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Monday, August 15, 2022

Genesis is a real showstopper - but only down south for now

Genesis G80 drive by Steve Rogers

If looks alone sold cars this would be a best seller.

People are often interested in cars I drive but the Genesis G80 stole the show. May be they were looking at the badge and wondering ‘what the heck is that’?

More likely they were wowed by its stunning design, bold in your face grille and stylish wafer thin headlight signature. Make no mistake G80 is eye candy.

So why don’t we see Genesis models flooding our roads? Here’s the story (briefly).

Genesis is a new premium brand funded by Hyundai and launched during the pandemic in 2021. Not a great start. Oh, and there are no flashy showrooms, the cars are sold online, the customer getting a virtual tour of the models, buys one and gets a personal assistant who looks after you for the duration. Any problems and the car is collected and the customer left with a courtesy car.

Initially marketing was concentrated in London and south east but the message has spread quicker than expected and test drives are now being arranged nationwide.

G80 is the flagship saloon and has a job on its hands because the opposition is the dominant German trio, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, with Jaguar XF, Volvo S90 and Lexus ES providing another hurdle.

So does it measure up to the opposition, and is it value for money? Hyundai is too savvy to do things by half measures and have ploughed money and expertise into its premium brand. G80 does not look good just on the outside, the cabin has a true luxury look and feel with high quality materials and finish and can match the big names. My passengers were stunned by what they saw.

It comes in three trim levels, rear wheel or all wheel drive, with a starting price of £41,650, is well equipped although to be really pampered go to the Luxury model which has just about everything you would expect on a premium car and more.

Major functions are power assisted, even for adjusting the steering wheel, front seats have 12-way adjustment, are ventilated or heated, there is a belting sound system, 360 degree camera, and you are protected by an impressive list of safety features.

G80 has bucked the trend for the wide screen style dashboard display opting for a more conventional twin digital dial binnacle and a central 8in screen for navigation, radio, general information, mobile phone connections et cetera. Thankfully heating related functions are dealt with in a digital display which can be affected by sun glare but let’s not make too much of that because it is looks classy.

And let’s hand out bonus points for a rotary controller for the screen functions which is far safer than leaning forward and dabbing through touchscreen menus.

Bucket shaped rear seats mean the car is best suited as a four seater, it takes five but the middle passenger sits perched up and has to contend with a wide transmission tunnel.

Performance from the petrol 2.5 litre turbo is brisk via an eight speed automatic box but economy is not a strong point and you will be lucky to get more than 30mpg.

So everything in the garden is generally rosy but there is always a but and in the case of G80 it is the ride. Premium saloon buyers expect a magic carpet ride which you get it in an Audi A6 or Mercedes E-Class but you will not get it in the G80. This is not an Achilles heal, more a sprained ankle because it is comfortable enough on motorways and  good A-road tarmac but a tad choppy on lesser roads.

The Genesis brand is no half hearted attempt to put a spoke into the German juggernaut and G80 is a fine first effort and good value with a five year warranty and five years free servicing.

Backer Hyundai is in no rush and will iron out any niggles down the line but it is going to take time so do not expect to be seeing a mass of Genesis models on our roads just yet.

Fast facts

Genesis G80 Luxury Line

£47,950 (£54,280 with extras)

2.5 litre turbo, 8-speed auto AWD

0-62mph 6secs; 155mph

31.2mpg combined

210g/km. 1st tax £1,420

Insurance group 43

Boot 424 litres

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