Competition is fierce in the luxury segment as newer players such as Tesla, Lucid and Genesis attempt to upstage more-established brands. Genesis, the neophyte luxury brand from South Korea’s Hyundai Group, is fielding a fleet of impressive new vehicles such as the 2021 Genesis GV80, a well-equipped, luxury sport utility vehicle loaded with technology, performance and the capability of carrying passengers and their cargo while delivering a comfortable ride. It even makes a good impression standing still.
This brand-new midsize luxury SUV shares its architecture with G80 sedan, and is offered as the four-cylinder 2.5T or a six-cylinder 3.5T with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Each model is offered in base, Advanced and Prestige trim and starts at less than $50,000 for the 2.5T. Expect to pay a $10,000 premium for the 3.5T.
The Genesis GV80’s glistening chrome grille is very similar to the one worn by the Genesis G80 sedan, where it becomes a distraction from this vehicle’s sleek silhouette and roof line. But the same basic design fits effectively into the GV80’s form. The grille and front facia add to this SUV’s visual appeal and appearance of strength, an intrinsic part of its overall appeal. The lights at the front of the vehicle, 22-inch wheels, and clean tailgate design serve to enhance the GV80’s presence, which looks quite handsome sitting in a suburban driveway.
The creature comforts found inside a vehicle can be decisive in shaping opinions, and the Genesis GV80 certainly makes a good impression. The more you study the details, the more you’ll come away impressed. The driver’s seat is comfortable and easy to adjust. The layout of the cabin is straightforward, and the materials and craftsmanship are first rate. The diamond-quilted stitching used on the seats continues around the center console and instrument panel. Turn the rotary dial to change gears or select a function on the large touchscreen in the center stack and you’ll find the tactile feel is impressive. Then, look around. The cabin comes with plenty of spaces for storing items such as a cell phone or a cup of coffee. Rear seat space is generous. There’s even room for an optional third row. The interior lighting scheme is effective without being distracting, and an optional panoramic sunroof brightens the interior.
The Genesis GV80 test vehicle was equipped with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, an eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters, drive mode selectors, and all-wheel drive. This drivetrain produces 375-horsepower and 391 foot-pounds of torque. The GV80’s stop-start system contributes to its 20-mpg combined city/highway rating from the EPA. Base GV80s come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 300 horsepower and returns 22 mpg in combined drive with all-wheel drive, 23 mpg with rear-wheel drive.
Safety and technology
he GV80’s drivers assistance features include blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assistance, forward-collision assistance, and pedestrian and cyclist detection. It also comes with smart cruise control and rear-cross-traffic alert that also can assist in parking.
Connectivity is impressive, with Bluetooth, Apple Car Play, Android Auto as well as Genesis Connected Services. You can also choose navigation, a surround-view and rear-view camera, and a head-up display. The vehicle comes with USB ports, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a system that offers a rear view in the direction you are traveling when the turn signal is activated.
Surprisingly nimble and easy to drive and to maneuver thanks to the electronically controlled suspension, the GV80 is adept at smoothing out the ride on varied surfaces while keeping the vehicle tightly controlled through curves. The steering is very responsible, and the Prestige trim adds larger brakes, which come on confidently when stopping suddenly. The eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly at all the right times, and the vehicle’s 375 horsepower coming into play immediately without a hint of turbo lag. I initially thought that the driving dynamics might be one of the GV80 weak points, but they turned out to be one of its strengths.
2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Prestige
|Dimension||L: 194.7 inches/W: 77.8 inches/H: 67.5 inches/Wheelbase: 116.3 inches|
|Powertrain||Twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, 8-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||375 horsepower and 391-foot pounds of torque|
|Price||Base price: $59,650; As tested: $72,375 including $1,025 destination and delivery charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The GV80 is undoubtedly a capable family vehicle that makes a good impression with its full load of technology, eight inches of ground clearance and comfortable, yet powerful, performance. But it comes at a price, with the fully-loaded test vehicle’s bottom line totaling more than $72,000, the going rate for genuine luxury vehicles these days. If it seems high, keep in mind that the GV80 starts at less than $50,000. If that still seems high, consider that the good things in life are worth paying for.
2021 Genesis GV80 – Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the Genesis GV80 SUV?
The Genesis GV80 is the first mid-size luxury SUV from Genesis, Hyundai’s new luxury brand.
Does the Genesis GV80 need premium fuel?
Genesis recommends using premium unleaded gasoline for the best performance and fuel economy, but it can run on 87-octane fuel.
How safe is the Genesis GV80?
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not released its crash test ratings, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded a Top Safety Pick+, its best safety award.