Guest Post: BigTrucks Reviews The New Genesis HTRAC Thingy

Hyundai Genesis HTRAC (2)

The Hyundai Genesis is a car that was designed specifically to defeat the attitude of men like me.

Men who used to use “Hyundai” as the punchline in anti-car jokes.

“ Fuck you. That’s my name. You know why, mister? You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT’S my name. And your name is you’re wanting. You can’t play in the man’s game, you can’t close them – go home and tell your wife your troubles.”

By matching or exceeding the specs of the competition, offering a complete package at a price which outshines the competition and offering service that exceeds that offered by the competition, Hyundai has managed to capture my attention, and once again has managed to capture my checkbook.

Hyundai Genesis HTRAC (1)

My first business with Hyundai was actually back in 2013 when I did a 3 year lease on a loaded Hyundai Azera. Navigation system with rear camera, ultrasonic sensors, Panoramic Roof, Heated/Ventilated seats…the works. $3500 down and $425 a month with a total cost somewhere near $39,000 (but lower taxes because I purchased in New Jersey). The car performed flawlessly for the length of the lease with regular scheduled service and when I handed it back in, it still felt like it had plenty of miles to go. I sat more comfortably in the Azera than I did in the Buick Lacrosse, Taurus SHO, or Lincoln MKS, and the interior was far more upscale to the point many passengers who weren’t familiar with cars thought it was a Mercedes or Audi. The only issue that I had with the car was the lack of an AWD option. It was a missed-opportunity considering the powerful V6 under the hood. The “professional car reviewers” scoff at the steering, ride quality and some aspects of handling, but what they fail to realize is that the average driver coming from “lesser vehicles” is more interested in good gas mileage, a nice interior with luxury features, reliability, and an “easy” monthly payment. The average driver carves no corners and doesn’t understand why people go for RWD or supercharged HEMIs.

When I took back the Azera at the end of the cycle, Hyundai was more than anxious to get us into a Genesis instead of another Azera – probably to make way for the new G90 – as Hyundai takes the Genesis up the “luxury ladder” this fall.

The new deal: 3 Year lease for $3000 down and $350 a month!!! Obviously a far better deal for more car than the Azera was. (I get discounts because I have business leasing advantage, but Hyundai will do similar deals to keep you from crossing the street to a Camry, Accord or Maxima).

Hyundai Genesis HTRAC (3)

The interior: I can directly compare with the space of any of the three German full-sized luxury sedans. I am more comfortable driving the Genesis than the Audi A8L or the BMW 7 due to the way the door frame is cut and the available headroom. The uncompromisingly large Mercedes S-class gives me more space both front and back, but the Genesis manages to come so close that I could easily go either way. While the original 2008 Genesis’ (BH) interior was decent, it felt like the designers couldn’t decide whether they’d copy Lexus’ LS or Mercedes S-class. Most of the surface materials were great, but could have been better. The new model’s (DH) material cut/fit/finish are meticulous enough to be compared with Lexus, but not so high in quality that you’ll feel self-conscious getting them prematurely dirty.

Button layouts are straight-forward, logical and easy-to-use. The Blue-Link Navigation touchscreen of the base HTRAC lacks the “Genesis Ultimate’s” dial knob on the center console, but it all works well-enough without it. The main reason I see for the knob is not having to reach so high to input Navigation coordinates. Otherwise, every main-feature is accessible from the steering wheel. Entering an address or using the voice-activated station tuning works well-enough that most buyers wouldn’t miss the knob.

The Genesis HTRAC ultimately makes a better choice than the pricier K900 and Equus if you need AWD and don’t necessarily need rear-seat comfort features.

The Genesis is my choice when I have to drive into the city. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper Manhattan traffic and watching the fuel efficiency gauge drop like a stone in my HEMI mobiles… while the black interior materials soak up sun rays that raise their temperature to scorching levels… is no fun. While I’d rather be in our W222 S-class, there’s less fear of having to repair expensive scratches, dings and dents should they occur.

The car looks and feels great – like something that would normally cost a lot more. The panoramic roof lets in plenty of light making for a cabin that feels airy, spacious and expansive. I definitely appreciate the space afforded here more than older vehicles with cockpit-styles seating that unnecessarily bunkerized the front row (Taurus and MKS). When winter comes, the Genesis is ready to dig its way out with the AWD system and the standard heated steering wheel, and heated seats all-around.

Hyundai Genesis HTRAC (4)

Unfortunately, the HTRAC All-wheel-Drive system can only be paired with the V6. This 3.8-L is no slouch and produces 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque, but when you want to stand out you have to offer “more than adequate”. You have to outshine everything everyone else is doing and offer options that raise the bar. To not offer this car with an AWD V8 means that acceleration of the whole package just can’t be as good as it could have been, leaving the HTRAC V6 feeling more like a well-appointed appliance.

Acceleration to highway speed is decent enough. I can get to 60 from a dead stop in about 7 seconds. Our speed limits have been arbitrarily dropped to 25mph and due to our Orwellian camera system, anything higher than 40mph will result in a $50 ticket in the mail, courtesy of our soon-to-be-one-term-mayor, Bill de Blasio. This is a touring car. It’s not designed for racing – something even the V8-powered 420HP R-spec would get murdered at by the typical 392 HEMI rolling around. It’s not a track car either. It’s designed for any number of retirees who’ll be more-than-happy making their way from physical therapy to the golf course in comfort and quiet. I can ignore the too-thin-for-me steering wheel and the accurate, yet numb steering feel, but the harder and faster you try to drive it, the more you’ll wish for more: more power, bigger brakes and weightier steering.

The HTRAC is happy coasting on the center-lane across interstates or making its way over pothole afflicted roads. There are very few cars where I feel comfortable in all of the available seats, but the Genesis definitely won me over with its quiet, stylish and refined ride quality. It’s soft, cushy and has enough sound-deadening material in it to muffle a gunshot.

Special features includes the Blue-Link system app (Android or iOS) which can start/stop the engine, lock/unlock the doors or control the HVAC system from a smartphone. It works – when it works. It’s often slow and updates poorly over T-mobile. The system will also function from my Applewatch but still relies on the LTE connection strength to work.

Overall, the Genesis HTRAC V6 is a fantastic family sedan. I cannot speak to long term reliability, but I can say that initial reliability and daily feedback has been positive. There’s no other car that offers the interior space, interior quality, equipment, engine power, or road presence for so little money. Everything else in this class either costs more, doesn’t look as nice, isn’t as roomy or not as comfortable.

36 Replies to “Guest Post: BigTrucks Reviews The New Genesis HTRAC Thingy”

  1. Ryan

    Enjoyed the review. If you have kids, how does the interior hold up to them? I’m not questioning you choice as I tend to buy AWD cars for my daily driver in Wisconsin but did you think about the RWD V8 and just put snows on?

    • Yamahog

      I have a RWD v8 sedan (that makes less power but still…) and I get around easier in the winter with my nokian hakkapalitas than anyone with all-season tires.

      • Yamahog

        And I live in Minnesota – we seem to get a bit more ice and a bit less snow during winter so YMMV but here’s my thinking now:

        1) I’d only drive with winter tires in winter. I’d have to be broke as a joke to go through winter on all-seasons on any vehicle.

        2) Since winter tires work so well, why would I care about AWD? If I’m behind someone (and if the roads are bad, you will be behind someone) you can only accelerate as hard as they can. And it’s not like the extra driven wheels are going to help me stop on ice better.

        I just wish the people who pay 2k for AWD would consider getting an extra set of wheels for the winter – there would probably be fewer crashes and my commutes would suck less.

        • Bigtruckseriesreview

          I live in the Tri-State area NYC.

          NO ONE HERE is interested in having to swap tires and they would rather get a FWD or AWD car with all-seasons than ever have to go through the motions of switching tires for the unpredictable weather we get between December and April.

  2. TheNorwegian

    You lucky americans… As a european, I don’t get why some american car enthusiasts get so caught up in our noisy, slow, ugly wagons. I would rather have a smooth riding six or eight cylinder sedan like this or the Chrysler 300C any day.

    • Paul Alexander

      I don’t understand why the 300/Charger aren’t more championed by enthusiast sites. They seem to nitpick the crap out of them instead of focusing on the fact that they’re RWD with available V-8’s and without outrageous price tags, which is such a rarity these days. When they’re gone for a few years, just like the Viper, these same sites are going to bemoan that there isn’t anything like them available anymore.

      • Bigtruckseriesreview

        The Chrysler 300 and Charger are fairly priced products with a HELLCAT being an unparalleled ownership experience. The “enthusiasts” are all jaded towards lighter weight and cornering ability on tracks…

        FCA products have been nothing but maligned…all except the Jeep SRT.

        …while the Chrysler cars offer high performance and fun to the 4-door, family hauler crowd.

        I IGNORE THEM every chance I get.

        They know NOTHING and would put everyone in Amanda’s if they could.

      • arbuckle

        I bought a new V8 Charger. It is more fun to drive than the larger FWD cars available, but the LX cars are kind of like the last pizza parlor in a world of sushi places. The pizza is perfectly adequate but you know the main reason you are there is because it was the only option.

        I’ll lament the end of the general idea of the affordable V8-RWD sedan segment more than I will the loss of the individual Mopars.

        • Jack Baruth

          The LX cars are the authentic successor to the M-bodies. They aren’t spacious but they are strong runners surrounded by some iffy plastics. 🙂

          • arbuckle

            Haha. I actually owned a Diplomat too.

            My feelings about the M-body Dodge were basically the same I feel about my Charger. Perfectly acceptable, but I bet I’d be happier in a Caprice.

    • jz78817

      American car enthusiasts of that type are tryhard snobs who act like they’re “cultured” because they know what Europe is. They want your noisy, slow, ugly wagons solely because they can’t buy them.

      they also don’t realize we do get most of the good European cars. They’d get sick of driving the cheaper ones within five minutes. The worst I’ve driven was a Renault (Dacia) Duster. I wouldn’t take one of those miserable griefboxes for free.

    • jz78817

      unfortunately up in that segment, the name/brand is really important. “A good deal” is not a priority for luxury buyers. “Hyundai” was a liability, and the way they showed it on the website looked like how they would sell any other Hyundai. “Lease Deals!” “Only $xxx per month!” “0 Down!”

      Maybe with the re-branding they’ll do better, but cachet means a lot to people spending this much on a car. Cadillac is having a hard enough time building that. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take for a brand no one has ever heard of.

      • Jack Baruth

        For the record, both Derek and Mark were/are “Managing Editors”. That position was retired when they canned me 🙂

        • Bigtruckseriesreview

          I’m starting to wonder if they’re paying people in canned cat food over at TTAC?

          If they’d listened to me I coulda turned TTAC into a $10,000 per month exciting car website.

          Just like Gordon Gekko!!!

          • everybodyhatesscott

            Ha, start your own site supplementing your video reviews with text. I refuse to watch a 20 min video review but love your text reviews.

          • VolandoBajo

            Perhaps if they make you Editor-in-Chief, BTSR, or do the same for Jack (as if he would even be tempted to look in the rear view mirror), I might want to spend more time at TTAC again.

            But given the way the roll, and the fact that a lot of the truly B&B seem to hang out here, where I used to to to TTAC to kill a few minutes, then mosey over to RG, now I tend to skip TTAC except for the weekly or bi-weekly curiousity peek, and just head over here instead.

            Glad to see Jack has given you an uncensored and uninhibited forum.

            Perhaps in time Jack will have to rename or subtitle this site “The Truth About Just About Anything and Everything”, or some such. Though TTAJAAE is a bit of a tongue twister. But the concept appeals to me, and I suspect to a lot more of the B&B.

            Jack, let us know from time to time, and just for grins, how rapidly you are closing the gap on TTAC clicks. And please encourage BTSR and others to write more over here.

            It just keeps getting better…

          • Jack Baruth

            Two years ago, TTAC was 100 times the size of Riverside Green.

            Now it’s more like 35 times the size.

            But I’d be surprised if it gets much bigger. All the smart people on the Internet are already here, right?

        • Joe Magro

          Colum Wood, too insecure to have anyone at the same level as him on the org chart, too incompetent to run anything. Sad!

  3. Frank Galvin

    BTSR! Great sophomore follow up here. Keep ’em coming. By the way – are you in the livery / car hire business?

    Jack – glad you’re giving him a spot.

    • Bigtruckseriesreview

      I run an Uber with a partner, here in NYC Manhattan.

      Service between the boros and JFK airport or Newark to NYC.

      Ultimately I want to change all the cars to EV so we can mooch off the free supercharging at the airport.

      Probably Tesla Model X with the 4 seat option (no 3rd row).

  4. Widgetsltd

    Here in SoCal, it was pretty common for the Genesis to be sold with the dealer-installed Genesis badge replacing the factory-installed Hyundai “H” on the center of the trunklid. This leaves the buyer with a Hyundai which lacks a Hyundai badge. I haven’t noticed if they are still doing that these days. Was/is that common in NYC, too?


      When you buy a Genesis, there are very few symbols of Hyundai.

      The problem is, I don’t like the Genesis “name” or “wing” either.

      Not as simple as the Lexus “L”

  5. link3721

    As much fun as an AWD V8 would be, they wouldn’t sell enough to make the business case. That’s why they dropped the option in the Charger/300. I remember the take rate being less than 5% was cited as the reason they were dropped. Seemed like most were happy with getting one or the other and didn’t need/want both.

  6. DirtRoads

    When the “high and die” cars came out, I thought wow, what Korean forgot about how Americans pronounce things they read? OK well maybe it was just this American. Either way, my preference for non-Asian cars kept me in my American/European world.

    Then one day I had a need to go to Seattle, which is about a 5 hour drive away. The rental company had a high and die car, which I got. Took the wife and dog. It was a Genesis or Equus or whatever, I don’t know the model name. A bigger car, which in an of itself surprised me. I’m 6’6″ and Asian cars are generally not built for my frame.

    But we were comfortable, had a decent, quiet drive there and back, and frankly I was surprised. No, I didn’t go out and buy one, and doubt I ever will. But I’ll confess that it was an eye-opener for me. So there ya go, another worthless opinion on the internet. 🙂


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