Test Drive: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Standard
2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Standard RWD
Class: Premium Large Car
Miles driven: 389
Fuel used: 16.3 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||C+|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||300-hp 2.5L|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cylinder
|Drive Wheels||Rear-wheel drive|
Real-world fuel economy: 23.9 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/32/26 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas required
Base price: $47,700 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Uyuni White paint ($400)
Price as tested: $49,125
The great: Value pricing for a luxury-brand large car; quietness
The good: Respectable fuel economy; distinctive styling; comfortable cabin
The not so good: Ride composure isn’t quite as refined as class leaders’; transmission is sometimes slow to upshift; budget pricing means foregoing some fairly common luxury-class features
More G80 price and availability information
Much has happened in the luxury-sedan space just since Hyundai’s stand-alone Genesis brand first wedged its way in for the 2017 model year. It is marking 2021 as a year to begin catching up to the latest trends, and it is starting with the premium-midsize G80.
Among the things lately stirring the premium-midsize pot that an all-new G80 addresses are a taste for remotely controlled big-screen infotainment and a switch to smaller turbocharged engines. Indeed, both powerplants found in the ’21 G80s are newcomers: a 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder (in place of the former entry-level 3.8 V6) and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 (in lieu of an erstwhile 5.0-liter V8).
What isn’t changing is the brand’s quest to deliver a luxury experience for lots less than you’d pay for, say, an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz. Consumer Guide tested the absolute starting point of the new G80, the 2.5T Standard with rear-wheel drive, a car priced at $48,725 with delivery. (Only an application of Uyuni White paint boosted the full tab for the test car by another $400.) The 2.5T also comes in Advanced and Prestige trims, while the V6 is dressed in Standard or Prestige garb. All are available with all-wheel drive, which costs an additional $3150, so starting prices reach to $69,275 at the top end.
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A lighter body (thanks to added use of aluminum) is fronted by a bigger version of Genesis’ shieldlike grille, now pointed at the bottom. The visual effect of new twin-strip headlights continues as simulated vents in the front fenders behind the wheel openings, and then is reprised in back by the taillights. Overall height has been reduced from the previous G80; the profile is low and flowing.
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The 4-cylinder engine that CG sampled generates 300 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 311 lb-ft of torque that holds up from 1650 to 4000 rpm. Paired with an 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, it’s a powerteam that provides better-than-adequate acceleration with decent fuel economy. Selectable drive modes—Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport, and Custom—adjust transmission mapping and throttle responsiveness. We certainly felt crisper shifts in Sport in brisker driving. However, when puttering around town in that mode the car often was at speeds that had the trans wavering on shift points, sounding for all the world like it wanted to upshift, but then doing so in a slow, slurring action. This driver put 121.6 miles on the test car, 57 percent of that in city-type operation, and averaged 24.6 mpg. That’s about in line with the EPA estimates of 23 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway, and 26 combined.
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If anything reminds you that Genesis is still a striver in a class dominated by established heritage brands it is the refinement of its fully independent multilink suspension. There’s nothing particularly objectionable about the G80’s ride quality in its base state but it isn’t as supple as that of its august peers. (Note that cars with the 375-horsepower V6 come with standard adaptive dampers.) Steering is precise if a little numb, and braking is good.
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If anything tells you that Genesis has indeed gone to school on the masters it is the exceedingly quiet cabin with a luxury look and feel. At the extreme base level of the car we tested there were some signs of cost cutting (no moonroof; no power-closing trunklid; seats, dash topper, and door inserts covered in leatherette). However, the Vanilla Beige seats were attractively detailed, the driver was confronted by a distinctively styled leather-wrapped steering wheel, and console devices like the rotary transmission selector and circular infotainment controller had knurled surfaces for added visual and tactile interest.
The centerpiece of the infotainment system is the 14.5-inch touchscreen that sits atop of the dashboard. It has a jumble of information on it, but if you study it, it soon begins to make sense for audio tuning, inputs, and the like. (One of the functions that can be accessed is a supposedly calming “Sounds of Nature” program, which includes soothing ambient sounds such as Lively Forest, Warm Fireplace, and Calm Sea Waves.) Why cars with touchscreens need remote central controllers and cars with central controllers need touchscreens is beyond us, but the G80 has both—plus steering-wheel buttons and voice command—so however you prefer to interact with your infotainment cluster that capability exists in this Genesis.
Other standard equipment on the G80 Standard includes heated 12-way power adjustable front seats, front passenger-seat “walk in” (it automatically slides the seat back when the door is opened, then returns it to its prior position when the door closes), piano-black interior trim, ambient lighting, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility. The dual-zone climate system has big external dials to make quick, direct temperature settings, but the rest of the controls are on a touchpad that looks great but can be hard to read in certain light conditions. Among exterior features are 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting, high-beam assist, and power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps that project the Genesis logo.
Passengers will find abundant head- and legroom in both rows with good seat comfort. Three svelte adults might share the rear seat, though the middle occupant would have to be shortest one of the bunch and be comfortable straddling a floor tunnel. Plenty of glass area opens up vistas for driver vision.
Personal-item storage for front-row occupants is handled by a good-sized glove box, modest split-door console box with a 12-volt input and adjustable suspended tray inside, covered bin with USB inputs at the front of the console, twin covered cup holders, and long front-door pockets. Rear-seat storage comes down to cup holders and a cubby (both covered) in the pull-down center armrest, hard-sided pouches on the backs of the front seats, and smaller door pockets.
The trunk has 13 cubic feet of space on a flat floor, though it narrows considerably between the wheel houses. Net pouches on the sides hold incidentals. The gooseneck hinges are covered. Rear seats do not fold, but a central pass-through accommodates long objects.
It’s useful, it’s fairly plush, and it’s affordable. The G80 is a pleasant luxury-market surprise.
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2021 Genesis G80 2.5T
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