Stare case

Glenn experiences an unexpected level of attention

GLENN BUTLER

THREE weeks in and Iím paranoid. People really are watching me.

I loaned my new Genesis long-termer to Damion for a few days, and the first thing he remarked on was how people stare as it glides by. Weíve both driven cars that attract attention, but theyíre usually loud sports cars or Italian supercars. Not Hyundais. Itís never been HyundaisÖ until now.

So Iím not imagining things. The Genesis is a head-turner.

I donít think itís particularly alluring, though the styling is cohesive and premium, and the sedanís stance is strong. Some COTY judges last year felt the Genesis could easily be mistaken for an Aston sedan. The grille does mimic the Rapide a little, and thereís that winged badge, but otherwise itís a stretch in my eyes.

Perhaps the stares are because the Genesis is such a bold departure from Hyundaiís usual fare. But thereís no Hyundai badge up front, so how do the gawkers know itís a Hyundai, and therefore that itís unusual for a Hyundai? Further investigation required, of the vox pop nature. Stay tuned.

So far itís been a serene and high-mileage first few weeks. The Genesisís overall refinement is excellent. The cabin is quiet, the ride isolating, and the drivetrainís effects BMW I3 REX Date acquired: Febr Price as tested: $69 This month: 429km 15.4kWh/100km (pl Overall: 429km @ 1 (plus 5.5L of fuel) are seen but not heard. The multi-adjustable electric seat is comfortable and, combined with reach and tilt steering adjustment, delivers the driving position I want.

I havenít explored its dynamic limits yet, but already the benefits of Hyundaiís localisation program can be felt. The suspension absorbs sharp edges and bumps without feeling floaty or overly soft. Initial turn-in is impressive for a 5m car with a 3m wheelbase weighing almost two tonnes. Thereís no overt sense that itís leaning on the outside front or that bodyroll is softening its bite.

Getting started each day is not without its little quirks, though. Even after dozens of journeys, for the life of me I canít remember whether to push or pull the park brake switch.

The big A-pillar and wing mirror can impede visibility at times, so shopping centre kerbs are a particular challenge (no, I havenít clipped one yet), and suburban roads clogged with parked cars make you aware of the Genesisís size. I donít like start buttons hidden behind steering wheels, and the gear selectorís detent makes a plasticky clunk each time it moves out of Drive.

That gearlever clunk was quickly fixed by a Hyundai service rep, and though it seems such a little thing, itís why prestige car companies spend millions on finessing haptic feedback.

Iíve not messed around with the drivetrainís r 9,900 m @

Social climber but still a value proposition

THE basic $60K Genesis weíre testing here has plenty of kit, proving that Hyundaiís move into the premium segment hasnít meant abandoning its value-for-money brand maxim. The Lexicon sound system is a cracker, streaming my tunes with clarity via Bluetooth from my phone. Radar cruise control gets a regular workout,

uary 2015 5.5L of fuel) 5.4kWh/100km Eco mode, or its Sport alter-ego yet, which I suspect may help the slick eight-speed transmission make better use of its ratios.

Iím deliberately spending time getting familiar with the baseline first.

We started our days together during a Melbourne winter. This $60K base model wears 18-inch Hankook Ventus Primes Ė the top-level $80K Genesis gets 19-inch Dunlops Ė and theyíre generally fine. But they do have a weakness when it comes to standingstart turns on wet roads.

The drivetrain has good initial pick-up, which I like. But turning at wet intersections can cause the inside rear to lose traction, which the ESC is commendably quick to clamp down on. It shows little finesse with its response, though, cutting drive completely until well after traction is restored. If youíre attempting to merge with traffic, this accelerative pause can feel like ages.

Iíve learned to be more judicious moving off in the wet, but I wasnít exactly stomping the throttle before because Iím trying to get a good fuel figure, as 12.7L/100km for a month of commuting proves. Still, if itís a choice between overzealous or inattentive ESC, Iíd take the former.

Otherwise itís been a serene first few weeks. Yep, serene. Iíve noticed a marked improvement in my ability to tolerate the morning commute. Spending a few extra minutes in its quality confines is no hardship.

Now, if I can just get the boss to approve a chauffeur, Iíll set about testing the back seat properly.

as do the front and rear parking sensors, though the front ones sometimes donít pick up the single central bollard located outside my favourite coffee stop.

Other driver assist systems include lane departure warning and auto emergency braking, which thankfully I havenít had cause to trigger yet. Puddle lights that include the Genesis logo (far left) are a nice touch. And the Smart Boot, which opens when it senses a person waiting behind it with the key, is clever, and much better than having to wave your foot wildly under the bumper like some other systems.

HYUNDAI GENESIS

Date acquired: June 2015 Price as tested: $60,000 This month: 1553km @ 12.7L/100km Overall: 1553km @ 12.7L/100km DP T O