Hey BMW, Land Rover, Lexus and Mercedes, there’s a new SUV on the block that will surely give all of you a run for the money - and buyers.
The Genesis GV80 is a remarkable luxury midsize SUV that comes loaded with a long list of standard features, leading-edge technology, rear or AWD, two or three row seating and niceties like massaging seats plus it can park itself. Added to this, it has the best warranties on the market.
If you’re a golfer, or not, you may recall that Tiger Woods made this newcomer famous when he crashed a loaner GV80 on the way to a press conference. He survived with some injuries, but the well-built, safety laden GV80 saved him from worse trauma.
Allow me to preface this review by saying the GV80 can be considered the new benchmark for midsize SUVs. Drive one, and you’ll agree.
It’s offered in 2.5T(turbo) RWD, 2.5T RWD advanced, 2.5T RWD Prestige, 2.5T AWD, 2.5T AWD Advanced, 2.5T AWD Prestige, 3.5T AWD, 3.5T AWD Advanced, 3.5T AWD Advanced-plus (w/third row seats), and 3.5T AWD Prestige, that we had the pleasure and privilege of testing.
Engine wise, the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder is rated at 300-hp and 311 lb/ft of torque for EPA fuel estimates of 21 city, 25-highway mpg.
Our GV80 came with the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 375-hp and 391 lb/ft of torque for EPA estimates of 18 city, 23-highway mpg. Both powertrains come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
So powered, the 3.5T offered gobs of power from a standing stop to highway passing maneuvers. And it does to every so quickly and quietly through its gear range. Plus it carries a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds.
Drivers get a choice of five driving modes of Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport and Custom. Sport increases engine rpm by 500 and has snappier and higher rpm shift points. Plus, the front seats automatically adjust for added lateral support to hug the torso for spirited driving.
Upon a 20-inch step-in into the cockpit, you’ll be captivated and impressed by the poshness of the quilted Nappa leather heated/cooled front seats with extended under thigh support. All pillars are suede covered as is the headliner that includes a sunroof.
You’ll then notice the absence of a handled gear shifter. Instead, Genesis went with a rotary dial for R, N, D gearing, and a centered “P” for Park that needs a fingertip push to engage. There’s also an AWD Lock switch that diverts power to all four wheels that’s beneficial to have in deep snow.
Above it is a circular controller for selections on the GV80s huge 14.5-inch infotainment screen. It recognizes voice control and handwriting for certain functions and serves a multitude of features, functions including climate, rearview camera, premium audio, weather app, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more. A wireless phone charger is included in the console and in the audio system, you’re offered the Sounds of Nature that instead of listening to music, you can choose pictorials and associated sounds of Calm Waves, Warm Fireplace, Open Air-Café, Rainy and Snowy Days.
Then there’s the 12.3-inch instrumentation cluster that recognizes the drivers’ eyes and provides driving information, plus has an embedded driver information display for alerts and a myriad of operating functions. It includes two displays that when the left and right turn signal are activated, side cameras show if another vehicle is sneaking up on that side.
J.D. Power ranked the GV80 highest in advanced tech innovation for any brand in 2021. These bountiful functions include Lane-Change Oncoming that helps prevent collisions with vehicles in opposing lanes; Lane Side helps prevent side collisions when merging into another lane with the ability to see two lanes over; Junction Turning automatically applies brakes if an oncoming vehicle is detected in the opposite lane when making a left turn; Junction Crossing does almost the same when a vehicle is crossing from the left or right at an intersection; Evasive Steering assists in avoidance maneuvers by applying steering torque once driver has initiated steering input; Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance; Front Parking Distance Warning and Safe Exit Assist with Power Child Lock Function. GV80 possess the most comprehensive safety technology ever offered.
GV80s back seat is as soft and comfy as the fronts with ample leg and head room. With its low-profile transaxle hump, three short statured adults can be accommodated.
Back in the cargo area, that has a 31-inch load height, and with the rear seats upright, the area measures 44 inches deep, 45 wide and 29.25 high for 39 cubic feet of space. Flip the split-folding second row that powers down via two switches, and loading depth expands to 77 inches. Beneath the cargo floor are five bins for small item storage and includes a tire mobility kit.
The rearmost portion of the console has separate HVAC controls and 115v receptacle for rear seat passenger comfort.
With its air suspension, the ride on 22-inch Michelin tires is super smooth. GV80 glides over unimproved railroad crossings and road imperfections are mere blips with major bumps nicely dampened.
Handling characteristics are sports car-like as there’s virtually no body lean in sharp, hairpin turns. GV80 also parks easily with its 39.3 foot turning radius.
Here’s another nifty feature. With Genesis’s Digital Key, you can use a smartphone to unlock and use the GV80 plus you can remotely set heating/cooling temperatures within it. But that’s not all. With GV80s Smart Parking Assist via the keyfob, the SUV can perpendicular reverse park itself, parallel reverse park, parallel forward exit and remotely move it forward or reverse from a tight parking spot from within the car or outside remotely.
Now all this comfort and technology comes at a price. Starting at an abundantly equipped base of $59,650, options such as Himalayan Gray paint ($500); Advanced Package ($5,200) with features too long to list; Prestige Package ($6,600) that includes many of the items previously listed and then some, took the bottom line to $72,995 with delivery. Comparing same class AWD SUVs, Genesis GV80 is very competitive, but offers a lot more for the money.
And here’s the clincher. GV80 comes with a 10 year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; 3/36K complimentary scheduled maintenance; 3/36K complimentary Genesis Service Valet care; three years complimentary Genesis Connected Services (infotainment); three months complimentary satellite radio; three-year complimentary annual multimedia and navigation updates with lifetime complimentary traffic data via HD-plus and traffic radio.
To its credit, Genesis received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top safety ratings.
Again, GV80 is a compelling benchmark for midsize luxury AWD SUVs. It’s one beautiful vehicle whose front end resembles a Bentley.