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

    Have you ever learn a kind of fantastical information tales of any individual who randomly wakes up with the power to play piano? You know, an individual whose fingers all of a sudden and magically grasp classical sonatas, having by no means a lot as stumbled by Chopsticks earlier than? I’ve all the time been suspicious of these accounts, however this 2021 Genesis GV80 is making me rethink. Why? Because with precisely zero expertise constructing true luxurious SUVs, this Korean upstart appears to have nailed the temporary proper out of the field. This is a harmonious, totally realized midsize crossover with its personal enchantment — 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. But this GV80 is not simply Genesis’ first SUV, it is the mum or dad firm’s first unibody crossover constructed on rear-wheel-drive structure, too. But simply because Genesis is belatedly arriving to the ball doesn’t suggest it is content material to be a wallflower.

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    On the opposite, all it is advisable do is take one take a look at the GV80’s large, 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 top-shelf Prestige trim seen right here rides on large 22-inch Michelin Primacy Tour all-season rubber, and the remainder of the automobile’s particulars and proportions actually swimsuit 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 severely 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 you utilize the normal fob or the out there digital, sharable telephone 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. Prestige trims like this one ladle on numerous additional niceties, together with a suede-like headliner and really trick 3D-effect all-digital gauge cluster (the latter is an trade first).Then there’s the 14.5-inch widescreen infotainment system with its excessive decision and glowing graphics. It’s perched atop the sprint like a billboard, however due to its ultra-long span and the light curvature of the gauge binnacle, this show does not appear like a tacked-on afterthought. Manipulated through touchscreen or a big jog wheel with built-in directional click on ring (not in contrast to 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. 

    Thankfully, 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. Yes, a power-folding third row is out there, however solely on a single upper-mid-range trim with the bigger engine. With the way in which this plus-two setup eats into cargo house whereas solely providing tight seating lodging, I’d suggest sticking with a two-row mannequin. 

    For these retaining monitor, cargo house behind the non-obligatory third row is a modest 11.6 cubic toes. Space behind the second row is a extra substantial 33.9 cubes, and in case you fold all of the seats behind the entrance row, you are 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.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    If you are on the lookout for one other good purpose to skip the third row, do that: You cannot get my choose of the GV80’s vary, the Prestige mannequin. I seldom suggest splurging on a high trim, however it’s value doing right here for the added creature comforts, together with Genesis’ novel Ergo Motion 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 just may determine to lounge in your driveway, simply to get the possibility to hearken 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 prematurely (with these heavy 22-inch steamrollers at every nook, you will need no matter tech help you may get to easy out the journey).Pro tip: When ordered in additional uncommon colour combos like Maroon Brown with Smokey Green 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 reality, this Genesis compares properly towards less-popular class picks just like the Lincoln Aviator and Volvo XC90, each of that are maybe higher recognized 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.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    If you are on the lookout for a fire-breathing sport utility with extra of an emphasis on the previous than the latter, the GV80 is just not your journey — at the very least not proper now. At launch, there shall be two engines out there: 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. While 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 mixture I’m going to concentrate on for this overview. That’s simply as properly, as a result of with a automobile that is as daring and brash as this, selecting the burliest powertrain solely appears becoming. Plus, the GV80 isn’t any light-weight — a base RWD 2.5T is over 4,500 kilos, and an all-mod-cons 3.5T with necessary AWD like this one suggestions 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 time will not throw a scare right into a BMW X5 sDrive40i proprietor, not to mention an X5 M pilot, however that is simply wonderful. 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}, however it’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 is a automobile that is aware of and embraces its mission for balanced, complete luxurious, and it is unexpectedly wonderful for precisely that purpose.The GV80 gives a 3rd row, however this SUV is at its greatest in a five-seat configuration.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    None of that is to say that GV80’s massive six feels lazy. Yes, it is tremendous quiet on the within owing to energetic road-noise cancellation tech, laminated glass and all types of sound-deadening supplies. But the V6 sounds higher on the skin, and extra importantly, it is obtained the ability to underscore these seems to be. In reality, it is value noting that whereas each powertrains are rated to tow 6,000 kilos, the twin-turbo setup helps the 3.5-liter’s torque peak kick in earlier and hold 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 associate. For my cash, it might 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 stated, if there’s an Achilles heel with the GV80’s efficiency, it is gasoline economic system. Of course, that is an issue shared by each mannequin on this class — at the very least 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 Prestige is rated at 23 mpg metropolis, 18 freeway and 20 mixed. These are unimpressive figures — particularly on premium gasoline — however they’re wholly aggressive for this class.If you are on the lookout for extra pleasing numbers, I’d recommend trying out pricing. The GV80 vary begins at below $50,000 delivered for a 2.5T RWD — selecting up proper the place Hyundai’s wonderful Palisade Calligraphy SUV leaves off. Yes, the Lexus RX is barely cheaper for starters, however it’s additionally smaller, much less {powerful} and fewer luxurious. The Germans? They’re all costlier. Just over $60Okay will get you right into a base 3.5T AWD.At round $72,000, the loaded GV80 Prestige is not low-cost, however this Korean-built SUV is each a robust worth and wonderful general.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    At the opposite finish of the vary, my choose, the loaded-up Prestige 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, however it’s far, far cheaper than a comparable European. Besides, I believe I even choose the way in which the GV80 feels general.No matter which trim you go for, there is a full suite of superior driver help techniques within the combine. Forward collision with auto-brake, lane-departure warning and blind-spot help are normal, as is a driver monitor. The Prestige trim comes bundled with with Highway Driving Assist II, which incorporates lane centering, signal recognition and even automated lane adjustments, in addition to Remote Smart Park Assist, which permits drivers to park in tight spots whereas standing exterior their automobile. These options are additionally out there as a part of two driving help packages on lesser fashions.It’s 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. But at the very least Genesis was sensible sufficient to comprehend that in case you’re gonna be late to the utility-vehicle celebration, you have to come arduous with swag and substance. The automaker’s first stab on the style has each, and whereas it is from an in a single day sensation, this 2021 Genesis GV80 has the products to shock luxurious consumers — and various automobile corporations — with its all-around excellence.

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