REVIEW: 2017 Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC – The New Top Dog

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The saying goes, if you’re not the lead dog the view never changes. For the 2017 Genesis G80, the view just changed.

What is it? 

Genesis is a new premium car brand. The G80 is the midsize offering from Genesis and the smaller of the two cars the brand presently produces. Genesis starts with a rear-drive platform, powerful engines, and then offers all-wheel drive and V8 or twin-turbocharged V6 power as options.

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Pricing and trims

The Genesis G80 starts at $41,400 as a rear-wheel drive sedan nicely equipped as a premium vehicle should be. The 3.8-liter engine with 311 horsepower is the standard engine. Adding AWD, which Genesis brands “HTRAC,” comes at a reasonable $2500 premium.

Genesis offers three trim levels, Standard, Premium, and Ultimate. At the very top is a 5.0-liter V8 Ultimate HTRAC trim with a price tag of $54,550. Starting in 2018, Genesis will add a new 3.3-liter, twin-turbo engine option in a “Sport” version of the G80.

Find a Genesis near you with BestRide’s local search. 

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Our test vehicle was an excellent choice as a premium, all-weather midsize sedan: this 3.8 HTRAC with the Ultimate Package cost $53,800. As we will explain, almost nothing any luxury buyer would want has been omitted, and a few annoying things some luxury car makers force upon buyers are missing.

Safety

Our test vehicle had every modern safety system. The G80’s adaptive cruise control coupled with lane keeping allows for nearly autonomous driving on the highway. Even better, if you don’t like the lane-centering technology, you can disable it. It stays disabled even if you restart the vehicle, and there is no idiot light on the dash when it’s off.

The Genesis G80 also incorporates the helpful information from the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) into the extra-large head-up display shown in the driver’s view on the windshield. Normally, I dislike BSM, since most cars have ample visibility if a driver takes time to stay aware of the surroundings. However, by simply incorporating the BSM info into the head-up image, I found the tool immensely more useful. If you don’t want the head-up display at all, or wish to narrow the information it displays, it is all easily adjustable.

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Check out the Genesis marketing chart below to see how many competitors nickel and dime luxury buyers just to get the safety stuff every car in this class should have.

genesis-g80-safety-comparison

What impressed us most about the Genesis G80 line is that safety comes standard, not optional.

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The 2017 Genesis earned the highest possible safety scores from IIHS, and again, that means every single Genesis vehicle, because all the safety technology is included on every car the company builds.

Performance

Let’s start with the word “substantial” to describe the performance of the Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC.

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The 3.8-liter V6 has 311 horsepower, and it is smooth. The engine is quiet, except when you floor it, at which time it roars in a way any enthusiast will relish. The engine is very responsive, and a quick burst of speed is one toe away. Passing power is substantial and well into what any sporty-car lover would call fun. The fun isn’t spoiled at the pump either, as the Genesis uses regular unleaded fuel.

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The eight-speed automatic transmission is also perfect. It shifts so smoothly around town it is imperceptible. Floor the power pedal and the car snaps off crisp shifts. Paddle shifters are there behind the steering wheel and the Sport, Snow and Eco modes offer all the options one really needs in a premium vehicle.

Find a Genesis near you with BestRide’s local search. 

Ride and handling

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If there is anything better about the Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC than its power delivery, it is the handling. The G80 HTRAC melds silky-smooth driving with just the right amount of road feel for driving pleasure. It’s a nice balance of comfort and responsiveness.

Many sporty German sedans get extra credit for a chassis that feels as if it communicates with the road. This Genesis offers that feeling. Many luxury cars can provide a comfortable ride. The G80 is a sedan that brings all of these sensations together in harmony. Having tested the Cadillac CTS4 with Magnetic Ride suspension, the Lexus GS F Sport, and the Jaguar XF S, all of which were designed specifically to balance comfort and responsiveness, the Genesis G80 HTRAC is this writer’s easy favorite.

Seating

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The comfort of the Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC with the Ultimate trim package is superb. I exited a meeting into a cold New England rain and hopped into the G80 for the very first time, finding myself coddled by comparison to a similarly upscale vehicle I had driven earlier that day. The front seats are downright comfy and soft. The heated and ventilated perforated leather seats are adjustable in two more ways than those of similar premium sedans.

First, the thigh support is expandable. Any tall person will appreciate this. Unlike some German cars I have tested, that extension is power-operated. The side bolsters are also adjustable. They can give you the perfect amount of hug. Even better, when you turn the car off, and the seats retract for easier exit, the side bolsters “relax.” These are possibly the best sedan seats in the class.

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Rear legroom is generous in the Genesis G80 sedan. My six-foot boys could sit behind one another with no need for the front seat to pulled forward. The rear seats are spacious for two, and comfortable for three. The rear-seat heating controls are also powerful and easily adjustable from either seat in back. Genesis says that the roomy G80 has class-leading rear shoulder room.

Cargo

The large 15.3 cubic-foot trunk of the Genesis G80 compares favorably to the 14.3 and 13.7 of the Lexus GS and Cadillac CTS line. Underneath the trunk floor is a compact spare and room for stashing emergency supplies.

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Infotainment and controls

The infotainment system of the G80 3.8 HTRAC with the Ultimate package is centered around the large, 9.2-inch touch screen on the dash. Operation is simple and intuitive. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are ready to go making the Genesis’s system flexible and future-proof.

On the console, a rotary knob falls easily to hand, and the main menu selections have their own buttons. The Genesis’ system is genius because it allows a user to operate the system via the rotary knob or ignore it completely and use the touch screen or voice controls. No other car this tester has reviewed was as flexible and easy to use.

Most premium cars we test have frustrating and overly-complex mouse-type controllers. The Genesis rotary knob is subtle, its use optional, and it does not take the physical place of cupholders as in some vehicles. The Lexicon audio system is outstanding and the navigation system’s real-time traffic information very helpful.

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The infotainment system’s information can be viewed on the head-up display as well. Coupled with the hand controls on the steering wheel, this makes the Genesis driver much more focused on the road ahead. If you don’t like seeing the audio information when selecting stations or prefer not to see your turn-by turn instructions in the head-up display, they can be removed easily via the menus.

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Overall

One important aspect of any premium vehicle is the ownership experience. Like Jaguar and BMW, Genesis includes maintenance, in its case for three years or 36,000 miles.

Genesis also offers valet service for appointments. A Genesis associate will bring you a Genesis loaner car and take away your car for required servicing. Then, it will be returned to you at home or work when the job is completed, at no cost.

Find a Genesis near you with BestRide’s local search. 

The Genesis warranty is also outstanding, offering owners a 5-years or 60K comprehensive warranty plus a 10-year, 100K drivetrain warranty. We feel this package rivals Jaguar’s class-leading ownership package. Genesis being a new brand, I looked to see just how many dealership and service centers the brand had within 15 miles of my home 30 miles from Boston. Surprisingly, there were three, and the closest was eight miles from my door.

We found no areas where the Genesis was behind the entrenched competition, and in fact, it seems to be a leader in comfort, real-world performance, safety, and value.

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The Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC is not meant to be a hard-edged sports sedan, nor is it an ultra-luxury car that offers odd luxury features few will want and are arguably a bad value. Rather, Genesis has chosen wisely to focus on making its G80 perform splendidly in the real-world we live in with broken roads and bad weather. We seldom go deep on the looks of a car, but during our time with the G80 3.8 HTRAC many people asked us what the car was, and if it was as good as it looked. Our answer is an emphatic “yes.”

Considering a used Genesis or another luxury model? Start your search at BestRide.com.

2017 Genesis G80 3.8 HTRAC

Base price: 43,900

Price as tested, $53,800 including $950 destination charge:  

Options:

Premium Package: $4,750
Power Tilt and Slide Panoramic Sunroof
Rear Sunshades
Ventilated Seats
Ultimate Package: $4,200
Front Seat Upgrades
Full Color HUD
9.2″ Touchscreen and Lexicon Premium Audio

Likes:

  • Comfort
  • Handling
  • Value

Dislikes:

  • Only Manufactured Outside of the U.S. (Ulsan, Korea)
  • Heated Seats Need to Be Reset With Each Restart

 

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John Goreham

John Goreham