Genesis Motors is one of the youngest automotive brands in the industry and has garnered plenty of awards and accolades for their luxury car lineup. As the aspiring luxury automaker aims to expand its reach, they had to broaden their lineup to include crossovers that have taken the industry by storm. Genesis knows the void and have wasted zero effort in ensuring they come out of the gate strong with their GV70 and GV80 luxury SUVs. We spent some quality time with their flagship crossover; this is the 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige.
The new Genesis GV80 packs serious curb appeal leading with its commanding grille that announces its arrival better than anything in its segment. With details such as distinctive sills on the front fenders, 22-inch wheels, and the use of chrome accents all around, the GV80 simply looks expensive and it does a great job garnering the attention of onlookers and most importantly, prospective buyers. People not familiar with the brand came up to ask us about the GV80 throughout the week so we know the design is doing a great job raising brand awareness.
Two engine choices are available for the Genesis GV80. The base engine is a 2.5-litre turbocharged four that produces 300-horsepower and 311 lb-ft. of torque. Our tester receives the 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 engine good for 375-horsepower at 5,800 RPM, and 391 lb-ft. of torque at 1,300 to 4,500 RPM. Despite its mammoth footprint, the GV80 3.5T gets off the line effortlessly with the smoothness of a typical V8 and pulls throughout its rev-band.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is seamless in delivering power to all four wheels with the help of an electronic limited-slip differential (E-LSD). and noise, vibration, and harshness are controlled remarkably well. The GV80 handles as expected out of a luxury SUV. Steering is light, effortless, and there is not a lot of road feel transmitted to the driver. Having been tested and developed on the Nurburgring, the GV80 can more then hold its weight in the corners and will easily handle all that its driver will ever throw at it.
Fuel consumption figures have not been published at the time of writing and our observed fuel economy figure for our week of city-heavy commuting was a thirsty 15.3L/100km. While that figure may seem high, it is in line with our expectation in the segment given what we observed in the Acura MDX and Lexus GX 460. Premium grade 91-octane gasoline is recommended for the Genesis GV80.
Genesis has raised the bar as it relates to interior appointments; they have outdone themselves with the GV80 3.5T Prestige. The leather is silky smooth, the microfiber suede headliner is soft, and the genuine wood trim feels, well, genuine. Genesis employed an elegant South Korean architectural philosophy called ‘the beauty of white space’ when designing the GV80’s interior which emphasized on a minimal use of physical buttons and having an open feeling of the cabin.
The most impressive interior feature is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that uses 3D projection technology to display information. The instrument dials actually look like they have physical needles and it works far better than one would expect from a holographic image in a moving space. There are other intuitive features such as the touch sensitive seat adjustment switches that shows users the corresponding part on the seat being adjusted on the screen and the power-operated rear sun shades that are exclusive to the Prestige trim.
Thanks to Genesis’ Road Active Noise Cancellation (RANC) technology, the GV80 3.5T Prestige’s cabin is whisper quiet and leads its segment in this aspect. Interior space is excellent for the first and second rows, however the third row is quite cramped due to the raked roof design. The Nappa leather seats are supportive, and this trim level comes with an exclusive ‘Ergo Motion’ driver’s seat that massages the driver using seven air pockets. The front seats are heated and ventilated with heat in the second row also, but heated armrests are getting popular for this segment; a feature we would have liked to see.
Infotainment is delivered using the 14.5-inch touchscreen atop the center stack. Resolution is vivid and layout is quite intuitive with a clever split-screen function, however system input is clunky due to the iPod-esque click-wheel. The rotary dial doesn’t protruding enough, leading to slippage. Some of the commands are entered by scrolling and pressing the center button while others are accepted by pressing on the rotary dial directly like a D-pad, a confusing bit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is supported and the 21-speaker Lexicon premium audio system is excellent.
The GV80 3.5T Prestige comes with a full suite of proactive driver’s assist and latest advanced safety features, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist with Lane Change Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go capability, and Remote Smart Parking Assist systems.
The 2021 Genesis GV80 starts at $64,500 for the 2.5T Select AWD model, with our GV80 3.5T Prestige AWD ringning in at $85,000 as-tested. The $85,000 sticker price may seem pricey when you compare to Japanese luxury three-row SUVs such as the Acura MDX and the Lexus RX 350L but the GV80 3.5T Prestige feels a class above both of these. More suitable competition would be the BMW X5 xDrive40i and Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 4MATIC, with the Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige undercutting both by nearly $10,000. The GV80 does not feel as sporty as the German rivals but for buyers who prefer an ultimate luxurious experience at a sub-$100K price point, the Genesis GV80 is tough to beat.
Another differentiator with the GV80, and any Genesis vehicles for that matter, is in the ownership experience with the excellent Genesis At-Home program. Scheduled maintenance and service are complimentary and Genesis will come and pick up your vehicle while leaving behind a loaner for these scheduled service and maintenance appointments for the first five years of ownership. This convenience factor sets Genesis apart from its competition.
The 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige is a great luxury flagship SUV and a good choice for those who are looking for a comfortable and premium family hauler. It is created with its users and occupants in mind, and deserves to get taken seriously. We are confident that the GV80 will not only be successful in the market but also one that will go a long way in expanding brand awareness in a field that is traditionally dominated by European automakers.