Car Reviews

2019 Genesis G80 Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 Genesis G80 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score. 

In a nutshell: Rebadged Hyundai Genesis now known as the Genesis G80, but dig beyond the rebranding and there’s plenty of Hyundai.

2019 Gensis G80 Specifications

Price From $68,900+ORCs Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5-star ANCAP rating Engine 3.8-litre V6 Power 232kW at 6000rpm Torque 397Nm at 5000rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4990mm (L), 1890mm (W), 1480mm (H), (WB) Kerb Weight 1920-1985kg Towing No GVM 2450kg Boot Space 493L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 77L Thirst 10.4-10.8L/100km

Comprehensive Car Insurance

The Genesis G80 is a new name on a car that’s been here since 2014, but it does arrive with a fresh sales pitch and minor updates. Previously known as the Hyundai Genesis, it’s now the Genesis G80, assuming the new luxury branding as part of a push upmarket – and as part of a broader range of cars that will flourish over coming years.

The original Hyundai Genesis had plans of cracking 1000 sales annually in Australia, but the reality struggled to achieve half of that, with many going to hire car operators who loved the space and value. The Genesis G80 is almost identical to that original Hyundai Genesis, save for some subtle updates; there’s a new gear selector inside, for example, as well as adjustable dampers and better active safety systems. There’s also been some work on lightening various components, in turn lowering fuel use.

Read our review of the Gensis G70.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

You can choose between two equipment levels and two subtly different looks for the G80. The trim levels include the base (unimaginatively named) 3.8 and the 3.8 Ultimate.

That base model sells from $68,900+ORCs ($8900 more than the original Hyundai Genesis) and includes a 9.2-inch infotainment screen, satellite-navigation, wireless phone charging, powered and heated front seats, powered adjustable steering column, leather trim, 360-degree camera, tyre pressure monitors, adaptive cruise control, and a 17-speaker Lexicon sound system. Safety includes blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

There’s also a first-aid kit and Genesis Connected Services, which includes a smartphone app that can lock and unlock the car as well as monitor things such as tyre pressures and remaining fuel. It also allows you to keep an eye on where and how the car is being driven.

A large part of the Genesis sales pitch includes additional aftersales service and support, which extends to a concierge program (assisting with bookings and recommendations for restaurants/hotels/holidays/etc). There’s also a valet service whereby the car is collected and dropped off for services.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

Speaking of which, the first five services are included in the price, potentially saving thousands. For an extra $20,000 ($88,900) the Ultimate adds 19-inch wheels and tyres, more upmarket Nappa leather, heated and ventilated seats front and rear, electrically tilting rear seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof (available for $3000 on the 3.8), smart key entry, soft close doors, aluminium pedals, head-up display and a unique instrument cluster featuring a partial digital display.

The Sport Design pack adds $4000 to each and brings side skirts as well as various dark chrome design touches, including a more modern grille with large mesh opening. It’s also available in three more colours, including a bright blue and deep red.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

What’s the interior and practicality like?

Space is plentiful in the G80, part of the reason for its appeal when badged as a Hyundai. Leg and head room in the back is particularly impressive, ensuring adults will travel in comfort. As is the norm, the centre seat is less plush, being raised and best used as a last resort option.

Those in the rear also have a sizeable fold down arm rest with storage and various controls to adjust the infotainment system from the back seats. We’re not sure how many drivers will appreciate their back seat passengers shifting from talkback radio to AC/DC…

2019 Genesis G80 Review

But look beyond the sheer size and there’s less wow factor, the G80 showing its age. Some finishes and colours look a tad too traditional, with a ye olde ambience. Fortunately you can choose various finishes as well as three main colour themes – black, beige, brown – with more modern combinations part of the deal. Whichever you choose, though, there’s a built-to-a-price feel with some of the finishes. Some of the leather surfaces aren’t particularly plush, for example, even in the Nappa trim.

Similarly, the plastics on the doors are basic in their grain and feel rather than anything fancy. Even the small coat hooks on the central pillar look the business but lack the cool touch of metal. But, hey, at least the boot continues the bigger-is-better theme, with a sizeable 493-litre cavity.

What are the controls and infotainment like?

From Hyundai to Genesis the changes are minimal. Inside the most notable being the fitment of a smaller gear shifter. Elsewhere the major controls are unchanged, which translates to functional but not overly upmarket.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

Black plastic buttons in the centre console and steering wheel could come off any mainstream car and the instrument cluster is similarly generic, if inoffensive. A square analogue clock isn’t enough to lift the ambience of a cabin that nails the basics but doesn’t push many emotional buttons.

The infotainment screen continues the theme, with basic graphics and a resolution that isn’t as crisp and clear as some of the newer systems. The lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – smartphone connectivity commonplace on most new cars, including Hyundais – reinforces that it’s a dated setup.

What’s the performance like?

As with the rest of the car, not much has changed with the 3.8-litre V6 engine – on paper, at least. Genesis claims there have been efficiency improvements and the use of more aluminium to lower weight, something that helps lower the official fuel consumption claim from 11.2 litres per 100km to as low as 10.4L/100km (all cars fitted with 19-inch tyres use 10.8L/100km). While the improvement is good, it’s still relatively thirsty by modern standards.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

Still, performance is honest and unfussed, the direct injection 3.8-litre V6 summonsing 232kW of power and 397Nm of torque. It’s a lusty engine that responds faithfully and quickly to throttle inputs.

What it lacks in low-rev torque of modern turbocharged engines it makes up for with a robust dash towards its upper rev limit. It’s also impressively smooth and refined.

The eight-speed auto is unfussed in its shifts, although occasionally too eager to dart into a taller gear. That’s fine for gentle driving and cruising – which is, ultimately, the G80’s specialty – but it’s less suited to spirited thrashes. Still, there are shift paddles behind the steering wheel for those who want to better direct gearshifts.

What’s it like on the road?

The basics remain from the Hyundai days but there’s now adaptive damping as part of the Genesis G80 rebranding. That required retuning of those dampers, something done specifically for Australian roads.

The result is a car with surprisingly good body control, finding a nice blend between comfort and control. While there’s no hiding the weight – the G80 is the best part of two tonnes – it does a fine job of sweeping bends, and even in the tighter stuff it scrabbles around with the sort of confidence luxury buyers should be content with.

2019 Genesis G80 Review

Even on the 18-inch Hankook tyres of the base 3.8 model there is respectable grip, albeit up to a limit, at which point there’s a predictable flicker of the stability control light as things are brought back into line. Having a slightly taller profile (the distance between the edge of the wheel and the road) matches the relaxed nature of the G80, the suspension proficiently disposing of bumps but enough control for easy touring.

Stepping up to the sportier models with larger 19-inch tyres brings Dunlop rubber and tyres that are 30mm wider at the rear. There’s more grip and they look the business, but they come at a price, both monetary and in the way it deals with imperfections.

The 19-inch tyres pick up more in the way of bumps, taking the edge of the ride quality. It’s still impressively comfortable, but not as convincing as the base car on 18-inch tyres. Elsewhere, there’s some hit and miss. The steering is accurate but lacks feedback, and in Sport mode there’s unnatural weighting around the straight-ahead position. It’s generally very quiet, albeit with the occasional hint of wind noise.

Does it have a spare?

There’s a space saver spare tyre as well as tyre pressure sensors, the latter giving an early warning of issues.

Can you tow with it?

No, the Genesis G80 hasn’t been rated for towing.

What about ownership?

There aren’t any traditional Genesis dealerships, only “studios” in difficult-to-park CBD locations. For now, the only Genesis Studio is in Sydney, although Melbourne and Brisbane will open in 2020. So Genesis arranges a pick-up and drop-off service when it comes time for check-ups, leaving you with a loan car in the meantime. Combined with free servicing for the first five years or 75,000km it makes for a painless servicing solution.

The five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty also beats all luxury brands, adding peace of mind if things go wrong. There’s also a comprehensive after-sales package that includes Genesis Lifestyle, which has a concierge service that can assist with hotel and restaurant bookings as well as all manner of recommendations and assistance.

What safety features does it have?

There’s a five-star ANCAP safety rating but it was gained waaay back in 2014 when the G80 was still a Hyundai. That rating still stands due to the unchanged core of the car.

Nine airbags are part of the safety package and there’s a bonnet that raises to protect pedestrians on impact. There’s also more active safety equipment added in the shift from being a Hyundai to a Genesis. A forward-facing radar adds active cruise control as well as autonomous emergency braking, with full emergency braking up to 80km/h and partial braking between 80-180km/h.

There’s also blind spot and rear cross traffic alert, as well as a first-aid kit and warning triangle with high-visibility vest.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety features?
Practical Motoring Says The shift from a Hyundai badge on the boot to the winged Genesis one is one of the biggest changes in the transition from Hyundai Genesis to Genesis G80. It’s the same basic car, with some key refinements and welcome improvements to the safety kit. Subtle changes to the driving experience also improve a car that was always very competent, albeit with the emphasis on relaxed cruising. What the G80 lacks in flair and wow-factor it makes up for with terrific value and excellent after-sales support.

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Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.