Only In Canada: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 HTRAC AWD

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

The list of Canadian-exclusive vehicles is scant, with a large number of them being small minivans and badge-engineered Acuras – in other words, nothing terribly interesting. What you’re looking at here is something that only Canadians will get – for now. But rather than carrying out a concerted effort to bring Canadians something unique, it gives an insight into how product planning decisions are made.

American consumers are limited to getting AWD only on the Genesis 3.8 models, which come with Hyundai’s ubiquitous V6 engine. Even then, it’s an option. Canadian consumers, on the other hand, have only AWD models, but they can get four driven wheels on the five-point-oh V8 engine, unlike those south of the 49th parallel.

A recent trip to the Canadian Rockies saw us behind the wheel of a Genesis 5.0 equipped with the Magna-developed HTRAC AWD system. Since it was an unseasonably warm August week, there was no foul weather to test the system’s mettle, nor did we have the gumption to take the $64,123 (Canadian) press loaner off-road.

The only way the Canadian 5.0 comes equipped is in the loaded Ultimate trim level, which is packed with every passive and active safety feature imaginable (including a CO2 sensor that supposed helps detect driver drowsiness), a 17 speaker Lexicon audio system (brilliant) and a wonderfully simple infotainment system with a 9.2 inch screen.

There’s no tangible similarity between the RWD 5.0 and its AWD sibling. The chassis is surprisingly adept for a 4687 lb luxury sedan, but the added heft versus 4294 lb AWD V6 models is noticeable, and seems to cancel out whatever performance gains may come from the bigger motor, both in terms of acceleration and handling. Fuel economy is frankly atrocious. Hyundai’s Canadian fuel economy ratings for this car sit at 14 mpg city, 22 highway and 16 mpg combined. We struggled to crack 15 mpg in mixed driving, and a full tank of 91 octane, at $5.32 a gallon, was an expense that didn’t seem worth it compared to the slightly less thirsty 3.8L, which can be had in top-spec for $9,000 less.

When Hyundai announced the Canada-only V8 HTRAC, I asked a source of mine at Hyundai Canada why they went through the expense of creating a whole new variant for such a small market. “Because nobody would buy it if it was rear-drive only,” was the reply. Even so, the Genesis 5.0 is likely to be a very small portion of Hyundai Canada’s total sales. It’s great to see auto makers starting to respond (albeit slowly) to the unique needs of the Canadian market. A $64,000 all-wheel drive V8 luxury car isn’t the first thing you’d think of in that context, but it’s a neat oddity in a product portfolio dominated by frugal subcompacts.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • RHD RHD on Sep 12, 2014

    Hyundai has aimed at the North American market by attempting to copy the characteristics of popular domestic vehicles. By weighing in at nearly 5,000 lbs and burning more than a gallon of gas every 15 miles, they have certainly hit the bullseye, which has "1976" written on it in tiny little numbers.

  • EspritdeFacelVega EspritdeFacelVega on Sep 12, 2014

    "Less expendable income"???? Compare Buffalo to Toronto, lad. Years ago, maybe, but not lately. Higher-end luxury car market in Canada is proportionately larger than in the US, esp. mainly as a result of tax laws that make it advantageous for small-business (biz under $500k is only taxed at 13%) to bulk up their auto leases/purchasing. Also, low biz taxes mean you can't compare like-to-like for avg salary or wage income. I'm an economist - you have to watch these odd little difference between countries to get an accurate read.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 12, 2014

      Canadians have less expendable income because they have to give to every beggar they see. Some Canadian here once told me it was their way. Beggars in Canada do very well!

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