Genesis used to be a luxury Hyundai car model, but in late 2015 they announced that it would transform into the brand-name for a new line of luxury autos. Following in Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura and Nissan/Infiniti footsteps, the new brand ushered in a new era of affordable luxury from the Korean automaker. For the most part, the cars are quite good – but borrow heavily in both design and feature inspiration. There’s nothing particularly innovative about them, with the possible exception of price. We got the chance to check out their G80, ‘full size’ sedan, and this time it wasn’t an absolute top-of-the-line model.
Because of that, we really can look at what a more everyday Genesis looks like, and our first impression is that it looks good. There’s no denying it’s a handsome sedan, if somewhat unremarkable at the same time. From many angles it evokes either a Mercedes-like or Audi-like silhouette, and still others seem to echo some Infiniti design cues. It’s hard to not notice these similarities, making it hard to accept that they are just coincidence.
From a powertrain perspective, you can choose from three engines in the G80. Our test car was equipped with the base 3.8-liter, normally aspirated V6. On paper, 311HP seems like plenty of power, but burdened with AWD drivetrain and pretty weighty body, it struggles to get out of it’s own way in many instances. The reluctance of the transmission to quickly change cogs could be a contributing factor, but overall it’s just a bit lackluster. If performance is your thing, however, you have two choices. A 365HP 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 or a throaty 420HP 5.0-liter V8. With many car companies, the V8 option is getting dropped – great to see it alive and well here.
Starting at just $44k, however, the AWD 3.8 version is a wonderful value. Full of luxury features and decent materials, it’s an economical way to get a sedan of this size. And the AWD drivetrain mates up to Chicago’s winters perfectly. We found cabin noise to be a little higher than we’d hope, but again the value is there. The infotainment system is up to par, with plenty of smartphone connectivity and functionality. With a 9.2” LCD touchscreen, interface is easy and intuitive. Available safety systems alert you to danger or actively help you avoid a crash. They include blind spot monitors, forward collision alert with emergency braking, lane assist and others. Unfortunately, the back up camera leaves lots to be desired, and parking assist is limited.
The value proposition of the Genesis G80 goes way up when you consider the warranty. Nobody else comes close, with a 5-yr, 60k mile bumper to bumper and 10-yr, 100k mile powertrain warranty, you have to factor the coverage into the price. With a low price of entry, and a low cost to maintain, the Genesis provides peace of mind for years to come.
Interior space is ample, and even though there are plenty of ‘borrowed’ design cues on the inside as well, the cabin is a nice place to be. A central analog clock, borrowed from Benz, to HVAC controls that echo BMW’s, there’s a lot familiar here. Unfortunately, some of the switchgear lets the luxury feel down. They had to save money somewhere, and using parts-bin switches is one way to do it. Still, the value is absolutely there.
Overall, the Genesis G80 manages to accomplish something that not many other sedans in it’s class can. It gives a premium experience without the premium price. The combination of luxury, technology and comfort isn’t available anywhere near this price from anyone else, so while the car itself doesn’t really stand out – the price certainly does.
Special thanks to Hyundai Motor Corporation for providing
the 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 AWD for review.