SETTING NEW LUXURY STANDARDS: 2021 GENESIS GV80
Genesis is not a name that is commonly heard within the realm of luxury consumers. Barely hitting the premium market just a few years ago, the name ‘Genesis’ merely followed Hyundai’s badging on their slightly upscale mid-size sedan, but was never something on the radar for a BMW, Jaguar or Volvo aficionado.
With the name alone already confusing unaware non-automotive socialites, Genesis’ latest installment of their newly developed full-size GV80 SUV is sure to turn heads thinking this could be the newest Bentley. A bit of a far stretch in our opinion, but we thank you random parking lot stranger for the compliment. The thing is however, they’re not too far off thanks to Genesis former designer Luc Donchkerwolke who had a hand in the design and perhaps his experience from Bentley played a part in it as well. Entering a premium, luxury segment in the SUV territory is a brazen move – granted it’s not like they could have eased into it either. Following their terrifically engineered trinity of sedans, (the G70, G80 and G90), there hasn’t been a Genesis we’ve disliked so far. And now the GV80, hits the pecking order of favored vehicles from the new automaker.
Unlike anything on the road, the GV80 is a beautiful sight guising itself as something genuinely special. There is subtle detail in the lines like the dual LED indicators that flow from the headlamps down the side to the rear taillights that remain parallel to each other. Genesis has even gone a bold step with their quality control department to ensure the panel gap between the hood and the side body panels remain consistently the same as it stretches down its elongated nose.
The element of surprise continues into the cabin with a striking execution of design and simplicity. Embracing the modern touch of technology with old-school uncomplicatedness, you won’t find a touch control apad in the cabin. Instead Genesis incorporates knurled knobs accented with glass inserts that develops a satisfying click with every turn – adding a modern twist the climate control system is managed through a beautifully styled touch-sensitive black glass. When size does matter, the GV80 has one of the widest touch screen displays on the market taking up 14.5-inches of the dash.
Genesis knows no bounds when it comes to luxury and providing an essence of a premium space as nearly every surface was covered in leather and a matte wood accent finish. There isn’t a bad seat either as both front and back seats provide plush comfort – back seat passengers also have the ability to enjoy the comforts of heated seats and their own climate control system with plenty of leg room to boost some formal leg crossing. As for the third-row passengers, not all the same can be said – but simply use the power fold feature to tuck those away for a rainy, seven passenger kind of day.
With two engine options, there really isn’t a wrong way to go. A turbocharged 2.5-liter four –cylinder with 300-horsepower sits at the start of the GV80 base price starting just short of $49,000 in rear-wheel drive form. The twin-turbocharged ways of its 3.5-liter V-6 however, carries a nearly $10,000 price increase but comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a $5750 premium on the four-cylinder turbo.
The V-6 is not one to reckon with as it churns out 375-horsepower with just over 390lbs-ft of torque. Scooting along, it takes a brisk pace of just five-seconds to 60-mph. Even for its size, the GV80 doesn’t feel messy in its performance. The eight-speed automatic delivers smooth composure with an aggressive sporty alter ego from a twist of the drive mode select. It handles with poise proposition like a super model posing for Vogue, it carries itself with confidence and never rides as if it’s unsure of its main purpose of being a luxury SUV. Our sampler wasn’t quite at top of the GV80 premium options list having been equipped with the Advance + Package that brings in that unwarranted third-row seat – but with the downsize in rims from the 22-inch on the Prestige model to our 20-inch equipped wheels brought in common middle ground of balance in comfort with a hint of sporty friendliness.
Surrounded by vultures, the Genesis will have a hard time pulling the brand loyalist from their beloved premium badges. With the GV80 being a heavy contender in the luxury SUV segment, there is one last surprise it has in store – its price. Our Genesis GV80 hits a bargain that is almost hard to beat at $67,095. Most of its competitive contenders exceed the $70,000 region. Now granted, the GV80 can still hit the $70,000 sticker price with its Prestige Package that includes 22-inch wheels, nappa leather seats and an upgraded 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster.
Taking a bold step into developing a new brand, Hyundai exceeded our expectations with the Genesis luxury enterprise. Going above and beyond of what was expected for the segment, the GV80 is an exquisite beautifully crafted masterpiece that gives a new perspective of premium expectations.
Vehicle: 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Advance+
Base Price: $48,900
As-Tested Price: $67,095
Engine: 3.5-liter Twin-Turbocharged V-6
HP | Torque: 375-HP |391 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 18 | 23| 20 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 16.8-MPG City (Highway MPG testing is currently suspended due to high fuel prices)
Fuel Range: 340 miles
0-60 MPH: ±5.5 seconds
If these can get to 150,000 miles relatively trouble free, Hyundai will be golden.