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    Two Mature Cars with a New Image

    1-PHOTO-Philip RuthMaturity comes in different forms, and in the LGBT community in particular, we have different ideas about what being a grown-up means. Marriage and adoption seemed out of reach to many of our younger selves, so growing into middle age wasn’t marked with the same guideposts as our straight friends. Two cars I drove recently speak to these divergent paths, and they’re both from Hyundai.

    Actually, they’re both from Genesis, Hyundai’s new upscale division. Like Lexus to Toyota, Genesis improves upon Hyundai’s still-building brand equity with a fresh image start, away from the focus on affordability that got Hyundai going in the US. Both luxury sedans Genesis is selling are aimed at buyers who can spend between $41,400 and $72,200, so many will be middle-aged or above. Both the G80 and G90 have been Hyundai-branded before: the G90 was the Equus, and the G80 was known as the Hyundai Genesis

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    That kind of identity shift is what’s fun about your 40s; you realize that flexibility and fluidity can replace the drive to constantly prove one’s self. As accomplishments build, you’re freer to take the chances you couldn’t before. That’s why Hyundai is going out on this Genesis limb. Both the G80 and G90 are appealing, and each creates its own impressions.

    The G90 is bigger and more expensive; it starts at $68,100 for the rear-wheel drive version with a V6 engine, and then you can add a V8 and/or all-wheel drive. The G80 starts about $27K lower and has the same engine selection, though the G80 V8 is rear-wheel drive only. Though they share the same powertrains, both of these Genesis sedans give different driving experiences, with both reflecting various states of middle age.

    The G90 struck me as aligning with a domestic homebody. My G90 V6 tester was quiet and relaxed; it floated over bumps, and its interior was packed with padding and stitching. The G90 seemed to manifest the idea that it’s time to settle down a bit.

    The G80, particularly our V8-equipped tester, was the single counterpart to the G90’s matrimonial feel. This G80 felt fit and strong, with explosive acceleration and a brawny suspension. The steering was sharp for a large sedan. The G80 V8’s responses were viscerally satisfying, and they made my spirited drives memorable.

    Along with the new Genesis identity comes a commitment to technology, and Genesis is the first carmaker to offer connectivity to Amazon’s Alexa AI device, where you can tell your countertop silo to start your Genesis, unlock its doors, etc. It’s in the novelty stage, but this is the first OEM move to connect a car to a home portal. Commands are
    currently limited to the Alexa device directing the car, but upcoming generations will allow you to control your house’s functions from the car.

    That seems to be the best approach to middle age—embracing your identity with a fixed eye on future possibilities. That’s what Genesis is doing, and we’ll see how buyers respond.


    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant at Check out his automotive staging service at