Genesis calls them “human-centered innovations.” The rest of us will call them cool conveniences.
Whatever they’re called, the neat features found on the 2017 Genesis G80 are what folks are going to love about the car.
The list includes things like automatic vehicle hold, which eases the stress of your commute in stop-and-go traffic, and the innovative hands-free trunk, which opens automatically if it detects your smart key as being nearby for more than 3 seconds. No need to stand on one foot while trying to swipe the other under the bumper.
And then there’s the data-filled head-up display, the best in the segment. It features info on speed, cruise-control status, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure and forward collision warnings. Featuring adjustable brightness, it’s all crisp and easy to read.
Genesis, first introduced in 2008, is taking its next big stride in the luxury arena with the G80, a full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan with all-wheel-drive available as an option. Don’t call this the Hyundai Genesis, please. They’re trying to further distinguish this brand in the luxury marketplace.
And especially in black, the G80 does indeed exude luxury with a sleek profile, elegant hexagonal front grille and sweeping rear with LED-laden wrap-around taillights.
Its ride, meanwhile, is refined and quiet thanks to an increased amount of sound-absorbing materials, acoustic laminated glass and even a low-noise fuel pump.
The list of Genesis competitors is plentiful and many of the foes do have an edge when it comes to power and overall performance. Even with the Genesis set to Sport mode, tests show rivals like the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series outperform it. But keep in mind you’ll pay more for those guys.
When it comes to powering the G80, you have two choices: a 3.8-liter V-6 that delivers a substantial 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque, or an award-winning 5.0-liter V-8 that ups the ante to 420 horses and 383 pound-feet of pull. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the wheel for those who like extra control. All-wheel-drive is available only with the 3.8.
A drive mode selector enables adjustments for different conditions or driver preferences, changing throttle response, transmission timing and stability control.
Zero-to-60 with the 3.8-liter happens in 6.6 seconds, a full second slower than some of the aforementioned friends. The V-8 betters the run to 60 mph to the mid-5-second range.
Comparisons aside, the G80 is fast enough for most, handles well and is a smooth ride on the open road. The suspension system offers decent feel while gobbling up the bumps and pavement cracks along the way. Steering is nicely weighted, and response is quick.
The G80’s 4,500 pounds contribute to less-than-stellar mileage figures. Expect 21 mpg combined with the 3.8, and just 19 mpg if you opt for the AWD. The 5.0-liter returns around 18 combined and 23 on the highway.
On the plus side, G80’s size (and long wheelbase) means impressive interior space — a total of 123 cubic feet, 15.3 of them for cargo. That’s class-leading, says Genesis, as is the front leg room, head room and rear shoulder room, though taller folks might wish for more head room in the rear. Perforated-leather seats are supportive, comfortable and can be adjusted 12 ways.
It’s a simple and well-designed cabin. Wood grain and matte-finished aluminum on the dash and doors provide elegant accents. The instrument panel is bright and easy-to-read, while audio and climate are controlled by good old-fashioned rotary knobs the way this baby boomer likes it. Still, a 9.2-inch touchscreen accommodates the high-tech stuff, including smartphone-app integration.
Standard high-tech safety includes lane departure warning and intervention and frontal collision warning with automatic braking in an emergency. Plus, the G80 tops out on crash tests, earning five stars on front- and side-impact tests.
The G80 comes well-loaded, but two options packages are available: Premium and Ultimate. The Ultimate adds the power trunk lid, bigger touchscreen and an outstanding 17-speaker Lexicon sound system.
The G80 probably is the best bang-for-buck luxury sedan out there. Sure, you could pay more and get more, but for 50 grand or so, you’ll get its good looks, comfort and conveniences, not to mention Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s a hands-free truckload of value.
2017 Genesis G80 Ultimate
What’s all the excitement about? A distinct new name, quiet ride and innovative conveniences.
Powertrain: 5.0-liter V-8 engine capable of 420 horsepower, mated to eight-speed automatic transmission
How’s the performance? Zero-to-60 in around 5.5 seconds; quiet on the highway
What about fuel economy? 18 mpg combined (23 highway, 15 city)