Lexus ES 350 and 300h 2014 Review
Lexus has re-launched its ES Line of luxury mid-sized sedans after a break of seven years.
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Hyundai moves emphatically into the large rear wheel drive luxury sedan segment with the new Genesis due here soon in two versions and expected to be priced from about $50-60,000. It comes at an opportune time for Hyundai with the imminent demise of Falcon and Commodore.
Genesis is actually in its second generation but the first never made it here because it was only in left steer for the US and other similar markets. That changes this time around with a right hook model scheduled to arrive within months to take over the role as flagship of the Aussie Hyundai range.
But whether local buyers will accept a Hyundai priced at this level is a moot point suffice to say the Korean giant is proud of this car and expended a huge effort in designing and building it to say nothing of the cost. It will be a big hurdle to overcome especially as Hyundai has traditionally been seen here as a maker of good value “affordable” cars and SUVs.
Visually imposing, the walk up suggests BMW 5 Series at the front, a touch of Aston Martin and Lexus at the rear. The same applies inside. It has superbly comfortable three level cushions in all seats and plenty of legroom in the back. The sunroof pinches a fair bit of headroom though.
Hyundai benchmarked Genesis against Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series sedans but it’s inconceivable that buyers in that segment would even look twice at a Hyundai – no matter how good it is though all three Germans - in similar spec cost twice or three times as much.
It is styled with Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ theme but in version 2.0 which is a whole lot better than the first version. The new hexagonal grille is perhaps the most striking feature along with more chiselled body lines and an overall more assertive look. Inside is fairly generic “elegant prestige car” that could be from the Lexus stable.
It has some pretty tricky stuff inside too including a CO2 sniffer and smart three-zone climate control to protect passengers. Opening the boot is achieved remotely by key recognition. Walk to the rear of the car, wait a tad and the boot opens.
Genesis has won plenty of accolades already and tops some of JD Power’s surveys. It also scores a five star safety rating on the US equivalent of our ANCAP.
The essentials of the car are right up with the best of them with more high strength steel in the chassis that any of the Germans, ‘real’ wood veneers and aluminium fascia inside. It has a generous amount of driver assist features too including auto brake and radar cruise control though they may not make it onto the local cars. The latest multimedia connectivity systems will be delivered through a Human, Machine Interface.
The cars we drove in Korea had a speed control system that slowed the vehicle to the limit automatically when approaching speed cameras. We wonder if this one would get through to the keeper in Australia. Excellent but maybe not.
It’s likely both models will be feature rich with Nappa leather, high end 17-speaker audio, heads up display, high end big screen satnav, around vision camera, speed limit sign recognition and plenty more as standard kit.
They engineered the car to be quieter than any of the benchmarked Germans as well as offering superior all round performance. It has an aerodynamic rating of Cd 0.26. A question mark hangs over fuel economy which is an area in which all three German models excel.
The engine features direct fuel injection and variable cam timing in achieving its 232kW/400Nm output. Though we were not in a position to accurately test fuel economy, we would suggest the Genesis will consume perhaps 10.5L100km given its weight of 1850kg and performance capability.
The US-market gets a 5.0-litre V8 together with 3.8-litre and 3.3-litre petrol V6s. We will only get the 3.8 V6 driving the rear wheels through a newly developed eight-speed auto transmission with paddle shift made by Hyundai.
We had a good old crack at the Genesis in Korea and wow, what an impressive car it is.
The drive is like…well a Lexus GS really – comfortable, smooth and quiet. It even feels like a Lexus to steer and the eight speed auto helps achieve impressive performance across a wide operating range.
It has excellent acceleration and cruises easily at high speed coupled with comfortable and controlled dynamics.
We didn’t like the steering much - too detached, too light. But everything else about Genesis gets a big tick.
High end luxury motoring at an affordable price below the Luxury Car Tax trigger.
|(base)||3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO||$17,900 – 24,860||2015 Hyundai Genesis 2015 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|(Sensory Pack)||3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO||$19,400 – 27,060||2015 Hyundai Genesis 2015 (Sensory Pack) Pricing and Specs|
|(Ultimate Pack)||3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO||$27,000 – 35,750||2015 Hyundai Genesis 2015 (Ultimate Pack) Pricing and Specs|