Korean marques have always been high on content and feature their own quirky design language. With Genesis, Hyundai set their sights squarely at the top European luxury marques and though luxury comes at a premium, the unique design and value proposition still remain. Let’s take a closer look at the flagship of the Genesis brand, the 2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige.
At first glance, the GV80 looks like some bizarre European luxury SUV from an alternate reality. It doesn’t seem to borrow any design cues from other makes, yet right away you know this is premium luxury. Apparently Genesis themselves couldn’t describe it with one word, so they coined the term “G-Matrix” design. We don’t know what that means but we can tell you we like it, and like it a lot.
Beautiful metallic Adriatic Blue paint accented with swaths of chrome accents and the hallmark crest shaped grill make a bold statement. Thin parallel led head and tail lamps have an ultra-modern look with a pair of similar front fender vents to connect the design. Genesis vehicles have some of the most unique wheel designs on the market and the stunning 22-inch chrome five-spoke wheels with their web-like design are no exception.
Simply put, the interior of the GV80 Prestige puts everything else under $100,000 to shame. Our test vehicle sports a nautical theme, a combination of Ultramarine Blue with Dune which is as epic as it sounds. As soon as you open the door the smell of leather is overwhelming. The eyes feast upon a bounty of textures – the Alcantara headliner, quilted leather, genuine wood trim, and aluminum accents throughout. The cabin also features full LED lighting with a palette of 64 colors to create an ambiance to suit your mood.
That quirky Korean design shines through again with the two-tone leather wrapped, two spoke heated steering wheel adorned with the Genesis logo and nicely detailed steering wheel controls. The thick wheel rim has a really nice feel being fully wrapped in soft leather much like everything else in the cabin.
The beautifully ornate quilted Nappa leather seats are buttery soft; the quilting is plush and more than just a flat embroidered pattern as we’ve seen with other makes. The front seats and second row captain’s chairs carry Germany’s AGR certification, recognition for ergonomic design that minimizes fatigue and provides maximum lumbar comfort. We can attest they are probably the most comfortable seats we’ve encountered yet in an automobile with a zero gravity like feel distributing weight evenly maintaining comfort.
The driver’s seat gets extra special treatment with 16-way power adjustment (we loved the adjustable squeeze from the side bolsters) and a massage feature. The lack of passenger seat massage is a bit disappointing, however all seats in the first two rows are heated and ventilated. Even the third-row is upholstered beautifully, although space is a bit tight for adults. All the seats have power folding with conveniently placed buttons throughout the cabin making loading both people and cargo a breeze.
Just behind the wheel is a 12.3-inch 3D TFT LCD cluster which layers graphics in similar fashion to the Viewmaster toys of our youth. This makes for a cool effect, something we’ve never seen before with a vehicle display. The brass colored tachometer needle sweeps counterclockwise, yet another break from convention. There is a lot going on in the display but the GV80 provides a heads up display ensuring the driver can see things like blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alerts. Another neat trick are how the speedometer and tachometer change into blind spot camera displays when a turn signal is activated. The transition is very quick and tach/speed info remains visible via a digital overlay that appears over the camera feed.
The focal point for Infotainment is a 14.5-inch touchscreen. Be it the start-up graphics to the resting clock screen there is always something interesting to look at. We found the screen a bit hard to reach due to its position and my average sized body frame but you can also navigate the system with the unique Genesis touch controller, a trackpad input with a rotary dial to move quickly through menus. It also features a handwriting recognition feature we found useful for entering navigation destinations.
The Lexicon Sound System with QuantumLogic surround has 21 speakers and a 14 channel high output amplifier and sounds every bit as incredible as it should to be part of this fantastic interior. The only letdown we could find was the lack of wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, though wired functionality is present.
Our GV80 tester has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 under the hood putting out 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft. It’s enough to get the 5,088-pound SUV to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds. Power is run through a smooth eight-speed automatic with all-wheel-drive and an electronic LSD which provides optimal torque distribution depending on the Terrain mode selected. In Comfort mode the transmission shifts very smoothly, while in Sport mode gears are changed with a bit more panache allowing revs to build before upshifts. Genesis rates the GV80 with a 6,000-pound towing capacity which this powertrain should have no problem with.
Anytime we see wheel diameters over 20-inches there is cause for concern when it comes to ride quality. The 22-inch wheels wrapped in 265/40-series tires ride with more comfort than expected with the help of the GV80’s Preview Electronic Controlled Suspension system. This uses the front camera and navigation data to spot potholes and speed bumps ahead, varying the damping force to best absorb impacts. We found the ride a bit harsh when crawling around parking lots, but at speed it is comfortable and compliant. Body control is decent for such a heavy vehicle, too.
The GV80 3.5T Prestige has rated fuel efficiency of 12.9L/100km city, 10.4L/100km highway and 11.8L/100km combined. It does require premium fuel so it’s a good thing the economy is reasonable for a vehicle of this size and power. We observed fuel usage at 10.0L/100km during our time with the GV80, which was mostly in comfort mode cruising on the highway.
GV80 pricing starts at $71,500, but that only gets you a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In fully loaded Prestige trim as tested, it works out to $88,500. This is a lot of money but even so the GV80 is so loaded with quality content. It’s still great value for dollar and for now remains the best kept secret judging by how few of these we see on the road. If you are in the market for a luxury SUV do yourself a favor out the 2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige; you won’t be disappointed.