With Genesis, Hyundai enters luxury market

The Genesis G80 AWD is a good value in the luxury car market, with a refined upscale interior, handsome looks and more at a desirable price point.

WASHINGTON — Don’t call it a Hyundai.

It’s the all-new Genesis G80 — a new luxury brand to join the luxury market.

Hyundai has been making serious inroads into the American market for a few decades now. For the last ten years, they have been adding more premium and luxury cars to their portfolio.

For 2017, Hyundai created the Genesis brand to better compete in the luxury market. This week, the G80 midsize luxury sedan is in the spotlight. (Next week, the larger full-size luxury G90 will be reviewed.)

The G80 is available with a V-6 or V-8 engine, but if you choose all-wheel drive like the test ride, you have to have a V-6 good for 311 horsepower. The power is adequate for this large sedan. I would say this is more of a luxury than a speed machine. Still, I never felt left behind on the roads.

The eight-speed automatic is a smooth customer, offering nearly seamless shifts. The G80 is quiet on the road, and it offers a hushed ride on all surfaces, even at highway speeds. The ride is mostly smooth, with only some rougher roads slightly upsetting the car a bit more than some of the competition.

Handling is geared more toward luxury and less sport than some of the German sedans, but it does take corners without feeling too out of place. It’s nice as a more luxury-based midsize sedan.

The G80 offers the luxury you expect, and it seems to do it at a reasonable price when compared with most of the competition.

It starts around $43,000, and my AWD model with all the option packages was $53,000. You get the leather-lined interior with heated and cooled seats upfront. Those front seats are very comfortable with a lot of power adjustments. The rear seats are heated, and there is space for three across — but that middle seat isn’t as comfortable as the outer seats.

Rear headroom doesn’t seem as generous as some others in the class, but should be enough for most people. Trunk space is good for the midsize luxury class, and the power trunk with motion detection makes for easy hands-free operation. The G80 has real wood trim and a wealth of soft touch materials in the cabin. The large panoramic roof offers some open air motoring. My car had the larger 9-inch NAV screen that displays nice graphics and is pretty easy to use. It also has knobs for radio tuning and volume controls — a rare feature nowadays — and there is a good deal of buttons on the dash, more than some others in the class.

The styling is a bit conservative, but it’s still a handsome design.

It has the classic proportion of the long hood, with the shorter rear overhang for the trunk. The front end has that large grill like most of the competition, and there are slick LED headlights. Metallic-colored trim was added around the windows and door handles, and the lower body moldings help brighten the black paint on this G80.

Stylish 18-inch wheels complete the look, and the rear has dual exhaust pipes sticking out. The new Genesis badge is also prominently placed on the trunk lid.

The Genesis G80 AWD is a good value in the luxury car market, with a refined upscale interior, handsome looks and all the features you want at a desirable price point.

With three-year scheduled maintenance and valet car pickup so you don’t have to deal with those service visits yourself, the luxury experience is now in reach for more buyers — which is what sets Genesis apart.

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI, FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.

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