By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Whether Teddy Roosevelt said “walk softly and carry a big stick” or “talk softly…” the quote is analogues with Hyundai’s entry into the luxury car market.
Only Hyundai is “driving” softly into the luxury car market with no marching bands or boisterous advertising campaigns. Instead, the highly-rated Korean automaker has tastefully rolled out two new “big stick” models, the G80 and G90 wearing only a Genesis brand.
Much like Honda, Toyota and Nissan created upscale models under the Lexus, Infiniti and Acura brands in the 1980s, Hyundai created the Genesis brand and plans call for four more models in the next few years. We think these first two luxury sedans compare favorably with many of the traditional German and Japanese luxury sedans and we’re anxiously awaiting to see what else they have in store for us.
The Genesis moniker started in 2008 with the upscale Hyundai Genesis sedan and the Hyundai Genesis sport coupe. Neither model was a big seller, but Hyundai persevered and finally for 2017 the company moved ahead to make Genesis a standalone brand sold by selected Hyundai dealerships.
Size-wise the G90 is comparable to the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 or Lexus LS, while the G80 goes up against models like the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and Lexus GS.
A week in each of these cars left us very enthralled with the entire package of each from the beautiful design to full feature content to sophisticated luxury appointments and even on to an impressive complimentary service valet which picks up the car when the complimentary service is due.
The G80 takes on the four-door coupe look with well-defined sweeping lines. A striking single-frame crest grille establishes a distinctive on-coming look, bookended standard bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights. The rear is finished with uncluttered lines and large wrap-around LED taillights.
The larger (about eight inches longer) G90 looks and acts more limousine-like with a statelier appearance and enhanced interior. Soft leathers, rich woods and brushed aluminum decorate the tasteful interior. We liked that both models used nicely grouped controls and used real buttons and dials rather than just touch controls which are often difficult to use while moving.
Both models have one of the highest levels of standard features we’ve ever seen, including technologies like Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control, High Beam Assist, Rearview Camera and navigation. We like that it’s not necessary to add a long string of options to get the car equipped the way you want it. A simple package does it all saving everyone money.
Under the G80 hood is a naturally aspirated 311-hp 3.8-liter V-6 engine with eight-speed transmission which drive the rear wheels. The V-6 is also available with HTRAC® all-wheel drive for an extra $2,500. There is also an optional 420-hp, 5.0-liter V-8, but only with rear-drive. We got a chance to try out the HTRAC all-wheel drive system on our steep and icy driveway and found it had excellent traction with the torque instantly transferring to the wheels that found dry spots. For the 2018 model year Genesis is adding a third version of the G80, the Sport, which is powered by a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V-6 engine. That is the same engine that is standard in the G90. The G90 is also offered with the same 5.0-liter V-8, and with HTRAC with either engine.
The 2017 Genesis G80 3.8 AWD gets an EPA rating of 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. We averaged 21.1 mpg in the G80 during our test period. The turbocharged G90 is rates slightly higher at 17/24/20 mpg. We averaged 22.4 mpg in it. These cars are quick with all versions making a 0 to 60 mph run in the 5 to 6 second range, but they aren’t as quick as some of their competitors.
Both cars are exceptionally quiet and have a well-controlled ride befitting a luxury sedan. Neither of the models we drove qualified as sport sedans, there is a bit of body lean here and but the ride is smooth and not crisp like some sportier handling competitors. Overall, they are impressive to drive and well matched for their luxury designation.
Genesis gets big marks for value with both cars being priced thousands of dollars less than competitors. The 2017 Genesis G80 pricing ranges from $42,350, including the destination charge, for the 3.8 RWD. The AWD is $44,850 and the V-8 RWD is $55,500 and there are no options, everything is included! The 3.8 models have a choice of two option packages which can boost the price to $53,800, for one of the best equipped cars we’ve driven.
Pricing for the 2017 Genesis G90 starts at $69,050 for the 3.3T RWD with the V-8 listed at $70,650. HTRAC all-wheel drive adds $2,500 to both versions.
Adding to the desirability of both Genesis models is a three year/36,000 Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance program with Complimentary Valet Services. This means for the first three years when the car is due for service, the owner can call to a dedicated Genesis call center through the Genesis Connected Services or a mobile app and a complimentary Genesis loaner car will be delivered to an agreed location and the owner’s car will be taken in for service and then returned at the time and location the owner chooses.
The program also includes Complimentary Connected Services for the same period including Connected Care, Remote and Guidance services and complimentary SiriusXM® Travel Link and Map Care. The cars have a 10-year/ 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five-year new vehicle warranty. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Anyone shopping for a luxury car needs to drive a Genesis. It might not have the same name status at the competitors, but the looks, features, comfort and value are amazing.
To read and see more go online to https://www.genesis.com/us/en/genesis.html