As the first SUV of the emerging Korean luxury car brand, the new GV80 impresses with its lavish, sophisticated interior and
We like it a good deal. Maybe it’s the central one of us. When chatting small with strangers, we know the joy of responding to compliments with “Thank you, I’ve sold.” And while you can’t say exactly that you’re selling a Genesis GV80 2021, its value will surely make you feel like you did.
The GV80 is the first SUV of the fledgling luxury brand, the next product of the trio of sedans (G70, G80, and G90, in ascending size order) that we most love and in the case of the G70, awarded a 10Best Title in 2019. The crossover impressed with the level of construction and material quality that embarrassed some traditional luxury brands and at a price that even professionals like us should appreciate. And once you see the GV80 in nature, its design and presence can cost you twice as much.
HIGHS: Beautiful interior, cost savings, speed 70 miles per hour.
Bold and blocky, it doesn’t look like anything else on the road. By comparison, they are not peer-to-peer rivals such as the Acura MDX or BMW X5. They went to Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Perhaps that concerns the hand of former Bentley designer Luc Donckerwolke in the design.
Gv80’s transmission system is made fluently and tweaked to the point where it could not be more interesting. The base versions come with a 2.5-liter in-line 2.5-liter engine that produces 300 horsepower, but we haven’t yet controlled that type of engine. Our test vehicle is equipped with a 3.5-liter dual-engineD V-6 375 horsepower, standard in the top two versions, Advanced Plus and Prestige. Both engines are combined with an eight-level automatic gearbox. With the V-6, for example, our 5009 pounds ran 5.3 seconds to 60.
GV80 shares the rear-bridged platform with the latest version of the G80. The similar driving of both drivers is more of a compliment to the SUV than a denunciation of the sedan, although we are willing to accept a slightly more sporty treatment in both.
Although the GV80 is a fairly large midsize crossover – almost the size of the X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE-class – it’s never sloppy or unusable and its 0.82 g grip on the slide is more than enough to give you peace of mind. A comfortable ride on the 20-inch wheel of the Advanced Plus decoration and the steering wheel finds the intermediate point between responsiveness and paralysis.
Our loan coincided with our 10Best test, which allowed dozens of editors to track Genesis’ SUV on some of the best roads in southeastern Michigan. Effortless power is often considered one of the highlights of a luxury car, but the accelerator bar continues to move, so although the V-6 of the GV80, we can not say this car boasts of ease.
Competitors sell more powerful engine options on their six-cylinder turbo models, but Genesis doesn’t offer that, at least not yet. However, the V-6 offers more juice for anything that a daily route to work will do your way and it’s possible that not every driver needs their thick crossover to be able to throw them on the back of a seat as they avoid red lights, even if we do.
There is another sign of luxury that may be more important to customers than excessive thrust: resting from the noise of the world. That, GV80 has. We measured 66 decibels in the cabin at a speed of 70 miles per hour. It’s just a decibel bigger sound than the sound level in the Mercedes-Maybach S560, the luxury car that many sedans want to own as they grow older.
But the price of GV80 is probably the most incredible. Our test car cost $66,475, lower than we expected – a statement we look forward to making more often. This could be a means of turning Genesis into a real player in the field of luxuries and not just a curiosity knew only to those at the fore.
And that’s important in the high-end car sector, where brand loyalty is particularly strong and attracts young buyers. Genesis knows this. It even launched a prominent Super Bowl ad that featured model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend, touting the GV80 as “young luxury” and in which Teigen, a modern celebrity representation, spent most of his time taking down old-fashioned wealth, sending a message that Genesis was interested in attracting wealthier people rather than the wealthy.
Attracting the young market is nothing new, but Genesis seems to be better positioned to do it than other brands. A 2018 report by the Luxury Institute on Trends in the Luxury Industry noted that the millennial generation is much less interested in brand history and prestige than customer service, design, and workmanicism – things that Genesis does well. We have more than 30,000 miles into a 40,000-mile test of the G70, and its reliability has ensured that we have not needed to interact much with Genesis’s service customer arm. GV80 plays the role of design and crafts skills of the task.
Whether or not shoppers notice remains to be seen. Genesis — and the glittering GV80 ate by the famous couple — did not make much of an impact on the public. The company sold 21,233 vehicles in the U.S. last year, and most of the people we talked to about GV80 said they had heard of Genesis for the first time, including those who claimed to have watched the Super Bowl. We are doing our part to spread the word, but judging from the attention that GV80 received during the loan period, we suspect that we will need to praise it much longer before people start.
GV80 had me as soon as I climbed on the train. Its stunning interiors are i can’t deny that Genesis understands the secret handshake of luxury – something some ambitious luxury car brands have yet to learn. We, humans, are particularly talented at collecting image details and GV80 is full of that. Exquisite satin metal highlights. The skin is carefully sewn on the backpack, chairs, and doors. The buttons and switches are faceted. Assemble tightly, accurately. All make GV80 feel much more expensive than it is now. Do you know any other luxury brands that have started to do this way? Lexus. —Rich Ceppos
It takes courage to design a $65,000 car like the $180,000 Bentley. If the GV80 doesn’t make a comparison on closer inspection, owning one will look like you’re trying to remove a fake Rolex as real. But Genesis’ first SUV passed scrutiny. The lavish interior polished acting system and design stand out as much as anything it can compete with. Okay, no one who trades a Bentley for Genesis is based solely on brand recognition, but anyone who drives a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi will be shocked that Genesis can offer too much luxury for very little. —Eric Tingwall.
2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$66,475 (base price: $60,175)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block, and heads, direct fuel injection
212 in3, 3470 cm3
375 hp @ 5800 rpm
391 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm
The suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.0-invented disc/14.2-invented disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy Tour A/S, 265/50R-20 111W M+S GOE
Wheelbase: 116.3 in
Length: 194.7 in
Width: 77.8 in
Height: 67.5 in
Passenger volume: 140 ft3
Cargo volume: 12 ft3
Curb weight: 5009 lb