Escape The Room…Embrace The Genesis: 2017 Hyundai Genesis G-90

– By Melanie Droz Shawcroft

In order to celebrate summer birthdays this year, my girlfriends and I signed up for the 1980s-themed Escape the Room. Although the majority of us were born in the ’80s, we barely made it out in the 60 minutes allotted. Something we did not want to escape during our ladies’ Saturday was the 2017 Hyundai Genesis G-90.

Since I’ve never experienced an Escape the Room, I was just as bewildered when I entered the room as I was when I opened the door to the Genesis — who knew Hyundai could be so luxurious with its large grille and sleek exterior lines? I was unaware that this parent company (Hyundai) had branched off to create a new brand* (Genesis). Similar to how oblivious I was looking for clues in the ’80s room.

I was shocked at how ill-prepared we were, especially since we blasted ’80s on “8” on the SIRIUS XM radio through the 17-speaker Lexicon audio and Quantum Logic Surround System on our way to the venue. Ninety-nine red balloons and 867-5309 had to mean something, and we definitely attempted to open all locks using these numbers with little success. One winning number resulting from this ladies’ day (definitely not the ages we were celebrating) was the $70,000 price tag of the 2017 Genesis — over $10,000 less than major competitors.

The performance of some of my experienced Escape the Room friends was impressive. They were turning through book pages, goggling popular trends in the ’80s and riding on outdated exercise bikes. It was quite the scene; however, it didn’t outdo the performance of the Genesis. The 3.3L 6-cylinder turbo engine with 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque would have gotten us out of this room in seconds. We experienced the quiet, smooth ride of the Genesis on our way to brunch and it felt like we were floating — that feeling could have also been our boasting after the ladies working there told us only 20 percent of groups successfully escape the room.

The ’80s room was filled with games — an air hockey table, foosball table, old Nintendo and a raggedy Suns’ jersey. The old television projecting the ancient video game was nothing in comparison to the 12.3-inch touchscreen in the Genesis. In fact, the Genesis plays no games when it comes to its safety features. Receiving IIHS’ highest honor of Safety Pick for 2017, this 4-door sedan with AWD earned the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention due to the braking system feature. Other safety features include standard automatic emergency braking, braking and pedestrian detection alert, blind spot protection, nine airbags and a pre-active seatbelt system. Being locked in a room with posters of Ghostbusters and Michael Jackson for almost an hour made me crave the safety of the Genesis.

I wish the outdated couch in the Escape the Room was as comfortable as the seats in the Genesis. The ’80s exercise bike seat wasn’t even a close second in comfort. My girlfriends raved about the lavish rear seat and got a kick out of using the fold-down armrest that had complete control over the multimedia system. With multiple cup holders and USB ports along with heated and cooled front and back seats, I am surprised we ever left the comfort of our sedan. Getting 17 city mpg and 24 highway, we got to our Escape the Room and Postinos for brunch with little fuel wasted — unlike the massive amount of time we wasted trying to figure out the significance of Pepsi Twist (ummmm, we actually had to twist the top of the can to find the clue inside). I’m telling you…it is no easy feat to Escape the Room.

After finishing our celebration of turning yet another year older, it was great to unite with treasured friends, locked in a room, trying to escape the ’80s yet again. Our final clue was to find something with two Rs and two Ds — my first instinct was to race out to the 2017 Genesis G-90 for the reliability, relaxation, drive and durability, but I could not get out of the room, so I quickly grabbed the stuffed R2D2 doll and threw it to my girlfriends who got us out with nearly five minutes to spare. Best 55 minutes of my 37th year of life (except for the time I got to drive my dear friends in the Genesis).

*Genesis is to Hyundai like Lexus is to Toyota and Infiniti is to Nissan. A luxury brand of the same Manufacturer.

Starting at MSRP: $68,100

Vehicle Tested: $74,690

Girlfriend Approved: Priceless

Hit of the Party: 2017 Dodge Durango R/T RWD

– By Melanie Droz Shawcroftmelaniedroz_headshot4

My oldest son just turned six, and this year marks his final overindulgent, overcrowded and over budget birthday bash. From now on, I will take five friends on an understated adventure. One thing that was definitely not over embellished at the party was the 2017 Dodge Durango we were able to test drive while preparing for the shindig.

The Durango is the perfect mix of luxury, convenience and performance — similar to the perfect mix of water slide, snow cone and hot dog at Berrett’s party. The power liftgate made it easy to get all the party supplies in the Durango. With the third-row down and the second-row fold and tumble seats, we were able to create 84.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Enough room for 80 hotdogs, 80 buns, 10 bags of chips, two giant watermelons and a giant, inflatable water slide we borrowed from a wonderful friend.

The luxury offered by the 2017 Durango almost kept me from getting to the party on time. With 112-degree heat outside, I remained cool in the Durango with the Three-zone automatic temperature control, which kept me comfortable in the driver’s seat and all my cargo cool in the back. I was able to use the Remote Start System before getting in the SUV after each stop and the black/red luxury leather was also kept cool throughout the day. The red is definitely hot in the Durango and so is the power sunroof, rear DVD entertainment center, and 20-inch and 88-inch low gloss granite crystal wheels.

As I realized I was running late and still had to inflate this ginormous water slide, I put the Durango to the test. The 5.7-liter V8 Hemi MDS VVT engine is no joke. You can hear the Durango coming. Even though I hustled to get home, I felt safe with the numerous airbags, anti-lock 4-wheel disc heavy duty brakes and sport suspension. With all the party necessities within just miles of our home, I thought the average 17 mpg city/highway wasn’t too bad. I also think the cost of the 2017 Dodge Durango isn’t much more than what we have spent on birthday parties over the last six years. I would be happy to pay $49,670 for an SUV that comes with SIRIUS XM, blind spot and cross path detection and Uconnect navigation versus the amount I have paid for snow cone trucks, a visit from Captain America and pizza and hot dogs over the past six years.

The party was a big hit — we definitely overdid it, but there is nothing like the smile on your baby’s face and the hugs, kisses and thank you’s he gives you all day long. Well, the 2017 Dodge Durango may be something like that — that gloss black crosshair grille set off by LED daytime running lamps looks a bit like a glowing smile.


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