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What is it?

We drove the first Genesis just after launch back in early 2015.

Back then, it wore a Hyundai badge as well as the Genesis wings. It was kind of a bet each way.

It was confusing and in hindsight probably a mistake, but Hyundai obviously saw the error of its ways because now Genesis has become a brand in its own right.

This time around there’s two very different looks, with different front grilles, like Mercedes-Benz offers with C-Class — one slatted, chrome and conservative, the other mesh, black and sporty.

And, of course, it’s been renamed the Genesis G80, a name that rolls off the tongue with alliteration — but the basic design and mechanicals remain the the same.

With the imminent departure of Nissan’s Infiniti, Genesis will have its sights set on Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus and, as Hyundai has already proved — it should not in any way be underestimated.

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What’s it cost?

Prices start from $68,900, rising to $72,900 for the Sport Design, $88,900 for the Ultimate, and $92,900 for the Ultimate Sport Design.

Along with the four grades, there’s a choice of nine exterior colours and three interior trim options.

Sport Design is in effect a $4000 option pack.

A panoramic sunroof adds $3000.

Standard features include leather and real aluminium trim, dual zone climate control with rear controls, 12-way driver and front passenger seats with a 4-way lumbar support function, heating and cooling for front seats too, with slide back easy entry, a power adjust steering wheel — but no heating for the wheel.

There’s also LED headlights and other lighting, front and rear parking sensors with 360 degree camera, auto lights, wipers and auto dimming rear view mirror, power operated rear blind and wireless phone charging.

The dash is dominated by a large 9.2-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and a 900 watt, 17-speaker Lexicon by Harman premium audio that includes a DVD player and 27GB hard drive.

An app lets the driver control various function from their smart phone and a breakdown pack includes rechargeable torch, day/night safety vest, gloves, rain poncho, tyre changing mat, hand cleaner and hand towel.

It’s pretty much got the lot.

Nine airbags as standard  and the Genesis Active Safety Control suite includes Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian detection, and High Beam Assist systems.

There are also Lane Departure Warning, Pre-active Seat Belt, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning and Smart Cruise Control systems, as well as a Surround View Monitor, Parking Distance Warning and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

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What’s it go like?

It’s a big, powerful, six cylinder, rear-wheel drive sedan.

In fact, it’s larger than the gone but not forgotten Commodore and has a wheelbase that is a whole 1mm longer than a Caprice.

Power comes from a 3.8-ltre petrol V6, with 232kW of power on tap and 397Nm of torque.

It’s the same engine that powered the original we drove and is paired with a 8-speed automatic (also the same), with fuel consumption rated at 10.4L/100km.

That said the car is offered with other powertrains overseas, including the 2.0-litre and twin turbo V6 from cousin the Stinger.

Select Drive, punch the accelerator and the G80 takes off the way cars used to surge away from the line when six cylinder engines were the norm.

Adaptive electronic suspension is as standard and like other models has been tuned for Australian roads, with 19 inch wheels and larger rear tyres than those at the front — 275/35 and 245/40 Dunlops.

The ride is however quite soft and calibrated for comfort, rather than fast corners, but that’s in line with the car’s luxury bent.

Drive modes include Normal, Eco, Sport and Snow.

The driver has the option of changing gears manually, using steering wheel mounted paddles, which in this car are fitted with rubber pads on the back so your fingers don’t slip.

Says something about the level of attention to detail.

There’s just foward and reverse settings, the drive selector does not include a Park setting — instead there’s a separate park button that automatically engages the electric parking brake.

The car’s speed can be displayed digitally between traditional analogue dials, but the instrument cluster as such is not configurable like some.

We’d also expect to see Heads-Up display in a car of this calibre, but it is restricted to the top of the line Ultimate model.

The Lexicon audio system is excellent, but showing its age, with a disc player and the absence of a digital tuner.

The car takes standard 91 unleaded and we were getting 10.4L/100km after more than 300km which is bang on the manufacturer’s claim.

When it comes to luxury cars, it’s not just about the car itself — but the perks that come with it.

In the case of Genesis, these include free scheduled servicing for five years, along with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, five-year roadside assistance and the Genesis To You valet service that provides access to a free  pick up and drop off service, along with the use of a loan car when the car needs to be serviced.

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What we like?

  • Looks the goods
  • Quiet, spacious and comfortable
  • Lots of rear legroom
  • Auto parking brake
  • Relatively cheap compared with a Euro

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What we don’t like?

  • All-new one around the corner
  • Yucky wood trim
  • Lacks digital instrumentation
  • No digital radio
  • Steering wheel not heated
  • Where’s the heads-up?

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The bottom line?

With a Genesis badge at both ends, It looks a lot better, especially with the cool Sport Design package.

The G80 may be luxury on a budget, but it sure doesn’t feel that way from the driver’s seat and you can bet the new one when it arrives will be even better.

With Nissan about to pull the plug on Infiniti, the job now falls to Genesis to take the fight up to Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus.

It’s a big job but Hyundai has proved it has what it takes and should not be taken lightly.

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CHECKOUT: Genesis G70: Name rings a bell?

CHECKOUT: Genesis G80: Back seat driver included

Genesis G80 Sport Design, priced from $72,900
  • 8/10
    Looks - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Safety - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Thirst - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Practicality - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Tech - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Value - 8/10
7.8/10

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.