2021 Genesis GV80
For a luxury brand to compete for your ownership, you must have an SUV.
Some of the brands have shifted to an all-SUV lineup. Which is great and certainly reflects your tastes. However, it is not enough to sell an SUV at their respective showrooms for its well-heeled clientele.
For Genesis, the luxury brand of Hyundai, it had to be an exceptional SUV that has to be sold at a reasonable price.
Enter the GV80. This is the first SUV sold by Genesis. It fulfills the requirements and challenges the Korean luxury brand met to bring this vehicle to you. We had to see whether they did meet their targets in a segment where everything must be delivered on a grand scale.
From what we have seen in its design, it is a grand vehicle. The fresh look starts with a massive “shield” grille in chromed mesh, flanked by horizontally split LED headlamp units. The LED daytime running lights double up as turn signals, which continue to a chrome applique on the front fenders. Those two “lines” continue to the rear to the LED taillight units, again split horizontally.
The roofline is a semi-fastback design that creates a liftgate that is sculpted along with the rest of the body. A set of 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels finish up our Advanced+ tester’s overall look. The GV80 stands out from the rest of the crowd because it has to. Especially when similar luxury SUVs need to.
That theme continues in the cabin with one of the most dramatic cabins we’ve experienced in some time. While the speedometer and fuel gauge are analog, the rest of the instrument binnacle is digital, including the reverse tachometer and the information center. Our tester came with a large head-up display designed to keep your eyes on the road with necessary information.
The center stack features a wide tablet-like 14.5-inch screen on top with a digital climate control screen, flowing down to a center console crowned by two “knobs.” One is a combination scroll control and touch pad for the infotainment system. The other is the shift-by-wire transmission knob. Most of the controls have a knurled texture, giving it supreme quality all around.
Seating up front is comfortable and supportive, with plenty of adjustments, including thigh support. Bolstering is good for the seatbacks, wrapped in leather with contrast piping to compliment the interior color. Our tester had an adjustable second-row of seats with a one-touch mechanism to slide forward for third-row access. Our tester had a seven-seat capacity, more designed for children in the third row.
Cargo expansion is achieved through a series of buttons in the rear of the vehicle. Before you fold any of the seats down, our three-row model starts off with an 11.6 cubic feet space. Power fold the third row down for a 34.9 cubic feet space. With the second row down, you have an 84.0 cubic feet space with a near-flat floor. The cargo cover and netting are neatly stowed in a compartment behind the third row of seats.
Powering our tester is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine, putting out 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. This engine channels its power to all four wheels in a rear-drive architecture with an electronic transfer case and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This driveline puts down the power with ease and is quite quick off the mark. In terms of fuel economy, we observed an average of 18.5 MPG.
The ride quality of the Genesis GV80 is quite smooth. On rougher roads, the suspension does a great job absorbing the cracks, potholes and other challenges those surfaces threw at the GV80. Handling is on the softer side, with some roll and lean in Normal drive mode, even through evasive maneuvers. Sport mode improves this a bit, but do not expect flat-out cornering in the GV80.
We actually love the steering wheel, with its “throwback” 1970s design. It is thick enough for our hands to command it, as it makes good work on tight maneuvers. It does feel a bit artificial, yet it also has a solid on-center feel for keeping within the lane. The brakes are solid with good pedal feel. We were certainly amazed on how large the rotors were on our tester, which explains why it did well in stopping tests under normal and panic situations.
Pricing for the 2021 Genesis GV80 starts at $48,900 for a turbocharged four-cylinder model with rear-wheel-drive. Our Advanced+ tester with all-wheel-drive came with a sticker price of $67,095.
The GV80 is in a highly competitive segment full of luxury family-oriented, three-row SUVs. These competitors include the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover Sport, Volvo XC90, Lexus RX 350L, Infiniti Q60, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Acura MDX, and the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee L.
For families and individuals who want something completely different and stand out in a crowd – especially a crowd of other luxury mid-size SUVs – the 2021 Genesis GV80 may just be your ticket towards living a very distinctive and glamorous life.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors