One thing Hyundai has usually managed to get right throughout its travails and triumphs is styling and design. Going right back to the old 1980s-era Pony and Sonata, the Korean company’s products have been easy on the eyes.
Some more than others, of course, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I like the way this company designs its vehicles.
This applies in spades to the 2022 Genesis G80, which can take its place beside any of the prestigious luxury sedans coming out of Germany or Japan when it comes to visual appeal. This car is a stunner.
You could argue that, if anything, it might be a bit overdone, with body-side vents and a huge front grille. But overall, this is a job well done, easily on par with Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, Maserati, etc.
This car is equally rewarding when it comes to long-distance cruising. I recently took my tester out on a 1,000-plus-km road trip and could find little fault with it on any level. For the most part, this car was a pleasure to spend time in.
Once I figured it out, I came to really appreciate the cruise control. Like a lot of upscale cars, it has a radar sensor that maintains a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. You can adjust this, and it works a treat.
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The G80 also has a lane-keeping feature that will keep the car planted. If you stray toward the painted lines, it corrects itself, keeping you on the straight and narrow. That includes steering through gentle turns. Obviously, you can’t leave it that way forever, but on long, straight stretches of road, you can drive this car hands-off if you want to. It’s probably not a great idea but entertaining on long road trips.
This car also has ventilated and heated seats, of course, with a massage feature that periodically changes the lumbar support. No fiddling is required, and I really appreciated this feature over the long haul. I drove through 30C-plus heat, and the ventilated seats, in combination with an efficient climate control system, kept us cool and comfortable.
The G80 has traffic sensors and cameras all over the place, and you pretty much know where all the other traffic is at all times. Put on the turn signal and you can see what’s going on beside the vehicle. Get too close to an 18-wheeler and a red light flashes on the outside rearview mirror. Again, this is not particularly unique but definitely appreciated during highway driving.
At 100 km/h, the engine in the G80 is ticking over at a paltry 1,500 rpm. That’s barely above idling speed and translates into less engine wear and better fuel economy. Again, it’s a nice touch. You can also choose from several driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Custom Sport and so on. It makes a difference when dealing with uphill grades and the twisty bits. Most of the time, I left it in Comfort.
A full tank of gas gives you a range of 720 km. Hyundai recommends premium, but I put in a tank of regular (the gas station didn’t have anything else) and noticed no change in performance.
On the other hand, the auto-stop feature is clumsy and unrefined. Come to a full stop, and the engine shuts off. Okay, no problem. But it does this even when you’re trying to park the vehicle, which is a pain in the butt. I say, get rid of it altogether.
I also struggled with the console-mounted rotary shift selector. Sometimes – again, during parking – it just doesn’t want to go into reverse or drive, and you find yourself momentarily stuck in neutral. It’s not a big deal but something Hyundai should look at.
Peripheral visibility isn’t great from the front quarters, where the pillars come down to the body. The side mirrors are huge and, combined with the pillars, create a blind spot that caught me by surprise more than once. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker but worth noting.
None of this comes cheap. Base price before taxes and extras is $67,650. But if you want an upscale sedan that’s easily on par with anything else in this market, the G80 is a good place to start.
Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
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