2018 Genesis G80

2018 Genesis G80 Review

With minimal compromise, it's a luxury sedan that makes your money go much further.
7.5 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Now in its second year as a stand-alone brand, Genesis expands its luxury sedan lineup with a new turbocharged G80 Sport model. If anyone wondered whether Hyundai, the parent company from which Genesis is spun, intended to compete seriously in the luxury segment, wonder no more.

For 2018, the G80 adds a 3.3T Sport trim level. Powered by a turbocharged V6 and underpinned by an adaptive, performance-oriented suspension, the 3.3T Sport promises to infuse the lineup with a level of performance that's on par with its European competitors. Up until now, we've found the G80 is an exceptionally nice cruiser and commuter, but only just passable when trying to whip up a frenzy in the twists and turns.

A sprinkling of other new features, such as adaptive LED headlights and wireless device charging, add to the G80's already impressive list of standard and optional features, a list that fetches far more money when equipped on similar luxury sedans. And therein lies the appeal of the G80, a car where your money goes much further.

There is some compromise, of course. Inside you'll find quality and craftsmanship on the level of its European and Japanese peers, but rear-seat headroom is a little tight for this class of car. We've also found the standard suspension doesn't offer the same kind of tight and cushy sophistication of its rivals. And some shoppers might balk at the Genesis G80 not having the panache or brand recognition of its established rivals. From our standpoint, though, the G80's price atones for these sins. It's a truly desirable midsize luxury sedan.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, Genesis sprinkles in a few new features, such as optional wireless device charging and adaptive LED headlights. More significantly, the G80 gains a new Sport trim that comes with a turbocharged V6 engine.

We recommend

Even in base 3.8 trim, the 2018 Genesis G80 comes with enough premium features to feel like a proper luxury sedan. You can option up the base trim with Premium and Ultimate option packages, but instead of that we'd go for the new 3.3T Sport. Essentially a 3.8 with both option packages and an upgraded engine, the 3.3T comes with a saucier engine (54 more horsepower), nicer wheels, added styling flourishes and an adaptive suspension. It costs more than a fully loaded 3.8, but we think the performance is worth it. It's the one we'd get.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Genesis G80 is a midsize, five-passenger luxury sedan available in three trim levels: 3.8, 3.3T Sport and 5.0. The number soup correlates to the size of engine underhood. For a base trim level, the G80 3.8 is anything but basic, with a wealth of standard features that equals or surpasses most in its class. The G80 5.0 adds larger wheels and minor trim enhancements, but more notably more power from a V8 engine. The G80 3.3T Sport is more oriented to performance driving with its turbo V6 engine and dynamic suspension.

The G80 3.8 starts with a 3.8-liter V6 engine (311 horsepower, 293 pound-feet), an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.

Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, traffic adapting cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, and a hands-free auto-opening trunklid.

Inside the cabin are eight-way power front seats (with heating and four-way power lumbar adjustment), leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Technology features include an 8-inch touchscreen interface, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, the Genesis Connected Services telematics system, two USB ports, and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.

Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection also come standard. All-wheel-drive models also come with headlight washers, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

The G80 3.8 also offers two optional packages. The Premium package includes LED foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (on rear-wheel-drive models), rear and side window shades, a wireless device charging pad, a Lexicon 14-speaker audio system and an upgraded driver information display.

The Ultimate package builds on the Premium package, adding turn-swiveling LED headlights, a power trunklid, upgraded leather upholstery and driver seat adjustments, matte wood and aluminum trim, a head-up display, a 9.2-inch touchscreen, a multiview rearview/parking camera, a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system, and a carbon-dioxide sensor for the climate control system.

The new G80 3.3T Sport includes the Ultimate package features (minus LED foglights) and further gains a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine (365 hp and 376 lb-ft), 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, sport front seats, a simulated suede headliner, carbon-fiber interior trim, and dark chrome exterior trim.

The G80 5.0 Ultimate comes equipped like the 3.3T Sport, but instead uses a 5.0-liter V8 engine (420 hp, 383 lb-ft). When equipped with optional all-wheel drive, the 3.3T Sport and 5.0 also include a heated steering wheel.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Genesis G80 Ultimate (3.8L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD) and the Genesis G80 Sport (turbocharged 3.3L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.5 / 10

Driving

6.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking7.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Driving position8.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility6.0 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space8.0 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation8.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.5 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving6.5

This G80's focus isn't performance, but it offers enough of it for most owners. Most European competitors will be quicker and more engaging to drive, but the G80 is no slouch either. We do wish its electronic safety aids were far less intrusive.

Acceleration7.5

The 3.8-liter V6 may be the base engine, but that doesn't make it a lump. There's a healthy amount of midrange and top-end punch, complemented by a surprisingly pleasant soundtrack. Put the pedal to the floor, and the G80 accelerates to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, a decently quick time but on the slow side for the segment. The Sport manages a livelier 5.2-second sprint time.

Braking7.0

The brakes are light-effort and easy to be smooth with. But there's a lot of ABS noise and strong pedal pulsations that occur under heavy braking, which won't promote calmness during panic braking. The G80 Ultimate stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, slightly below average due to low-rolling-resistance tires. The Sport stopped in 117 feet.

Steering6.0

At highway cruising speeds, the G80's steering is stable and wander-free. When driving on curvy roads, though, there's a peculiarity in the steering assist that makes it feel as if it's out of sync with your inputs. It creates an unnatural feel and a lack of precision that diminishes confidence.

Handling6.0

The G80's suspension strikes a nice balance of comfort and composure. But the moment you step a toe beyond mild sporty driving, the stability control slams the door shut. We suspect this car has handling abilities beyond its overbearing electronics, but there's currently no way to know for sure.

Drivability7.0

In the default drive mode, the G80 responds and drives as you'd expect a luxury sedan should. Sport mode goes a step too far on the sensitivity meter, and the transmission can be slow to respond to downshift requests when operating on its own but otherwise is easily manipulated through the paddles.

Comfort8.0

A priority for any luxury sedan should be comfort, and the G80 gets it right. Seat support and ride comfort are more than adequate for long-distance hauls, and the cabin is well-isolated against wind noise and other unpleasantries. Climate control is powerfully good, too.

Seat comfort7.5

The 12-way-adjustable front seats provide a nice amount of comfort. There's decent lateral support for wide folks, but average-size adults will find the bolsters too far apart. We had no comfort issues staying in this car for hours. The rear seats are also comfortable and have sunshades.

Ride comfort7.5

The G80 rides quite nicely, free of the floatiness that soft suspensions can sometimes deliver, yet with plenty of compliance to soak up road undulations. It may not erase some bigger bumps quite as well as the best in class, but most people wouldn't notice the distinction.

Noise & vibration8.0

Its quiet cabin is on par with those of other luxury sedans in the class. There's zero wind noise or interior creaks, and only a small amount of road noise makes it into the G80's cabin. At full throttle, the V6 engine even sounds mildly sporty.

Climate control8.5

The G80's dual-zone climate game is on point. It has plenty of cooling and heating capacity, as do the heated and ventilated seats. Some may even find the heated seats' rump-defrosting warmth a little too intense. We prefer the G80's physical buttons and knobs to most touchscreen alternatives.

Interior8.0

The interior space and controls have been designed well in the G80, with an easy-to-use interface and lots of adjustability for the driver. The most glaring oversight is the obstructed forward visibility while making left-hand turns. Together, the pillar and sideview mirror create considerable interference.

Ease of use8.5

The interior controls are very easy to use with lots of redundancy between the central rotary knob, buttons and touchscreen. The menu structure is quite simple, which makes it easy to figure out without the assistance of a user manual. But they provide one of those, too.

Getting in/getting out8.0

The doors open very wide, to near 90 degrees, with a very low step-over for the front occupants. Rear passengers have a slightly larger step-over, but there's still good space for feet to clear. Head clearance is also sufficient above each door thanks to the generous door openings.

Driving position8.5

Tons of adjustment range for the driver's seat and a long reach-and-tilt range in the steering column make the G80 suitable for a variety of drivers. All adjustments are motorized, and the 16-way seat includes adjustments for a thigh extender, lumbar and lateral support.

Roominess7.5

There's generous space up front in all dimensions. The center tunnel is wide in the back seat, but there's still quite a bit a room for outboard occupants and decent foot space beneath the front seats. Three people can fit in the back, but the middle-seat rise limits headroom.

Visibility6.0

Visibility is hampered significantly during left turns because of the thick windshield pillar and placement of the sideview mirror. Rearward visibility is pretty good with small port windows splitting up the chunky rear pillars. Blind-spot monitoring and cameras definitely help.

Quality7.5

Everything feels tightly integrated in the G80, and its wood trim is more befitting of the cabin's style than the carbon trim in the G80 Sport. The leather and the switchgear, however, don't feel as supple or hefty when compared to materials in the G90 and other luxury class competitors.

Utility7.5

With a good-size trunk and decent options inside to store personal items, the Genesis G80 is a small step above the status quo. But accommodations for car seats could stand to improve.

Small-item storage7.5

Small-item storage is decent. A bin up front houses a USB port, auxiliary input and wireless charger. A dual flip-door center armrest bin is pretty deep. And the side door pockets, although not very wide or long, are lined with rubber and cloth so items stored don't roll around or make much noise.

Cargo space8.0

At 15.3 cubic feet, the G80's trunk is on the larger side of the segment. The trunk opens wide, and the hinges are protected so there's no risk of smashing luggage when put in the back. But the rear seats don't fold and the ski pass-through is on the small side.

Child safety seat accommodation6.5

The accommodation for car seats is OK, and there's a good amount of space in the back. But the LATCH anchors are tucked away deep into the cushions, making them somewhat difficult to access.

Technology8.0

The G80 may not be pioneering new technology, but it comes loaded with a ton of features that most people will use every day. From Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to telematics that allow you to control certain functions through an app remotely, the G80 is definitely a car of the modern era.

Audio & navigation8.0

The speaker grilles aren't quite as decorative as the larger G90's, but the 17-speaker premium audio system sounds just as rich. The navigation system breaks no ground, but it's easy to use thanks to its dual rotary and touchscreen interface, and you can search for points of interest using Google.

Smartphone integration8.5

Thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the G80 provides excellent access to your smartphone's media, map and call/text functions without the need to pair through Bluetooth (which is still present). There's also wireless charging for phones that support the function.

Driver aids7.5

Driver aids are numerous but not perfect. The blind-spot system continuously sounds an alarm when signaling with a vehicle in the adjacent lane, and there's no way of turning off the audible alert. Lane keeping assist works well but only on straight roads. High-resolution cameras provide 360-degree coverage.

Voice control8.0

The voice controls offer basic commands for radio tuning, media playback, and inputting an address or destination. The native voice recognition works well and provides easy-to-follow voice prompts that you can turn off after you become familiar with the system. Smartphone voice recognition is also accessible.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.