2019 Genesis G80: As it was in the beginning?
Price: $60,475 as tested (no options on test vehicle, just an impressive list of standard features).
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver says: “Relaxed, comfortable, and utterly agreeable, the standard G80 aims for a luxury-car driving experience and largely succeeds. Braking performance is disappointing, however.”
Marketer’s pitch: “The elusive combination of dignity and defiance.”
Reality: Not much has changed in the G80, and that’s not so bad.
What’s new: New for 2017, the G80 carries over pretty much unchanged since then.
Guide me home: When the G80 arrived for testing, its lane-keeping system was activated, so I put the system to the test in various situations. When the system is available (on well-marked highways), the heads-up display will show lines on both sides of the screen and a green steering wheel as well. So I relaxed my steering motions and let the car take me through the highways in a couple of different tests.
The system does make highway driving a little less intense — just keep one eye on the green steering wheel and hands on the wheel lightly in case the car misreads road seams and other features as lane markers.
It didn’t happen too frequently. Like many human drivers, the system lost its nerve on inner-city highways — where the pavement markers became harder to see.
I’d tried a similar system more fully in a specially equipped Nissan and found it really took care of curves and whatnot. The Nissan system was also more beneficial because it offered full automatic braking and accelerating. Combining those two features makes stop-and-go traffic much more relaxing. Because it lacks the braking and acceleration features, the Genesis helps more on the open road.
Up to speed: The 5.0-liter V-8 creates 420 horsepower when fed with premium, but even with the crap Mr. Driver’s Seat dumped into the tank, it remained a delight to drive. The sedan reaches 60 mph in just 5 seconds, according to Car and Driver, and passing is a snap.
A 3.8-liter V-6 and a 3.3-liter V-6 turbo are also available, he noted dryly.
On the curves: Definitely shut off the active lane keeping before trying fun country roads. I didn’t know it was on at first, and I found handling so wonky that I wondered if something was wrong.
After shutting off the system, I found the Genesis handles like a big sedan. The G80 is more mannerly than a Toyota, but it’s no Audi or BMW. Comfort reigns supreme, though, and the ride is silky smooth.
The most fun occurs when pulling out into a left turn. Kick that accelerator in hard and the all-wheel-drive G80 covers the curve quickly and straightens itself out as if by magic. This, however, is the kind of magic the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat would like to see a little less of.
Shifty: The 8-speed automatic does its thing so well that the tiny paddle shifters on the steering wheel seem superfluous — and this from Mr. Control Freak, who likes nothing better than driving a clutch.
Friends and stuff: The backseat is cavernous. Sturgis Kid 4.0 fit his 6-2 frame in there without complaint for a couple of hourlong trips, although headroom is a bit tough. Seats back there are heated but not cooled.
Creature comforts abound and the seats are an absolute delight in all spots.
Cargo space is 15.3 cubic feet.
Play some tunes: The stereo operation is fairly easy to catch on to, with a console-mounted dial coupled with a touchscreen for easy control, and volume and tuning knobs for even easier quick changes.
Sound, however, is only B+ at best, maybe an A-. I belatedly discovered a surround-sound feature and figured, “Ahhh! This must be it,” but it didn’t improve things much.
A CD player keeps things retro and a numberless dial clock lets one know that one has arrived. All the luxury cars have this, though I’m not sure why.
Forget the tunes: The exhaust note is wonderful — reminiscent of a Camaro or Challenger, especially when really opened up. Yeah, it’s fake, but so what?
Night shift: Lights are the usual Hyundai-Kia confusion as they turn.
Fuel economy: I averaged about 20 mpg in the usual Mr. Driver’s Seat area of testing, though with a heavier foot than usual. The G80 eats regular, which is nice, but gets its best performance from a more refined diet.
Where it’s built: Ulsan, South Korea
How it’s built: 3 out of 5 in predicted reliability, but it still gets a “Recommended” rating from Consumer Reports.