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2020 Genesis G80 Review

LIKES
  • Luxury for the dollar
  • Appealing powertrains
  • Refinement to spare
  • Strong on safety
DISLIKES
  • Limited choice of dealers
  • Could be sportier
  • No engine is fuel-efficient
BUYING TIP
  • Few cars offer the luxury and amenities of a 2020 Genesis 3.8 for around $44,000.


The 2020 Genesis G80 offers smooth power and attainable luxury for much less than the competition.

The 2020 Genesis G80 is a luxury sedan that offers a little bit of everything: strong power, a luxurious interior, tasteful styling, exemplary safety, and a touch of performance. Its biggest strength is its value compared to far more expensive European rivals. 

The G80’s appeal is somewhat tempered by its thirsty engines and small dealership network. Still, its all-around capability earns it a healthy rating of 7.5 out of 10.

The Genesis G80 was launched as the Hyundai Genesis, and it became part of the new Genesis luxury brand when it debuted in 2016. The brand’s efforts to improve the dealer experience continue as Genesis aims to open stand-alone dealers that can provide Lexus levels of service or even better. 

A lineup based on engine size includes base 3.8, mid-level 3.3T Sport, and top-end 5.0 models. The 3.8 is offered in Standard, Sport, and Ultimate trim, while the 3.3T comes only in Sport and the 5.0 is only trimmed with Ultimate equipment.

The base 3.8 provides the best value, with all the style of the others, a beautiful and comfortable interior, lots of amenities, and controlled-but-not-quite-sporty dynamics, all for around $44,000. Its 3.8-liter V-6 puts out 311 horsepower, which will be enough for most buyers.

The 3.3T Sport has adaptive dampers, a sportier look, and much more power thanks to its twin-turbocharged V-6 that spins out 365 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque. It costs about $56,000. The 3.3T Sport’s look is available on the base model, but its dampers aren’t.

The V-8 has little, if any more usable power, but its 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque are delivered in a smoother manner, with the plus of a V-8 soundtrack. It costs more than $58,000.

All models use a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, and all are offered with rear- or all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, no G80 engine is very fuel-efficient. 

Every model is also handsome, with a shield-like grille and smart and subdued character lines. Inside is a plush environment with standard leather upholstery on comfortable 16-way power-adjustable seats, available softer nappa leather, intuitive infotainment systems with 8.0- or 9.2-inch screens, and an available 17-speaker Lexicon audio system. The rear seat has good room, but some rivals offer more.

The 2020 Genesis G80 makes blind-spot collision-avoidance assist standard. It joins a list of essential active safety features that come standard, and the G80 has a track record for top crash-test ratings.

Styling
The 2020 Genesis G80’s look is attractive and clean, though perhaps not distinctive.

Classic sedan proportions with clean, simple details inside and out earn the 2020 Genesis a 7 out of 10 for Styling on our scale. Models with the Sport package are even better looking thanks to their unique bumpers and copper trim elements. 

The 2020 Genesis G80 announces its presence with a shield-like grille that looks large but is small compared to the one on the G80’s new-look G90 bigger brother. The edges of the grille lead into strong character lines that provide the car’s shoulders. The rear end also presents a clean look, though its design is too generic to become as recognizable as the designs of the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The G80 gets attractive 18- or 19-inch wheels, depending on the model. 

Well organized and simple, the G80’s cabin manages to avoid feeling spartan. The controls are set up high around the infotainment screen where they are easier to reach. Genesis offers a standard 8.0-inch screen and an available 9.2-inch screen. 
The only drawback is a limited color palette. Buyers can pick from black, gray, or beige for all but the 5.0 model, which adds brown this year. Even at that, however, the black dashboard is unchanged.

Performance
The 2020 Genesis G80’s smooth ride, competent handling, and strong engines create a relaxing and controlled driving experience.

Any model of the 2020 Genesis G80 rides well, but each of the trio of engines gives the car its own personality. We give the G80 a 7 for performance based on its strong engines and creamy ride. 

Few cars offer as relaxed a driving experience as the Genesis G80. It’s a comfortable highway cruiser that soaks up bumps regardless of wheel size or damper choice. Yet, the mid-size luxury sedan also delivers three levels of willing power and competent handling. 

It all starts with the Genesis G80 3.8, which draws its power from a 3.8-liter V-6 that churns out 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. Its strong, steady acceleration is enhanced by a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s not exciting, but it is perfectly competent on the street or the highway and its engine note never intrudes on conversation. 

Those who want more accessible power need only step up to the twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6. It ups the output to 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, and it comes with a sportier suspension that still rides smoothly thanks to adaptive dampers. It can launch from 0-60 mph in about 5.0 seconds, and its adjustable, adaptive dampers allow for a firmer, but still not harsh, ride with at least as much control as the lighter 3.8.

The G80 5.0 delivers its power more smoothly and has a richer engine note, but it’s no faster than the 3.3T despite its 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

All G80s lack steering feel but turns into corners quickly due to a very fast 11.8:1 steering ratio. The G80’s suspension deals with turns with quiet competence, especially Sport models with the dampers in their firmest setting, but all models lack the athletic moves of German rivals and the tires lack the grip of a sport sedan. Similarly, the brakes are competent and progressive during every day driving and they can even handle some canyon carving, but they aren’t meant for the track.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Genesis G80 is luxurious and spacious inside, but it could use a little more rear leg room.

The G80’s comfortable interior is replete with high-quality materials and good space for front-seat and rear occupants. Taller rear-seat passengers might want more room, which is odd given the G80’s size.

We give the 2020 Genesis G80 a rating of 8 out of 10 for comfort, adding points for front and rear-seat comfort, trunk space, and high-quality materials. 

The G80 features plenty of amenities aimed at passenger comfort and a relaxing ambience. Heated leather seats with 16-way power adjustments and cushion extenders are standard, as is glossy wood trim. Buyers can opt for softer leather and natural wood or carbon-fiber trim.
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Genesis teams a supple suspension with a healthy helping of sound deadener to keep out exterior noise and make the interior even more serene. The G80’s 35 inches of rear-seat leg room is spacious in the world of vehicles, but only middling for a mid-size sedan, especially in the luxury segment. However, it is wide enough for three adults to ride back there in relative comfort. 

The trunk has 15 cubic feet of cargo space, which is bested by several rivals. A low, wide trunk opening eases loading and unloading.

Safety
The 2020 Genesis G80 performs well in crash tests and comes standard with a variety of active safety features.

The 2020 Genesis G80 lacks only today’s most-advanced driver-assistance technology, but all of its active-safety features are standard. It also performs very well in crash tests. That earns it a 9 for safety in our book.

Every 2020 Genesis G80 features a full array of active safety features, including forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. For 2020, it also adds blind-spot collision avoidance assist that brings the car back into its lane if a car is in the lane you’re trying to switch to. The G80 doesn’t offer the latest semi-autonomous driving technology of some rivals, like hands-free traffic jam driving or navigation-linked speed control.

However, the G80 has earned top honors in crash tests. It gets the top five-star overall rating and five stars in every crash test from the NHTSA. It also earns the top score of Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. Note, however, that it requires the optional LED headlights to achieve that score. The G80 rates the top score of “Good” in every test to qualify for Top Safety Pick+ status. Its base headlights are rated “Acceptable,” the second-highest score on the IIHS scale.

Features
The 2020 Genesis G80 competes feature for feature against cars that cost much more.

The Genesis G80 is priced below its competition, and all models are loaded with standard equipment. That makes it a value among luxury sedans. We rate it a 9 for features, awarding it points for its generous standard equipment, its variety of features, its easy-to-use infotainment system, and its excellent warranty.Genesis offers the G80 in 3.8, 3.3T Sport, and 5.0 models based on their engines. The 3.8 comes in Standard, Sport, and Ultimate trim, while the 3.3T is only a Sport and the 5.0 only gets Ultimate equipment.

For about $44,000, the base 3.8 model comes standard with leather seating surfaces; a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat; heated front seats; dual-zone automatic climate control; and 18-inch alloy wheels. Infotainment features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 7-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio.

For those who want more equipment, we recommend the 3.3T Sport, which adds a sporty body kit, adaptive dampers, a panoramic sunroof, a power trunklid, 19-inch alloy wheels with staggered tires, adaptive LED headlights, nappa leather seating surfaces, a 16-way driver’s seat, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, a 9.2-inch center touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, and a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system. It also gets sportier interior items, like carbon-fiber trim and alloy pedals. It costs around $56,000. 

The 5.0 model lacks the sport body kit, the adaptive dampers, and the sportier interior bits, and costs just over $58,000. All-wheel drive adds $2,500 to each model. 

These prices compare to the $80,000 or so you’ll pay for a comparable BMW or Mercedes.

The G80 also includes Genesis’ generous warranty: 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles on everything else, and 3 years/36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance.

Fuel Economy
Fuel economy is the G80’s biggest drawback.

No Genesis G80 is fuel efficient, and with more power comes worse fuel economy. Most rivals go easier on fuel. We give the 2020 G80 a fuel economy rating of 4 based on the the ratings of the V-6 engines, which represent the bulk of the sales.

The best-case scenario is the 3.8-liter V-6 with rear-wheel drive, which carries EPA ratings of 18 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined.

Add all-wheel drive to the base V-6 and the G80’s EPA ratings fall to 18/24/20 mpg. Well, at least it uses regular gasoline, unlike the twin-turbo V-6 and V-8, which use premium.

Opt for the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6, and the EPA ratings come in at 17/25/20 mpg with rear drive and 17/24/20 mpg with AWD.

The 5.0-liter V-8 carries ratings of 16/24/19 mpg when the power goes only to the rear and 15/23/18 mpg when all four wheels are driven. 

By comparison, the twin-turbo-6 BMW 540i is rated at 22/30/25 mpg, better than any G80.


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About Udara Madusanka

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