By Mike Torpey on 2022-04-02 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Genesis G80 2.2D
THE Genesis G80 saloon is an executive model with a big fight on its hands.
It's a real eye-catcher of a car - well made, supremely equipped, distinguished and comes with a keen starting price point.
Premium it most certainly is, but the problem is not the G80 itself - rather its closest rivals, because their names are ones we all know so well, like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Lexus and Audi.
And when you're a relatively new brand, in this case an offshoot of Hyundai, the prestige party in an awfully challenging one to gatecrash.
That said, Genesis has completed a terrific job with the G80. For starters, one glance at the stylish saloon and a double take is guaranteed, the combination of gaping criss-cross grille, split head and tail-lights, low-slung profile and winged Genesis bonnet badge ensuring positive comments wherever the car is parked.
Nor is there any let-up on the styling inside, where the quality of materials is every bit as upmarket as anything you'll find inside the premium German models.
In our Luxury Line grade, the higher of the two trim levels, that means gently sculpted perforated leather seats, contrasting suede-effect headliner, a chunky leather steering wheel and minimalist leather-covered dash area with wood inlays.
Star of the cabin though is the slender infotainment set-up with its 14.5-inch touchscreen that's simple to use and can also be operated via a rotary dial.
Its graphics, sat nav and camera are sharp and current weather conditions are always on show via the display.
Rear legroom is truly magnificent and though this car is genuinely a five-seater it is far more comfortable to just have two in the back due to the wide transmission tunnel.
As for more general space you could perhaps quibble about the shape of the boot - long but with a narrow opening - however it can nonetheless accommodate a reasonable 424 litres, and there's no shortage of stowage options including a deep, lined central container with movable lid.
At present the G80 comes with a choice of just two engines, a 2.5-litre petrol unit and our tested 2.2 diesel, as there is not yet an electric option.
The diesel is without doubt the more sensible of the pair with its 45.0 miles per gallon average fuel return, which we came very close to matching at 43.6mpg,
Its performance is acceptable at 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds and while we have driven quieter diesels, this one is both comfortable and relaxing to drive or be carried in and the eight-speed auto transmission is very smooth.
With a wealth of tech - like a head-up display, powered and heated seats, adaptive cruise control, keyless-go, parking sensors, 19-inch alloy wheels and blind spot alert to name a few - there's no real need to pitch above the entry level Premium Line model.
But it is possible to push the boat out even beyond the higher grade Luxury Line. In fact our model included extra cost options like the Innovation Pack at £3,900, Comfort Seat Pack (£1,680) and Executive Pack (£3,920) plus Lexicon audio (£790) and Nappa leather seats (£2,350) and Uyuni White exterior paint (£750), taking the price to a hefty £55,650.
What's certain is that Genesis as a brand is looking to the future with both optimism and innovation.
Genesis G80 2.2D Luxury Line automatic
Mechanical:206bhp, 2,199cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine driving rear wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
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