If you were smart enough to purchase a 2015-2016 Hyundai Genesis Sedan back when it was new you got an amazing deal. I remember testing a fully loaded 2015 example when it first came out, complete with…

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport Road Test

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80 is the sole model that predates the Genesis brand, but it’s still a great looking car that only gets better once inside.

If you were smart enough to purchase a 2015-2016 Hyundai Genesis Sedan back when it was new you got an amazing deal. I remember testing a fully loaded 2015 example when it first came out, complete with its fabulous 420 horsepower 5.0-litre Tau V8 in top-tier Ultimate trim and couldn’t believe the level of performance and premium quality available for just $62,000. Neither could my friend that managed Canada’s number one BMW dealership, who was shocked by its styling, interior quality, features and engine specs, stating at the time that he had nothing that could compete with it dollar for dollar.

As it was, you could acquire most everything just noted minus some top-level features and the potent eight-cylinder engine for a mere $43,000 back then, which made the base Genesis Sedan the best luxury car value for its time bar none. When the Hyundai variant was laid to rest and the new Genesis G80 appeared unchanged for the 2017 model year the price went up, but not significantly with all features added. In fact, the top-line G80 5.0 AWD Ultimate example I tested at the time was only $3,000 more than the previous Hyundai-badged version, and came with the benefit of concierge purchasing and servicing for a more premium ownership experience.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s long, low profile gives it a four-door coupe presence.

This said, base 2017 G80 Luxury trim saw a price increase of $5,400 from the previous 2016 Genesis Sedan Luxury trim’s $48,600 MSRP, while the previous $43k entry-level model was eliminated from the lineup. Hence, the 2017 G80 saw a significant base price hike of $11,000, resulting in sales plunging from the Hyundai-branded Genesis Sedan’s high of 1,513 units in 2014, and subsequently more modest results of 1,377 deliveries in 2015 and 961 during the 2017 calendar year (these last ones being discontinued 2016 model-year cars), to 433 examples of the Genesis-branded G80 throughout its first full year of 2017, plus 393 units for 2018, and 324 for all of last year.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The second-generation Hyundai Genesis Sedan, which was near identical to this G80, set the design tone for the entire Genesis lineup.

Of course, these final numbers coincide with a general decline in four-door sedan deliveries (and cars overall), although when comparing sales results of the Genesis Sedan/G80 to the segment best-selling Mercedes-Benz E-Class (that also includes the E-Class sedan, coupe and convertible, plus the CLS four-door coupe), which only saw its deliveries drop from 3,789 units in 2014 to 3,452 in 2019, it’s a night and day situation.

Hyundai’s choice to create the Genesis brand certainly appears rosier when comparing the G80’s sales results the BMW 5 Series’ much more dramatic decline over the same six-year timespan, its 2,337 unit sales in 2014 falling to just 1,621 deliveries last year (not including a smattering of 6 and 8 Series models that also compete with the E-Class in this segment, these staying about even at just above 400 units), while Audi’s A6 went from 1,113 examples to 687 respectively (not including 876 to 608 A7s).

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s attractive quadrangular grille will make way for a more V-shaped five-sided opening in 2021.

Of note, 1,119 G70 sales made 2019 somewhat brighter for the Genesis brand, albeit these rays of hope weren’t enough to cast off the shadow of just 82 G90 deliveries (the latter better than the mere 65 Equus models sold in 2014, however, and only slightly down on the Hyundai flagship’s 2012 high of 116 units).

Anyone with some business acumen knows that sales don’t necessarily translate into profits, but only the South Korean brand’s parent company, or a very skilled analyst with time to delve into the intricacies of the publicly trading automaker’s balance sheet, will be able to deduce whether Genesis’ price increases have added to the automaker’s overall bottom line, or if their reductions in volume posed any negative impact.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
These 19-inch multi-spoke alloys come standard with 3.3T Sport trim.

Suffice to say the Genesis brand is a long-term project, with the aforementioned GV80 mid-size luxury SUV and additional future crossover models expected to find many more buyers, but it’s interesting to note that Hyundai Motor Corporation’s share value (see HYMTF on the KRX) has weathered a fairly steady decline from 167,000 KRW ($138 USD; $188 CAD) in October of 2015 to 110,000 KRW ($91 USD; $124 CAD) as of July 16, 2020, a 34 percent downturn.

This is the sort of boring business fodder you may want to peruse while relaxing in the comfortable rear seat of a chauffeured G90, instead of cluttering your mind when at the wheel of the sportier G80. Hard numbers aside, all Genesis models are superb examples of modern engineering excellence that can easily keep up with their Teutonic and Japanese competitors, while they’re also very easy on the eyes, highly refined with impressively finished materials, stocked full of the latest tech, convenience and luxury amenities, and fully deserving of being ranked alongside comparative Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus and other premium-branded models, heritage aside. Truly, the only negative thing I can say about today’s G80 is its six-plus-year-old design, although being particularly attractive and somewhat exclusive it still looks surprisingly fresh.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
A quad of oval tailpipes show this sort sedan means business.

That’s a good thing, because the only change from 2019 to 2020 is the removal of the CD changer, which by perusing our photo gallery can be seen on my test model’s centre stack. The rest of the car is identical in every way, which is no bad thing. This said the G80 will undergo a complete redesign for 2021 with styling that more closely resembles the new G90 up front (particularly the grille) with plenty of GV80 details thrown in all-round for good measure, while its sweptback rear window and deck lid remind me a bit of the Audi A7. In other words, it looks great.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s two-tone interior is truly impressive.

As it is, there are plenty of good reasons to purchase a 2019 or 2020 G80 while you still can, with possibly the most notable being the ability to acquire factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent. A quick scan of the 2019 Genesis G80 Canada Prices page or 2020 Genesis G80 Canada Prices page at CarCostCanada will inform you of this deal, while you can also choose any trim and build your G80 right there, while opting for a CarCostCanada membership will give you info on leasing and financing deals for the majority of vehicles currently sold new in Canada, as well as other manufacturer incentives such as rebates, while CarCostCanada also provides dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when negotiating your deal. Find out how it works now and while you’re at it, download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The door panels are soft-touch from top to bottom, with Sport trim getting carbon-fibre inlays above stitched leather inserts.

Speaking of Apple and Google, CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in every 2019 and 2020 G80, but before I delve into more of the model’s standard and available features I should mention that trims and prices stayed the same in 2018, although Genesis added a new 365 horsepower 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine to the G80 line, along with a new $62,000 Sport trim level sold exclusively with this high-output engine, while base Luxury trim was dropped for 2019, making the 311 horsepower 3.8-litre V6-powered Technology the new base G80 model at $58,000. The same three-model lineup is available once again for 2020, with pricing for the V8-powered Ultimate trim still unchanged at $65,000.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80 doesn’t dazzle with high-tech digital interfaces, but it delivers big on comfort and quality, plus its infotainment system is highly functional.

If you’re considering a move up to the Genesis brand from a Hyundai model like the Elantra or Sonata, its feature set probably won’t impress you all that much. After all, Hyundai has long made a name for providing a lot more functionality than its peers for similar if not better pricing, but nevertheless the base G80’s menu does kick things up a notch.

Standard items include LED daytime running lights and taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, proximity-sensing keyless entry with a hands-free power opening/closing trunk lid, open-pore genuine hardwood interior inlays, a heated steering wheel rim, a power-adjustable steering column, a 7.0-inch colour multi-information display/digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, a 9.2-inch centre touchscreen with navigation, a 17-speaker audio system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED cabin lighting, a panoramic sunroof, a 16-way powered driver’s seat, a 12-way powered front passenger’s seat, Nappa leather upholstery, heatable front and rear outboard seats, ventilated front seats, and a host of advanced driver assistive systems such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, lane change assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and driver attention alert.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
A large, colourful multi-information display divides the analogue primary gauges.

Both Sport and Ultimate trims replace the base model’s bi-xenon headlights with full LEDs, plus add 19-inch alloy wheels, a microsuede headliner, and a slim credit card-like proximity key fob, while the Sport also includes a special set of 16-way powered front Sport seats that were oh-so comfortable and plenty supportive at the lower back and below the knees thanks to four-way power-adjustable lumbar support and a power-extendable lower cushion.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s nicely organized centre stack is easy to get used to.

The two-tone light grey and charcoal black interior colour-way is truly attractive, the two shades separated by gorgeous gloss carbon fibre trim on each upper door panel and across the dash, while plenty of brushed aluminum accents brightened key areas throughout the cabin, some of the Lexicon speaker grilles even drilled out in a stylish geometric pattern. All switchgear exudes a feeling of quality too, while soft, pliable composites join up with a generous supply of Nappa leather for a plush, refined inner sanctum.

Really. Just go ahead and try to find any hard plastic. There is some, but it’s very difficult to locate, only including a few small pieces below the dash, which otherwise is covered in premium materials all the way down to the nether regions above the knees, including the glove box lid, while the inner doors are skinned with the very best soft synthetics and leathers from top to bottom, as are the top edges of the lower centre console. That console’s lower sides are made from harder plastic, but this is common amongst the majority of competitors so it’s not an issue. In fact, if you were to compare the G80 side-by-side against a new E-Class, for instance, which actually uses hard plastic on the lower door panels, you’d come away thinking that Genesis does a pretty good job of pampering its new owners.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The large centre display includes a very helpful overhead parking camera.

This said Mercedes leads in digital wizardry, its latest E having been first in its family of updated models to incorporate the brand’s now trademark dual-display instrument cluster/infotainment touchscreen, a fully customizable design that makes most rivals seem antiquated at best. This is where the upcoming 2021 G80 will make the biggest gains over this outgoing model, the current car’s mostly analogue gauge cluster being bright, clear and easy to read, but not providing the wow factor of some competitors.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
Classy clock celebrates all things analogue.

Likewise, for the infotainment system that’s fully functional and then some. It provides a nice graphical interface for the impressive Lexicon audio system noted earlier, its parking camera not only offers a rear view with active guidelines, but also a 360-surround overhead vantage point and multiple closeups as needed, while the climate control interface even shows each occupant’s cabin temperature setting on a lifelike interior graphic.

An elegantly square analogue clock is flanked by twinned panels of HVAC buttons and knobs just below on the centre stack, while a similarly useful audio interface rests under that, complete with the optical drive noted earlier. Additionally, USB and aux ports are housed in a lidded compartment in the lower console, right beside a wireless device charger that conveniently tilts towards front seat occupants.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s wireless charging pad tilts toward either front occupant.

Lastly, a nicely finished overhead console features a felt-lined sunglasses holder, LED reading and overhead lights, plus controls for the powered panoramic sunroof, which can be covered by a plush suede-like fabric shade that opens via a separate powered switch. On that note, the roof liner and all the pillars are finished in the same luxurious psuede material, as are the two front sun visors.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
New shift lever connects to a revised electronic eight-speed automatic below.

The G80’s driving position is excellent, made even better by the aforementioned sport seats, while the rear seating area’s spaciousness is about average for the class. When the driver’s seat was set up for my somewhat long-legged, short-torso five-foot-eight frame I had about eight inches room ahead of my knees, lots of legroom to stretch out my lower extremities, plus about four inches to the door panel next to my hips and shoulders, and approximately three inches of airspace over my head. This should allow comfort for most body types.

I wouldn’t say the rear compartment is overly generous with features, but your outboard passengers will get LED reading lights just below the grab handles situated just above the side windows, plus separate vents with scrolling heater controls emanating from within the backside of the front centre console. There are also some very nice pop-out magazine holders on the front seatbacks, and those seatbacks are beautifully finished with what looks like leather all the way down to their bases. This in mind, the rear door skins are as nice as those up front, while a folding centre armrest features the usual dual cupholders as well as controls for the three-way outboard seat warmers noted earlier. Lastly, classy metal clothes hooks on the backside of the B pillars are nice additions.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
These 16-way sport seats are ultra comfortable.

The trunk is also large at 433 litres (15 cubic feet), but take note the rear seats don’t fold for longer cargo, with items like skis needing to alternatively fit within a relatively small and narrow pass-through down the centre or not at all.

Back up front, along with a fresh set of headlights, a revised lower front grille, reworked front and rear facias, new standard 18-inch wheels, a fresh set of primary instruments, the analogue clock noted earlier, and new premium speaker grilles, one of the big changes for last year’s G80 was a redesigned shifter knob, which is now a slicker looking leather-wrapped, metal-surrounded design that merely moves rearward into drive and forward into reverse, plus into the centre for neutral.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The G80’s powered panoramic sunroof provides an open, airy interior.

This is due to a new eight-speed automatic below the surface, and I must say that it’s much easier to find neutral with the G80 than with electronic shifters used in some other cars, such as with Chrysler’s 300. One of the benefits of an electronic shifter is a button for Park, or you can simply turn the ignition off and it will go into Park automatically, while Genesis includes a drive mode indicator includes Normal, Eco and Sport selections, with Eco noticeably subduing the G80s performance and therefore enhancing fuel economy, which is fairly good considering all the power available at 13.8 L/100km in the city, 9.7 on the highway and 11.9 combined as tested (the base engine is good for a claimed 13.4 city, 9.6 highway and 11.7 combined, while the V8 manages a projected 15.6, 10.4 and 13.2 respectively), and Sport mode sharpening its drivetrain and tightening its suspension for much more engaging performance.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The rear seating area is roomy and comfortable.

With 365 horsepower on tap the G80 Sport uses the much-lauded powertrain as found in the new Kia Stinger, and while this is great because the latter has become a performance icon amongst import fans, keep in mind the Genesis weighs 100 to 200 kilos more depending on features, so its pull isn’t quite as dramatic off the line. It’s still impressive, however, with all four of my tester’s 245/40R19 Continental’s immediately biting into the tarmac below thanks to Genesis’ HTRAC all-wheel drive, allowing for wonderfully quick launches from standstill and seemingly never-ending highway passing power. I certainly wouldn’t have reason to upgrade to the Tau V8, the turbo-six making a satisfying growl at full throttle, if not the eight’s sonorous bellow and lovely burble at idle.

2019 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
The trunk is large, but there’s only a centre pass-through for stowing longer cargo.

There’s a little less weight over the front wheels of the V6-powered example, which is always helpful amid tight, fast-paced corners, which the G80 Sport manages very well, incidentally. In fact, despite this car’s 2,120-kg (4,674-lb) curb weight it feels rather really light on its feet, so to speak, and surprisingly agile no matter how it’s thrown into a curve, within reason. It was also one of the nicest, easiest cars I drove around town in all year, so much so it would be ideal for a novice wanting to improve their skills. Its ride quality is smooth, its cabin is quiet and cocoon-like, and just plain comfortable all the time.

Yes, the G80 Sport truly is a superb car. Genesis has been fine-tuning it for years, which likely means it’ll be one of the more dependable mid-size luxury sedans currently available, but just in case something goes wrong it’s backed much longer than any luxury competitor at five years or 100,000 kilometres, which means you get almost comprehensive coverage for mechanical problems or any other issue, plus complimentary scheduled maintenance as well as the convenience of home or office (or these days home office) car pickup via their valet service. That’s one of the best reasons to choose a new Genesis.

Story and photo credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo editing: Karen Tuggay

There is no more competitive category in the luxury sector than the compact sport sedan segment, and therefore it’s critical for a premium brand to offer up a worthy entry. Enter the G70, the most important…

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD Road Test

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The G70 is one great looking compact luxury sport sedan, especially in 3.3T Sport AWD trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

There is no more competitive category in the luxury sector than the compact sport sedan segment, and therefore it’s critical for a premium brand to offer up a worthy entry. Enter the G70, the most important new Genesis model to surface until the fledgling luxury brand hits the market with a crossover SUV.

Genesis is Hyundai Motor Group’s new luxury brand. It’s what Lexus is to Toyota, Infiniti is to Nissan and Acura is to Honda. Each of these Japanese brands were late to the premium brand party, at least in comparison to some of the sector’s originators that have been fighting it out for most of the past century. Genesis won’t be breaking the mould like Tesla did with its lineup of electrics, the Model 3 going head-to-head with all challengers in the G70’s class, but instead the new model offers a good looking, well made, strong performing, value-packed alternative to market leaders like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, not to mention all others including the Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50, Acura TLX, Cadillac ATS, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE, and Alfa Romeo Giulia.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
There’s no drama in the design, just attractive, mostly clean lines. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Yes, that’s a lot of rivals, and I’m not even including all the wagons, convertibles and coupes, some of the latter even sporting four doors like Audi’s A5 Sportback and BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe. How did the G70 do? Strictly by the numbers, Genesis sold 1,119 examples through calendar year 2019 in Canada, which is pretty impressive, even representing 15.7 percent growth over the previous partial year (the G70 went on sale in March of 2018). That already puts it ahead of a couple of key competitors, namely the Cadillac ATS, which needed a sedan and coupe to accumulate 1,032 sales yet still lost 36.1 percent from the year prior, the Alfa Romeo Giulia that plunged 52.5 percent due to just 242 deliveries through 2019, and the Jaguar XE that nosedived 72.5 percent for just 157 new buyers during the same 12 months.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The G70’s grille looks unique and attractive, an impressive feat for a new brand. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Achieving a comfortable four figures is an auspicious start for the three-year old brand’s first all-new model. Certainly the G90 was new when introduced along with the brand in November of 2016, but like the G80 it was derived from an older Hyundai model. The G90 started life as the Hyundai Equus, and thus could also be seen as that model’s third generation, whereas the G80 merely changed its rear badge from a stylized “H” to Genesis’ wings, it having already worn the new brand’s logo on its hood and steering wheel due to previewing the Genesis nameplate as its model designation for two generations and eight long years.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
Sport trim gets a distinctive front fascia, LED headlamps, and fog lights. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The G70 made up the vast majority of all Genesis sales last year, 73.4 percent to be exact, due to the G80 finding just 324 new owners and the G90 a mere 82 (that’s 18th from last, incidentally, the final position held by the Kia K900 that shares underpinnings with the G90 and sold exactly zero units). Just how important the newcomer is to Genesis’ plans can’t be stressed enough, so it was good they got it right.

It’s a handsome car, with a strong aggressive stance yet styling that’s not too dramatic other than the nonfunctional front fender vents, and it’s sized exactly right to fit squarely within the compact luxury D-segment. It measures 4,685 millimetres (184.4 inches) from front to back, with a 2,835-mm (111.6-in) wheelbase, 1,850 mm (72.8 in) from side-to-side, and 1,400 mm (55.1 in) from the base of its tires to top of its arcing roof, which makes it almost identical to the C-Class and not much shorter than the 3 Series. This is the compact luxury sweet spot, compared to the Infiniti Q50 that’s quite a big longer.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
Sport trim gets special 19-inch dark alloys and Brembo brakes with bright red calipers. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The result is a car that’s totally comfortable in both rows, yet nice, light, quick, and manoeuvrable. The driving position is excellent, with plenty of reach and rake from the tilt and telescopic steering column, while my tester’s upgraded driver’s seat was superb, with excellent leg, lower back, and lateral support. The steering wheel is nicely shaped for a comfortable grip, with paddle shifters where they need to be for quick actuation, while the pistol grip shift lever on the lower console is only there for selecting gears. A beautifully detailed knurled metal dial provides driving mode selection, the choices being Comfort, Sport, Eco, Smart and Custom, and while I tested all for posterity’s sake you can guess which one was my go-to setup.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
LED taillights come standard.

The automatic is the base G70 transmission, providing eight forward speeds and Idle Stop and Go capability that automatically shuts the engine off to save fuel and reduce emissions when it would otherwise be idling, and then quickly restarts it when lifting off the brake. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine makes 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and is the sole engine available with a six-speed manual gearbox in its 2.0T Sport RWD trim. It’s also the only G70 without all-wheel drive and actually makes an additional 3 horsepower over its automatic-equipped siblings, the Genesis’ 2.0T Advanced AWD trim being the base model, followed by the 2.0T Elite AWD and 2.0T Prestige AWD.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The G70’s interior will truly impress. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Only two trims use the optional 3.3-litre V6, a 365 horsepower twin-turbocharged engine good for 376 lb-ft of torque, including the 3.3T Dynamic AWD, and this top-line 3.3T Sport AWD. This model has a nice eager exhaust note at idle, and selecting Sport mode automatically adds air to the bladders in this Sport trim’s exclusive 16-way power-adjustable driver seat’s bolsters for better lateral support, the four-way lumbar and lower cushion extension having already been positioned for ultimate comfort and control.

The G70 3.3T tears away from stoplights at a blisteringly quick rate, managing 100 km/h from standstill in the high fours, and has a wonderfully aggressive exhaust note as the engine nears its 7,000-rpm redline. The eight-speed auto provides quick, precise shifts in Sport mode, the paddles only adding to the sense of urgency, this true especially through the curves where the G70 feels light and lively, and a lot more fun to drive than the equivalent Lexus IS 350 F Sport.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The G70’s cockpit is nicely laid out for comfort and convenience. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Braking is strong and doesn’t fade after repeated stomps, the Sport’s four-piston front and two-piston rear high-performance Brembos doing their job. Genesis’ engineers have set this car up with superb balance, its front strut and five-link independent rear suspension never getting out of shape yet providing an amply compliant ride despite my tester’s 19-inch staggered-width alloys wrapped in 225/40 front and 255/35 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance rubber. Its incredible stability likely has something to do with my Sport model’s adaptive control suspension, which is a high-performance suspension control system that distributes front and rear damping forces in potentially onerous, unstable situations, helping to prevent accidents.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The mostly analogue gauges include a 7-inch multi-info display at centre. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Speaking of safety features, more equipped G70 trims get forward collision assist with pedestrian detection as well, plus lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning, while all G70s include blind spot collision warning with lane change assist, plus rear cross-traffic collision warning.

The Variable Gear Ratio-enhanced motor-driven rack-and-pinion steering responds positively to input, yet never nervous, and the car tracks ideally at high speeds, its mechanical limited-slip differential aiding in rear wheel traction. This is a sport sedan I could drive every day, my only wish being a track so I could fully let out some steam, but even around town it wasn’t only a perfect point-and-shoot companion, but an easy car to operate in congested traffic.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The G70’s infotainment graphics are similar to Hyundai’s, but it’s a very complete system. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

That’s when I had opportunity to enjoy its beautifully detailed interior. Everything is very well made, with the expected soft-touch surfaces above the waste, excepting the glove box lid and fascia around steering wheel. Most switchgear is high in quality, but its aluminized silver look with blue backlit lettering comes across a tad too Hyundai and not enough Genesis, as did the 8.0-inch infotainment display and graphics. It’s filled with features including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, a multi-view camera system, Genesis Connected Services, and the list goes on, one of my favourites being a 15-speaker Lexicon audio system with Quantum Logic surround that had sensational sound quality, but most in this class offer some type of controller on the lower console to go along with the touchscreen.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The gearshift is just for selecting D, R or N, with all shifting happening via the steering wheel shift paddles. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The TFT multi-infotainment display ahead of the driver was highly functional too, plus nice and big at 7.0 inches across, but while bright and colourful the analogue primary gauges surrounding it were a bit surprising in today’s fully digital instrument cluster world.

Surprisingly but wonderful was the diamond-pattern quilted black and grey highlighted Nappa leather upholstery on the seats and door panels. It’s the type of rich opulence you might find in a Bentley or Aston Martin, not a compact Genesis, the seats even boasting grey piping on the side bolsters and top of each backrest. That’s part of the Sport’s standard Sport Appearance Package that also includes the driver’s power-adjustable bolsters and seat cushion extension mentioned earlier, plus aluminum pedals and black microsuede roof pillars and headliner.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
Gorgeous diamond-pattern quilting covers the inserts of the fabulous 16-way powered driver’s seat. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The G70 was as beautifully finishing in back as up front too, and included three-way seat heaters for the outboard positions. The front seats had these as well, plus the driver had a heated steering wheel rim and two front seats benefited from three-way cooling to help overcome summer’s warmth. Of course, dual-zone auto climate control took care of cabin comfort, while the usual phone connectivity and charging ports were part of the package, including a wireless charging pad.

A corner that’s often cut by bargain luxury brands is trunk finishing, and unfortunately the G70’s dedicated cargo hold is a bit shallow and uses space-robbing hinges instead of struts. The load floor feels cheap and flimsy too, and the folding rear seatbacks are only split 60/40 with no centre pass-through, limiting the G70’s use as a ski shuttle, at least while all four seat heaters are being used.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The rear seating area could be roomier, but it’s par for the course in this compact luxury sedan class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

On the positive the G70 is a relative bargain compared to its German competitors, with a base price of just $42,000 plus freight and fees. Comparatively the least expensive Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan starts at $46,100 and most affordable BMW 3 Series sedan hits the road at $49,000, while the near slowest selling Jaguar XE starts at $49,900 and least popular Alfa Romeo Giulia requires $50,445. Certainly some undercut the G70, like the Audi A4 at $39,800 and Lexus IS at $41,250, but they don’t offer anywhere near the same standard features.

You can find out about full-range pricing for each of these models at CarCostCanada (just follow the links on the car names above), including trim, packages and individual options, while you can also learn about available offers such as the zero-percent factory leasing and financing rates now provided by Genesis for 2019 and 2020 G70 models, and before you contact your Genesis dealer, or any one of the others, be sure to get your CarCostCanada membership so you’ll know the dealer invoice price before you start negotiating, as it could save you thousands.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
The trunk could be finished better, and with only 60/40-split rear seatbacks it’s flexibility is limited. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

By the way, the 2020 G70 is nearly identical to this 2019 model, other than the elimination of 3.3T Dynamic AWD trim and the introduction of a new higher-end 3.3T Prestige AWD model. The base price stays the same, but some of the other trims move up, including this Sport trim that adds $500, along with a new standard powered trunk lid, for a new retail price of $58,000.

All in all the 2019 Genesis G70 is an excellent luxury car with few drawbacks, especially for sport sedan fans that like to motor with enthusiasm. It rewards skilled drivers with wonderful straight-line performance and very predictable, capable at-the-limit handling, yet its excellent balance and the AWD models’ tendency to understeer won’t hang a novice driver out to dry either. Its interior will impress too, with comfort and eye-popping opulence, my top-line $57,500 3.3T Sport AWD really delivering across the board. All this, plus a best-in-class five-year or 100,000-km comprehensive warranty. Not too shabby.

It’s not without fault, its estimated 13.3 L/100km in the city, 9.5 on the highway and 11.6 combined fuel economy hardly thrifty (the four-cylinder with AWD gets a claimed 11.5 city, 8.7 highway and 10.3 combined), but its pros certainly outweigh its cons, so the G70 is an easy car to recommend.

Remember the Hyundai Equus? No? If I hadn’t borrowed one from a local dealer to use for a 2014 test I probably would’ve forgotten about it by now too. In fact, I don’t believe Hyundai even put one…

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T Road Test

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Even the snow geese agree, this G90 is one good looking, great performing target. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Remember the Hyundai Equus? No? If I hadn’t borrowed one from a local dealer to use for a 2014 test I probably would’ve forgotten about it by now too. In fact, I don’t believe Hyundai even put one on their weekly rotation fleet in my area. It was a good luxury car, better in fact than any mainstream volume-branded rival, all of which merely offered stretched versions of their front-wheel drive mid-size family sedans, like Hyundai’s own Azera, instead of a V6- and V8-powered, rear-drive Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series type full-size luxury sedan, but just the same its premium-level interior, long list of features, impressive performance, and superb value proposition didn’t result in many sales. 

The problem? No premium branding. Mighty Volkswagen learned this the hard way too, with its ill-fated Phaeton, but Toyota, Nissan and to some extent Honda figured out the importance of premium branding decades ago, resulting in Lexus, Infiniti and Acura, while GM’s Cadillac and Ford’s Lincoln brands have been trying to break back into the luxury sector since they lost ground to the Germans in the ‘80s. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
It’s no smalltime mid-size front-driver, the AWD G90 as solid and stable as a big S-Class or 7 Series. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Canada was first introduced to South Korean luxury in 2010 when the second-generation 2011 Equus was introduced, and while an impressive luxury car it was a bit bland and nondescript from a styling standpoint, much like the first-gen Hyundai Genesis Sedan. It was almost as if the designers of these two cars didn’t want us to know they were Hyundai products. We all expected the third-generation Equus to take on styling details from the second-generation Hyundai Genesis sedan, which was and still is a very handsome mid-size sport-luxury sedan, and then the Korean automaker one-upped us and discontinued both, instead rebadging the Genesis sedan as the G80 and making its next Equus into this G90, while simultaneously launching the Genesis luxury brand in Canada, the U.S., China, the Middle East, Russia, Australia, and of course its home market of South Korea. Hyundai is planning to launch Genesis in other Asian markets as well as Europe within the next couple of years, but might just be waiting until they have a full lineup of models (read: SUVs) to do so. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The Genesis’ grille is big, bold and attractive, while the rest of the G90 is well proportioned. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

It could be said Hyundai jumped the gun by introducing this sedan-only brand without having at least one SUV in its lineup, but Genesis Sedan (the G80’s predecessor) sales were relatively strong when it made the decision in 2015 and the rest is history. All I can say is, if Genesis’ upcoming SUVs are as impressive as its three sedans (they introduced the smaller C-Class/3 Series fighting G70 last year), and better than the fabulous new Hyundai Palisade that just arrived for 2020, we’re in for a real treat. 

As I write this review the totally redesigned 2020 Genesis G90 is being advertised, sporting a completely new version of its “diamond” grille that comes complete with a unique downward pointing lower section and “G-MATRIX” crosshatch patterned insert in place of the current 2019 model’s seven horizontal ribs. It gets LED “Quad Lamp” headlights, Bentley-esque front fender grillettes, massive mesh-pattern wheels, and three ultra-distinctive horizontal LED taillights, the lower element spanning the entire width of the car, while the interior is more up-to-date from a design and digital standpoint, plus even more luxurious than this outgoing model. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Full LED headlamps come standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As good as the new model looks (and that will be up to your personal preferences of course), I still find this 2019 G90 very attractive. Its extremely low sales volumes have helped keep it fresh, familiarity even causing great designs to seem commonplace and therefore lose their exclusivity. The current G90’s approach to design is more discreet than the new model and much more conservative than, say, the Lexus LS’ spindle grille design, the G90 working well for those of us who’d rather fly under the radar than attract unneeded attention. Audi’s A8 once had this appeal too, but the horseshoe grille has grown to encompass most of its frontal fascia, and while still attractive it’s a more intimidating beast than it used to be. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
These LED fog lamps look fabulous. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Like most new brands Genesis is still forming its identity, evidenced by the just-noted lower point on the new 2020 model’s diamond-shaped grille, with this search for a trademark look made even more critical after factoring in that the brand’s general design language started off wearing Hyundai badging. To be fair, Lexus took decades before choosing its spindle grille and sharp origami-angled body sculpting, as did Infiniti and Acura with their more recently distinctive grille treatments, the latter of which is the oldest upstart luxury marque of all, yet the its dramatic new grille was just adopted a couple of years ago. This said it’s important to find a memorable look and stick with it, Lincoln a prime example of the never-ending identity quest often gone wrong (hopefully they’ll stick with their latest design as it’s quite nice). 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Standard 19-inch alloys wear 245/45 front and 275/40 rear rubber. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As for this G90, the grille has been criticized for its obvious Audi influence (the Hyundai-Kia design head is ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer after all), while there’s a little bit of 7 Series in the sweeping line over the front fender and along the sculpted rocker panel, plus the thick chrome strip down the side and around the back, but the taillights are pure Genesis, and hardly original winged badge uncomfortably Bentley-esque. The build quality is good though, with nice tight panel gaps and excellent paintwork. 

As for the interior, the design is attractive and detailing exquisite. From the microfibre roofliner and pillars to the French-stitched padded leather across the dash top and door uppers front to back, plus the planks of glossy hardwood all around, it fully measures up to its German peers. I shouldn’t stop there of course, as the aluminum trim is brilliant, especially the Lexicon-badged speaker grilles and aluminized buttons across the centre stack, while all of the switchgear is superbly crafted with ideal fitment and damping; it’s easily in the league of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The LED taillights have some nice detailing inside. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

In fact, the analogue clock at dash central is one of the best I’ve seen, with a beautiful white guilloche dial, Arabic numerals at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions, and chromed indices marking the hours between. The perforated seat leather is incredibly supple and soft, and the seats themselves are superb, with myriad adjustments to fit most any body type. What’s more, you’ll be hard pressed to find any hard plastic in this sedan, the only corners cut being the shell surrounding the steering column and the very lowest sides of the center console, but even these surfaces are made from dense composite and then soft painted for a high-quality feel. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
If you appreciate maximum luxury and fine attention to detail you’ll like the G90’s interior. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I’m not going to try and say this G90 is better than its competitors, because everything in this class is mind-blowingly good. Really, you could put a fully loaded 7 Series up against a Bentley Flying Spur or even a Rolls-Royce Ghost and you probably wouldn’t notice much lacking if anything, and while I wouldn’t go so far with respect to this particular G90, its front and rear quarters are still very impressive. 

In fact, the backsides of the front seats are so beautifully finished I might be inclined to claim industry-best, especially the wood that wraps around their upper edges. The backside of the front centre console is nothing special, however, with typical HVAC vents finished well, but that’s because the folding centre armrest is a smorgasbord of tech, not to mention beautifully finished leathers, woods and metals. It includes controls for the auto HVAC system’s third zone, as well as three-way heatable outboard seats, plus controls for the powered side and rear sunshades, while you can also extend right-side legroom by powering the front passenger seat forward and tipping the seatback as well. Full infotainment controls are also included, allowing rear passengers to have total control of the aforementioned Lexicon audio experience, which incidentally is amazing. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Great interior design and high-quality materials make for an upscale ambiance. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Back in the driver’s seat, the primary gauge package isn’t fully configurable, but it does have a nice big colour multi-information display at centre, filled with the usual assortment of features. The infotainment system just to the right is more advanced, with simple yet attractive graphics, an especially clear backup camera with good realistic colour and contrast, this featuring dynamic guidelines albeit no overhead view, while the navigation system’s route guidance worked very well and offered excellent mapping detail. Those wanting more advanced tech, including a fully digital gauge cluster and higher resolution infotainment display, will want to pay a bit more for the 2020 G90, but others may choose to take advantage of year-end and model-ending 2019 G90 savings that should be quite attractive. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Not fully digital, but still an attractive well laid-out gauge cluster with a comprehensive multi-info display. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As it is, this V6 turbo-powered 2019 G90 3.3T AWD starts at $84,000 plus freight and fees, while the V8-powered G90 5.0 AWD is available for $87,000, with its only upgrade being a $2,500 rear entertainment package. The much-improved 2020 model will be fully equipped for $89,750, just $250 more than the outgoing V8 model, and that more potent engine is now standard. You can still get the turbo-V6 for a $3k discount, but take note that it’s a special order model. All pricing, including trims and packages, can be found at CarCostCanada, where you can also source rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The centre stack is well organized and filled with features. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The G90 tested here was in base 3.3T AWD trim, which means that its standard feature set included a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged direct-injection V6 making 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, an eight-speed shift-by-wire automatic transmission with manual mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, HTRAC torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/45 front and 275/40 rear all-seasons tires, an adaptive suspension system, full LED headlamps with adaptive cornering and auto high beams, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist and lane keeping assist, plus the multi-view parking camera with dynamic guidelines noted earlier, a 12.3-inch centre display with passable 720p resolution and the accurate navigation mentioned a moment ago, the wonderful Nappa leather upholstery and microfibre suede headliner also noted before, the aforementioned 17-speaker Lexicon AM/FM/XM/MP3 audio system with Quantum Logic surround sound and Clari-Fi, plus much more. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The graphics are good, but 720p is hardly state-of-the-art anymore. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Those willing to spend a very reasonable $3,000 to upgrade to the 5.0 AWD will not only get a 420 horsepower direct-injection V8 with 383 lb-ft of torque, but also be able to pamper their rear passengers to a much higher degree (or themselves if they hire a driver) thanks to a 14-way power-adjustable right rear seat and 12-way powered left rear seat including powered head restraints with manual tilt, plus memory and cooling ventilation for those outboard rear seats, and rear illuminated vanity mirrors overhead. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Nice clock, right? It features a white guilloche dial, Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9, and chromed hour indices. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I’ve driven various Hyundai and Kia models with the 5.0-litre Tau V8 and found it as ideal for blasting away from stoplights as it was for highway passing and just plain cruising down the freeway, the engine nicely matching up to the smooth yet quick-shifting eight-speed automatic, and Hyundai’s HTRAC AWD superb through wet conditions and even adding performance in the dry. I can only imagine it would perform as well in this G90 as it did with the most recent 2017 Genesis G80 5.0 AWD Ultimate I tested a couple of years ago, but this said there’s a lot to like about Genesis’ smaller, more fuel-friendly 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The electronically controlled 8-speed automatic is smooth yet quick-shifting. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Their claimed Transport Canada fuel economy ratings are notable, with the V6 achieving an estimated 13.7 L/100km in the city, 9.7 on the highway and 11.9 combined, and the V8 good for a potential 15.2 city, 10.2 highway and 13.0 combined, a difference that would certainly be noticeable to the pocketbook, while the V6’s performance is more than capable of whisking the big sedan and its occupants away in short order, not with quite as sensational an exhaust note, but nevertheless entertaining in its own way. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
These are wholly comfortable, fully adjustable seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The V6 also has less weight over the front wheels, allowing for greater agility through the corners, and was particularly enjoyable with Sport mode engaged. It just hunkers down and flings itself through fast-paced curves with hardly a squeak from the tires, portraying the kind of poise expected of a big German luxury sedan. Truly, this is one impressive driving car, with handling that borders on the mighty 7 Series. The adaptive suspension no doubt plays a part in its overall stability while keeping ride quality serene, the quiet cabin equaling the nicely sorted chassis in delivering the type of pampering experience luxury car aficionados appreciate. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
The rear seating area is at least as comfortable as the front, and almost as fully featured. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

With performance as good as this, one might think I’d keep it in Sport mode all the time, but Eco mode helped reduce consumption and minimized emissions, while an even more intelligent Smart mode chooses optimal responsiveness depending on the mood of the driver. Either way Genesis has all its bases covered, resulting in a very well rounded, highly refined luxury sedan that honestly deserves to be moved up to sports sedan status. 

2019 Genesis G90 3.3T
Rear occupants can control the climate, audio system, and more. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Still, sink your toes into the deep pile carpet floor mats and you’ll once again be reminded of the G90’s luxury sedan purpose, its trunk large amply sized for a couple of golf bags and easy to access thanks to powered actuation and an easy lift-over height, not to mention highly convenient due to a centre pass-through for longer items like skis, but the G90’s first priority is comfort, not utility. 

Those wanting a serious sport-luxury sedan that won’t cause the taxman to question how you achieved your good fortune should consider the G90, and now is a great time to get the best deal possible on remaining stock.