One in an occasional series of reviews on consumer vehicles.
I did not fully appreciate all the safety warning icons, lights, indicators, bells and whistles that come with today's luxury cars until I found myself practically driving underwater on the 73 freeway recently.
Having just left UC Irvine, I was heading back to Costa Mesa when the skies opened up and an ungodly amount of water came down. It was as if the 2017 Genesis G80 I was driving had become a magnate for a precipitation cell. Looking through my rearview mirror, it appeared as if Niagra Falls was falling on my trunk. The view through the windshield—with wipers at their highest setting—was only marginally better.
I could see out either side window, however, and with red lights ahead of me and what seemed to be an opening in the lane to my left, I began drifting that way. But at that split second, a red icon of a rear-left collision lit up on the outside driver side mirror and the car went into a short controlled shake as if to say, "Hey, numb nuts, that lane isn't clear. Pay attention."
That's when I noticed, out of the blind spot, another car cruising along, raising waves from its tires. That convinced me that beyond times of ideal conditions is really when these blind-spot warning systems pay for themselves.
While that may have been the warning that most saved my bacon during test-ride week, my favorite jostler remains the little speed limit sign and digital speedometer that is projected onto the lower part of the windshield, just to the left of the driver's head so he or she can constantly be reminded of how fast s/he should be going and how fast s/he is actually traveling.
The 2017 G80, from which automaker Hyundai has expunged its name to focus on the singular Genesis wings logo you'll find on the hood, has a lot more going for it. For a luxury mid-sedan whose aim is to go up against Lexus, Buick and Cadillac, it gets a respectful 22 mpg (18 city, 28 highway), and it gets a five (10 being best) on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions and six on the tailpipe reading.
This is despite a 3.8 liter V6 engine with 311 horsepower and eight-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC power shifters. Intelligent drive mode lets you choose between eco, normal, sport and snow.
My only knock would be, in normal mode, it drove like a tank for me. But keep in mind I was coming off driving smaller sedans and a sporty SUV in the weeks before climbing into the Ibiza blue ride with 18-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires.
Standard are these safety features: vehicle stability management system; automatic emergency braking; blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert ; lane keep assist and lane departure warning; high beam assist; pre-safety seat belt; nine airbags; smart cruise control with stop/start capability; electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold; and 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with rearview camera.
Hyundai seeks to further distance itself from the luxury space by offering exclusive customer programs, from valet service appointments scheduled using the Genesis mobile app to complimentary maintenance and Genesis Connected Services.
"The Genesis Experience" includes three years/36K miles complimentary scheduled maintenance; 3 years/36K miles complimentary valet services; three years complimentary Genesis Connected Services including Connected Care, Remote and Guidance; three years complimentary SiriusXM Travel Link (traffic and data); three years complimentary map care (constantly updated); and best-in-industry warranty with enhanced roadside assistance and concierge services.
How best in industry is that warranty? Five years/50,000 miles on new vehicle, 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain, seven years/unlimited miles on anti-perforation and limited warranties from the dealer (who also has you leaving the lot with a full tank of gas).
The G80 is quiet and spacious, with leather upholstery and heated front seats standard in the five seater, whose steering wheel features audio, cruise, and phone controls. Other standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, a proximity key, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment interface, with its standard 8-inch touch screen, is a snap to use.
But not everything is rosy, though the imperfections are small. The G80 has only one USB port – which will undoubtedly lead to squabbles on road trips. And if you have the larger 9.2-inch touch screen (an addition in the 3.8 model's Ultimate Package and standard in the 5.0 model), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are no longer part of the infotainment system.
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The 15.3-cubic-foot trunk is above average capacity in this class, but what's even cooler is when the hands-free trunk senses that the proximity key is in the immediate vicinity for a few seconds, it opens automatically. This allows you to keep the keys in your pocket or purse, walk up to the G80 with arms full of bags, and place them directly into the trunk.
For all this, you're looking at a $41,400 manufacturer's suggested retail price for the G80 RWD 3.8. For the G80 3.8 AWD it’s $43,900, and the 5.0 RWD (5-liter V8) it’s $54.500.
My test ride included the Premium Package (LED fog lights, power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, Lexicon 14-speaker surround sound system, 7-inch color LCD multi-information display, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera with parking guidelines, ventilated front seats, power rear sunshade and manual rear side sunshades) as week as the Ultimate Package (premium leather seating surfaces, power drive seat cushion extender and side bolster, genuine matte finish wood and aluminum trim, full color heads up display, premium 9.2-inch touchscreen and DIS navigation with HD display, Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1 Discrete audio system, power trunk lid and dual mode front vent control and carbon dioxide sensor).
That shot the price tag up another $8,950 and once you factor in the $950 inland freight and handling charge, you're looking at $51,300.