Driven: 2021 Genesis GV80 Review
  • Car Review

Driven: 2021 Genesis GV80 Review

By Chris Teague | September 1, 2021

Pros:

  • Traffic-stopping good looks
  • High-end cabin materials and finishes
  • Plush and comfortable ride

Cons:

  • Third-row seat is super tight
  • Steering can feel too heavy and sloppy at times
  • Sometimes finicky infotainment controller

Vehicle Type: The Genesis GV80 is a midsize premium crossover with seating for up to seven people.

Price Range: The 2021 Genesis GV80 ranges in price from $49,925 to $72,495, including destination, but before options or taxes.

Powertrain: The 2021 Genesis GV80 is offered with two powertrains for the 2021 model year.

The base powertrain includes a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

The upgraded powertrain option includes a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Four-cylinder models get rear-wheel-drive as standard, but can be upgraded to all-wheel-drive. The V6 is paired with AWD by default.


More Photos:

See more 2021 Genesis GV80 Photos.


Overview:

After splitting off from its parent company, Hyundai, a few years ago, luxury brand Genesis has gone on a tear. The brand’s newest vehicles combine desirable elements of luxury and performance models, but they do so at what can only be called a reasonable price. The GV80 is Genesis' first SUV and one of the automaker’s latest vehicles, and it puts up strong competition against German rivals with a style that draws attention wherever it goes.

The GV80 is offered in two main designations, each with three trims. The 2.5T features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the 3.5T comes with a turbo-six. Both powertrains are available in base, Advanced, and Prestige trims. The Genesis GV80 is aimed at new car buyers seeking an upscale vehicle with a long warranty. It competes with the BMW X5, Audi Q8, Acura MDX, Lexus RX, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, and Mercedes-Benz GLE Class. Buyers may also cross-shop vehicles like the Kia Telluride, but others will want a more sport-oriented luxury SUV, such as an Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

The Korean brand has done well in differentiating itself from the more mainstream Hyundai. Its vehicles are not direct overlays of Hyundai’s cars and SUVs, and maintain an identity all their own. This approach, coupled with value-level pricing, makes them a compelling alternative to the Lexus vehicles, Volvos, and Audis of the world.


Overall Score: 8.1/10

Safety Features: 9/10

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The 2021 Genesis GV80 scored a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The rating agency scored it Good in all crashworthiness categories and Superior for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

All GV80 models come standard with ten airbags, brake assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, a driver attention warning system, and safe-exit assist with power child locks.

Top trims get a blind spot camera system that activates when turn signals are on, along with a parking collision avoidance system and rear occupant alerts.


Value: 8/10

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With a base price just shy of $50,000, it’s difficult to consider the GV80 a bargain, but when compared against its competition, the picture becomes clearer. The Genesis brings high-end features and stellar design to a price point that more people can afford, and does so with a long powertrain warranty.

Top trims with the optional V6 powertrain flirt with $80,000 when loaded, but that’s par for the course in the luxury SUV market.

The GV80’s build quality and attractive materials are impressive for a relatively new brand, even more so considering that the SUV is a first-year attempt from Genesis.


Tech Features: 8/10

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The GV80 gets a 14.5-inch infotainment system touchscreen with navigation and voice controls as standard equipment. Additionally, the vehicle comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB inputs front and rear, an eight-inch LCD gauge cluster display, and more.

Optional tech includes tri-zone automatic climate controls, active noise cancellation, Qi wireless charging, a 12.3-inch three-dimensional digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, a premium sound system, and a blind spot camera system.

Genesis’ infotainment software is easy to use and intuitive, although the touchscreen is a bit too far from the front seats to be easy to use. The vehicle comes with a touchpad and rotary controller in the center console area that helps, but the system requires some learning to use properly.


Practicality: 8/10

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Even with the folding rear seats in the upright position, the GV80 offers a cavernous cargo area that is tall enough for large items and deep enough to hold longer cargo. The space is open and useful, but needs the optional Cargo Package to be fully utilized. The package includes a cargo net and tray to help keep items in place.

The GV80’s cabin is open and airy, and features plenty of small-item storage throughout. The center console storage space is surprisingly deep, and is capable of holding far more gear than it should, given its exterior dimensions. The vehicle’s door pockets and folding rear armrest offer cupholders galore, and the front center console’s cupholders are large enough for even the most jumbo gas station treat. Both rows of seating feature generous headroom and legroom, and passengers up front enjoy a true luxury car experience with deep, well-padded seats.

Even when equipped with the base four-cylinder engine, the GV80 is capable of towing up to 6,000 pounds, which is an impressive number for a luxury SUV.


Styling & Design: 10/10

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The GV80’s design is arresting, and draws attention wherever the vehicle travels. People stop to take pictures of it on the street and it turns heads in traffic almost as frequently as exotic cars. There is an almost Bentley-like quality to the GV80, where its curb presence and style pull people in.

Genesis built in clever design touches that help the GV80 stand out in a crowd. The side markers are integrated into chrome accents with turn signals built-in for a sleek look, the grille is large and prominent but not gaudy, and the vehicle’s side profile seems almost to be a throwback to the curvy cars of the 1930s and 40s.

The Genesis cabin is nothing short of beautiful. Top models’ quilted leather and wood trim accents create a luxurious atmosphere that is at odds with the GV80’s somewhat reasonable price tag. Outward visibility is solid in all directions, and is made even better with optional camera equipment. One stumble is the steering wheel, where a large center area makes it awkward to hold and to use controls.

Genesis offers the GV80 with upgraded wheel designs in sizes up to 22 inches. Even with the larger wheels, the vehicle’s ride remains compliant and the exterior appeal is undeniable.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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Though the upgraded and more powerful V6 drivetrain is an improvement over the base four-cylinder in many ways, most buyers will be just fine with the standard mill. The GV80’s personality is much better suited to boulevard cruising than canyon carving, and the four-cylinder engine provides more than enough power to get the job done.

The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 builds power rapidly and makes the GV80 feel truly quick, but the lack of steering feel and the vehicle’s overall size detract from its ability to offer a sporty driving experience.

The GV80’s ride quality is reminiscent of big American luxury sedans from years ago, though without the floaty boat-ride sensation. The cabin remains whisper-quiet over even rough and broken pavement, and the GV80’s suspension system is capable of soaking up most of what the road can throw at it.


Fuel Efficiency: 6/10

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With the base four-cylinder and rear-wheel-drive, the GV80's fuel economy is rated at 21/25/23 mpg city/hwy/combined. All-wheel-drive changes those numbers a bit to 21/25/22 mpg city/hwy/combined.

With the available turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 under the hood and standard all-wheel-drive, the GV80 is EPA-rated at 18/23/20 mpg.

There is no hybrid or diesel option available for the GV80 and its powertrains aren’t the most efficient in the world. That said, both engines provide ample acceleration and smoothness to match the Genesis’s luxury profile.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The base 2021 Genesis GV80 has a starting MSRP of $49,925 and comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel-drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, hill-start assist control, 19-inch wheels, full LED quad headlights, high beam assist, LED daytime running lights, dual power-folding side mirrors, approach lighting with Genesis logo, rain-sensing wipers, five-passenger seating, leatherette upholstery, 12-way power driver’s and passenger’s seat, memory seating, heated front seats, a 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB inputs, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate controls, a proximity key with push-button start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, lane following assist, forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection and more, a driver attention warning system, and safe exit assist with power child locks.

The $53,845 GV80 2.5T RWD Advanced comes with a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, a Lexicon audio system with 21 speakers, Qi wireless device charging, rear side window sunshades, rear occupant alerts, and a digital key.

Stepping up to the $58,095 2.5T RWD Prestige model adds 20-inch wheels, remote smart parking assist, leather upholstery, an Ergo motion driver’s seat, heated second-row seats, a blind spot view camera system, and parking collision-avoidance assist.

In addition to the features of the 2.5T, the $60,695 Genesis GV80 3.5T gets 20-inch wheels, a rear occupant alert system, ventilated front seats, Qi wireless charging, and rear window sunshades.

In addition to the features of the 2.5T Advanced, the $65,895 3.5T Advanced adds a surround-view monitor, leather upholstery, tri-zone climate controls, a head-up display, and a blind spot camera system.

The $66,595 GV80 3.5T Advanced + comes with a tire mobility kit and split-folding third-row seats.

The $72,495 GV80 3.5T Prestige comes with 22-inch wheels, power door closure, Nappa leather upholstery, power reclining second-row seats, active noise cancellation, a 12.3-inch 3D digital gauge cluster, power rear-window sunshades, and a forward attention warning system.

If we were shopping for a Genesis GV80 today, we would opt for the 2.5T Prestige with all-wheel-drive. Most of the best GV80 features are available here, without the over-the-top price tag.


More Photos:

See more 2021 Genesis GV80 Photos.