Up: Still looks great, more features are standard, Himalayan Gray is a solid color choice
Down: Hopefully 2019’s wheels are more unique
Neutral: Genesis doesn’t need to be afraid as it steps out on its own for the first time
Hyundai has been making quite the name for itself over the last five years by releasing “Genesis” models under the parent company’s moniker. The final Genesis model wearing the Hyundai badge was the 2016 Hyundai Genesis, which I loved, and the Genesis Coupe, which, thankfully, is going away for a while. If the coupe would have just adopted its bigger brother’s good looks… But I digress. Here we are in 2017 and the Hyundai Genesis is no longer a Hyundai, it’s the Genesis G80.
Almost ALL of this car is the same as the 2015 Hyundai Genesis so I’m going to try and review it a little differently. We already know it drives great, looks great, and works great, so I’ll point out the new features and options that come with the G80, then I’ll talk what the Genesis brand is up to, and finally I’ll talk about some brands this car is legitimately going toe-to-toe with. Let’s go!
This 2017 Genesis G80 was the base model and I’m comparing it to the middle model 2016 Hyundai Genesis I drove last year. Now standard on base model Genesises—Genesi?—is active cruise control, lane keep assist, trunk assist, blind spot monitoring, and Hyundai’s concierge service. Auto hold is now standard as well which will keep your car stopped at red lights if you’re too lazy to keep your foot on the brake pedal. The rear view camera is also still standard but on the base G80 there is no predictive path. What you need to pay more money for are the Lexicon sound system, privacy shades, and the sweet Genesis sunroof.
There are also some minor changes made for the 2017 Genesis G80. One, which is hardly noticeable, is the logo. You get Genesis badges all around and they have been slightly updated from 2015. New headrests that move vertically and laterally are a luxurious touch and the seatbelts now give you a slight hug when you turn the car on. Full on Genesis G80 owners get an upgraded key fob that feels more luxurious and are nice to wave in Hyundai Genesis owner’s faces. Android Auto also comes pre-installed which annoys 2016 owners because they have to manually install it from an SD card. Peasants.
And that’s it!
So what is the Genesis brand up to now? Since driving this car, Genesis Motors have released the G90, their flagship, and the G80 Sport. The G90 starts at around $70,000, looks just as good, if not better, than a base Mercedes S-Class, comes with two engine options, and your choice of AWD or RWD. It’s an awesome car that I hope to drive soon. However, the G80 sport is the one I’m most excited about for one reason and one reason only; the copper accents. The Sport comes in RWD and AWD starting at around $56,000 but it’s the only car out there with copper accents on the exterior and interior and they look fantastic. It also comes with unique wheels, unique color options (I like Polar Ice), the chrome is blacked out, and a sportier suspension. Seriously, head to the Genesis website and spec this thing out.
Now who is Genesis realistically competing with? We all know about the Kia K900 but we don’t know anyone who has one (except Lebron) and, let’s face it, the Chevy Impala or Ford Taurus will never be a real luxury competitor. Hyundai was smart to slowly separate the Genesis name and now it stands to be a real competitor in the luxury segment. The G80 is right on par with a mid-level Mercedes C-Class or Audi A6 and offers more than a BMW 3-series. The G90 clearly has its sights on the top-dogs like the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8, and BMW 7-series and I think it will fare well…if the can get loyal German brand customers to test them out. As for the G80 Sport, I haven’t driven one yet, but I can bet the performance is sub-par to pedigree’d brands like AMG and M-Sport. But one of the beauties of a new brand is they have plenty of time to learn and grow!
As I’ve said in my review for the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, this car offers you all of the bang for less of the buck. Genesis is making a good move by avoiding costly add-ons and keeping the G80 affordable. All you have to do is hop on the site, pick your engine, pick AWD or RWD, and pick your colors. It’s simple and you won’t have to think, “ah man, am I regretting not getting the 20″ wheels instead of the 19″ ones…” I am very excited to see Genesis thrives and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will finally produce a good looking coupe.