The decision: Genesis’ first effort at an SUV is an excellent success, with refined efficiency, state-of-the-art expertise, distinctive model and luxurious appointments that disgrace some established manufacturers.

Versus the competitors: The GV80 has a extra luxurious cabin than something from Infiniti, Cadillac or Lexus, and it offers the European class benchmarks a run for his or her cash. Add the worth pricing and commonplace security tools, and it turns into a major class contender.

Just a few years in the past, South Korean automaker Hyundai launched its first foray into the luxurious market with a stand-alone model, Genesis and in the event you weren’t completely conscious of that truth, it could be as a result of it began with three sedans as everybody’s tastes have been migrating much more quickly to SUVs. Quick ahead to at present, and Genesis has lastly made up for that omission with this: the all-new 2021 Genesis GV80 mid-size SUV. It’s meant to go up in opposition to fashions just like the BMW X5, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator and Mercedes-Benz GLE. It’s rear-wheel drive, constructed off of the identical platform because the G80 sedan, and contains a selection of turbocharged engines, a ton of gee-whiz expertise, distinctive styling and aggressive pricing.

Nevertheless it’s exhausting being the brand new child on the block, and Genesis has loads to show if it needs to be thought-about in the identical breath as a Benz or Bimmer. After spending a day on this new GV80, nevertheless, I can attest Genesis has introduced its A-game to the get together, and the standard luxurious manufacturers ought to be apprehensive.

Associated: 2021 Genesis GV80: Well Worth the Wait

Nothing Else Appears Like This …

Let’s begin with the way in which it seems. It’s extremely distinctive, nevertheless it’s totally different with out being … bizarre. It begins with the quad-lamp setup in entrance flanking that massive trapezoidal grille that options what Genesis calls its “G-Matrix” look; step again a tempo and take all of it in, and also you’ll notice that the entrance finish mimics the Genesis winged protect emblem within the form of the grille and headlights. The perimeters characteristic lengthy character strains that stretch in unbroken curves to the rear, the place the identical quad-light remedy is used on the LED taillights.

Genesis has been a bit heavy with the chrome in some spots, like these large swaths alongside the bottoms of the doorways, nevertheless it’s not too garish or obtrusive. The RWD proportions of the GV80 are putting, with the general look combining the extra profitable components from Lincoln’s newest showstoppers, Bentley’s Bentayga and a few distinctive components which might be all Genesis’ personal look. It has distinctive presence on the road, and is particularly gorgeous in inexperienced or silver paint. 

… Outdoors or In

The spectacular seems carry over to the cabin, which lastly showcases all that Hyundai and Genesis have discovered about crafting luxurious interiors. The supplies within the GV80 are top-notch, simply on par with the most effective interiors within the luxurious class and higher than a number of supposedly top-tier luxurious manufacturers (I’m you, Lexus). Genesis’ particular theme once more revolves round that “G-Matrix” look, represented within the inside by knurled-metal patterning in nearly each metallic floor. Each knob has it, from the four-way touch-sensitive multimedia selector to the local weather controls to the digital transmission gear selector. It’s on the vent controls, the window switches, the amount knob on the steering wheel, the flip sign and wiper stalks. It lends an upscale texture and curiosity to the inside bits and items, and really does assist in gripping numerous surfaces when utilizing them, too.

There are a couple of particular objects of observe within the GV80’s occupant compartment. Let’s begin with that distinctive steering wheel, which jogs my memory of the steering wheel on a 1992 Buick Roadmaster. That two-spoke, thick-center look is certainly retro, however once more, it’s not like the rest you’ll discover in a contemporary luxurious automotive. The opposite controls are a mixture of devoted buttons (equivalent to those who encompass the local weather management display) and capacitive touch-sensitive ones (which is the local weather management system itself). In contrast to different luxurious manufacturers, nevertheless, Genesis hasn’t gone overboard with touch-sensitive controls it’s restricted to only a few operations of the local weather management system, fortunately. I can reside with this.

The spherical multimedia controller can also be distinctive. It consists of a touch-sensitive spherical middle panel and a knurled-metal rotating ring, each of that are additionally four-way controllers. It offers you a number of flexibility in controlling the huge 14.5-inch multimedia display, however in the event you don’t need to use a distant controller, the display can also be touch-sensitive, though a few of it’s a bit removed from the motive force to succeed in and not using a stretch. A lot of it’s also controllable through voice instructions, which did appear to work shortly and with out error once I tried them. The gauge cluster on most fashions is a reconfigurable mixture of a set analog speedometer to your left and a digital show display to the correct, and there’s an optionally available head-up show that’s additionally massive, vivid and simple to regulate. Spend some cash on the top-tier trim and you will get a nifty 3D digital show, which modifications while you swap drive modes and makes use of infrared cameras to trace your eyes and regulate itself accordingly.

One other particular characteristic is the optionally available Lexicon premium audio system, which options 21 audio system in 18 areas all through the cabin and 1,050 watts of energy via 14 channels. This mannequin and the G80 sedan host the primary automotive methods from Lexicon, a model that’s higher recognized for house amplifiers and receivers, however the firm positively did its homework right here the system is dynamite, rivaling the Revel system at Lincoln and the AKG Studio Reference system within the newest Cadillac Escalade for readability, punch and energy. 

The Limitations of a Rear-Drive Platform

Now this is a mid-size SUV, and a rear-wheel-drive one, too, so inside house suffers a bit from the packaging limitations of such a car. You sit excessive within the GV80, and that does assist for visibility. Entrance-seat consolation is superb, and the second-row seats have sufficient legroom, about what’s anticipated for a mid-size mannequin like this. There’s a third-row possibility, nevertheless it’s obtainable solely on one particular GV80 the V-6 all-wheel-drive Superior Plus trim.

That’s actually OK there’s barely any room within the third row and it’s appropriate just for kids. Nevertheless it additionally highlights the cargo room of the GV80, which could be certainly one of its few downsides. The liftover peak to get cargo over the bumper feels fairly excessive, and the cargo space flooring itself additionally appears excessive, each doubtless a operate of the GV80’s rear-suspension setup. 

Mechanical Refinement

Below the hood, you’ve gotten your selection of two engines for the brand new GV80: both a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 375-hp, twin-turbocharged V-6. Each are mated to a typical eight-speed computerized transmission. The four-cylinder will be had with rear- or all-wheel drive, whereas the V-6 comes with AWD as commonplace. Both powertrain is a winner in my view, however I’d be exhausting pressed to truly justify the additional value of the V-6 over the already excellent efficiency of the four-cylinder. The turbo 4 makes the GV80 fast and responsive, with the transmission shifting seamlessly and easily. You’ll by no means lack for energy while you need it, and it’s quiet and placid at cruising speeds, as properly. The V-6 has a bit additional grunt, nevertheless it’s simply extra for the sake of extra the usual engine is so good that splurging for the larger one is absolutely only a matter of status shopping for, or of selecting a better trim so you will get extra goodies. 

Journey high quality can also be glorious even with the optionally available 22-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are commonplace and 20-inchers can be found, as properly). The GV80 is certainly skewed extra towards the luxurious finish of the spectrum as a substitute of the sporting finish and to me, that appears correct for a car like this. I’ll by no means perceive why so many automakers are attempting to show tall, heavy wagons into sports activities fashions no person drives these items aggressively, and no person’s taking one to a observe day, so why not deal with making it comfortable and cozy as a substitute?

That’s precisely what Genesis has performed, crafting a fantastically premium driving expertise with the GV80, one which focuses on management and refinement, however not isolation to the purpose of numbness as we’ve generally seen on different premium South Korean automobiles together with Genesis’ personal massive G90 sedan. Genesis’ German govt influences are evident right here, as various former BMW executives went to the model a number of years in the past and have been rightly credited with crafting a premium rival to the standard German luxurious manufacturers.

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Undercutting the Competitors

So what does all of this newfound luxurious and stunning refinement run you? The bottom value for a four-cylinder RWD GV80 is $49,925 (costs embrace destination) and consists of objects like 19-inch wheels, a full suite of digital security methods that every one value additional on each German luxurious SUV, faux-leather heated seats and a navigation system with that massive 14.5-inch display. Load up the GV80 with the V-6 AWD and the highest Status trim stage, and also you’re a complete value of $72,375. That undercuts a lot of competitors just like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE by a number of thousand {dollars} throughout the board, all whereas even beating the Mercedes for base engine horsepower.

Anybody who’s at the moment on the market searching for a mid-size luxurious SUV would do properly to place the 2021 Genesis GV80 on their consideration record. Its mixture of fashion, luxurious, refinement, options, expertise and extremely aggressive pricing are positive to make it certainly one of this 12 months’s hottest must-have entries into what’s already a loaded class.’s Editorial division is your supply for automotive information and evaluations. According to’s long-standing ethics coverage, editors and reviewers don’t settle for presents or free journeys from automakers. The Editorial division is impartial of’s promoting, gross sales and sponsored content material departments.