The Genesis is a product of Hyundai’s luxury division and designs to be the next BMW, Mercedes or Audi. Grooming continues on the Genesis brand in the slow pursuit to be considered an equal to the German luxury leaders.
I test-drove the Genesis G80 Sport and it has a bunch of affable qualities. It’s fast, roomy, quiet, good looking and thousands of dollars cheaper than equivalent competitors. Genesis bundles all the goodies luxury hounds desire in an all-in price of $62,000. Amenities you can tick of the shopping list include a vast sunroof, adaptive suspension, many driver assist aids, LED headlights, all-weel-drive and a multi view camera system that makes for a smooth parallel parking experience. Of course the interior is swathed in nice leather, and the seats are swell, and the cavern like trunk will absorb sports gear and luggage galore. Visually the inside of the Genesis is pleasing, if not thrilling. Display screen graphics seem a bit outdated and the layout of the dash while workable does not stir the heart the way a fashion forward Audi does.
From the outside the optics are more bold, distinctive enough that you could find the G80 in the mall parking lot. The front grille is shapely, and the ground effects, and creases in the body work reflect light and shadow in an artful way.
In motion the G80 forces the driver to debate, is this a sports car or a luxury car, or some sort of cross breed?
The 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo produces 365 horsepower that snaps the Genesis along with no perceptible effort and uses the 8-speed automatic transmission for seamless gear changes. However there is no “sporty” engine or exhaust sound that will cause the driver to swoon. Driving mode choices include Normal, Eco and Sport, but I am sure the target market will spend most of the time in Sport. While driving in the more responsive Sport mode I noted the Genesis fuel consumption was flirting with 14L/100km in city driving. Steering feel changes with the mode setting, and in Sport some may consider the steering effort heavier than it needs to be. Brakes are good, handling is agile and the ride quality is well suited to handling all types of road conditions, particularly the cratered surfaces in Hamilton.
As the Genesis vehicle lineup continues to evolve, so does the customer experience. With Genesis at Home interested buyers can schedule a personal product demo at home or the office. For owners, Genesis will pick up your vehicle for servicing, leave you with a complementary Genesis, and return your serviced vehicle to your home or office.
I think back years ago when the first Genesis arrived in Canada. It showed up at Automotive Journalists of Canada car of the year testing and was a sleeper hit. We all thought it was a pretty good copy of a Mercedes at an entry level price.
That was a good start, and the Genesis continues to gain polish. It’s still not in the orbit of the German luxury brands, but inching closer.
Kathy Renwald is an award winning freelance journalist and a regular columnist for the Bay Observer, Hamilton Spectator, Grand Magazine and Wheels.ca. She covers city issues, lifestyle and autos.