In the world of new car road tests, there are few complete surprises. While I was aware of the Genesis, having driven the new model back in 2009, I was unaware of how well it had evolved over the years. With two levels to choose from, the Genesis G80, which we drove for this test, and the G90 are amazing vehicles exhibiting the quality and performance found in vehicle fully $20,000 more than the G80’s asking price. This was a pleasant surprise to be sure.
The Genesis Sedan was Hyundai’s first real flirtation with big car luxury. Today the fit and finish of the big Hyundai are extremely impressive, our test vehicle packed with an excellent array of high-tech accessories. What does not get the headlines and should be noted is the impressive engine power – the Genesis G80 runs extremely well.
With 420 horses emanating from a 5.0-liter engine, it’s enough to make a Mustang GT owner seek cover. The V8 features all aluminum construction and the direct injection fuel system making for smooth acceleration and 23 mpg highway fuel mileage. With a 20.3-gallon gas tank, the range is well over 450 miles however, as is generally the case with high horsepower engine, premium fuel is mandatory.
The 8-speed overdrive transmission is fluid smooth as you might expect with three overdrive gears to squeeze the most out of that fuel supply. With 383 ft. lbs. of torque, the Genesis never wants for power when you kick the throttle down, despite the girth of the Hyundai at 4567 lbs. As has been a Hyundai standard since the brand launched in the US, the drivetrain is covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty and a 5 year, 60,000-mile overall vehicle coverage.
The G80 features a multi-link suspension with coil springs, front and rear, stopping handled via four-wheel disc brakes, 14.2-in vented rotors in front and 12.4-inch in diameter in the rear. At the four corners, 19-inch alloy wheels are used in a staggered configuration; 8.5 in front with 245/40R19 tires in front and 9-inch rear wheels with big 275/35R19 tires in the rear. Even the spare tire sports an aluminum wheel. Brake Assist (to allow you to lift off the brake at stop lights), Hill control and an electric parking brake features are standard.
Okay – so much for the stuff that gets you down the road – how about the things that make the trip enjoyable?
The G80, which is a full $20,000 less than the top-of-the-line G90, is packed with lots of luxurious appointments including the plush leather seats and the aluminum and real wood instrument panel, door, console and other interior accents. From the leather trimmed gearshift knob to the front cigar lighters and leather wrapped steering wheel, the up-level luxury clues are everywhere.
With the glaring exception of the missing adaptive cruise control in our model (called Distance Pacing with traffic Stop-Go), every current late model convenience feature was present. The well thought out dash allows total tuning of the IP to make indicator changes and prioritize the information visible to the driver. The audio console was beautifully integrated into the center controls and we found that we had little difficulty locating any of the features we needed when driving.
The Genesis strikes a very classic look, on par with E-Class Mercedes and A6 Audi – the Genesis logo not accidentally similar in shape to Jaguar or Aston Martin to add to the confusion. Frankly, the Genesis styling is what the Jaguar should have been in a full-size car. Smooth and fluid lines make this one of the most well put together shapes on the road. It is elegant well beyond its $55K price tag.
Like we said, the G80 was a surprise – and a very pleasant one at that.