More Than Minivans: The 2017 Genesis G80 Sets a New Standard for Luxury Sedans

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The Genesis G80 is the car everyone who doesn’t “get” luxury cars should test-drive. I had the privilege of trying out the 2017 model, and it was a bit of a revelation. When buying cars, I’ve spent more money on safety features, and on some of the less-practical add-ons that make it easier to drive long distances. But until I drove the 2017 G80, I didn’t quite understand why people would spend a lot of extra money for things that were nice to have, but that nobody could seriously claim were necessary.

The first thing that I noticed was the engine – or, really, the relative absence of engine noise. If I hadn’t known the car was all-gasoline, I would have sworn it was electric or a hybrid.

The controls were easy to find and use – something which sounds basic, but once you try out a lot of cars you realize is less common even than “common sense” is. I had the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel position all perfectly adjusted in seconds.

And then the transmission showed me what it was capable of, and I fell in love with the car. Even the (few) all-electric cars I’ve driven didn’t respond as quickly to the gas pedal. You know how, when you’re driving an automatic transmission, you can feel the gear shift both up and down, but especially up? You can’t in the 2017 Genesis G80. It was as smooth as if it only had one gear for all speeds. The power was always just a slight push away – I’d never merged onto a highway as easily before.

As far as safety goes, the G80 comes with blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems that worked like a charm. And the NHTSA gave the 2017 Genesis G80 a five-star (out of five) rating in both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, on the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. There were a few innovative safety measures I was delighted to see – particularly, the system figures out which seats are and aren’t occupied, and will tell the driver which seat belts haven’t been fastened yet. It also will remind you to check the back seat for young children, a fairly simple addition but one that could save lives.

As you’d expect from a luxury car, the comfort level was amazing. The seats were heated and air-conditioned, the latter of which felt wonderful in the summer heat. The adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat did a great job – something I always appreciate due to past spinal surgeries. My kids, both teenagers and on the tall side, loved the car and couldn’t find anything to complain about sitting in the back. (Those of you with teenagers will understand that one of them not complaining about something new amounts to high praise.) The trunk was quite spacious, and I’m sure the car would be excellent for long family trips.

The entertainment system was phenomenal. The speakers were excellent and well-balanced, though of course you can also tweak the various audio settings to your particular preferences. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, and my iPhone synced with it perfectly: it was a joy to be able to play music, call people, find podcasts, and more without having to remove my phone from my pocket or my hands from the wheel.

There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about driving the car. Its price (see below) seems a bit high for the vehicle tested, but I’ll admit I don’t really know enough about the luxury car market to be sure. There was one thing that stood out to me as strange: Prominently displayed on the console was an analog clock. Maybe it’s common to luxury cars, and it certainly was attractive, but it seemed a bit of a waste of space (and a distraction) to put an actual clock face only a few inches from a digital time readout.

Full specs on the 2017 Genesis G80 can be found on Motor Trend‘s website. Detailed information on the 2018 models can be found on the Genesis website. As tested, the 2017 Genesis G80 has an MSRP of $44,850.

Disclosure: Genesis gave me a G80 to drive for a week. No compensation took place. All opinions represented here are my own.

Photos courtesy of Genesis.

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