Long road to lux­ury

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter: @PaulWard­Gover

THE first time I drove a Hyundai, it didn’t go well.

It was Can­berra in the 1980s, an orig­i­nal Ex­cel, on a slightly damp road near Par­lia­ment House.

As I reached one of the city’s gi­ant round­abouts I turned the wheel to the left — and noth­ing hap­pened. The tyres were aw­ful, the chas­sis was or­di­nary and I can still re­mem­ber in­stru­ment light­ing that left gi­ant dark patches on the di­als.

Not to men­tion the ef­fect on my heart rate as I scrab­bled to pre­vent a dis­as­ter. How things have changed. This week I’m back in Can­berra, on the very same road, driv­ing a $60,000 lux­ury Hyundai. It’s the all-new Gen­e­sis and it’s a ma­jor break­through for the brand, which has strug­gled for trac­tion out­side the bar­gain base­ment.

When I worked for Hyundai, in the early 1990s, peo­ple were re­luc­tant to move up to a Lantra. The Sonata — an ugly,

Ed­i­tor boxy beast — was almost a non­starter in Aus­tralia. But things have changed might­ily. The i30 hatch and ix35 SUV have erased bad mem­o­ries.

The Gen­e­sis is a mas­sive move for­ward from the chintzy Grandeur and un­der­done Ter­ra­can SUV, once touted as the brand’s Aus­tralian flag­ships.

The Gen­e­sis gets great reviews over­seas, the early forecasts on Aus­tralian re­sale val­ues are good and it’s easy to see the ap­peal of a car that is the size of a Mercedes E-Class, with sim­i­lar equip­ment, for less than one-third of the price.

Still, I can’t to­tally ig­nore the lessons of the past and I’m well Deputy Ed­i­tor Mo­tor­ing Re­porters

Con­trib­u­tors

Ad­ver­tis­ing, aware of how long it has taken Lexus — which launched in 1989 with the land­mark and su­per-im­pres­sive LS400 — to make any real im­pact with Aus­tralia’s lux­ury car buy­ers.

The Gen­e­sis ex­per­i­ment is not go­ing to pro­duce a fi­nal re­sult any time soon.

Na­tional Mo­tor­ing Ed­i­tor

Pro­duc­tion

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