Genesis G80: Best Sedan To Buy 2020

January 7, 2020

The commentatorati can predict the death of the sedan all it wants: With four-doors like the 2020 Genesis G80, we think it's going to be about forever before we give up on the form. 

The Genesis G80 slips in just below our $50,000 price limit, but at about $44,000, it sets a high-water mark. It's all here: expressive but tasteful looks, a sumptuous interior with space for as many as five adults, safety scores to rival the best family vehicles, and technology that's spilled over into the more expensive Genesis G90.

But we get ahead of ourselves. First, some backstory. Long ago, when Hyundai occupied the same niche with a Genesis sedan, we nearly named it our Best Car To Buy 2015, so compelling was its performance and its value. Hyundai spun off Genesis into its own brand for the 2017 model year, and the resulting G80 hasn't looked back.

With the G80, Genesis offers a trio of models. Base cars sport a 3.8-liter V-6 with 311 horsepower, coupled to an 8-speed automatic, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. At less than $45,000, this base G80's an exceptional deal, with controlled handling, a plush ride, and all the amenities that should find their way into a car that has E-Class and 5-Series sedans in its sights.

Step up to the 3.3T Sport edition, and twin turbos boost output to 365 hp. Genesis also fits adaptive dampers to this version, and its more engaging feel commands a higher price of about $56,000. At the Ultimate end of the lineup, a 420-hp V-8 plugs into the drivetrain with a raspy V-8 soundtrack and a price tag that edges toward $60,000.

We're not convinced either of these add to the Genesis experience, which centers around a sublime cabin and a royal service program. The G80 brandishes a big shield-shaped grille and sinuous curves outside, and fits its cockpit with big digital displays and luxuriant touches such as 16-way power front seats, nappa leather, 17 speakers' worth of Lexicon audio, a head-up display, and wide touchscreens in the gauge cluster and on the dash. Whether it's a single commuter behind the wheel, or a quintet angling for parking because Uber is problematic, the G80 shines with the over-engineered, semi-generic confidence of the first-generation Lexus LS 400. 

Fuel economy's not great, but crash-test scores have been uniformly excellent. Genesis provides a sterling 5-year/60,000-mile warranty that runs to 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain—and it valets the car for service. Click on an app and Genesis provides a loaner when it comes to get the G80 for service, then swaps again when the car's ready. It's brilliant high-touch, low-maintenance ownership that provides real luxury when the cost we all want to recoup is time.

Genesis doesn't have many dealers, but it has our top-scoring sedan for less than $50,000. And it has traditional luxury brands watching.

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