2021 Genesis GV80: Stunning debut crossover
The 2021 Genesis GV80 is the latest effort by the Hyundai Motor Group to conquer the world — the world of reasonably-price luxury vehicles, that is.
In just a few short years, the South Korean manufacturer has excelled in the market first created by the luxury brands of the three affordable Japanese vehicle companies, Acura (Honda), Infiniti (Nissan) and Lexus (Toyota). Now, with its first crossover, Genesis proves it can compete against genuine luxury SUVs, too, including higher priced ones.
In fact, anyone who just sees the GV80 may decide they don't need to even consider an Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes or Volvo midsize crossover. Although I always encourage comparison test drives, the all-new GV80 is so sharp looking — both inside and out — that many if not most potential buyers will immediately fall in love with it. As Genesis admits, the GV80 was designed to be a blockbuster.
And how it drives only reinforces the initial impression, which is a remarkable accomplishment for a brand that sold its first car under the Genesis name in 2017. That was nine years after Hyundai sold its first large luxury called, called the Genesis, which apparently proved there was a demand for such a product from a company that had only produced affordable vehicles until then.
Until now, Genesis has only sold cars — the compact G70, midsize G80 and fullsize G90. It's no surprise that the GV80 is based on the G80 and reflects many of its specs. They include a choice of rear- and all-wheel-drive and a choice of a turbocharged 2,5-liter four producing 300 horsepower and a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out 375 horsepower. Both engines in both vehicles are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The bigger treat is how much the GV80 looks like the G80, which is a smart decision because the G80 is perhaps the best looking midsize sedan on the market right now. It is sleek and sexy, with flush wraparound headlines accenting a large (but not too large) shield-shaped grill. The rear end is equally striking, with flush mounted taillights tucked under an integrated spoiler. The GV80 includes the same elements, making it look more like a larger version of the G80 that conventional SUV.
The same is true of the interiors, with the GV80 repeating the high center console, infotainment controls and wide display screen across the top of the dash as the G80. The materials in our top-of-the-line Prestige model were all high quality, giving it a genuine luxury feel.
The GV80 is available with either two or three rows of seats. The second row is large enough for three adults to travel in style and comfort, while the third row is best left for children, which is typical of midsize crossovers.
And of course the GV80 is available with every conceivable automotive technology, including a digital dash that shows what's beside and behind the vehicle when the turn signals are activated. Ours also had the Remote Smart Parking Assist that first debuted on the Hyundai Sonota and allows drives to maneuver the vehicle into tight spaces between two parked cars in parking lots while standing outside of it.
On the road, our test GV80 was as smooth as silk to drive. The V6 and transmission worked flawlessly together, and the ride in the Comfort mode was a perfect not-too-soft, not-too-hard. The engine was noticeably more responsive in the Sport mode, and, while the ride was firmer, it was still not too harsh. And it was as quiet as the more expensive midsize crossovers, including limiting road noise from the wide 22-inch all-season tires.
Best of all, the GV80 starts at under $50,000 for the 2.5 RWD Standard model. The starting price for the V6 AWD version is under $60,000. Our tester was priced at $72,375, including a $5,200 Advance Package and a $6,600 Prestige Package. While that's a little more than the equivalent American and Japanese competitors, it is well below the European ones.
Genesis has already announced an upcoming GV70 and a GV90 will undoubtedly follow. But if you're in the market for a reasonably priced midsize crossover that outperforms more expensive models, the all-new 2021 Genesis GV80 is ready now.
A previous review of the 2021 Genesis G80 can be found here.
2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Prestige
Base price: $59,150
Price as tested: $72,375
Type: midsize SUV
Engine: Twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (375 hp, 391 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Custom
EPA estimated mileage: 20/23
Overall length: 194.7 inches
Curb weight: 5,009 pounds
Final assembly: Ulsan, South Korea
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