By Emme Hall.
You have to admit, the past few years have been good to Hyundai. They’ve been producing well appointed cars with modern styling, often at a fraction of the price of their competitors. That’s not to say other companies have been slouching. Nissan has proven itself to be a contender in the sporty sedan market, offering cars that have a unique profile without being too “out there” for their customers (the Juke notwithstanding). Today we’ll take a look at the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 and the 2013 Nissan Maxima SV and see which one wins our prize.
The Genesis gets a 3.8L V6, knocking out 333 horsepower and 291 lb/ft of torque. This RWD sedan is offered only with an 8 speed automatic, which gets you to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel ratings at 18 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.
For the base price, the Genesis comes with 17” wheels, LED running lights, automatic headlights, foglamps, power accessories, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, heated mirrors, a 7 speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio, Bluetooth, and iPod integration.
There are a few packages available. The Premium package ($4800) adds 18” wheels, leather trim, navigation, a 7” touchscreen, sunroof, rearview camera, a 14 speaker audio system, automatic wipers, and folding mirrors. The Technology package ($4300) adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, adaptive xenon headlights, parking sensors, leather upholstery, cooled driver’s seat and heated rear seats, a more sophisticated navigation system paired with an 8” touchscreen, BlueLink telematics, and a 17 speaker sound system.
Out on the road the Genesis proves to be a formidable competitor. Acceleration is quick and smooth and while the suspension is not the stiffed around, you can still scoot through city obstacles with ease. It is clear that Hyundai intended this car to be more of a luxury sedan than a sport sedan. As such the ride is a bit soft, but it never feels like you’re on the SS Floatmeister. The steering, which is satisfyingly precise, nevertheless lacks on feedback. But again, this is a car pointed more towards the upscale consumer, who more than likely will not see the need for high-speed maneuvers.
The Nissan Maxima gets a 3.5L V6 good for 290 horsepower and 261 lb/ft of torque. You get your choice of transmissions as long as that choice is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to direct the power to the front wheels. 0-60 mph happens in about 6.2 seconds, and the EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. Standard features on the Maxima SV include 18” alloy wheels, sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, 8 way power adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, and an 8 speaker sound system with a 6 CD changer.
There are a few optional packages available for the SV. Among them are the Cold package ($400), which gives you heated front seats, mirrors, and steering wheel. The Monitor package ($700) adds a 7” color screen, rearview camera, and iPod integration, and the Bose Audio package ($1100) adds a 9 speaker Bose (of course) sound system with satellite radio.
From behind the wheel, the Maxima is an enjoyable drive. The car handles well without being too stiff and the steering is quick and precise, offering a respectable amount of feedback. Acceleration is smooth and quick and I will admit it, if you have to drive a CVT, the Nissan CVT is the one you want to drive. Most CVTs are loud and unresponsive to throttle inputs, instead preferring to stay at the point in the power band that offers the best fuel economy. The Nissan Maxima’s CVT actually lets you be the boss of it and the manual shift feature, while really being a clever way to fool drivers into thinking they are driving a “normal” transmission, can be entertaining.
The 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 starts at $34,200 and the 2013 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV is just a bit less, starting at $33,240. While the Maxima is a respectable choice that you won’t regret, I have to go with the Genesis here. I prefer my cars RWD and while the transmission in the Maxima is one of the best CVTs on the market today, I still can’t bring myself to endorse it.