer, XM satellite radio, and auxiliary and USB jacks for iPods and other digital audio devices. Bluetooth cell-phone connectivity also is included.

To the 3.8 model’s standard equipment, the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 model adds upgraded leather upholstery and leather on the dashboard, door panels, and center console lid. It also gets a power tilt and telescope steering wheel with wood trim, a power glass sunroof, power rear sunshade, and rain-sensing wipers.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Test Drive back to top

From behind the wheel of a 2009 Hyundai Genesis:  From the driver’s seat, the 2009 Hyundai Genesis feels much like any number of upscale sporty sedans, including the Infiniti M and Lexus GS. Consider that an achievement for an automaker fielding its first car in this class. The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is solid and reacts with confidence to throttle, brake, and steering inputs. There’s little noseplow in fast turns, little float at highway speeds, and little undue noise from any source. But there are decisive differences between the 3.8 and 4.6 models.

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 moves alertly away from a stop and can merge and pass without drama; Hyundai says it does 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The 4.6 blasts off the line and once underway, surges ahead as you press the gas. It feels like a thoroughbred and belongs in league with any number of highly rated V-8 competitors. The 5.7-second 0-60 time Hyundai lists doesn’t do the 4.6 justice. Moreover, the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 corrects some of the niggling faults evident in the 3.8 model. It seems more composed over bumps and absent are the tiny jolts that infiltrate the 3.8’s cabin when confronting tar strips, for example. At high speeds, the V-8 feels anchored in a way the 3.8 doesn’t quite, and its larger tires and more-sophisticated steering – an electro-hydraulic system – guide it around corners with more precision than the 3.8 musters.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Dashboard and controls:  There are no revelations here, just honest design with enough flair to entertain the eye. Controls are placed where you’d expect to find them, are nicely sized, and activate with short, sure strokes. Models with the navigation system get a multi-media control on the center console. This knob flanked by buttons allows the driver to shuttle through audio, mapping, and Bluetooth phone functions. The knob is large, thoughtfully illuminated and nicely crafted to move with just the right resistance. The navigation system is relatively simple to program and its screen is a generous eight inches in diameter. To backlight the gauges and illuminate the controls Hyundai uses a bluish tint that defuses some details and renders others almost invisible through polarized sunglass lenses.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Room, comfort, and utility:  This is a graciously sized cabin, with seats up to the task of providing even large adults with softness and support. Hyundai deserves special credit for a particularly accommodating rear seat. Materials used on the seats, dashboard, and door panels are of obvious quality, though the 2009 Hyundai Genesis really overachieves in this regard only in its use of stitched, soft-touch skins on the dashboard. In-cabin storage bins and pockets are sufficient to satisfy a traveling family. The trunk is large and easy to load.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Prices back to top

Base price of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 model is $33,000. Base price of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 model is $38,000. (These are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices and include Hyundai’s mandated $750 destination fee.)

The Genesis 3.8 Premium Package costs $2,000 and adds leather-wrapped dash and door trim inserts, the power sunroof, integrated seat and mirror memory system, power tilt and telescopic steering column, power rear sunshade, Lexicon 14-speaker surround sound, six-disc CD changer, and rain-sensing wipers. The Genesis 3.8 Premium Plus Package includes the Premium Package equipment and adds 18-inch hyper-silver alloy wheels; it costs $3,000.

The Technology Package available for both versions of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis includes a Lexicon 17-speaker discrete audio system, six-disc in-dash DVD changer,  navigation system with rear backup camera, XM satellite radio with navigation-traffic capability and complimentary one-year subscription, auto-leveling xenon headlights, front/rear parking assist, and a cooled driver’s seat. The Technology Package costs $4,000, but ordering it on the Genesis 3.8 model requires that you also order the Premium Plus Package.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Fuel Economy back to top

Fuel economy is not a top priority for buyers in the entry-level-luxury class, but the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 and 4.6 models do have higher mileage ratings than most of their competitors.

EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 are 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway. Ratings for the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 are 17/25. Hyundai recommends premium-octane fuel for both engines, but says the 4.6 can be run on regular-grade with some sacrifice in power. It is among the only automakers to list different horsepower ratings using premium and regular fuel grades.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Release Date back to top

Release date for the 2009 Hyundai Genesis was June 2008. The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is built in South Korea and Hyundai plans to introduce a coupe version of this car for the 2010 model year.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Competition back to top

2009 Chrysler 300: Big and brash, with chassis engineering by Mercedes-Benz, the Chrysler 300 is aging, but matches up nicely with the Genesis’s price points. Its 250-horsepower V-6 model is rated at 17/24 mpg. The 300C with a 340-horsepower Hemi V-8 is rated at 15/23. Both are available with rear- or all-wheel drive. The 300 will be fully redesigned for the 2012 model year.

2009 Cadillac CTS: A bit tighter inside than the Genesis, and a lot more expressive in its styling, this new-age Cadillac is nonetheless similarly priced and offers a 263-horsepower V-6 or a 304-horsepower V-8 (both rated at 17/26 mpg). The CTS also comes in rear- or all-wheel drive. It was all new for as a 2008 model and won’t change significantly for several years.

2009 Lexus ES 350: It’s front-wheel-drive and comes only with a V-6, but is the comfort king in the class and can’t be ignored as competition for the more-conservative pockets of Genesis’s target audience. Prices are similar to the Hyundai’s, and performance will surprise. Plus, it’s got that sold-gold Lexus reputation for trouble-free motoring and great resale value. It’s rated at 19/27 mpg, and will be fully redesigned for the 2012 model year.

2009 Hyundai Genesis Next Steps