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

    Have you ever come throughout a type of fantastical information tales of someone who randomly wakes up with the flexibility to play piano? You know, an individual whose fingers abruptly and magically grasp classical sonatas, having by no means a lot as stumbled by way of Chopsticks beforehand? I’ve at all times 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, 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, the Genesis is not an in a single day sensation, not to mention some form of unknown startup. The model is constructed on Hyundai’s appreciable shoulders, and Hyundai has been fielding 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 dad or mum 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’s essential to do is take one have a look at the GV80’s huge, Superman-shield-shaped grille or its distinctive double-hashmark lighting to know that this SUV is not trying to slip within the facet door and mingle unnoticed. The top-shelf Prestige trim seen right here rides on huge 22-inch Michelin Primacy Tour all-season rubber, and the remainder of the automobile’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 is not your factor, there’s little doubt that it appears costly and that it has critical curb presence.

    Whether you employ 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 business 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 because of its ultra-long span and the light curvature of the gauge binnacle, this show would not appear to be 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 structure. 

    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 obtainable, however solely on a single upper-midrange trim with the bigger engine. With the best way this plus-two setup eats into cargo area whereas solely providing tight seating lodging, I’d suggest sticking with a two-row mannequin. 

    For these holding observe, cargo area 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 the event 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 cabin is a particular place with its personal sense of fashion and lo tech. That two-spoke rugby-ball wheel is controversial, although.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    If you are in search of one other good cause to skip the third row, do this: 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 simply may resolve to lounge in your driveway, simply to get the possibility 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 multilink suspension entrance and rear that features a road-reading digicam 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 easy out the journey.Pro tip: When ordered in additional uncommon shade combos like Maroon Brown with Smokey Green leather-based, the GV80’s cabin feels premium and infrequently extra luxurious than what’s supplied by comparable German and Japanese rivals such because the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and Lexus RX. In truth, this Genesis compares effectively 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 beautiful interiors than they’re for anything.All of that is to say that not solely is the GV80 luxurious and exactly assembled, it appears 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’ll’t get a Wi-Fi hotspot or rear-seat leisure. That two-spoke rugby-ball steering wheel is a little bit of an odd throwback, too, however not less than it is distinct.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 in search of a fire-breathing sport utility with extra of an emphasis on the previous than the latter, the GV80 is just not your journey — not less than not proper now. At launch, there can 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 obtainable 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 mix I’m going to concentrate on for this overview. That’s simply as effectively, 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 advantageous. 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, whole luxurious, and it is unexpectedly glorious for precisely that cause.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 large 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 acquired the ability to underscore these appears. In truth, 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 dangle round longer (1,300 to 4,500 rpm) than the less-expensive four-cylinder (1,650 to 4,000 rpm), which ought to assist be an much more efficient towing accomplice. For my cash, it might be nice if Genesis have been finally 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 economic system. Of course, that is an issue shared by each mannequin on this class — not less than 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 gas — however they’re wholly aggressive for this class.If you are in search of extra pleasing numbers, I’d recommend trying out pricing. The GV80 vary begins at underneath $50,000 delivered for a 2.5T RWD — selecting up proper the place Hyundai’s glorious 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 $60Ok 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 powerful worth and glorious total.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    At the opposite finish of the vary, my choose, the loaded-up Prestige with all-wheel drive and the large 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 feel I even want the best way the GV80 feels total.No matter which trim you go for, there is a full suite of superior driver help programs within the combine. Forward collision with auto-brake, lane-departure warning and blind-spot help are commonplace, 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 modifications, 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 shoppers have been leaping the passenger-car ship in favor of SUVs. But not less than Genesis was sensible sufficient to comprehend that in the event you’re gonna be late to the utility-vehicle get together, you have to come onerous 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 consumers — and quite a lot of automotive firms — with its all-around excellence.

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