The 2017 Genesis G80 is essentially the previous Hyundai Genesis four-door luxury sedan. Rebadged as the Genesis G80, it now serves as the smaller of two models that form Hyundai’s new luxury brand, the larger one being the all-new G90.
Little changed as the Hyundai Genesis metamorphosed into the Genesis G80, apart from an upgraded audio system and larger multiple-function instrument display. One revision is the inclusion of more active safety features as standard equipment. The styling is the same as before: Only the badges have changed.
As before, two engines are available: a sturdy V6 and a sizable V8. Base models get the 3.8-liter V6, which develops 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque, driving an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available with the V6.
Making a big jump in price, the aptly named G80 Ultimate sedan steps up to a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Only rear-drive is offered with the V8.
Base G80 models can hardly be dismissed as basic. The expanded list of standard active-safety features include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with stop/start, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Active head restraints also are standard. Nine airbags are installed, including a knee airbag for the driver.
While still in its Hyundai Genesis guise, the sedan earned a perfect rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, scoring five stars overall, as well as in every crash-test situation. Genesis also scored at the top in crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, named a Top Safety Pick+.
The Genesis G80 3.8L ($41,400) comes with the V6, leather upholstery, heated power front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, Hyundai telematics, and hands-free trunk opening. Rear-wheel drive is standard. The G80 AWD 3.8L V6 ($43,900) includes all-wheel drive, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Options include a rearview camera, part of the Premium package that includes a panoramic sunroof, front/rear parking sensors, and ventilated front seats ($4,750). The Ultimate package ($8,950) upgrades further with softer leather seats, genuine wood trim, a head-up display, a 9.2-inch touchscreen with navigation, 17-speaker Lexicon audio, and a power trunk lid.
The Genesis G80 5.0L V8 Ultimate ($54,550) comes with the V8 engine and all the Ultimate features plus LED foglamps, 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, and illuminated door sill plates.
Design influences from German luxury sedans, including Audi and BMW, can still be discerned in the G80. Though derived from Hyundai’s familiar hexagonal grille, the Genesis version has a smoother, more ornate appearance than those on the other Hyundai models.
Cabin space seems to be a little smaller than in some luxury competitors, and the interior isn’t quite as polished. Because of efficient layout, however, four adults can expect a comfortable experience. They can also get in and out of the G80 with comparative ease, and their heads shouldn’t be bothered by the headliner above. A somewhat upright profile and formal roofline translate to a cabin that seems airy rather than constricted.
Dashboard decor consists largely of sharp edges and horizontal straight lines, rather than curves or vertical elements. The center-positioned squarely shaped clock seems out of character. Audio and climate controls are located alongside and below the timepiece. Analog electro-luminescent instruments are used, instead of the screen-based gauges that have become so popular.
Passengers shouldn’t be troubled by noise or vibration, enjoying a quiet ride. Overall, the G80’s interior is on par with sedans that cost many thousands of dollars more.
Measuring 15.3 cubic feet, trunk space isn’t as voluminous as some buyers might prefer, and split-folding back seats are absent.
Evidence of budget constraints can be found only in minor details. For instance, while some luxury sedans use a damping mechanism for the console cover, Genesis designers turned to a simple hinge setup with rubber stops. Certain buttons and switches lack a prestige appearance, and the steering wheel could use a more comfortable grip.
Because the 311-horsepower base V6 engine responds heartily, paying so much extra for a V8 provides little benefit in terms of performance. Although the V8 sounds good, added engine weight makes the car feel more nose-heavy.
Lotus engineering originally helped set up the rear-wheel-drive V6 model, resulting in excellent highway composure. Even though the base sedan handles reasonably well, though, even that version feels a bit heavy at the front end.
Brakes aren’t especially firm, either, but steering is way better than might be expected. The variable-ratio electric power steering feels almost like that of an authentic sports sedan: neither unnaturally light nor excessively heavy.
The available air suspension with Continuous Damping Control can be switched from Normal to Sport mode. Though that version can smooth out some rough pavement, ride comfort and handling still fall short of the V6 model.
For driving on urban byways, boulevards and freeways, a G80 with the V6 engine is clearly appropriate.
Fuel economy is reasonable with the V6 and rear-wheel drive, EPA-rated at 18/28 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 16/25 mpg City/Highway. Even less thrifty is the V8, EPA-rated at 15/23 mpg City/Highway, or 18 mpg Combined.
Abundant equipment in base form makes the V6-engine G80 an appealing choice for midsize luxury. In terms of comfort and quality, this Genesis sedan gets the elements right, though details could be better. Even if you add an option package, the final price is far lower than the point at which rival models begin.
Driving impressions by Aaron ColeÂ, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.