Base Camp: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T AWD
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It isn’t easy to introduce a new car, let alone an entire brand. Yet, that’s what Genesis has done – to a notable measure of success, we might add. Not only did they recently capture Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year honours, but the brand has also outsold the likes of Jaguar through the first quarter of 2021.
This G80 is the brand’s executive sedan, based on a rear-wheel drive platform and refurbished unto the zenith of plushness this year. In Canada, the entry-level model is called the 2.5T AWD, a car whose name gives away its powertrain secrets. Under the hood is a 2.5L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine making 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. In this country, it is solely paired with an all-wheel drive system. It is priced at an even $66,000.
Not exactly chump change, then. But this is its entry-level model, making it appropriate for our series. Genesis has shown it isn’t afraid to use an expressive design language, and the G80 is no different. That enormous grille is called a crest, in Genesis-speak, and is bookended by a set of what the company calls Quad Lamps. It’s a striking look, with the double-decker light treatment popping up on both the side and rear of the car as well. Genesis doesn’t spare the paintwork, offering a couple of blues plus a red in addition to the standard palette of greyscale colours.
Speaking of colours, there are several interior options ranging from the typical dour black to a Havana Brown and the Forest Blue shown here. It is a delight to be offered real colour choice for the cabin of one’s luxury car; many brands do not, even at this price point. Those quilted seats are heated in the front and outboard rear positions (ventilated up front), permitting all hands to get comfortable underneath the panoramic sunroof.
An enormous 14.5-inch touchscreen navigation system is well integrated into the dashboard and paired with a 21-speaker Lexicon premium audio system plus all the smartphone and wireless charging integration you’d expect at this price. The 2.5T does not receive the brand’s snazzy 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, however; that’s reserved for the 3.5T which costs an extra ten grand.
What We’d Choose
It’s worth noting these Genesis models also come with five years’ worth of scheduled maintenance coverage and, when it is time for that maintenance, a Genesis representative will appear in your driveway to whisk your car to the nearest dealer while leaving a courtesy vehicle for you. That’s a huge deal for many customers since there should be no surprise costs above and beyond the agreed upon sales price.
Which leaves just one question: do you select the 2.5T or the more expensive 3.5T with its twin-turbo V6 and extra tech? The five-figure difference in cost is not insignificant, adding a couple hundred dollars per month to a typical loan payment. However, at this deep end of the pool, the conversation changes from nickels and dimes to features and options. The additional power and technology – not to mention an active suspension that smooths out the ride by actually reading the road ahead and preparing itself for a bump – seems worth the cash, making this one of the few times our Base Camp series will recommend the more expensive choice.