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Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy/ The Genesis G80 is the brand flagship sedan.

I catch myself admiring Genesis automobiles but immediately wondering: What exactly is that?

Maybe it's the fact that a Genesis badge looks a little like a Chrysler crest, or that the exterior sheet metal styling is somewhat derivative of other brands.

Either way, I generally like what I see from the Korea-based company, including this week's tester, a mid-size G80 sedan.

Ever since Genesis gained its branding independence from Hyundai a couple of years ago, it has tried to make its mark with luxury sedans that deliver more for less. Less, in the case of the G80, than the BMW 5-series, the Audi A6 and other, more- expensive luxury cars.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy



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Starting at just $43,045 for a base version, the G80 has an abundance of trim levels. Our tester is a mid-trim Sport model with a potent 3.3-liter, turbocharged V6 engine that makes 365 horsepower.

some text Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy/ The two-tone leather seat coverings lend visual interest to the interior.

Commuting to work on the first sub-freezing day of the year, the G80 was a frisky companion. When a Honda Accord lingered in our blind-spot on Highway 27, the Genesis took off like a race horse. (I may or may not have applied the whip.)

G80s are available locally at Genesis of Chattanooga at 6035 International Drive. Late this week the dealership had two 2019 G80s in digital inventory.

 

WHAT IS IT?

The G80 3.3T Sport is a turbocharged bandit, tuned for speed. Car & Driver clocked the G80 3.3T Sport at 4.9 seconds in the zero-to-MPH dash, which is a brisk pace for a broad-shouldered sedan. And this isn't even the biggest available engine. A 5.0-liter V-8 making 420 horsepower is also available.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Our tester rings up at $56,245 including a $995 freight and handling fee. A perk of purchase is a three-year, 36,000-mile complimentary maintenance plan. Fuel economy is 25 mpg highway, 17 mpg city.

some text Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy/ The twin-turbo V-6 makes 365 horsepower.

 

WHAT WE LIKED

The G80 is a handsome piece, just ask the guy who gave us the thumb's up in front of Chattanooga City Hall. We are fans of the Casablanca White exterior paint contrasted with light gray leather interior. A 9.2-inch touchscreen is the control center for a navigation feature and an excellent, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system. The 10-year, 100,000 mile power-train warranty is also a selling point.

 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Some of the interior plastic surfaces aren't quite as dreamy as the competition's. Side mirrors are a tad small and the back-up camera is foggy in low light. Driving up Roberts Mill Road on a rainy day, we wished for the $2,500 all-wheel-drive version. Our rear-wheel-drive tester experienced considerable wheel-spin on some of the sharper curves.

some text Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy/ The Genesis G80 is shown in Casablanca White.

 

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

Acceleration is impressive, although we had trouble settling into the seats on a long haul. The nine-speed transmission is quietly efficient, which is to say, perfect. The electronic suspension is absorbent and helped us swerve around a flower pot that had been blown into the road by howling, Halloween-day winds. The 19-inch tires required an air infusion on a cold morning.

 

BOTTOM LINE

With more and more luxury automakers concentrating on SUVs, it's clear that Genesis has remained focused on sedans. Generally, the G80 is just as good as the competition for thousands of dollars less.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.

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