Odds are, you’ve heard a lot about South Korea-based Genesis recently. Rightly so, because the Korean brand has grabbed the luxury market by the scruff of the neck and shaken it down. Their models consistently match Japanese and German competitors in the segment who are well established. Often, these models are priced below them with little to no difference in quality. It’s hard not to like an underdog, but the Korean automaker may not stay one for much longer.
Who is Genesis?
Genesis is Hyundai. Or rather, it was. The brand is to Hyundai what Toyota is to Lexus. However, it wasn’t always that way. Initially, the name “Genesis” was a handful of models in Hyundai’s lineup. Specifically, the name was used for a few of Hyundai’s more upmarket sedans and coupes. That changed in 2015 when Hyundai made the name its own standalone brand, a-la Lexus.
Frankly, it’s one of the smartest moves Hyundai has made in recent years. Not that the company has been doing poorly of late; the i30N and Veloster N are fantastic little hot hatches at a bargain price. Diverging their lineup into two brands has served to increase Hyundai’s market share and pushed the brand into the limelight as of late. Additionally, letting their luxury brand ride on its coattails for a while helped to build recognition of the brand before it was left to stand on its own.
The current lineup is stunning
Having a big grille has become something of a mechanical necessity in recent years. As engines get larger and more complex, they need more air coming in the front to cool them. Some manufacturers have taken things a little too far, while others like Audi have found their stride in it. The Seoul-based automaker is part of the latter group. Not one of their models wears the large and easily recognizable grille poorly, from the G70 and G80 sedans to their GV70 and GV80 SUVs; also note the easy-to-understand naming structure.
These little touches are great, but getting the broad strokes of the luxury game down is important too. Thankfully, Genesis does this in spades. Interiors are fantastic, the design language is consistent, and all of their cars have real road presence. A Genesis rolling down the street is easy to identify, again thanks to that grille. Moreover, the sportier G70 has some real sports sedan chops and poses a real threat to other automakers despite some teething problems.
What’s on the horizon
The Korean luxury brand isn’t resting on its laurels either. Earlier this year, the brand unveiled the stunning “Concept X”, a statement of what’s to come from Genesis. The concept focuses on sustainability through the use of renewable and environmentally friendly materials. As for powertrain, things are a little vague. All Genesis will say is that the production variant will be EV-based. It’s exciting times in South Korea, with both Genesis and parent company Hyundai killing it right now, and it’ll be fascinating to see what comes next.