Genesis Finally Has an SUV, the GV80
The GV80 is the three-row sport-utility that the fledgling luxury brand has needed from the start.
The 2021 GV80 is the first SUV model from Hyundai's Genesis luxury brand.
In America, it will offer a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder as the base engine and a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 as the upgrade powertrain.
The GV80 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. later this year.
Launched on the back of the G80 and the G90 sedans, and joined by the G70 last year, Genesis has been surviving on four-door cars in a world obsessed with trucks and SUVs. Help is on the way in the form of a new Genesis SUV, the GV80. It’s the vehicle the brand has needed since day one and it’ll go on sale later this year.
A collaborative effort between Genesis design in Korea, Europe, and the United States, the GV80 has rear-drive proportions with a generous dash-to-axle distance. From some angles we see a bit of Bentley Bentayga. It's in the creases and chrome along the flanks, the way the hood is separate from the front fenders, the upright face, and the large mesh grille. But the GV80 is better looking than Bentley's cetacean SUV.
The GV80's roofline is less distinctive. The side windows (greenhouse in design speak) look like they could be off of any Japanese SUV, but the Genesis' split headlights are novel and will eventually make their way onto the faces of the rest of the brand. Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group says, “The Quad Lamp graphic will become the most recognizable, unique signature of Genesis design.”
Up to three rows of seats are available in the GV80 and there’s plenty of space. French stitched and quilted leather abound. A 14.5-inch touchscreen is mounted right on top of the dashboard; a touchpad similar to the ones used in a number of German luxury cars to spell navigation information or to dial a phone number is located ahead of the rotary shift knob on the console. In front of the driver, beyond the weird-looking two-spoke steering wheel is a virtual gauge display. Ambient lighting, wood, and 10 airbags including one between the front seats to keep occupants from smacking into each other during side impacts are also part of the deal.
Built on a new rear-drive architecture, the doors, hood, and tailgate are made out of weight-saving aluminum. In Korea, the GV80 will launch with a six-cylinder turbo-diesel. Details for the engines for the American market have not yet been announced, but Genesis has confirmed two gas engines for the GV80: a new twin-turbo 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 and the 290-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that will also be making it into the G70, Hyundai Sonata N-Line, and the Kia Optima GT. Both engines will use an eight-speed automatic.
Genesis may sell a rear-drive version of the GV80 in our market, but we’d guess that most GV80s will get all-wheel drive. Models equipped with all-wheel drive get Multi-Terrain Control that allows the driver to tailor the traction and stability control systems for sand, mud, and snow. Electronic safety features like radar-cruise control, forward-collision braking and warning, blind-spot assistance, rear cross-traffic assistance, and the wake-up-sleepy alert system will all be standard.
We’re expecting the GV80 to coddle its occupants and driver. For those who like their vehicles to be as quiet as a museum at night, the GV80 has active noise canceling. If you find yourself getting sore in the saddle the front seats have several air bladders that will inflate or deflate to alleviate sore spots. An active suspension that adapts according to road information from the navigation system and forward-facing cameras also promises to keep the ride very luxurious.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but we’d wager that the GV80 will begin where its corporate brethren, the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, leave off. So, count on a starting price just below $50,000 and a fully loaded price of just over $60,000 when the GV80 arrives later this year as a 2021 model. One more bet: We'd wager that the GV80 will outsell Genesis’ entire sedan lineup in less than a year.
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