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Genesis G80 2019 review

EXPERT RATING
7.6
The Genesis G80 has long been a firm favourite of the hire-car crowd. But that was back when its was sold as a Hyundai, and not as a standalone premium product. Will this re-launch broaden its appeal?

The G80 copped a bit of a bad wrap when it first launched in Australia, mostly because it was almost exclusively purchased by hire-car drivers and... well, nobody else really. 

But that was less a fault of the car and more simply a sign of the times. Here was a large sedan (a Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitor) arriving at the end of 2014, a time when Australia's tastes had already begun shifting to other vehicles types. 

Critically, that car was also known as a Hyundai Genesis, and arrived wearing a price tag that was unheard of to anyone who had ever previously stepped foot in a Hyundai dealership.

Genesis will now stand alone as a premium brand. Genesis will now stand alone as a premium brand.

But now, some five years later, it's back. This time, "Hyundai" has been banished from the title, with the G80 arriving as part of a stable of products from Genesis, which will now stand alone as a premium brand with a range of vehicles sold from new concept stores and not from dealerships.

It sells alongside the G70 sedan for now, but will soon be joined by a host of SUVs and other new product.

So does the G80 shine brighter now it's simply a Genesis? Or is the airport carpark still going to be its natural habitat?

GENESIS G80 2019: 3.8
Safety rating
Engine Type3.8L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency10.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$68,900

Is there anything interesting about its design?  7/10

Um, did you like the way the last one looked? Then we've got some great news for you! Because the removal of the Hyundai badge headlines the exterior changes here.

  • The G80 has arrived as part of a stable of products from Genesis. The G80 has arrived as part of a stable of products from Genesis.
  • The G70 looks sufficiently boat-like and expensive to justify its premium tag. The G70 looks sufficiently boat-like and expensive to justify its premium tag.
  • The G80 measures 4990mm in length, 1890mm in width and 1480mm in height. The G80 measures 4990mm in length, 1890mm in width and 1480mm in height.
  • The pricing, inclusions and ownership package alone make the G70 well worth a look. The pricing, inclusions and ownership package alone make the G70 well worth a look.
  • The removal of the Hyundai badge headlines the exterior changes. The removal of the Hyundai badge headlines the exterior changes.

I still think the G80 is a pretty handsome beast, though, looking sufficiently boat-like and expensive to justify its premium tag.

There's an old-school feel about the G80's interior treatment. There's an old-school feel about the G80's interior treatment.

Inside is a slightly different story, though, where there's a definite old-school feel about the G80's interior treatment. Acres of leather and look-alike wood, a multimedia system that feels out of touch, and the permeating feeling of being in an old-world cigar lounge all make the G80 feel a little out of date when compared to its premium rivals.

How practical is the space inside?  7/10

The G80 measures 4990mm in length, 1890mm in width and 1480mm in height, and those sizeable dimensions have a predictably positive impact on interior space.

There's plenty of room to stretch out up front. There's plenty of room to stretch out up front.

Up front, there's plenty of room to stretch out, and in the back, I found there was ample room to sit behind my own 174cm driving position, with plenty of clear air between my knees and the seat in front.

The backseat can be separated by a pull-down control panel that occupies the middle seat. The backseat can be separated by a pull-down control panel that occupies the middle seat.

The backseat can be separated by a pull-down control panel that occupies the middle seat, giving passengers access to things like the seat heating controls, the sun shades and the stereo system.

The boot opens to reveal a 493-litre (VDA) space that's also open to a space-saver spare.

The boot opens to reveal a 493-litre (VDA) space. The boot opens to reveal a 493-litre (VDA) space.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  8/10

There are just two options here; an entry-level car (called simply the G80 3.8) that will cost you $68,900, and the 3.8 Ultimate, which is  yours for $88,900. Both are then offered in a standard guise, or with more performance-focused Sport Design styling that costs an extra $4k.

The cheaper version arrives very well equipped, with 18-inch alloys (19-inch on the Sport Design version), LED headlights and DRLs (Bi-Xenon on the Sport Design), a 9.2-inch multimedia screen with nav and which pairs with a 17-speaker stereo, wireless charging, leather seats that are heated in the front and dual-zone climate control.

There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on offer here. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on offer here.

Stepping up to the Ultimate buys you 19-inch alloys, Nappa leather seats that are heated and ventilated in the front and heated in the window seats in the back, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, and a 7.0-inch TFT screen in the driver's binnacle. 

The G80 has a sunroof. The G80 has a sunroof.

Shock of shocks, though, there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on offer here - a dead give-away of the G80's age, and a very noticeable absentee for those used to using Google Maps as a navigation tool.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  7/10

Only the one on offer here, and it's largely identical to the one offered five years ago; a 3.8-litre V6 good for 232kW and 397Nm. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic that shuffles power to the rear wheels. 

The engine is largely identical to the one offered five years ago.
The engine is largely identical to the one offered five years ago.

Genesis says the G80 will clip 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, and will push on to a top speed of 240km/h.

How much fuel does it consume?  7/10

Not so good. The engine sounds a little old-school because it is a little old-school, and so there's not much in the way of cutting-edge fuel-saving tech on offer here. 

As a result, the G80 will drink a claimed 10.4-10.8 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, and will emit 237-253g/km of CO2.

To put that into perspective, an E53 AMG will make more power and more torque, and yet drink less fuel, at a claimed 8.7L/100km.

Happily, though, the G80's 77-litre tank accepts cheaper, 91RON fuel. 

What's it like to drive?  8/10

You can't help but sink into the driver's seat of the G80 with a slight sense of dread. Not to sound overly mean here, but it is a big and boat-like car, and so you suspect it's going to handle like it should have a tiller rather than a steering wheel.

So prepare to be pleasantly surprised when you discover that it doesn't. Full credit to Hyundai Australia's local engineering team, who cycled through 12 front and six rear damper designs to get the ride and handling just right for the big G80.

The ride and handling is just right for the G80.

The ride and handling is just right for the G80.

As a result, the driver feels surprisingly connected to the tarmac below the tyres, given the size and weight of the vehicle, and even tighter corners are a cause for happiness and not horror as you hammer toward them in the Genesis.

The driver feels surprisingly connected to the tarmac below the tyres. The driver feels surprisingly connected to the tarmac below the tyres.

That's not to say you'll be pointing that long bonnet at any racetracks in the near future, but nor will you shudder in fear when those squiggly lines turn up on your navigation screen. 

The steering is direct and confidence inspiring, and the G80 is commendably quiet, too. It does feel like you need to work the V6 engine to squeeze the most power out of it, but not too much of the gruffness or harshness enters the cabin.

The steering is direct and confidence inspiring. The steering is direct and confidence inspiring.

In fact, the biggest problem with the G80 isn't so much the car itself, but rather its newer, smaller competition. Driven back to back, the G80 and the smaller G70 sedan from Genesis feel lightyears apart.

 The G80 feels like the the brand has done the very best they can with what they've got. The G80 feels like the the brand has done the very best they can with what they've got.

While the G80 feels like the the brand has done the very best they can with what they've got (and done a good job of it, too), the G70 feels newer, tighter, and more advanced in all the ways that matter.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  8/10

No matter what you spend, the G80 arrives with a long list of standard safety kit, including nine airbags, as well as blind spot warning, forward collision warning with AEB that detects pedestrians, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and active cruise control

All of which was enough to earn the G80 a full five stars from ANCAP when tested in 2017.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  9/10

The Genesis G80 arrives with a full five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000kms.

You get free servicing for that same five years, a valet service that will both pick up and drop off your car when its time for servicing, and even access to a concierge service that will help you make restaurant reservations, book hotels or secure flights for the first two years of ownership.

That's a seriously impressive ownership offer.

Pricing Guides

$80,900
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$68,900
Highest Price
$92,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.8 3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $68,900 2019 GENESIS G80 2019 3.8 Pricing and Specs
3.8 (SUNROOF) 3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $71,900 2019 GENESIS G80 2019 3.8 (SUNROOF) Pricing and Specs
3.8 SPORT DESIGN 3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $72,900 2019 GENESIS G80 2019 3.8 SPORT DESIGN Pricing and Specs
3.8 SPORT DESIGN (SUNROOF) 3.8L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $75,900 2019 GENESIS G80 2019 3.8 SPORT DESIGN (SUNROOF) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership9

“The G80 might be starting to look old when compared to the younger, newer G70, but it doesn't feel it on the road. The pricing, inclusions and ownership package alone make it well worth a look. ”

What do you think about the new Genesis? Tell us in the comments section below.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$68,900

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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