Caraganza First Drive Review 2020 Genesis G80: Finally arriving

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If I had my choice, I’d have a Mercedes in my driveway. Probably an S class with an AMG badge. Of course, if I did go out and buy an S class Mercedes with an AMG badge, I would have to stop making mortgage payments and soon I wouldn’t actually have a driveway. And once my wife found out she’d rent a woodchipper, and my remains would be used as compost somewhere.

My point is that just because we want something doesn’t mean we can actually have it.

All that is the reason I would consider buying a Genesis.  A few years ago I would have emitted a very loud guffaw at the thought of buying a Genesis.  When Hyundai first decided to sever the rope holding the higher end luxury brand to the dock and set it adrift on its own, I was not impressed.  The first few Genesis models looked like nothing more than dressed up Hyundais.  A few fancier dials, a bit more fluffed upholstery and some higher end accents (though still cheap looking) didn’t disguise the feeble attempt at opulence.

However, Genesis sent me a 2020 G80 sedan for a recent week and I can now say that Genesis is finally coming around.

The G series consists of the 70-80 and 90. Each are bigger in size. I had a week with the G70 a few months ago, and it was just okay. I can see now that maybe that was due to the fact the G70 was perhaps a bit too small.  I classified it as little more than a more elegant Stinger. The G90 on the other hand, which I had a year prior, was a bit too big.

The G80 however, seems to be just the right size, at least for me.

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The G80 series is delimited by the engines under the hood, 3.8, 3.3T Sport and 5.0. The base model has a 3.8 naturally aspirated V6 under the hood, the Sport a twin turbocharged 365-hp 3.3-liter V6, while the Ultimate a 5.0-liter V8.  Every G80 uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be configured with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Both the Sport and Ultimate get several upgrades, although even the base model has navigation standard. The Sport comes with 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension and carbon-fiber interior trim among other things, while the Ultimate adds such items as a color head-up display, 17-speaker audio and premium leather upholstery. I had the Sport 3.3T for the week with the HUD, upgraded screen and audio (9.2 inches up from 8) and the premium leather upholstery optioned in.

You can get either All Wheel or Rear Wheel drive. I had the AWD configuration.

Expecting a new generation soon, there were very few updates for the 2020 model year.  There were a few tweaks to the infotainment system and the blind spot monitoring.

The G80 does resemble the G70 but the increase of interior room in the G70 is quite noticeable as is the carbon fiber trim.  More is better in this case.

The same 3.3 turbocharged engine is under the hood that the G70 has. It belts out the same 365 horses and has the exact same 376 pounds of torque. Despite this the G80 doesn’t seem to miss a beat. The increase of nearly 800 pounds curb weight makes no difference.  On the road there is still the same sporty drive, but more room, and a bit smoother ride.  And the interior has far fewer knobs and confusing dials like a Mercedes has. It’s more spartan, and that’s a very good thing.

Overall the G80 is a pretty damn fine car.

It seems that Genesis is finally coming around.  The brand is starting to offer what it set out to; a nice luxury car at a good value.   For around $55,000 you can get a very nice sedan, and while not a Mercedes S class with an AMG badge (it would have a long way to go to get to that) it can allow you to have a touch of the experience.  And not have to get nervous if your spouse decides to rent a woodchipper.

The 2020 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T
MSRP (as tested): $56,745
Engine: 3.3L GDI DOHC Twin-Turbo V6 w/Dual CVVT 365 hp @6000 rpm, 376 ft-lb torque @ 1300 rpm.
Transmission: Electronic 8-Speed Auto w/SHIFTRONIC w/paddle shifters
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 17 City, 25 Hwy, 19 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested): 22 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 4675 lbs.

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase (inches): 118.5
Length (inches): 196.5
Width, without mirrors (inches): 74.4
Height (inches): 58.3
Front Track Width (inches): 63.8
Rear Track Width (inches): 64.3
Minimum Ground Clearance (inches): 5.1

Interior Dimensions
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 5
Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet): 107.7
Front Head Room (inches): 39.4
Front Leg Room (inches): 45.7
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 58.3
Second Row Head Room (inches): 38.2
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 35
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 57.1
Trunk Space (cubic feet): 15.3

Warranty
Basic: 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 10 Years/100,000 Miles
Corrosion: 7 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 3 Years/36,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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