Plenty of power, luxury and safety in Hyundai's Genesis

 21 Dec 2016 - 10:25

Plenty of power, luxury and safety in Hyundai's Genesis
Genesis handout photo.

Warren Brown | The Washington Post

It is a heavy car relying on massive horsepower and muscle-bound torque to get up and go, which it does smoothly with seeming effortlessness. Still, the attention required to flawlessly handle its sizable girth and its weight of nearly 5,000 pounds can be wearying on a long drive.

It stretches 16 feet, 4.5 inches and is wide enough - a tad more than six feet - to demand adequate turning space and precise lane-keeping to maintain safe operating distance from neighboring traffic.

Yet, there is much that is gentle and comfortable about the 2017 Genesis 80 5.0, the subject of this week's review, a car introduced as the Hyundai Genesis in 2009 by its parent company, South Korea's Hyundai Motor.

Genesis cars now stand under their own nameplate, which also covers the Genesis 90, formerly sold as the Hyundai Equus.

Both cars retain their identities as strong luxury automobiles that have as much quality and innovation as, and often better value than, Asian and European rivals Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

Hyundai/Genesis is using innovation in advanced electronic safety to retain its luxury position at an attractive price.

Consider heads-up display, or technology used to present vital operating information on the car's windshield. The Genesis 80 5.0, which has a bigger engine than its more-economical companion, the Genesis 80 3.6, uses the heads-up display to notify the driver of blind-side traffic in opposing lanes and to warn the driver of inadvertent lane departures.

Some motorists complain that this is electronic nanny nagging, taking control of the car away from the driver. I disagree. I find it helpful, especially on long runs in heavy, tiring traffic.

Quietly placing the lane-departure notes up front on the windshield is a lot less bothersome than noisy beeps every time a car's wheel comes too close to a lane's line, which may or may not have been properly drawn, or might be a past lane marker lingering after a road remodel.

Also likable is the Genesis 80 5.0's forward-collision warning system, which works perfectly in traffic jams, saving you from crashing into vehicles that stop suddenly in front of you. I've repeatedly heard the argument: If you are a great driver, you don't need all of that electronic safety stuff. I'm not such a great driver. Apparently, neither is much of the rest of motoring America. Evidence: According to research by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry organization affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, forward-collision technology saves lives and prevents injuries.

Forward-collision mitigation with auto-braking technology, introduced five years ago, has reduced rear-end crashes in this country by 32 percent, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.

I like the Genesis 80 5.0 - equipped with a 5.0-liter gasoline V-8 (420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. I just wish there was some way, probably through substituting lighter materials, it could lose weight.

Nuts & Bolts

2017 Genesis 80 5.0

Bottom line: This one gets a strong "buy" for people looking for luxury at a reasonable price. Construction is excellent. Safety is supreme.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and acceleration are excellent. Handling is compromised by weight.

Head-turning quotient: Everyone is stealing from everyone. The Genesis 80 5.0 has the front-end persona of an Aston-Martin.

Body style/layout: The Genesis is a full-size luxury sedan manufactured by Hyundai and sold under the Genesis nameplate as the 80 5.0 or 3.6 along with the larger, even more luxurious Genesis 90. The standard drivetrain is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available.

Engine/transmission: This one comes standard with a 3.8-liter gasoline-powered, 24-valve V-6 with variable valve timing (311 horsepower, 293 pound-feet of torque). The optional Genesis 80 5.0 used for this column has a gasoline 5.0 liter V-8, with 32 valves and variable valve timing (420 horsepower, 383 pound-feet of torque). Both engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.

Capacities: Seating is for five people. Maximum cargo capacity is 15.3 cubic feet. Gasoline capacity is 20.3 gallons. Regular grade is okay.

Mileage: Not impressive. I averaged 20 miles per gallon city-highway with the Genesis 80 5.0. I could have done 3 miles per gallon better with the 80 3.6.

Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; pre- and post-collision safety systems; blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems; traction and stability control; side and head air bags. Other advanced electronic safety items are available as options. Get them. Compare costs with medical or burial charges.

Pricing: The 2017 Genesis 5.0 with rear-wheel drive starts at $54,550 with a dealer's invoice price of $51,037. Price as tested is $59,605, including an estimated $3,000 in options (advanced electronic safety items) and a $950 factory-to-dealer transportation charge. Estimated dealer's price as tested is $56,000.