The Hyundai Genesis limousine – a favourite among hire-car drivers and a popular replacement for the iconic Holden Caprice – is finally back after a two-year break.
However it now has a new name, a higher price, and is only available via a much smaller dealer network.
After numerous delays, the first showroom opened in the Sydney CBD this week. Brisbane and Melbourne are due to follow in 2020.
Each Genesis outlet will be factory owned – rather than run by independent dealers – as part of the company’s plan to switch to “non-negotiable” prices.
The previous Hyundai Genesis – as it was known – was priced from $60,000 to $82,000 plus on-road costs.
The revised Genesis G80 now costs from $68,900 to $92,900 plus on-road costs for what is essentially the same car but with a new badge, revised suspension and a new electronic gear shifter.
That said, CarAdvice understands professional hire-car drivers will still be entitled to some form of discount, but it won’t be as generous as before.
As a guide, the previous model was available to professional hire-car drivers with a discount of close to 20 per cent off the full RRP. The discount has been slashed to approximately 10 per cent off an RRP that is $8900 and $10,900 dearer than before.
By the time you crunch the numbers, it means even hire car drivers will be paying more than before if they want to get into a new Genesis G80.
There is one more catch: the G80 is nearing the end of its model life. A completely new model is due early next year.
Why did Genesis re-introduce the old model so close to the arrival of the next generation car? This G80 was meant to be on sale last year but was pushed back by a series of delays for the local launch of the brand.
When Hyundai’s limousine launched in Australia in November 2014, it was available through 33 of Hyundai’s national network of 167 dealers.
By 2016 it was scaled back to 28 Hyundai dealers due to comparatively niche demand.
The car was then withdrawn from sale in 2017 to create a gap before being reintroduced as part of the new Genesis line-up.
There are now four models in the revamped Genesis G80 line-up:
- G80 3.8 – $68,900 plus on-road costs
- G80 3.8 Sport Design – $72,900 plus on-road costs
- G80 3.8 Ultimate – $88,900 plus on-road costs
- G80 3.8 Ultimate Sport Design – $92,900 plus on-road costs
As this article was published the Genesis website showed "non-negotiable" prices for private buyers ranged from $76,500 drive-away for the cheapest model to $97,500 drive-away for the dearest model.
All variants are powered by a 3.8-litre V6 (232kW/397Nm) mechanically unchanged from the 2014 model and still paired to an eight-speed automatic with rear-wheel-drive.
As before, it runs on 91 RON regular unleaded petrol but a software recalibration has trimmed fuel consumption from the previous rating of 11.2L/100km to 10.4L/100km.
The Genesis G80’s boot capacity of 493 litres is the same as before (as is the space saver spare tyre under the boot floor). It's not as cavernous as the discontinued Holden Caprice (531 litres) but it’s larger than the other primary competitor in the hire car class, the Lexus ES300h (454 litres). “Hands-free” boot opening is standard on all models.
All Genesis G80 sedans also now come with adaptive control suspension, previously only available overseas.
Luxury variants come with 18-inch alloy wheels with Hankook Ventus tyres. Sports variants come with 19-inch alloys and low-profile Dunlop SP Sport tyres, with wider rims at the rear.
Standard safety equipment on all models includes nine airbags, autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dipping high beam, lane departure warning (though not lane-keeping assistance), individual tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera.
The infotainment system’s 9.2-inch screen with embedded navigation and 17-speaker premium audio are the same as before. However, the G80 still lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto because it is based on an older design. A wireless charging pad remains part of the package.
All models come with dual zone air-conditioning and front seats with heating and electric adjustment. Higher-grade models get cooling as well as heating, and more electric adjustment in the front seats, and heating for the outboard rear seats.
The front passenger seat on all model grades has a switch within reach of the driver that enables it to be slid forward to create more legroom for back seat passengers.
G80 Ultimate variants gain back seats that recline electronically via switches in the centre armrest, a heated steering wheel, panorama glass sunroof, powered soft-close doors, a head-up display, suede rooflining, rear window blinds, and a credit card style sensor key (rather than a regular sensor key on lesser models).
The Sport Design package includes interior and exterior styling changes, including “black chrome” and charcoal 19-inch alloy wheels.
As with the Genesis G70 sports sedan, the G80 limousine comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty for private buyers.
Cars bought by fleet customers and hire car drivers will be covered by a five-year/130,000km warranty. Many hire car operators have covered more than 200,000km in their earlier Hyundai Genesis limousines sold since November 2014.
However, private buyers and business operators will both receive free servicing for the first five years/75,000km – whichever comes first – based on the G80's service intervals of 12 months/15,000km (longer intervals than the turbocharged G70 range which is 12 months/10,000km).
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling