- 2021 Genesis G80 ($48,200-$68,150)
- Awards: IIHS Top Safety Pick+, J.D. Power Most Dependable Midsize Premium Car
- Pros: It offers up excellent value, equipment, and a comfortable ride
- Cons: Some of its tech features are hard to use and its engine could use extra power
When most buyers envision a midsize luxury sedan, they’re likely thinking about German brands such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. However, Genesis arrived as a full-fledged luxury brand back in 2015, wanting a piece of that profitable pie. While its first round of cars was well-built and stylish, they didn’t manage to steal the luxury crown. However, the brand’s second-generation vehicles are here, and they have all of the goods necessary to sway luxury customers.
This week I’ve been testing one of the brand’s latest offerings with the 2021 Genesis G80 Prestige. With an as-tested price of $66,645, this sedan is certainly priced like a luxury product. However, even at that price point, the G80 manages to offer up tremendous value, punching way above its class.
Where does the 2021 Genesis G80 fit into the luxury sedan segment?
If you take a quick glance at the 2021 Genesis G80, it may be difficult to size up what its competitors are. That’s because at 197 in long, 76 in wide, and 58 in high, it’s larger than its German rivals. If you’re cross-shopping, you’re likely looking at a BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or Audi A6. However, one thing that immediately stands out is how different the Genesis looks. Having driven plenty of its rivals throughout the years, I can say without a doubt that the G80 attracts the most attention.
If I had to guess, it’s likely as a result of its cohesive and thoughtful design. Take the headlights, for example, that feature two lines that run parallel and wrap around the front bumper. You see a similar design with the taillights, which also feature two design lines. Additionally, the massive front grille is shaped like a shield, symbolizing the Genesis brand logo. However, we see this shield motif in other areas, such as the exhaust tips.
While these details might seem minor, they work well together to establish a strong aesthetic without being flashy or over the top.
The 2021 Genesis G80 offers up a six-figure cabin for half off
While the 2021 Genesis G80 Prestige wins in the looks department, its interior is the real star. In terms of colors, my tester had a very unusual combination of brown and blue leather with light brown accents throughout. If I had to describe it, I’d bet this color scheme would be more popular with a mature audience. Regardless, all of the materials you touch and interact with feel surprisingly premium. Take, for example, the doors, armrest, and steering wheel, which all feature thick, high-quality leather.
Look toward the center console, and you’ll be met with even more premium materials. Instead of a regular shifter, the Genesis offers up a glass rotary dial. On the top of the dash, you’ll find the G80’s ultra-wide 14.5-inch infotainment screen. While it offers up Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, I found myself utilizing Genesis’ native system, which was stylish and simple to use.
For the most part, my only gripe with the interior comes in the form of the two-spoke-style steering wheel. While I understand that its goal is to portray luxury, it seems to appeal to an older audience instead of the younger buyer Genesis aims to attract.
What tech features does the 2021 Genesis G80 offer?
If you’re looking for tech, the 2021 Genesis G80 has plenty on offer. Once you sit behind the wheel, you’ll notice a 3D digital instrument cluster. I can confidently say this is the first time I’ve ever encountered this feature, and I’m truly torn on it. On the one hand, it creates a very unique effect that feels quite modern. On the other, the effect can be quite distracting on top of distorting the display’s overall image quality.
If you are into driver assistance systems, the 2021 Genesis G80 has one of the best in the business. While the Genesis doesn’t drive itself, its driving assist system can easily keep you within the lanes on the highway without any drama. For road trips, this system can really save you from a nasty situation if you start to get tired. The best part is the way in which it works in the background, intervening only when it needs to.
The 2021 Genesis G80 is built to eat up road trips
It won’t surprise you to learn that the 2021 Genesis G80 isn’t exactly a sports car. In fact, with a curb weight of over 4,500-lb, it feels lazy and soft on the road. However, these are also its greatest attributes. On the highway, this G80 is as comfortable as plenty of six-figure cars I’ve driven over the years. Thanks to the G80’s electronically controlled suspension, it’s difficult to feel imperfections on the road.
Once you add that the relatively low amount of noise permeates through the cabin, you get a driving experience that truly feels luxurious. This is a welcomed sight as some of its German competitors continue to lean toward the sporty side with stiffer suspension setups resulting in excess noise.
While the steering is completely numb, it isn’t artificially heavy. As a result, it’s quite easy to maneuver this long and heavy sedan, even into tighter spaces.
How much power does the 2021 Genesis G80 have?
If you’re looking for big power, the 2021 Genesis G80 doesn’t have it. However, it has enough to beat its German rivals once again. Under the hood of my particular tester lay a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 pushing out 375 hp and 391 lb-ft. All of that power went to the rear wheels exclusively via an eight-speed automatic transmission. In terms of efficiency, you’re looking at an average of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Additionally, you can option a smaller 2.5-liter engine for less money.
If I had to build my dream G80, I’d opt for the larger engine. At 375 hp, the Genesis has just enough power to feel quick off the line. Thankfully, you get the engine’s full torque output at just 1,300 rpm. In my book, the G80 could benefit from a power output closer to 400. That way, it could feel slightly more lively to shake its slow and comfy demeanor at times.
However, it has to be said that the eight-speed automatic transmission remains almost imperceptible on the road, giving you quick and smooth shifts without hesitation.
What standard safety features does the 2021 Genesis G80 offer?
If we’re looking at safety features, even the entry-level 2021 Genesis G80 has plenty to offer. That’s because you get forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, safe exit assist, driver attention warning, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, to name a few.
However, my tester came equipped with a clever remote smart parking assist system which is worth every single penny. In short, it allows you to pull the G80 in or out of a spot by using its key fob. While this isn’t exactly a safety feature, I found it useful for getting in and out of tight spots without damaging the G80 or other vehicles.
Is the 2021 Genesis G80 expensive to maintain?
As you might imagine, the Genesis G80 hasn’t been on sale long enough to gather accurate long-term maintenance or reliability figures. However, if these are a concern, the G80 does offer a 10 yr/100,000 mi powertrain warranty. As a result, you can actually own this vehicle long-term without having to worry about any major headaches. It is also worth noting that this warranty is more comprehensive than anything available from the Genesis’ German rivals.
Is value enough to win in the luxury sedan segment?
There is no denying that the 2021 Genesis G80 offers up a tremendous amount of value, severely undercutting its rivals by thousands of dollars. However, the G80’s greatest benefit is how well it manages to create a luxury experience behind the wheel. If you’re a fan of the styling and decide to option a more contemporary interior, I see no reason why the Genesis shouldn’t be on your list. While it may not have a sporty edge, it more than makes up for it by truly understanding what luxury is all about.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Genesis G80 an expert rating of 8.0 out of 10
The MotorBiscuit editors rated the 2021 Genesis G80 an 8.0 out of 10. We think that the Genesis G80 stands out in the crowd with its unique styling cues and high-quality interior materials. The G80 also offers a comfortable ride and there are plenty of safety features on board. However, it could use a little more power given its high curb weight.