Lucid Air Pure vs Genesis Electrified G80: Daring to be Different

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

You don’t want to just be a little different.

You’ve done well for yourself. You want a mid-sized luxury sedan to tell the world; not a full-size one because that’s extravagant and has an air of being driven. You also want electric, because what’s smoother than near-silence? Sure, the Germans offer options, but that’s the expected play.

Neither the Lucid Air nor Genesis Electrified G80 is what you’d call expected. Both are their respective makers’ first all-electric models. Both offer swanky interiors, grown-up dynamics, and the sort of monied look that doesn’t scream about it. As part of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) annual EcoRun, I spent back-to-back time threading these impressive EVs along the roads outside Montreal.

Exterior Style

The Lucid is all width, and yet it's also the most aerodynamic car currently on sale. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Lucid Air: Lucid burst out the gate with its own distinct design language right from the get-go. It’s clear aerodynamics play a big role here—at just 0.197, the Air has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car—but it’s not like the Air has taken the Stuttgartian jellybean approach. No, the Air is long, low, and wide, with a simple, vertically-mirrored front-end design looking like a reflection on a clear lake. There is subtle sculpting to the sides, and a graceful arc of a greenhouse that gives two distinct volumes when viewed in profile. Is everyone doing full-width taillights? They sure are, but no other sedan is doing a full-width trunk. It’s a bit baleen whale on first encounter, but boy is it practical. This being a Pure, the Air has reasonably sized, 19-inch rolling stock, a clear aero design maximizing range.

Seeing it hove into view in the mirror, the Air has massive presence.

Only keen onlookers will tell this apart from an ICE G80. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Genesis Electrified G80: The G80 is on the verge of a (light) refresh, yet it still looks like a million bucks. Back when the E-G80 won the AJAC Electric Car of the Year award, folks regularly came up to the booth wondering if it might be a Bentley. I get that, but as the brand posts sales record after sales record, more people will be familiar with it. Like Lucid, Genesis has firmly landed on a distinct design language, different not only from the brand it spun off from not even a decade ago, but also the German and Japanese competition.

The major difference here? The Electrified G80 isn’t a clean-sheet EV design. It’s the same goodness as the gas model, with only unique wheels, a filled-in grille, and the complete lack of exhaust tips being the tells.

Interior Style and Quality

Smart textures and sustainable materials give the Air cabin a West Coast vibe. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Air: Pull on the Air’s fold-out handle and drop into a lounge-like space. Even here in humble Pure trim, the Air’s interior is… well, airy, even without the wow-factor glass roof found on higher trims. The carved-out door panels give the Air a serious sense of width. Material choices give a distinctly West Coast vibe: open-pore wood and brushed metal abound. The knit covering much of the interior is a combination of recycled material and alpaca wool, the latter chosen for its reduced environmental footprint versus sheep’s wool. The seats are faux leather, but unless you told someone, they wouldn’t know.

I appreciate the clever design touches, such as the elegant door pulls or the semi-floating toggles on the steering wheel. My only real criticisms is the low-quality feel of that massive plastic storage cubby right in the center console.

Neither of these vehicles has an abundance of rear headroom, but the Lucid offers more legroom for those in the back.

The G80's cabin is busier, but every inch feels special. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Electrified G80: Both of these sedans go for a monochrome interior colorway which, in the case of the Genesis anyway, is something of a surprise. It lets the design speak for itself, however: even on the verge of a mid-cycle facelift, the G80’s cabin remains one of my favorites in the mid-sized space. The gentle rise of the door-side armrests up and around the dashboard is elegant, not to mention ergonomic for the controls. Materials look and feel special, with bonus points for those intricate speaker covers and the knurled toppers on the stalks. Both center console rotary dials are satisfying to use. Genesis doesn’t bother with leather-like seats, instead leaning the other way with supple Nappa thrones. What they lack in ultimate support over the Lucid, they make up for with excellent comfort and ventilated front seats—a boon on an unseasonably hot week in Quebec.

Giving the G80 an electroplasty has resulted in a higher floor. That’s not too much of an issue up front—Genesis has wisely kept a metal roof here—but it does cause the second row to feel slightly cramped.

Powertrain, Driving Feel, and Fuel Economy

With 430 horsepower, the Lucid is the quicker of this pair. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Air: Depending on perspective, the Air Pure’s 430-horsepower, single-motor setup is either impressive (that’s the starting point?) or not (a Tesla Model S now starts at 670 hp, the Air Sapphire whips out 1,234 hp). Fans of classic mid-level luxury sedans will find the Pure plenty powerful however, and it delivers that power with smoothness and grace. Pop the car into its sportier drive mode and it gets eager, but still stops shy of over-sensitive.

Despite its prodigious width, the Air feels agile, with that keen front-to-rear balance that comes from having only a single driven axle. Don’t call it “entry level;” this is the driver’s pick of the pair, no question. Turn-in is positive while the grip stays consistent through even high-speed corners. The Air will happily ease back into comfort should its driver desire too, calmly sailing over the knarled backroads criss-crossing Quebec’s Eastern Townships without setting a tire wrong. There’s little outside noise making its way into the cabin, either.

Efficiency is a Lucid marvel. Officially the 20-inch alloys knock 25 miles (40 kilometers) off the range, but it still totals 394 mi (634 km). On EcoRun, rather unsurprisingly, the in-car estimates suggest even further. You’ll need a break before the car does, and should you take one, it can add up to 200 miles (321 km) in 17 minutes in ideal situations.

The Electrified G80 prioritizes comfort and calm. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Electrified G80: Arriving as the first electrified model from Genesis, the E-G80 uses a unique 87.2-kilowatt hour battery pack and a pair of 136-kW motors, one at each axle. Horsepower is a V6-rivalling 365 hp, while torque is a stout 516 pound-feet; a full 110 lb-ft more than the Air offers.

With all-paw grip and that serious torque figure, the E-G80 is a bona fide grand tourer. It lacks the eager surge you’ll find in the Air, but it counters with one of the most laidback, comfortable approaches to progress you’ll find this side of $200,000. Handling is predictable and appropriate: where the Lucid can shrink around its driver, the G80 always feels exactly its size. You can hustle it if you must, and it will oblige within reason, but there’s always a little voice telling you just how unbecoming it all is.

Every time I’ve driven an Electrified G80, it’s posted efficiency numbers well beyond the official quotes. The EPA says 282 mi (NRCAN: 454 km), yet the E-G80’s figures suggest an easy 320 mi (515 km). Still some way shy of the Lucid’s camel-like approach, but impressive nonetheless. Should you plug it into a 350-kW fast charger, it can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in 22 minutes.

Tech and Safety

...and that's just the frunk! Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Air: Lucid has pushed out dozens of over-the-air tech updates since the Air launched a few years ago, and it shows. The main touchscreen is now quite responsive, and after a little time to get accustomed, is easy enough to navigate, too. It’s still an excellent party trick to have it fold up and out of view. The top screen is great for quick-access use, though I’m still not sold on the touchscreen selection to the left of the steering wheel for things like lights and such. A few physical buttons wouldn’t hurt. Big props to Lucid for ditching the EV startup script and actually adopting (wireless) Apple CarPlay, too. You’re doing better than Chevy, folks.

I was thankfully never in need of the Lucid’s safety assists during my short drive. The lineup includes your typical helpers, though a blind-spot display along with 360-degree camera are cost extras. Adaptive cruise control worked flawlessly, I will say.

G80's tech suite is vast, but beginning to feel its age. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Electrified G80: If there’s an area where the E-G80 is starting to feel its age, it’s the tech suite. It’s not that it’s bad, it just lacks the wow factor found in much of the rest of the luxury segment. The main screen is set far away, so you’ll want to use the center console dial. While it’s easy to flit between the tiles on the main menu, the dial comes up short once in sub-menus. Trying to use the native navigation? Forget about it. It’s surprising to see both wired phone mirroring and USB-A slots in a six-figure (Canadian) luxury model.

The Genesis has an excellent audio system as standard, both powerful and crisp. It includes all the expected safety systems, and even a few additional ones, like the useful blind spot view monitor and a navigation-based adaptive cruise control.

Value, Dollars, and Sense

Air: The Air Pure now lists for $71,400 ($96,500 CAD) including destination. This tester has a few additionals on top of that, bringing the tally to $81,400 ($110,300 CAD). I’d argue against the Stealth package if only for a little bit of understated glitz, and I wish there were a way to get ventilated front seats without the spendy 20-way power adjustable and massaging thrones. Beyond that however, the Lucid is if not affordable than a relative bargain given its unique personality. Head on over to BMW with this amount of cash and you’re stuck somewhere between an i5 xDrive40 and M60; an i7 is 25-percent richer.

Electrified G80: Were you expecting the G80 to be the value play? So were we. It still is, though only very slightly in America, where this Can-spec tester would ring in at $81,025 including destination. Up here in Quebec it’s got a couple grand advantage on the Lucid ($105,000 CAD). While America gets a lower trim, it’s just this top one here in Canada.

Verdict: Lucid Air Pure vs Genesis Electrified G80

You can have any color, so long as it's silver... Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

What is so impressive about these two all-electric sedans is how they don't even try to do the whole German luxury act. The EV movement has allowed brands to rethink what luxury is, and the results here are two satisfyingly modern takes.

The reigning Canadian Electric Car of the Year is a very good one. Genesis has taken its satisfying mid-sizer and made it better with the switch to electrons. The Electrified G80 is pampering, feels truly special inside and out, and makes the miles melt away. Its biggest issue is that big price tag.

For me, the Lucid is a fascinating car. It lacks the flash and features of the loaded Genesis, but is blessed with a chassis that brings the sport sedan experiences of the late '90s bang up to date. The cabin feels swanky in that new-luxury, Succession way, not shouting about wealth.

If my daily commute involved mostly highways, I would be very tempted by the Genesis. But if there's fun to be had, I'd like a Pure experience, please.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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