Since becoming its own standalone brand in 2015, Genesis has been relentlessly chipping away at the premium car establishment. This is not an easy task, as shoppers in this segment generally worship at the altar of brand cache; they buy the badge as much as the car. But Genesis is playing the long game here. Will the name Genesis be uttered in the same sentence as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, or Lexus? If it keeps building cars like the G80, then yes, it’s just a matter of time. Say hello to the winner of the Best Large Luxury Car category for the 2022 AutoTrader Awards, the Genesis G80.
Style. The G80 has got it. It took a while for Genesis to solidify its look, but the brand has arrived at a distinctively elegant design theme. The G80 sedan comes at us with purpose, authority, a big, stately mesh grille, and striking quad headlights. A diamond motif reoccurs in the car’s fine detailing, both inside and out.
Ah, the interior. As with its fetching sheet metal, Genesis finds its own design signature within. As Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, and Genesis has taken this to heart. From the inside, it looks and feels like a six-figure car. Open the G80’s door and you are presented with a Bentley-esque effort, resplendent in quilted leather, lovely open pore-wood, fine metal work, and exquisite craftsmanship. You won’t find a bad panel fit or lick of hard plastic anywhere, and this beauty is more than skin deep. Every touchpoint is a tactile delight. The seats are plush and comfortable, the ergonomics are excellent, and as with all products from the Hyundai/Kia/Genesis group, the infotainment interface is intuitive. Cool touches like the 3D gauge cluster display and artful current weather graphic on the crisp central screen add to the G80’s sense of occasion.
Our group of AutoTrader experts nod our approval in thanks that Genesis is not jumping on the gee-whiz gizmo one-upmanship bandwagon. All the feel-good essentials are here including ventilated front seats and a very impressive 21-speaker Lexicon audio, but if you want fragrance dispensers or wish to adjust audio volume (inaccurately) by twirling your finger, look to the German marques.
Another big departure from the norm is that the Genesis G80 comes in two fixed-priced trims. No haggling, no destination charge, and no wading through endless options and package lists to arrive at the vehicle you want. The G80 2.5T Advanced AWD, at $66,000, runs with a smooth 300-horsepower, 311 lb-ft turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder and gets the Lexicon audio system, ventilated front seats, a 14.5-inch touchscreen, plus all the expected safety systems and driver aids. Stepping up to the $76,000 3.5T Prestige AWD nets a 375-horsepower, 391 lb-ft twin-turbo V6, Nappa leather, richer appointments, massage function, remote parking assist, and more. Both engines are mated to a smooth and brainy eight-speed automatic transmission.
All this would be for naught if the G80 didn’t acquit itself well on the road. Genesis nailed this, too. The G80 glides over the road with creamy indifference to most imperfections, and sound levels within are remarkably hushed. The 2.5T is plenty quick and the 3.5T is genuinely fast. Sure, some European rivals might be more athletic, but in our view, the G80 perfectly delivers what shoppers in this segment seek – a swift, quiet, and supremely cossetting driving experience.
The Genesis G80 faced some tough and well-established finalists that included the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Porsche Panamera, Porsche Taycan, BMW 5 Series, and Volvo S90. But after considering every car Canadians can buy in this category, and narrowing it down to these five finalists, our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country concluded this supremely well-crafted sedan’s blend of impressive value and authentic luxury deserves the prize.