Hyundai Genesis

Indicative drive away price: $66,684

There might have been only 16 points in it, but don’t be fooled: Hyundai Genesis’s victory for the second year in succession was no lucky win.

The Korean brand’s flagship produced class-leading or equal class-leading scores in seven of the 19 score lines, and this was despite a valiant showing from the last line of Holden’s iconic Australian family car, the venerable Commodore.

As the scores indicate, Genesis was too strong right across the board. Although some $20,000 costlier than Commodore, a generous five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and lifetime capped-price servicing plan enhance its value-for-money equation.

It matched the Holden for seating comfort, in no small part thanks to front seats with 12-way powered adjustment, four-way lumbar support and heating function. Ditto for space, calculated over both the user-friendly interior and 493-litre boot capacity. The latter is assisted by there being no full-size spare wheel, only a space saver – unlike most, if not all, Hyundai models.

The build and finish, judges agreed, was the class-leading equal of Toyota’s prestige brand Lexus, specifically the third-placed ES 300h Luxury.

The Hyundai topped the critical area of safety. At the time of its testing, the Genesis had the highest score recorded by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – 36.88 out of 37. The impressive standard safety inventory includes seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, roll-over sensor and a pop-up bonnet to provide extra protection from injury for pedestrians.

But it was on the road where Genesis really powered home. Australia’s Best Cars judges considered the Hyundai to be superior to its five category rivals by way of supple ride quality, strong braking performance and high level of smoothness and quietness.

The Korean car’s 232kW/397Nm, 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine is more powerful and torquey than the Holden’s 3.6-litre unit. Mated with a well-calibrated, eight-speed automatic transmission, it outperforms the latter not just in straight-line speed, but overall driveability. Despite its heft (1890kg), it covers the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds, shading the Commodore and eclipsing the ES 300h.

The extensive standard equipment list takes in tyre pressure monitor, parking assist with guidance, dual-zone climate control, leather appointed interior, proximity smartkey with push button start, 9.2-inch touch screen with satellite navigation, and 17-speaker premium sound system.

So what weaknesses does it have? Apart from the upper-end price (with resultant depreciation and insurance costs), Genesis scores just one out of 10 for fuel consumption. The environment score is only average –and that’s about it.

With no Ford Falcon and soon no locally-made Holden Commodore and Toyota Aurion on the showroom floor, the Large Car category has morphed into a pale shadow of what was once the premier segment of the Australian market.

But for the few still wanting a large car, Genesis is as good as it currently gets.




3RD: LEXUS ES 300h LUXURY, 828