Driven - Hyundai Genesis V6 

Hyundai is now playing in a completely new market segment in Australia with its large Genesis. The big V6 luxury sedan is quite a svelte, sleek looking design, if slightly hefty, and brings with it a frontal look which will expand onto other Hyundai models. There's no doubting the Genesis is a large car, at 4990mm long and 1890mm wide, it is bigger than a Commodore or Falcon.

Hyundai is trying to give the car branding of its own, with a sole H logo on the bootlid - everywhere else has the Genesis badge. Even, cleverly, sharply projected onto the ground from under thee door mirrors, seen when opening a door at night... Most people who saw the Genesis when I had it had no idea what the car was.

It's the second generation of Genesis, but the first to be sold in Australia. Unfortunately for us, we don't get the V8 version here... Nonetheless the V6 engine is smooth, torquey and responsive, mated to an 8-speed transmission, the changes in which can't be faulted. Good acceleration is available at any speed and the engine never sounds strained.

The handling kept surprising me (pleasantly), cornering with absolutely no body-roll, no matter how hard the car was pitched into a corner or bend.

But it's unlikely the buyer of a Genesis will ever push the big rear wheel drive car their car to its limits. For them it will be more about comfort, and here's where the Genesis excels. The seats are excellent, comfortable, very adjustable and decently supportive - as well as being heated and air conditioned... The design inside is not over the top try-hard luxury car look. This is not the Toyota Crown revisited.

There is an immense array of little features (such as a read-out showing which way the front wheels were aimed when parked) which add up to an extremely high level of convenience features. The car is crammed with high tech, including a brilliant 17-speaker audio system by Lexicon. There's crash avoidance/minimisation features including all-round electronic vision, automatic emergency braking, slightly overactive lane guidance, radar cruise control and excellent head up display.

The car has a very solid, well-made feel about it, which is going to be very important if the company aims to convert buyers away from German luxury cars. More than likely though, buyers will be people who've come up through the Hyundai model range or across from other non-prestigious brands. They will never have driven a BMW or Mercedes-Benz and won't be able to make a real comparison. However, if they're not badge conscious and have got as far as a test drive of a Genesis, are sure to be impressed.

 Hyundai Genesis V6
 Engine: 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder
 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
 Power: 232kW
 Torque: 397Nm
 Performance: 0-100km/h 5.7 seconds
 Price: Starting at $60,000 at time of review
 Text & photos - Paul Blank (copyright)