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Korea is the new Japan (think Samsung and Sony.) The Hyundai Genesis sedan is the new Lexus LS460. For $43,800, tops, you have an immaculately appointed sedan with a huge back seat and all the technology you'd want: navigation, real time traffic, iPod adapter, backup camera, rear sunshade, HD Radio, satellite radio, hard disk drive, and now active cruise control.

It's compared more often to a Chrysler 300 than to a Lexus, sadly for Hyundai's sense of self-worth. Let's be clear: Nothing else from across the Pacific or Atlantic comes within $25,000 of the Genesis sedan when you factor in cockpit space. (The Ford Taurus has even more technology available but the Genesis is more Lexus-like in its appointments.)

As with Acura, Hyundai keeps the options list very short: V6 or V8, premium package (leather, sunroof, stuff like that), premium navigation (leather plus navi), and technology package (active cruise control, parking sonar, rear camera, better audio, power ventilated driver seat). The V8 has been declared one of the world's best engines, but the V6 Genesis is plenty powerful, too. With everything but the V8, you're looking at $41,800 list for the Genesis 3.8 model, $2,000 more for the V8. ACC is a recent addition to the offerings; Hyundai has yet to offer lane departure warning and blind spot detection.

One reviewer has noted that the handling of the Hyundai Genesis sedan isn't quite as precise on the Autobahn as that of an Audi or BMW but only as you approach 150 mph. On American roads, I found the Genesis drove accurately and comfortably (read: more like a smooth-riding Lexus) without the wallowing of American barges such as the Lincoln Town Car. Don't confuse the Hyundai Genesis sedan with the completely different, smaller Hyundai Genesis coupe.



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