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With BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar ruling the executive car roost, plus Lexus and Infiniti nipping at their heels, how will Hyundai fare with its Genesis model aiming at 5 Series-sized cars?

Hyundai says it will sell just a handful of cars each year, which is just as well as it’s only available with a 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine. But if that’s the sort of power you want and you value comfort and refinement over a sporty drive, then the Genesis could well surprise you. It’s spacious, too, and absolutely loaded with kit, which all go some way to compensate for what initially looks like a steep price.

Our pick: 3.8 V6

Styling

Hyundai has wisely taken a conservative approach with the Genesis, which is exactly what buyers of executive cars want. It gets the bold grille treatment that you’d expect, with some neat detailing around the lights, a sharp crease running down the side and a sleeker rear end.

Pretty? No. Imposing? Reasonably. The Genesis badge on the nose looks like it should be on a budget brand, though, while the back end is rather too reminiscent of the i40 family saloon. Inside, it’s smart but a bit bland, while there are too many haphazardly arranged switches around. Quality is pretty decent, though.

Driving

Hyundai has taken a refreshingly different approach to the way the Genesis drives, more in keeping with the US and Korean markets where the brand is already established. It majors on comfort rather than sporting poise, with a ride that’s impressive over most roads and just a bit of thump coming through the rear suspension.

To complement that, refinement is seriously impressive, even when you really push the V6 engine. It makes a good noise and gearshifts are superbly slick, but it’s no racer with 0-62mph taking 6.8 seconds. Handling is secure enough, but there’s a fair amount of body lean through corners and the steering offers little feedback.

Reliability

Hyundai had a middling result in our latest Driver Power satisfaction survey, some way behind Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW and Audi. However, reliability isn’t an issue with the Korean brand and the Genesis will get Hyundai’s impressive five year unlimited mileage warranty.

The sole Genesis model gets as much safety technology on board as luxury kit, so autonomous emergency braking is standard, as are lane departure warning, blind spot monitors and 360 degree cameras, plus a full roster of airbags. There’s also a CO2 monitor onboard, which checks CO2 levels to avoid driver drowsiness, adjusting the climate control accordingly.

Practicality

Hyundai Genesis practicality is a strong point. Although it’s targeting the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, it’s longer and wider than all of those cars, sitting between executive and luxury models on size.

That means there’s decent interior space (although rear headroom isn’t overly generous due to the standard panoramic sunroof), while Hyundai says the boot will take four full-size golf bags, compared to their rivals, which can only fit three! There’s plenty of space up front for everything from mobile phones to drinks and water bottles, with a decent-sized glovebox, too.

Running Costs

For the time being only one version of the Hyundai Genesis is available, powered by a 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine – there’s no diesel option, seriously limiting the car’s appeal. The claimed average economy is 24.4mpg, which will result in all-too frequent stops at filling stations.

Also an issue could be resale values – in a fiercely competitive segment, non-premium badge and petrol engined models fare badly, so depreciation could be an issue. However, you’ll only be able to buy a Genesis through Hyundai HQ in High Wycombe, Bucks, and it will be financing the car, too, which should help leasing costs. The tiny numbers available will help, too. The only Genesis model you can buy is spectacularly well-equipped compared to rivals, though.

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