I couldn’t stop staring at it.
No, seriously. The new 14.5-inch display on the 2021 Genesis G80 is a wonder to behold. It stretches on forever it seems, like a panorama view on top of a penthouse suite.
When you first use it there’s a row of icons for controlling your music, the navigation, and the all-important “activate Apple CarPlay” option I look for in every recent vehicle I’m testing. Because of the extra space, there’s even room on the side of the 14.5-inch screen to show you the navigation from the Genesis itself or some other side display.
Modern cars have ceded at least some of their technology to Apple in recent years, something that I’ve welcomed because it’s a bit like having a powerful phone that can run any app and looks and functions the same on every car. It frees up the automaker to focus on safety technologies and fuel economy. Apple CarPlay has allowed apps like Zoom and even Microsoft Teams to work through the center console display (with both, it is audio only).
On a long drive, I used the expansive display to swipe and adjust settings, punching up podcasts, and finding my destination easier. I remember testing an Audi A4 once that had a massive display (and even one above the steering wheel) and being able to see exact road markings (say, that a road connects up to a highway on my route) and points-of-interest easier, but the Genesis is even bigger, clearer, and more helpful when it comes to finding your way.
I always like to imagine where this could lead. The Genesis is a step in the right direction providing more information to drivers and dealing with issues like distractions. That’s because, when the display is easy to see, it only takes a quick glance to pick a setting. Of course, in the future, it will mean being able to do conference calls with coworkers on a business trip when the car takes over the driving duties and even playing a video game from the front seats.
There’s also something unusual about the G80 in that all of the displays could be used for those features in the future if CarPlay starts to support them. Maybe it would be through a software update or some other future enhancement, but my thought is that Zoom might work for video chats sooner than any of us expect. And, Genesis could enable that with support from Apple if the car is stopped and parked. I’d use that feature, especially since the audio would play through an amazing sound system, and frankly, there might not be anything else to do. If I’m waiting for one of my kids to finish shopping at the mall, I’d jump on a Zoom call in a minute. This is likely not possible (because the car would need to use different sensors), but if future cars can drive on their own, the display in the G80 is also ready for that.
For now, I’m content being able to see the intersections easier and pick a podcast.