2021 Genesis GV80 first drive review: A splashy, sumptuous and special SUV

Have you ever ever learn a type of fantastical information tales of anyone who randomly wakes up with the flexibility to play piano? , an individual whose fingers all of a sudden and magically grasp classical sonatas, having by no means a lot as stumbled via Chopsticks earlier than? I’ve at all times been suspicious of these accounts, however this 2021 Genesis GV80 is making me rethink. Why? As a result of with precisely zero expertise constructing true luxurious SUVs, this Korean upstart appears to have nailed the temporary proper out of the field. This can be a harmonious, absolutely realized midsize crossover with its personal attraction — one able to rub shoulders with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz on the entrance of the pack.

Admittedly, Genesis is not an in a single day sensation, not to mention some type of unknown startup. The model is constructed atop Hyundai’s appreciable shoulders, which has been fielding some fairly convincing Genesis sedans for years, in addition to some awfully good mass-market sport utilities. However this GV80 is not simply Genesis’ first SUV, it is the guardian firm’s first unibody crossover constructed on rear-wheel-drive structure, too. However simply because Genesis is belatedly arriving to the ball does not imply it is content material to be a wallflower.

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Quite the opposite, all it’s good to do is take one take a look at the GV80’s huge, Superman-shield-shaped grille or its distinctive double-hashmark lighting to know that this SUV is not seeking to slip within the facet door and mingle unnoticed. The highest-shelf Status trim seen right here rides on huge 22-inch Michelin Primacy Tour all-season rubber, and the remainder of the car’s particulars and proportions actually go well with being fitted with outsized wheels. Even lesser trims begin out on still-large 19 inchers. For higher or for worse, the 2021 Genesis GV80 is a significantly unsubtle piece of design, and even when it isn’t your factor, there’s little doubt that it seems to be costly and that it has critical curb presence.

Whether or not you employ the standard fob or the obtainable digital, sharable cellphone key to open the door, you will discover that the GV80’s gravitas carries over to its cabin. The cockpit is swathed in all method of upscale supplies and finishes, together with substantial planks of matte-finish wooden and knurled switchgear that appears and feels premium. Status trims like this one ladle on plenty of further niceties, together with a suede-like headliner and really trick 3D-effect all-digital gauge cluster (the latter is an business first).

Then there’s the 14.5-inch widescreen infotainment system with its excessive decision and glowing graphics. It is perched atop the sprint like a billboard, however because of its ultra-long span and the light curvature of the gauge binnacle, this show would not appear like a tacked-on afterthought. Manipulated through touchscreen or a big jog wheel with built-in directional click on ring (not not like iPods of yore) and a middle handwriting recognition pad, the GV80’s infotainment system is new and {powerful}, but it is surprisingly simple to get accustomed to its tile-based format. 

Fortunately, there’s loads of room inside, too. The 194.7-inch-long GV80 rides atop a 116.3-inch wheelbase, which affords ample head-, shoulder- and legroom in each the primary and (slidable and reclinable) second row. Sure, a power-folding third row is out there, however solely on a single upper-mid-range trim with the bigger engine. With the best way this plus-two setup eats into cargo house whereas solely providing tight seating lodging, I would advocate sticking with a two-row mannequin. 

For these protecting monitor, cargo house behind the non-obligatory third row is a modest 11.6 cubic toes. Area behind the second row is a extra substantial 33.9 cubes, and should you fold all of the seats behind the entrance row, you are taking a look at 84 cubic toes, a determine that edges out the Mercedes GLE-Class and trounces the BMW X5.

The GV80’s cabin is a really particular place with its personal sense of fashion and many tech.

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When you’re in search of one other good motive to skip the third row, do that: You possibly can’t get my choose of the GV80’s vary, the Status mannequin. I seldom advocate splurging on a prime trim, but it surely’s value doing right here for the added creature comforts, together with Genesis’ novel Ergo Movement massaging entrance seats that may measure occupants to make posture suggestions. The latter are clad in higher-quality, quilted Nappa leather-based and are cozy sufficient that you simply would possibly resolve to lounge in your driveway, simply to get the prospect to take heed to the high-fidelity, 21-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio. What’s extra, choose highline fashions are additionally handled to an adaptive multi-link suspension entrance and rear that features a road-reading digital camera to optimize the dampers for any floor upfront (with these heavy 22-inch steamrollers at every nook, you will need no matter tech help you may get to clean out the trip).

Professional tip: When ordered in additional uncommon colour combos like Maroon Brown with Smokey Inexperienced leather-based, the GV80’s cabin feels exceptionally premium and infrequently extra luxurious than what is obtainable by comparable German and Japanese rivals just like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and Lexus RX. In actual fact, this Genesis compares properly in opposition to less-popular class picks just like the Lincoln Aviator and Volvo XC90, each of that are maybe higher identified for his or her gorgeous interiors than they’re for anything.

All of that is to say that not solely is the GV80 luxurious and exactly assembled, it seems to be and feels each unique and particular, in addition to appreciably high-tech. If there are any false notes, they’re small crimes of omission — Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t supplied wirelessly, and you may’t get a Wi-Fi hotspot or rear-seat leisure.

The GV80’s 14.5-inch infotainment system is snappy and have wealthy, with each touchscreen and jog-dial interfaces.

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When you’re in search of a fire-breathing sport utility with extra of an emphasis on the previous than the latter, the GV80 just isn’t your trip — a minimum of not proper now. At launch, there will likely be two engines obtainable: a turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, each yoked to an obedient eight-speed automated transmission. The I4 is out there in each rear- and all-wheel-drive codecs, and it places out 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Whereas my temporary drive time within the I4 suggests it is as much as the job, it is the V6 powertrain I’ve spent probably the most time with, so it is the mix I will deal with for this overview. 

That is simply as properly, as a result of with a car that is as daring and brash as this, selecting the burliest powertrain solely appears becoming. Plus, the GV80 is not any light-weight — a base RWD 2.5T is over 4,500 kilos, and an all-mod-cons 3.5T with obligatory AWD like this one ideas the scales at round 5,000 kilos. The V6 has 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, sufficient to sling this sled to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. 

That point will not throw a scare right into a BMW X5 sDrive40i proprietor, not to mention an X5 M pilot, however that is simply high-quality. The GV80 handles sharply and the suspension setup is on the agency facet no matter drive mode setting, however this Genesis is not a hot-rod wagon on stilts like a Mercedes-AMG GLE63. The GV80 feels {powerful}, but it surely’s nonetheless a coddle-me-first, thrill-me-second proposition. From its muted growl at full throttle to its supple, direct steering and easy-to-modulate brakes, the GV80 is a zen cocoon. This can be a car that is aware of and embraces its mission for balanced, complete luxurious, and it is unexpectedly wonderful for precisely that motive.

The GV80 gives a 3rd row, however this SUV is at its greatest in a five-seat configuration.

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None of that is to say that GV80’s huge six feels lazy. Sure, it is tremendous quiet on the within owing to energetic road-noise cancellation tech, laminated glass and all types of sound-deadening supplies. However the V6 sounds higher on the skin, and extra importantly, it is acquired the facility to underscore these seems to be. In actual fact, it is value noting that whereas each powertrains are rated to tow 6,000 kilos, the twin-turbo setup helps the three.5-liter’s torque peak kick in earlier and cling round longer (1,300-4,500 rpm) than the less-expensive four-cylinder (1,650-4,000 rpm), which ought to assist be an much more efficient towing accomplice. For my cash, it would be nice if Genesis had been ultimately to supply an even-more-powerful V8 or hybrid mannequin to match the Germans — the chassis is as much as it.

That mentioned, if there’s an Achilles heel with the GV80’s efficiency, it is gas financial system. In fact, that is an issue shared by each mannequin on this class — a minimum of these with out hybrid help. An entry-level RWD 2.5T rings up at 25 miles per gallon metropolis, 21 freeway and 23 mixed. A loaded AWD 3.5T like this Status is rated at 23 mpg metropolis, 18 freeway and 20 mixed. These are unimpressive figures — particularly on premium gas — however they’re wholly aggressive for this class.

When you’re in search of extra pleasing numbers, I would recommend trying out pricing. The GV80 vary begins at below $50,000 delivered for a 2.5T RWD — choosing up proper the place Hyundai’s wonderful Palisade Calligraphy SUV leaves off. Sure, the Lexus RX is barely cheaper for starters, but it surely’s additionally smaller, much less {powerful} and fewer luxurious. The Germans? They’re all costlier. Simply over $60Okay will get you right into a base 3.5T AWD.

At round $72,000, the loaded GV80 Status is not low-cost, however this Korean-built SUV is each a robust worth and wonderful general.

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On the different finish of the vary, my choose, the loaded-up Status with all-wheel drive and the massive engine rings up simply shy of $72,000 (together with $1,025 supply). To make sure, that is some huge cash, but it surely’s far, far cheaper than a comparable European. Apart from, I feel I even favor the best way the GV80 feels general.

Irrespective of which trim you go for, there is a full suite of superior driver help methods within the combine. Ahead collision with auto-brake, lane-departure warning and blind-spot help are customary, as is a driver monitor. The Status trim comes bundled with with Freeway Driving Help II, which incorporates lane centering, signal recognition and even automated lane modifications, in addition to Remote Smart Park Assist, which permits drivers to park in tight spots whereas standing outdoors their car. These options are additionally obtainable as a part of two driving help packages on lesser fashions.

It is 100% true that Hyundai miscalculated the place the market was going when it selected to launch its new premium Genesis model with three sedans, simply as customers had been leaping the passenger-car ship in favor of SUVs. However a minimum of Genesis was sensible sufficient to appreciate that should you’re gonna be late to the utility-vehicle celebration, you have to come exhausting with swag and substance. The automaker’s first stab on the style has each, and whereas it’s miles from an in a single day sensation, this 2021 Genesis GV80 has the products to shock luxurious patrons — and various automotive firms — with its all-around excellence.

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Chris Paukert