Genesis G80 and Toyota Corolla iM
GENESIS G80 | Starting Price: $41,000
Genesis is the relatively new luxury car brand from Hyundai. The new G80 is one of the first models to be offered. So now Hyundai/Genesis is similar to Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura.
The 2017 Genesis G80 “mid-luxury” sedan delivers an amazing combination of refined performance, human-focused technology and segment-leading safety features. The G80 offers a suite of industry- leading safety equipment. These include Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Detection just to name a few.
The Genesis G80 has a truly modern design with distinctive exterior styling and a sleek, upscale appearance. The vehicle is skillfully shaped to have presence and gravitas even at rest. Compared with other vehicles in its class — BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E Class, Lexus GS, Cadillac CTS — it’s noticeably larger inside. It’s elegant and dignified with a level of fit and finish expected in a upscale sedan. The interior appears inviting and then is satisfying upon entry. It’s solid, uncluttered, elegant and oh so comfortable.
But the G80 is more than just a show pony. It drives as good as it looks and the sensory experience conveyed to the passengers makes the car memorable. The seating, the look, the feel, plus the quality materials used, all leave a positive impression on driver and passengers alike.
The G80 is a very solid-feeling, rigid vehicle. Its rear wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout gives it a traditional performance sedan feel. It manages to provide both a supple, quiet ride and when the occasion presents itself, it can hustle down the roads and around the corners better than most vehicles. Driving in a spirited manner in the G80 is not a white-knuckle experience. It’s very satisfying and fun to drive.
The standard engine is a very healthy 3.8 liter V6 with 311 horsepower and the optional 5.0 liter V8 delivers an impressive 420. Both are connected to a very modern 8-speed automatic transmission and the V6 model offers an all-wheel-drive option. Though Prius-like fuel economy is not promised, the highway estimated 28 mpg is very respectable in a vehicle of this heft and largesse.
This class of sedan has a high enough level of refinement that there are no glaring flaws or annoyances. It’s quiet and the NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) has been designed out of it. It handles well, it’s solid, it’s comfortable, it’s safe, it has upscale accoutrement, good power and great infotainment systems. Yet it’s not encumbered with a plethora of “luxury” items that are numbingly expensive and often go unused (massaging rear seats, etc.). The G80 runs in the $41,000 to $55,000 range…a relative bargain. The full luxury big brother Genesis G90 starts at $68,000, and for comparison the Mercedes S Class is in the $96,000 to $225,000 range. The law of diminishing returns definitely applies to luxury sedans. If you’re considering this class of vehicle, the G80 is certainly worth your consideration.
Toyota Corolla iM | Starting price: $19,500
Once an auto manufacturer has pumped astronomical sums of money into developing a new or updated product, it makes perfect economic sense to develop all possible derivatives of that model.
The Toyota Corolla historically has been and continues to be one of the best compact car designs, ever! The most recent iteration of the Corolla follows that same heritage and adds to it. In addition to the 4-door sedan, Toyota now offers a 5-door hatchback version of the Corolla named the iM. The iM has the same basic exterior dimensions and footprint of the Corolla sedan, but reshaping the roofline and replacing the trunk with a hatchback cargo area provides additional utility.
The Corolla sedan in and of itself is an outstanding compact car. Considering its size, it’s roomy, comfortable, reliable and attractively priced. So all the Corolla goodness and precision is transferred to the new iM. Toyota has, however, produced the iM to be the flashy, sporty sibling of the sedan.
There are two models of the iM. One has a 6-speed manual transmission and the other has the CVT automatic transmission. Being the extrovert of the Corolla family, the iM comes in bright colors like Spring Green Metallic and Electric Storm Blue. It has body cladding that makes it appear low slung and the chrome wheels are rather upmarket for a vehicle in this price range. The CVT model also has a “sport” mode which makes it feel livelier and more responsive. All iM’s are equipped with Toyota’s bulletproof 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine and the car is rated at 28 city and 36 highway MPG.
The handling is very good and for this size of vehicle the ride is quite composed and quiet. The steering is precise and light and the car is a joy to drive.
The iM has some noteworthy standard equipment for a modestly priced car. A complete suite of airbags is included plus a knee bag for the driver, lane departure alert, pre-collision warning system, auto high beam headlight dimming, projection beam halogen headlights, remote keyless entry, dual zone climate control and voice command. The all-important backup camera is also onboard.
The iM is basically a mono-spec car. There is only one option available — the rather extensive Audio Suite. It includes display Audio with Navigation, Aha Radio™ app with over 100,000 stations, AM/FM player, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, HD Radio™ Technology, and Gracenote® album cover art. Whew!
In all, there are lots of applications for this car. It has enough equipment to keep it interesting yet not so much to make it pricey. It’s a reliable and useful car that once purchased may stay in a family for many years.
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