A relative newcomer to the luxury sedan field, the 2021 Genesis G80 goes head-to-head with the 2021 Cadillac CT5, a midsize sedan that’s priced more like a compact. Let’s see how they measure up.
2021 Genesis G80
2021 Genesis G80 starting price: $47,700
Above average: Available all-wheel drive; plenty of driver assists; unique looks; powerful twin-turbo V6; optional adaptive suspension.
Below average: No V8 or hybrid option; lacks some brand cachet; small trunk.
Consensus: A sharp-looking and distinctive midsize sedan, the 2021 Genesis G80 offers comfort, style, and luxury at a very competitive price. The base turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of power, and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 upgrade takes it to another level. The G80 comes generously equipped with plenty of standard equipment including driver-assist and safety features.
2021 Cadillac CT5
2021 Cadillac CT5 starting price: $37,990
Above average: Sharp looks; optional twin-turbo V6; choice of rear- or all-wheel drive; competitive pricing.
Below average: Weak base engine; numb steering; lacks some safety and driver assistance features.
Consensus: Priced competitively and with impressive exterior looks, the 2021 Cadillac CT5 offers a choice of engines and either rear- or all-wheel drive. The base engine’s a bit underpowered, however, and the Caddy’s driving manners leave a lot to be desired compared with its competitors.
G80 vs. CT5: K-Pop or Kid Rock
Having gone through a comprehensive redesign this year, the 2021 Genesis G80 is a striking midsize luxury sport sedan that comes well equipped at a very competitive price. The base engine is a 300-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 as an upgrade. Gone is last year’s optional V8. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option for more sure-footedness in inclement weather.
Despite its size and generous interior, the G80 handles itself well, and there’s an optional sport suspension that uses cameras to read the road surface and adjust accordingly. Inside, there are comfortable and supportive seats, plenty of space for rear passengers, and a 14.5-inch infotainment screen operated by a console-mounted dial. Navigation and Apple
CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility come standard.
Safety and driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance. Not only does the G80 start thousands of dollars below its German competitors, but it also offers a best-in-class 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Genesis still doesn’t have the brand recognition of more established competitors, and there’s no available hybrid option.
Almost in a class of its own, the 2021 Cadillac CT5 is somewhere between a compact and a midsize sedan, with a price on the lower end of the spectrum. However, what this means is that it’s benchmarked against premium sedans such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, and against those, it falls short.
Cadillac expects to swim in the premium end of the pool, but against its competition, it’s underpowered, and its performance is underwhelming, with steering that’s vague and handling that’s not nearly as tight or rewarding as nearly all of its competitors. However, there is a twin-turbo V6 that ups the power, and the CT5-V model gets even more out of that V6 as well as providing a far more sophisticated suspension, although it starts just below $50,000.
Inside the CT5 there’s comfortable space for rear passengers, but the door openings are a bit narrow, and the front seats are a bit tight. The trunk’s a little undersized, too. The base Luxury trim is decently appointed, with LED headlights and taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery. Standard safety features include forward-collision alert with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. But again, it falls short here, with such things as lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring not even available in the base model.
Rear- or all-wheel drive; optional V6 upgrade; no hybrid option; small trunk.
2021 Genesis G80 advantages
Base power; more standard safety features; sharper handling and steering; longer warranty.
2021 Cadillac CT5 advantages
Much lower starting price; brand recognition; striking looks.
In Cadillac’s heyday, luxury buyers were content with lots of space and numb steering, but times have changed, and luxury sedan buyers typically want a bit more performance and safety as well. Genesis understands this. The 2021 Genesis G80 offers sharp handling, rear-wheel drive, and a choice of potent engines to go with loads of features and tech.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.