Dirty dilemmas

Sunday drives and bubble baths, Genesis is shown some love

GLENN BUTLER

MELBOURNE rain sucks. Just one night after I washed Big Blue for the third time in our four months together, it rained. And Melbourneís rain is not just drops of water like rain is meant to be. No, each drop carries a load of Mallee dirt. When the rain stops and the car finally dries, every panel is peppered as though I parked too close to the speedway.

The Genesisís classy blue paint has one big drawback. It contrasts with this Mallee dirt.

White doesnít, nor does grey or beige, which may be why more than half of all new cars bought by Australians are shades of those colours. Watching the sea of conservative colours flowing down Aussie roads makes the reds, yellows and blues stick out like jelly beans in a bowl of pistachios.

So I washed Big Blue twice in three days.

Scrubbed its big panels again, then chamoised them down so it didnít streak , again. I had to. I wanted to drive around in a clean car. At least I didnít have to get the vacuum cleaner out and go over the insides again.

A car should not drive any differently whether itís clean or dirty. But they do, right?

Well, they donít, but I do. I feel better driving a clean car, and enjoy it more. Itís a subtle thing Ė like walking a little taller wearing a nice suit Ė but itís there. And on a prestige sedan like the Genesis, cleanliness suits its refined nature.

There is an exception to the clean-is-king rule, though. Hard-earned road grime; you know, the kind that covers a car after youíve done a big journey. Bugs splattered all over the front, road muck fanned out behind each wheel, and that dull covering of dust on the rear. To me, that makes a car feel tougher and more resilient. Thatís honest dirt, like sweat after a day of physical labour.

I took one of those honest drives after I cleaned the Genesis again. Went out to Launching Place and then down through Powelltown to Noojee. Itís a great winding road through tall timber, and doesnít get half the tourist traffic that plagues the Dandenongs. Then I aimed south to Moe and all the way down to Foster.

The Genesis reacquainted me with its ability to cover miles with ease, but it also reminded me of its sheer size and mass. This was a spirited Sunday drive, but the Genesis is no Commodore rival, despite its rear-drive sedan configuration. The Genesis doesnít have the nimbleness of a Commodore or Falcon. Itís still quick and has plenty of grip, but itís just not as engaging. And forget about provoking the rear. A comfort-focused suspension tune and no ESC switch means the rear is a follower, not a fighter.

The Genesis is a Statesman rival. We should do a comparo before Big Blue goes back. Itís a pity thereís no Ford Fairlane anymore, but maybe we should throw a couple of left-field rivals to benchmark the Genesis in other areas. An Audi A6 for interior and dynamic refinement perhaps, and a new Lexus GS for space and value.

But first Iíll need to wash the Genesis again. And all those bugs are going to take some scrubbing.

HYUNDAI GENESIS

Date acquired: June 2015 Price as tested: $60,000 This month: 1026km @ 11.5L/100km Overall: 7289km @ 12.0L/100km L/0km

Country consumption

The old-school 3.8-litre V6 likes long open roads more than stop-start urban commuting. Big country miles donít tax the transmissionís easily confused gear-change logic much, and they let the big V6 show the benefits of having peak torque from 2000-6000rpm. This monthís long Sunday drive returned an impressive 9.9L/100km for the 400km round trip, despite plenty of hills and a decent average speed, almost 30 percent better than the 12.8 Iíd been averaging for the working week.