The definition of a luxury vehicle is shifting as the prices for vehicles of all kinds climb, leaving old boundaries and signposts broken and smudged. In an era, when the prices for a pickup truck can run more than $70,000, the definition of luxury becomes less fixed and more of an aspiration or a goal that carmakers struggle to reach.
One brand, though, seems more capable than others of reaching the luxury end of the automotive market is Genesis. The Genesis portfolio of sedans, coupes, utility vehicles and EVs seems to push the envelope in design, technology and comfort as it advances into new territory, challenging the vehicles offered by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi or Lexus.
The Genesis G80 is an example of one of those bold initiatives. A four-door sedan, the G80 comes with all the features customarily expected in a luxury car, including an impressive exterior design, the latest technology and a cabin equipped with the luxury furnishings and a complete array of comfort and convenience features as well as discreet storage areas.
The Genesis G80 from South Korea is a genuine challenger to the luxury cars built in Germany or Japan.
The look of the G80 stretches well beyond plain vanilla exterior designs, which seem to doom so many midsized sedans to premature obsolescence over the years. Instead, the sleek exterior of the G80 starts with a long hood, an expansive greenhouse and a roofline that slopes to the rear edge of the vehicle with it horizontal light fixtures. The result is a long, low, elegant appearance, which is offset by the bold, aggressive front fascia.
The front is intercut with the geometric shapes for the air intakes and the light fixtures. The Asian-style grille has a detailed, mesh-like appearance, which blends nicely into the overall design of the front end. The trunk lid at the rear of the vehicles seems almost invisible. The only jarring note in the exterior look are the wheels, which have a funky appearance that seem out of step with the rest of the car.
The cabin of the G80 is plush and furnished with the upscale materials such wood veneer, leather and bright metal accents favored by affluent baby boomers. But the interior is not ostentatious and the controls, including the rotary shift knob, are within comfortable reach.
A 14.5-inch horizontal screen in the vehicle’s center stack for entertainment and navigation also is laid out to benefit the driver. Behind the steering wheel, there is a 12.3-inch digital 3D instrument cluster.
The interior layout of the G80 also considers the rear-seat passenger with supportive, heated seats, three-zone climate controls and sun shades as well as multiple USB ports. The lighting scheme for night driving is very pleasant and during the day there is a panoramic sunroof for extra light. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent and the sound system inside the quiet cabin was impressive.
Genesis now makes an electrified version of the G80 but the model with which I spent a seek was equipped with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with direct injection. It was matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain can produce 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the 2023 Genesis G80 a fuel economy rating of 20 mpg combined, including 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
With 10 airbags, the G80 is well-equipped to protect both the driver and any passengers. But it also comes with smart cruise control with stop-start, forward collision avoidance alert for cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles changing lanes. It also has driver attention warning, lane-keeping, and highway driving assistance.
Blind-spot collision warning, rear-cross traffic alert and surround-view camera and parking collision avoidance are also part of the package. The model I drove also had rain sensing windshield wipers, remote smart parking, heads-up display and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio connection and Bluetooth. It also had a Lexicon premium sound system with multiple speakers.
Out on the road, the G80 was easy to drive and since it was winter in Michigan I found out it performed well on snow and ice. It also seemed capable of slipping into crowded urban neighborhoods and into tight parking spaces as if on cats’ feet. It also has plenty of power out on the highway and the torque was more than enough to move from a standing start and the shifts of the gears came smoothly and effectively.
The G80 is equipped with electronically controlled suspension so the ride and handling seemed uniformly smooth over all sorts of road surfaces of varying quality. For a relatively large vehicle the steering on the G80 was crisp and accurate even at speed around tight curves or corners and the brakes were first rate, even on wet surfaces.
2023 Genesis G80 AWD Sport Prestige Specifications
|Dimension||L: 196.7 inches/W: 75.8 inches/H: 57.7 inches/Wheelbase: 118.5 inches|
|Powertrain||3.5-liter twin turbocharged V-6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD|
|Fuel Economy||17 mpg city/26 mpg highway/20 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $65,750; As tested: $72,595 including $1,095 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
There is a lot to like in the Genesis G80 even though it seems to have been designed for an owner who could afford to hire their own driver. It has a genuinely unique character and style it can call all its own and its interior is very comfortable on a longer drive, but it does not lull you to sleep.
There is plenty of power and the overall driving dynamics are very good. But it is designed for an affluent audience and despite its size and spaciousness, it does not seem to have the versatility required for a family car. But the price tag of $73,000 seems to be the starting point for a new and more refined step on the price ladder for a luxury vehicle.
2023 Genesis G80 AWD Sport Prestige — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Prestige package on the Genesis G80?
The Sport Prestige package takes your sedan to the sports side with 20-inch sport wheels, carbon fiber interior trim, G-Matrix Crest Grille, and full LED Quad lamps as well as a 375-horsepower, 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine with all-wheel drive.
Is The Genesis Electrified G80 a Hybrid?
No. The Genesis Electrified G80 is a fully electric version of the excellent mid-size luxury sedan, trading a gasoline engine for a battery and two electric motors.
How much does it cost to maintain a Genesis G80?
The estimated cost to maintain and repair a Genesis G80 ranges from $95 to $1784, with an average of $237, according to YourMechanic.com.