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2021 Genesis G80 Road Test Review by Larry Nutson

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A Curated Driving Experience

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Ask most any person familiar with the car market to name the premium, medium to large sedan that first comes to mind and they most likely will mention a model from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus or Audi. Few would say Genesis.

Genesis is the luxury vehicle brand from Hyundai Motor Group. They sold a bit over 21,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2019, their first full year with a decent dealer network.

The current Genesis lineup consists of three sedans and a utility vehicle (UV)--G70, G80, G90 and GV80. Additional models are coming.

I’ve driven both the G70 and G90 sedans. Recently I’ve had my first experience with the G80. Now in its third iteration, the midsize G80 offers both a premium look and feel as well as all around good performance.

The G80 sedan shares its architecture with the GV80 UV riding on an exclusive rear-drive platform. The all-new G80’s ability to maximize passenger comfort and design flexibility while balancing performance and safety capability all stems from its carefully engineered chassis.

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Overall the exterior design has both sporty and elegant characteristics. With a long hood the prominent Crest Grille sits between double-lined Quad Lamp headlights. The two-line graphics extend beyond the headlamps, to front fender side lights and into the rear fenders and the taillamps. The side turn indicators located just behind the front wheel are a big “wow”, in my mind.

A profile parabolic line runs along the side through the top of the door ending at the short design rear deck. The fastback roofline is balanced with short overhangs, a wide stance, available 20-inch wheels and dual exhaust outlets.

In daily use, headturns by street goers are apparent either wondering “what car is that” or admiring the looks. I think it’s the latter, as both genders seem to enjoy what they see.

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The 5-passenger G80 is offered in two trims, 2.5T and 3.5T, both available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. 

The 2.5T is so named for its 300hp 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 that develops 311 lb.-ft. of torque. Correspondingly, the 3.5T has a 375hp 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that develops 391 lb.-ft. torque. Both use an 8-speed automatic transmission. Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport and Custom modes are selectable, with shift paddles allowing for manual gear control.

EPA test-lab fuel economy ratings range from 18 to 23 city mpg and 26 to 32 highway mpg depending on the 2.5 or 3.5 engine and RWD or AWD.

As is today’s consumer must-have, the G80 is equipped with a complete array of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) safety features.

The 5-seat interior is plenty roomy. The low dashboard height and large glass area makes for clear sightlines and outward visibility. Slim air vents, a large central infotainment touch screen, low mounted HVAC controls and an uncluttered steering wheel provide an inviting and functional driving environment.

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Transmission gears are selected with a center console rotary controller. Just ahead of it sits the infotainment dial that is turned and pushed to make selections. Redundant controls are steering wheel mounted.

Plush soft leather seating with contrasting stitch work and a flowing design pattern make you feel at home. Microfiber suede headliner, matte finish wood trim, machine knurled knobs and power door closures are yours to enjoy. The quietness in the cabin makes driving even more inviting and allows for easy conversation and pleasant audio listening.

Overall, driving the G80 is nicely engaging. The V6 delivers plenty of performance and good overall drivability. Acceleration to 60mph is in the low 5-second range (you really don’t need anything quicker) and highway merging and passing is done with confidence. Ride and handling is comfortable, balanced and nicely compliant.

The all-new G80 is offered in Standard, Advanced, and Prestige trims with starting base price of $47,700 for the 2.5T RWD and $59,100 for 3.5T RWD not including a $1,025 destination fee. Prices top out at $67,650 for the G80 3.5T AWD Prestige.

More details on the 2021 Genesis G80 can be found at Genesis provides a 5-year/60,000 mile warranty that includes 3 years/36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance as well as 3 years/36,000 miles complimentary Service Valet. The G80 is in dealer showrooms now.

Noteworthy is the 2021 Genesis G80 is one of three finalists competing to be named the North American Car of the Year. It’s also candidate for the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.

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Genesis was ranked the #1 brand in the industry for the second consecutive year in JD Power’s 2019 Initial Quality Study (IGS), was named #1 ranked brand in the JD Power 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) as well as #2 brand in the annual Consumer Reports 2020 Report Card rankings.

I mentioned more models to come from Genesis. Recently the GV70 utility vehicle (UV) made its debut. It’s the fifth model and second UV in the Genesis lineup and will reach the market in 2021.

The Genesis brand has clearly delivered very compelling models in the premium category and established itself with industry respect. Any car shopper would be remiss to not consider them.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy