2017 Genesis G90 AWD
Entry Price: $41,400
Price as tested: $55,350
This week, we're driving new mid-size luxury 2017 Genesis G80, little brother to the larger G90 we drove recently. Three V6 powered rear drive G80s are available, namely the Standard at $41,400, Premium at $46,150 and Ultimate at $52,850. If you want AWD, which our Ultimate tester included, add $2,500 to these prices. For the performance crowd, check out the rear-drive only Ultimate, which comes with a 410-horse 5.0 liter V8 at $54,550 retail.
I note again the consumer branding difficulties both Genesis G90 and G80 as new luxury vehicles face when departing from the Hyundai family of automobiles. Notably, Hyundai is doing exactly what the Japanese manufacturers of Infiniti (Nissan), Lexus (Toyota) and Acura (Honda) did years ago sans the demand of dealers building a separate showroom to eliminate "co-branding" identification.
However, as of this point Hyundai is instilling a "semi-brand specific" dealership network in that if your area Hyundai dealers did offer the now discontinued 2016 Genesis/Equus models, consumers will still be able to purchase a new 2017 Genesis at these locations. As of this writing, half of the Hyundai dealers across America do have Genesis/Equus sale franchises and I feel not demanding these dealers to build a separate showroom is a good move economically.
And, as every new car has birthing pains, so does the "new building" capabilities of the Hyundai dealers who took a chance 30 years ago when Hyundai automobiles were pretty much a non-respected, cheap and unreliable South Korean brand. (My, how things have changed).
Thus, Genesis sits in a better position to attract serious buyers who don't mind shelling out $70,000 for the G90 or $41,400 for a G80, both way less than competing brands. Why? Because both Hyundai Equus (G90) and Genesis (G80) have already had test runs and both achieved the coveted Consumer Reports magazine 2016 model "recommended" ratings.
Now, back to the car.
Genesis G80 is best described as a true luxury car that retails for nearly $10,000 less than competing models. Built in Ulsan, Korea, our 3.8-liter V6 powered G80 delivers 311 horses and 293 lb. ft. of torque. The engine connects to a Shiftronic 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and the HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system. EPA highway fuel mileage with the AWD drive mechanicals is 25 highway and 16 city while the rear drive G80 delivers 28 highway and 18 city. There are four modes of rear wheel drive operation to choose from ala Economy (Eco), Normal, Sport and Snow. The AWD models take care of the "Snow" mode automatically.
After driving the G90 twin turbo V6 five weeks ago, the G80 is not surprisingly slower from an acceleration standpoint yet still 100 percent respectable in every driving situation. On a good note, if performance and luxury are your desire, the 5.0 liter V8 starts at $54,550 and is pretty much the same engine in the G90. (The twin-turbo V6 is only available in the G90.)
Genesis G80 rides on a near 6-inch shorter wheelbase than the big brother G90 meaning the rear seat legroom may not be as massive as G90, but is still very good. The car offers outstanding driver and passenger comfort, the "luxury look" exterior design (like its German rivals), and a quiet and smooth ride. Generating the overall handling attributes is the Genesis Adaptive Control suspension system coupled to 18-inch Michelin all-season tires on beautiful aluminum alloy wheels. If you order the 410 horse V8, you'll upgrade to 19-inch wheels and tires.
Standard fare on our tester includes every amenity imaginable including blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, enhanced safety rear camera, power sunroof, nine air bags, full grain leather ventilated/heated front seats, heated rear seats (AWD only), rain-sense wipers, power tilt and telescopic wheel, auto-dim side mirrors, head up windshield display, high intensity headlamps, fog lights, wood trim, premium 9.2-inch HD Navigation touch screen, all the powers, multi-view safety cameras, acoustical windows, multi-power trunk lid, dual mode vent control and a Lexicon 17-speaker discreet logic stereo system.
Additional high-end safety includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, smart cruise with start/stop capability, driver attention alert, front and rear park sensors and a few more ancillary items that make for a very safe automobile. Furthermore, the legendary 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is still in effect, one of the Hyundai qualities you receive with your Genesis purchase.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 118.5 inches, 4,453 lb. curb weight, 15.3 cu. ft. of cargo space and a 20.3 gallon fuel tank.
Genesis G80 has some major competitors and some hills to climb, but at an entry of $41,400 it is indeed an exceptional value … as is the Ultimate. G80 therefore receives a "solid buy" Test Drive recommendation.
-- Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media properties. He welcomes reader questions and input on auto nostalgia, collector cars and old time racing at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Likes: V6 or V8 power, safety, overall a top quality automobile.
Dislikes: Hyundai roots tough for some to overcome, depreciation may be a concern.