Hyundai cars have a strong connection with the city of Portland as it has been the Port of Entry for its cars since the first Excel arrived state side in 1986. The Korean Manufacturer launched the introduction of the Excel on Good Morning America from the old Red Lion Hotel on 4th and Lincoln in the wee hours West Coast time. It was exciting for the city and people involved to be part of a completely new car launch. It began a long history with Portland and in July of 2013 the two millionth Hyundai rolled through the Port of Portland at Terminal 6. Hyundai did an extensive comparative analysis on various West Coast ports for over a year before finally deciding to anchor down in Portland.
“As their volumes have grown over the past two decades, we have continued to grow with them,” said John Akre, terminal manager for the Port of Portland. “We have always had a great relationship with Hyundai.”
The early Excel initially had some great success and good press. It was awarded Best Product #10 by Fortune Magazine. This was primarily due to the low price and great value. It sold a record number of units in the United States for a first year company compared to any other automakers. Over 168,000 Excels sold in that first year.
Cost-cutting measure by the bean counters soon led Hyundai to a reputation that it’s still trying to live down. The quality was so bad that it became the butt of jokes. Dealerships either made all their money on the many repairs or simply gave up selling them altogether. In the subsequent years, Hyundai began investing heavily in quality, styling and long-term research. It also instituted its now famous 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. The turnaround was so dramatic that in 2006 it was named third in Initial Quality by J.D. Powers behind Porsche and Lexus.
That brings us to today where in the last year or so Hyundai has attempted to go after the big boys like Mercedes, Lexus, Audi and BMW with its Equus and Genesis. The first thing you notice is how beautiful the lines are on it, and even the base model has luxury styling features and a long list of standard features. It also features a unique banding to the Genesis which is different than the regular Hyundai badging. From the responses I received from people when I told them this was a Hyundai, they still have some work to go on image and public perception so the badging makes great sense. Once you slip inside, it feels like a much more expensive German sedan. If you hadn’t looked at the price sheet you would have easily guessed the price to be in the mid to upper $40,000’s but would be more than pleasantly surprised to read it was just a touch over $38,000. With all the standard features, a more than capable 3.8 liter, V6 with an eight speed automatic transmission, the second-generation Genesis is a real player in the luxury sedan market. The V-6 also takes regular gas so the 18 city/29 highway and combined 22 mpg makes it an even better value.
Hyundai and its sister car Kia, offer the best voice activated systems, entertainment package with all the tech features along with some of the old guys buttons and knobs to make changing modes and stations easy. The Genesis also features the Intelligent Assistant® which is a proactive app built to save the driver time and provide an even higher level of convenience. The app combines Blue Link® features, data from the vehicle, the owner’s smartphone, and the internet with multiple layers of intelligence. This allows it to send proactive notifications and recommendations to the owner in preparation for their drive. Genesis owners will have alerts to remote start their car on a hot or cold day, saving them the luxury of time.
But, coolest feature has to be the illuminated Genesis logo that appears outside the driver’s door when you open the car door at night when you reach your destination. After a week in the test car, the biggest issue was giving it back.