First drive: 2019 Genesis G80 review

Moving Well | Toby Hagon | Posted on 27 June 2019

Toby Hagon takes the Genesis G80 for a launch drive.

First impressions:

The Genesis G80 limousine feels like the same old Hyundai Genesis, only with a new badge, a higher price tag and a few luxury inclusions.


Deja vu is uncommon in the world of new cars, manufacturers typically eager to upgrade their machines with fresh metal and some gee-whizz gadgets at any turn of the calendar. But there’s a case of seen-it-before with the new Genesis G80.

Sure, the brand is new, owner Hyundai mimicking Toyota’s luxury shift to Lexus decades ago. But the Genesis G80 is familiar fare, a mildly tweaked version of the Hyundai Genesis that arrived in 2014, albeit with some newfound effervescence before you even get inside.

A metallic blue Genesis G80 parked in front of a high-rise building with geometric glass pattern.

Key to the lure is an ‘ownership experience’ that packages five years of free servicing and a concierge service into the $68,900 (plus on-road costs) starting price.

Space is also a big part of the sales pitch, the G80 bringing the sort of rear legroom offered in circa-$100K German sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with rear leg and head room genuinely impressive.

Yet there’s more on offer in the G80. A sizeable folding armrest replete with storage and controls for the 9.2-inch infotainment system that includes a 17-speaker Lexicon sound system. An electric rear blind adds to the sense of occasion for those along for the ride.

A close-up photo of the interior of the Genesis G80 driver and passenger seats, with sunroof
A close-up of the Genesis G80 leather steering wheel

Up front, the luxury equation is less convincing, a smattering of plastics and a generic layout lacking the flair of other luxury cars. And while it’s great to have leather standard, it’s not the plushest hide around. That central touchscreen, too, doesn’t have the vibrant clarity of newer units, its age more obvious in a market segment that pushes the tech boundaries. It’s also lacking Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Despite the oversights, there’s value pulsing through the ageing veins.

The base 3.8 (no fancy nomenclature here…) gets satellite-navigation, wireless phone charging, heated front seats and 18-inch alloy wheels. Nine airbags and a bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians help with the five-star ANCAP safety rating. Autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot warning help with avoiding a crash.

Splash out $88,900 for the 3.8 Ultimate and you get 19-inch wheels, ventilation for the front seats, heating for the rear seats, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, smart-key entry and classier Nappa leather.

A metallic blue Genesis G80 drives along a coastal road with beach and mountains in background

On either variant another $4000 buys unique darkened 19-inch wheels, side skirts and a unique look front and rear, along with various black highlights in lieu of chrome.

Under the bonnet, the old-school thinking continues with a familiar 3.8-litre V6 driving the rear wheels. There’s hearty acceleration courtesy of 232kW and 397Nm, although it pays to rev it harder if you want to get close to the claimed 6.5-second dash to 100kmh.

That near-five-metre length amounts to nearly two tonnes, but the G80 hides its heft nicely, the cornering panache in keeping with the luxury pitch. While the 19-inch tyres step up the cornering confidence, there’s a mild trade-off to the ride, the lower-profile rubber transmitting more smaller bumps to the cabin.

Really, though, the G80 is about relaxed, comfortable cruising, something it nails with confidence.

Despite the surprising driving finesse, the G80’s appeal lies in its space and relative affordability, the after-sales fare much-needed icing for a fledgling brand. It’s also worth noting that the G80 in its current guise is only here for a year or so, with an all-new model slated for 2020.

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Genesis G80


Price as tested: $71,900 plus $7766 on-road costs 
Model range: $68,900-$92,900 plus on-road costs


3.8-litre V6, 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive 
Power: 232kW@6000rpm 
Torque: 397Nm@5000rpm 
Tyres: 245/45/R18 (f/r, base 3.8 model); 245/40R19 (f), 275/35R10 (r) (other models)


Fuel: 91 RON petrol 
Tank capacity: 77 litres 
Consumption: 10.4L/100km (base model), 10.8L/100km (other models) (government test) 
CO2 emissions: 237-253g/km


Driver-attention alert, nine airbags, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera.


9.2-inch infotainment screen, 17-speaker Lexicon sound system, satellite navigation, smart key entry, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, auto folding exterior mirrors, leather seats, panoramic sunroof, wireless smartphone charger, adaptive LED headlights, hands-free boot opening.


Five-year/unlimited kilometres 
Free servicing for five years or 75,000km; service intervals every 15,000km or 12 months.