You're right: comparing the Genesis GV80 to a super-luxury model sounds absurd, but you can't deny that, at first glance, the Korean brand's new SUV is a nod to the Bentley Bentayga . The truth is that the new Genesis aims high, with a high degree of refinement and technology that wants to put the German premiums in check.
If the Genesis brand doesn't ring a bell, I'll put you in context: it's Hyundai's luxury brand ; what Lincoln to Ford or Audi to Volkswagen. The GV80 is its first SUV, developed from the ground up to please the premium customer and demonstrate that high-end models can also be developed by the likes of Genesis.
Its design is impressive. To stand out on the same terrain as Lincoln Aviator or BMW X7, the Genesis GV80 opts for a tall, square front, which is integrated into a long silhouette, as if it were more of a tall wagon than an SUV. Strokes that, I repeat, are reminiscent of the Bentayga. And if there are any doubts, look at its green British green paint.
Unlike other luxury brands derived from volume firms, such as Acura, Infiniti or Lincoln, Genesis takes its participation in the premium segment very seriously. The customizability of the GV80's cabin is very high; You can choose between different shades of upholstery , and even combine colors in the leather of the passenger compartment.
The firm reduced the number of hard buttons or switches to a minimum, both for aesthetic reasons and for day-to-day functionality. The gear lever was replaced by a selector knob; the steering wheel design has two arms and the display of the Infotainment system measures no less than 14.5 ".
Although the cabin is attractive, its true innovation comes when it comes to technology. The driver's seat has seven mobile air cells to reduce fatigue on long trips, and both the front seats and the second row can be configured with heated and ventilated seats.
Genesis worked a lot on soundproofing. The GV80 is the first model in the world to adopt an active noise cancellation system. The system generates waves in opposite stages every 0.002 seconds by analyzing road noise in real time.
Other notable technologies are knobs with finger-written text recognition, augmented reality navigation —projects directions on video in real time— and a safety system made up of 10 airbags, including a central front airbag between driver and passenger to mitigate side impact injuries.
The Genesis GV80 points towards comfort, although it does not neglect performance. To begin with, its structure relies on aluminum in doors, hood and tailgate in order to reduce the total weight; most of the body is made of high-strength steel.
For the GV80, its only engine option at launch is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 , capable of producing 274 hp and 434 lb.-ft., paired with an eight- speed automatic transmission. In other regions it will be offered with either a 300-hp 2.5-liter turbo engine or a 375-hp, 390-lb-ft 3.5-liter turbo V6.
In all versions, rear-wheel drive is standard, although it can optionally be configured with all-wheel drive. In the United States, it will have a limited slip differential on the rear axle as standard equipment.
The Genesis GV80 aims for the top of the seven-passenger luxury SUV segment. So far, the effort seems to be going well, as the GV80 has been well-received by both media and early customers alike.
Powertrain and handling/grip
Artificially heavy steering feel
Relatively cramped interior
Engine: 3.5L Twin-Turbo V6
Power: 375 hp
Torque: 383 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Comb.): 18/23/20 MPG
Curb Weight: 4,707 lbs
Base Price: $48,900 (4-Cyl)
Price as Tested: $67,095 (3.5L V6 incl. dest.)