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Hyundai Genesis


Alfa Romeo Giulia

Summary

Hyundai Genesis

Anybody who doubts that Hyundai is gunning for the number one in the world has rocks in their head. Big heavy ones. Korean companies do not settle for anything less than number one. The second-generation Genesis (our first taste here in the Antipodes as the gen-one had its steering wheel on the wrong side) is proof.

What's different about Hyundai's unstoppable rise is the way they're going about it. They've always done their own thing in Korea, reinventing themselves time and again when they strayed off the beaten path.

The Genesis is a gamble for a Korean company in foreign markets whose default setting for luxury is marked, Britain or Germany. If Hyundai gets the Genesis wrong there will be howls of derision, or at best patronising pats on the back - "Nice try, you'll get there one day". But if they get it right...

Safety rating
Engine Type3.8L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency11.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo was poised to rock the established mid-size luxury sedan segment back in 2017 when it launched the Giulia, firing a direct salvo at the big Germans.

Combining drop-dead gorgeous looks with peppy performance was the name of the game for the Giulia, but after arriving with much hype and fanfare, Alfa Romeo doesn’t seem to have conquested as many sales as they had originally hoped.

So far this year, Alfa Romeo has sold just 142 Giulias, well behind the segment leading Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, but a new mid-life update hopes to revitalise interest in the Italian sedan.

The refreshed line-up brings in more standard equipment and sharper pricing, but has Alfa done enough to sway you out of a tried and trusted German sports sedan?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.9L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Hyundai Genesis8.6/10

The Genesis is not quite a match for cars twice its price but it makes you think what's possible. It doesn't have the dynamic brilliance of a BMW or the self-assured faultless execution of a Mercedes. Lexus ought to be worried, though - why would you have an LS when you could have this? The only answer is 'badge'.

The Genesis is an epoch-making car for the Korean manufacturer. As the company has got better, there are fewer excuses for overlooking it. While the Genesis is pitched into a shrinking market, it's not really meant for the average i30 buyer to buy, but to see.

It's bristling with tech and is not only a halo car but a shot across the bows of both Lexus and the Germans. Attached to that shot is a note: "We're coming for you." In other words, Hyundai got it right.


Alfa Romeo Giulia7.9/10

This is the Giulia Alfa Romeo should have launched back in 2017.

Especially stacked up against its German rivals, the new Giulia is not only more attractive to the eye, but also the hip pocket.

The boost in standard equipment and safety gear is a huge boon for potential Alfa buyers, while no compromises are found in the Giulia’s fun-to-drive nature and peppy engine.

Its weakest aspect might be its average three-year warranty, but if you are looking for a new premium mid-size sedan that stands out from the crowd without any major concessions, the Giulia should be on your watch list.

Design

Hyundai Genesis8/10

The Genesis is like no other Hyundai. For a start, it's gigantic - it looks easily as big as a BMW 7 Series (it isn't) with the road presence to match. There's a lot of BMW from most directions, but with a sharper approach to the creasing and character of the sheet metal.

Towards the rear it's more BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and is all the better for it. The style is understated and technocratic.

The big wheels from the Ultimate pack help make it look lower and sleeker, too.

Inside is also very Germanic, but with a bit more of a Lexus feel. Our car had the lighter leather which meant that the wood and the metal materials didn't necessarily work well together.

The interior is expertly put together and feels like it will last forever.

The only jarring moment is the gear selector is shared with our long-term Hyundai i30 - it looked a bit cheap in what is otherwise a beautifully executed cabin - it needs more heft.

On Australian-delivered cars there is just one Hyundai badge, sitting proudly on the boot - you get the feeling this was debated long and hard and when the decision was made to go for it, a big one was chosen.

However, the winged Genesis branding takes pride of place everywhere else. When you approach the car at night and the puddle lamps come on, the Genesis logo is projected on to the ground, crisp and clear.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

Park a brand-new 2020 Giulia next to its predecessor, and you’ll find they look identical from the outside.

It would be a bit unfair to call this update a ‘facelift’, but we’re glad Alfa Romeo hasn’t messed with the sharp styling of its Giulia sedan.

Having been on sale in Australia since early 2017, the Giulia doesn’t look like it has aged a day. In fact, we reckon it has gotten a bit better with age, especially in its top-spec Quadrifoglio trim.

With a triangular front grille and the number plate offset to side, the Giulia looks unique relative to anything else on the road, and we appreciate its distinctive styling.

The angular headlights also add to the Giulia’s aggressive and sporty stance, even in its base Sport trim, while the 19-inch wheels help fill the arches and give a sense of a more expensive car.

The handsome look continues to the rear, with the sculpted derriere looking taught and tight like a well-tailored pair of suit pants rather than some ill-fitting, off-the-shelf trousers.

However, we will point out the black plastic on the underside of the bumper on our base Giulia Sport, which looks a tad cheap with only a single exhaust outlet on the left, and a sea of… nothing.

Stepping up to the more expensive (and more potent) Veloce or Quadrifoglio remedies this however, with a proper diffuser and dual and quad outlets respectively.

The Giulia certainly stands out amongst the sea of Mercedes, BMW and Audi models in the executive sedan segment, and proves that doing your own thing can be hugely satisfying.

Combine the stylish exterior with more colour options – like the new 'Visconti Green' – and you can really make your Giulia pop, though we do wish our test car was finished in a more exciting hue.

With this Vesuvio Grey option, the Giulia blends in a bit too closely to the greys, blacks, whites and silvers you usually see on premium mid-size sedans, but all colours aside from white and red attract a $1355 premium.

Inside, much of the interior carries over as before, but Alfa Romeo has moved things a little more upmarket thanks to a few small touches that add up to a big difference.

The centre console area, while not being redesigned, has been given more of a premium makeover thanks to a carbon-fibre-like trim with aluminium and gloss-black highlights.

The shifter, especially, feels great thanks to the dimpled leather design, while other touch points such as the multimedia control, drive select and volume knobs also deliver a weightier, more substantial sensation.

Aside from that, the Giulia retains its premium cabin materials, soft-touch multi-function leather steering wheel and mixed material finish for an elegant and sophisticated interior worthy of a premium European model.

Our test car was kitted out with the standard black interior, but more adventurous buyers can opt for tan or red – the latter of which would definitely be our pick.

Practicality


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

Measuring 4643mm long, 1860mm wide, 1436mm tall, and with a 2820mm wheelbase, the Giulia offers plenty of room for passengers, front and rear.

The sports front seats are an especially pleasant place to be; tight-hugging, well-bolstered and super supportive, meaning no fatigue even after extended driving trips.

Storage solutions though, are somewhat limited.

The door pockets won’t accommodate a bottle of any size thanks to the armrest design, while the two centre cupholders are positioned as such that a bottle will block climate controls.

A generous storage cubby can be found under the centre armrest though, and the wireless charger design lays your device almost vertically in a separate compartment so you won’t scratch your screen.

Glove box size is standard, but the owner’s manual does eat into room a little, while driver’s also have access to another small cubby to the right of the steering wheel.

At least Alfa now includes a handy key fob holder to the left of the shifter? Though this feature becomes redundant with keyless entry and push-button start meaning you more likely just to leave the keys in your pocket.

The rear seats offer plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder-space for passengers in the outboard seats, even when the front seat is set to my 183cm (6'0") frame, but the door pockets are, again, disappointingly small.

I fit adequately in the middle seat, but wouldn’t want to be there for any extended period of time due to the transmission tunnel eating into the footwell.

Rear passengers have access to a fold-down armrest with cupholders, dual air vents and a single USB port.

Opening the boot of the Giulia reveals enough space to swallow 480 litres, matching the 3 Series’ volume and outclassing the C-Class (425L) and A4 (460L).

This is enough for one large and one small suitcase, with a bit of room in the sides for smaller items, while four luggage tie-down points are located  on the floor.

The boot also features latches to fold down the rear seats, but given they aren’t spring loaded, you still need to push them down with something long or walk around to the rear seats to flip them over.

Alfa Romeo has not revealed volume with the seats folded down, but we noticed the aperture into the cabin is noticeably narrow and quite shallow.

Price and features

Hyundai Genesis9/10

The only way to describe the Genesis' pricing is aggressive - kicking off at $60,000, it's the most expensive Hyundai money can buy, but with a spec list like this, you won't feel at all short-changed.

Your sixty large buys you a huge cabin with a seventeen speaker stereo, auto headlights and wipers, LED ambient lighting inside and out, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, powered front seats which are heated and cooled, satnav, front and rear parking sensors, and plenty of other bits and pieces.

Our car had the $22,000 Ultimate package, adding 19-inch alloys, blind spot sensor, front and side cameras, around-view display, real leather, more adjustments for the driver's seat, ventilated seats in the front, heated rear seats, panoramic glass sunroof, acoustic glass, heads-up display, powered bootlid and LED foglamps.

You can have a lot of the more useful features in the $11,000 Sensory Pack. It's a good middle ground that, for example, features the excellent heads-up display.

The 9.2-inch screen splits the asymmetric air-conditioning vents. The software is unique to the Genesis and a huge leap forward over the rest of the Hyundai range - classy, smooth graphics, a good responsive screen.

You control the seventeen speaker stereo from here, which kicks out a rich sound and an impressive Bluetooth performance - rear seat passengers can also run the stereo from their armrest. The satnav is detailed and chatty, while the excellent heads-up display shows a configurable information set in strong, clear graphics.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia has been trimmed down from four variants to just three, kicking off with the $63,950 Sport.

The mid-tier Veloce will set buyers back $71,450, while the top-spec Quadrifoglio is $138,950 – both of which have been reduced by $1450 and $6950, respectively.

Though the point-of-entry is higher than before, the newly introduced Sport grade is actually based on the old Super grade with the Veloce pack added in, actually saving buyers a bit of money compared to be before.

As such, privacy glass, red brake calipers, 19-inch alloy wheels, and sports seats and steering wheel are now standard across the range, and all items that you’d expect in a premium and sporty European sedan.

You'll also score heating for the front seats and steering wheel, which are you wouldn't normally see on any price-leading variant, making these features especially noticeable.

Also standard in the Sport is bi-xenon headlights, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, and aluminium pedals and dashboard elements.

Handling multimedia duties is an 8.8-inch screen, though this year the system gains touch functionality to make Android Auto and Apple CarPlay use a little more intuitive.

A wireless smartphone charger is also now standard across the line-up, which will stop your phone’s charge at 90 per cent as to not overheat/degrade your device’s battery.

As tested here, our Giulia Sport is priced at $68,260 thanks to the inclusion of the 'Lusso Pack' ($2955) and 'Vesuvio Grey' metallic paint ($1355).

The Lusso Pack adds active suspension, premium Harman Kardon sound system and interior ambient lighting, while a dual-pane panoramic sunroof can also be optioned for an extra $2255.

Overall, the Giulia is much better value than it was before thanks to its improved equipment levels, especially when stacked up against base versions of its rivals.

Engine & trans

Hyundai Genesis9/10

The Genesis is powered by Hyundai's own 3.8-litre V6 developing 232kW and 397Nm, mated to Hyundai's eight-speed automatic transmission.

Despite weighing just under two tonnes, the Genesis completes the dash to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.

It has a claimed 11.2L/100km on the combined cycle. In what must be a first, we got below that, averaging 10.8L/100km over two weeks. And that's without stop-start fuel-saving to blunt the effect of lot of city driving.

We'd still like to try the V8 - only available in left-hand drive markets - though.


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

Powering the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine tuned to deliver 147kW at 5000rpm and 330Nm from 1750rpm.

Mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission and driving the rear wheels, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport is claimed to accelerate from 0-100km in 6.6 seconds, while top speed is capped at 230km/h.

Though those outputs might not seem like much in 2020, the driver-focused, rear-drive layout and brisk acceleration time are more than a match for its petrol-powered German counterparts.

Buyers wanting a bit more performance can also opt for the Veloce grade that takes the 2.0-litre engine to 206kW/400Nm, while the Quadrifoglio uses a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 good for 375kW/600Nm.

Fuel consumption


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

Officially, the Alfa Romeo Giulia will sip 6.0 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, but our weekend with the car yielded a much higher 9.4L/100km figure.

Test driving consisted of navigating the tight inner-city streets of Melbourne’s north, as well as a short blast up the freeway to find some twisty country B-roads, so your mileage may vary.

Worth noting the Giulia Sport sips Premium 95 RON petrol, making it a little more expensive to fill up at the bowser.

Driving

Hyundai Genesis8/10

At five metres long, with a ride firmly pitched in the luxury camp, the Genesis is not going to tempt you into a track day, even with rear wheel drive.

Blindfold your passengers and swap them between a Lexus, a BMW and a Genesis and the overwhelming impression they'll get is one of incredible smoothness.

Sitting in the back of the Genesis, it's easily as good as the German and luxury Japanese competition. The seats are hugely comfortable, there's ample head, leg and shoulder room and it feels lot nicer than anything within a bull's roar of its price.

No matter where you sit, it's an incredibly quiet car. The engine is a distant whoosh, the tyre noise muted and there's almost no wind or ambient noise. It's supremely comfortable and the excellent stereo will wash away what little noise does invade.

It certainly feels its weight from the driver's seat, with a competent, soft turn-in, but if you're wanting sudden movements, this isn't the car for you.

On fast flowing roads you can have some fun, but things will get floaty and that will quickly kill that fun. The ride and isolation from the rest of the world is completely worth it.


Alfa Romeo Giulia8/10

Like all respected sports sedans, the Alfa Romeo Giulia features a front-engine, rear-drive layout to entice the those who would rather drive than be driven.

The exterior styling of the Giulia certainly promises a sharp, entertaining steer, while the interior touch points do nothing to take away from that potential.

Guide yourself into the snug bucket seat, wrap your hands around the wonderfully sized steering wheel and you will notice that Alfa has built the Giulia for the driver.

The steering wheel is an especially nice touch point and features oversized paddle shifters mounted on the steering column – not wheel – making it nearly impossible to miss a shift even when midway through a corner.

For those that like to use the shifter though, the up/down gear selection is arranged in the preferred back/forwards position respectively.

The adaptive dampers in our test car can also be stiffened up independently of the drive mode selected. 

Speaking of which, three driving modes are on offer – 'Dynamic', 'Natural' and 'Advanced Efficiency' (DNA in Alfa-speak) – which change the feel of the car from hardcore to more eco-focused.

With suspension able to be changed on the fly, drivers can have the softest setting on for the bumpy, tram track-laden inner-city Melbourne streets, with the engine in full attack mode to get away from the lights for a cheeky overtake.

It's also a plus that the suspension can be changed from the press of a button on the centre console, instead of usually diving into a whole bunch of complicated menus to tweak and fine-tune certain elements.

Underpinning the Giulia is double wishbone front suspension and rear multi-link set-up, which helps keep things communicative and exciting from the driver’s seat.

Don’t get us wrong, you won’t be ripping drifts or breaking traction in the dry in a Giulia Sport, but the 147kW/330Nm engine offers enough pep to make driving fun.

Push hard into a corner and you will get tyre squeal, but luckily the steering feels sharp and direct, meaning its easy and fun to hunt for apexes even when keeping things under the posted speed limit.

The multimedia system in the Giulia is much improved with the touchscreen functionality to make Android Auto feel a bit more natural, but the 8.8-inch screen does look quite small when buried in the dashboard.

The rotary controller is also better, although the software is still a little fiddly and unintuitive to navigate from page to page, a bugbear likely remedied with more time in the car.

Safety

Hyundai Genesis9/10

Nine airbags, traction and stability control, lane departure warning, forward collision control, ABS, brake force assist and distribution and traction and stability control bring the ANCAP count to five stars.

The Sensory and Ultimate packs add blind spot sensors and around view cameras.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

Alfa Romeo’s Giulia sedan was awarded a maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP in May 2018, with testing based on a left-hand-drive model from 2016 in Euro NCAP examinations.

In the adult occupant and child occupant protection tests, the Giulia scored 98 and 81 per cent respectively, dropping points for just ‘adequate’ chest protection of children in the frontal offset test.

As for pedestrian protection, the Giulia notched a 69 per cent score, while the safety assist assessment yielded a 60 per cent result.

However, since that test, Alfa Romeo has added lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and automatic high beam as standard, which were previously optional.

Also included at no extra cost on the 2020 Giulia is driver attention alert and traffic sign recognition, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, automatic headlights and wipers, hill-start assist, lane departure warning, tyre pressure monitoring, and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors carrying over.

According to ANCAP assessment, the Giulia’s AEB functions from 10km/h and works up to 80km/h to help drives mitigate an accident.

But the Giulia misses out on rear cross-traffic alert and an automatic emergency call function.

Ownership


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

Like all new Alfa Romeo vehicles, the Giulia comes with a three-year/150,000km warranty, matching the assurance period of BMW and Audi models, though the Germans offer unlimited mileage.

However, Alfa Romeo lags behind the premium industry leaders, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz, who both offer a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, while Lexus offers four-year/100,000km cover.

Service intervals on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

The first service will set owners back $345, the second $645, the third $465, the fourth $1065 and the fifth $345, totalling $2865 for five years of ownership.