Car Review: Genesis G80 3.8 is a calm, midsize luxury sedan; G80 Sport has a wild side

Genesis is the luxury brand from Hyundai. It seems to be very serious at offering luxury cars that aren’t really priced like typical luxury cars.

But can it compete with major players in the market?

I spent time with two Genesis G80 models. The first one is the entry-level trim called the G80 RWD 3.8. Priced at $42,745, this represents a very cost-effective entry into the luxury sedan market; and it doesn’t feel like a cheap ride inside.

The materials are nice for the price. There isn’t much hard plastic or cheaper-feeling material for its lower price.

The G80 rear-wheel drive has heated leather front seats with 12-way power adjustments. It has the usual leather-wrapped shift knob, and a power tilt and telescoping adjustment for its steering wheel.

There is enough space in the back for three adults to sit, if-needed. But headroom seems a bit tight for taller riders. There is also a standard 8-inch touch-screen with navigation and a rearview camera. It works very well and easily.

The V-6 engine does an adequate job of moving the large sedan, and driving in the G80 3.8 is quiet — not much noise enters the cabin. The ride is geared more toward luxury than sport, so expect a bit more body roll than some of the competition. Still, this is a smooth customer on most road surfaces.

Smaller bumps are dealt with easily, though I noticed the bigger bumps a bit more than I should have. Fuel economy was 21.6 mpg of regular fuel — a bit underwhelming in this class.

The Genesis G80 is a handsome ride, if not very exciting. It has the long hood and short trunk area down pretty well. The large front grill seems to be a necessity these days to go along with LED headlights.

Eighteen-inch wheels look a bit out of place. The wheels seem a bit small on the car to me, and they aren’t really luxury sedan style. Out back, dual exhaust tips and some chrome trim pieces dress up the car.

If you want an exciting-to-drive G80 with more style outside and added luxury inside, it’s the $58,700 Genesis G80 Sport you want. That price is still very reasonable for a loaded, midsize sporty luxury sedan.

There is more power from a twin turbo V-6 that really moves this sedan with authority. The 8-speed automatic, shifts smoothly whether you’re cruising or really moving. The all-wheel-drive helps keep the G80 Sport planted in corners, as well as adds confidence on wet roads.

This seems like a very different car than the base G80 3.8, this Sport is very confident. The ride isn’t really compromised even with the Sport suspension on this model. Fuel economy isn’t great. I managed 18 mpg for my week.

The extra cost scores an improved interior with more premium-looking and feeling seats that are heated and ventilated. The materials are top-notch with carbon fiber and aluminum trim that improve the look and feel of the cabin.

A larger 9.2-inch touch-screen is standard with a premium seventeen speaker Lexicon sound system that sounds fantastic. The driver has a full color Heads-Up display with speed, directions and side view monitor to help keep eyes on the road.

Styling is improved with the G80 Sport with a cool egg crate grill with copper accents, which is unique. It works well with the Caspian Black paint. The G80 Sport is more aggressive with large 19-inch wheels that look good.

Blacked-out and dark chrome trim fits the sporty nature of this Genesis. The quad exhaust tips fit the look, and complete the overall styling of a more sporty machine.

The Genesis G80 3.8 impresses with a lower price, while delivering a premium look and feel. The G80 Sport excels in the performance and an upgraded premium interior for a price that’s not high for a luxury car. Not to mention, the manufacturer throws in complementary maintenance for 3 years and with a service valet who picks up and delivers the car.

The Genesis brand is moving into the luxury market and it is here to stay. Other brands should take notice.

Editor’s Note: 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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