27 September 2023

PSN Road Test: #24 2023 – Genesis G80

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By Paul Gover

People often mistake the Genesis G80 for an Aston Martin. Or a Bentley.

That’s down to the ’spread-eagle’ wings on the badge, as well as the size of the car and its obvious luxury.

It’s a smooth looker and when you peek inside things get even better. It even has the diamond-stitched leather you often find in a Bentley.

But, compared to the British brands – and even the Audi-BMW-Benz headliners – it also has an attractive price in the $90,000 range and even five years of free servicing.

It’s a tasty package, but the driving is what makes the difference. The car is smooth and calm, surprisingly punchy for a 2.5-litre petrol turbo engine, and quiet in all conditions.

There is also a G80 ‘electrified’ battery car, with the promise of more than 500 kilometres of range but a price starting from $145,000.

To backtrack a little, the G80 was the first Genesis model in Australia and the flagship of the fleet.

But it was also badged as a Hyundai Genesis, before the South Korean company got fully into gear with a range that now also includes the smaller sedan and a group of luxury SUVs.

Originally, it was only really attractive to hire car drivers who saw five years of free service and a tantalising price – from $60,000 – in November of 2014.

These days the G80 is still the flagship, although many people would pick the GV80 SUV, and still with the same sort of strengths.

For a start, there is not a single sniff – or a label, tag or logo – to connect the car with Hyundai.

Genesis is doing it’s own thing, and you can laugh at its showroom in central Sydney – it’s more like an art gallery than a car dealership, right in the centre of pedestrian plaza – but it is trying to give the same sort of customer-focussed attention that worked very well for Lexus in its early days.

The G80 is a lounge-room style of luxury car, with great space for four people – five if you must – with everything from cushy leather trim to the mandatory infotainment screen in the centre of the dash. Everything has electric assist and there are also seat heaters and coolers.

On the downside, the car can be bulky for park and the driver-safety aids are intrusive and annoying. They bing and bong, like the Kia EV6 GT – from the same Hyundai-Kia conglomerate – I tested recently, and are over-eager to provide unnecessary assistance.

But there is a lot to like, in size and style, and despite its age the South Korean contender would be a smart pick against the Europeans with more luxury appeal than a Lexus.

Position: luxury sedan
Price: from $94,176 drive-away
Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol turbo
Power: 224kW/442Nm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Plus: luxury, value, comfort
Minus: intrusive safety tech, not much else

THE TICK: a hidden gem

Score: 8.5/10

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