2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Prestige

2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Prestige

“Is that the SUV that Tiger Woods crashed?” asked a friend when I pulled up in the GV80. Yes, the crash involving the famous golfer has given the SUV made by Genesis some notoriety. Hopefully that turns out to be a good thing because Genesis makes some very nice vehicles that compete well against established luxury brands including Acura, Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

Base Price: $59,150
As Tested: $72,375
Horsepower: 375
Mileage: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined

Genesis is the luxury brand made by Korean automaker Hyundai. It used to be a model in the Hyundai line-up then became its own brand with the launch of the Genesis G90 sedan in 2017.

The Genesis GV80 is brand new for 2021 and is the first SUV for the brand. It sure has the “wow” factor. It’s good looking, enjoyable to drive with its spirited performance, loaded with amenities and has the latest tech. It’s also easy on the wallet compared to other luxury crossovers.

The GV80 is a head turner, in part because people try to figure out what it is. The Genesis brand isn’t yet top of mind for most folks, but it should be. During my week-long test drive, I noticed people staring at it, with many giving a thumbs up sign. Many stopped to ask me what it was and most weren’t familiar with the Genesis brand.

The GV80 comes in three trims: base, Advanced, and Prestige. Starting prices range from $48,900 to $70,950 which are very reasonable for a loaded luxury crossover. There’s room for five or seven passengers as the Advance trim comes with an optional third row (Advance+). Rear-wheel-drive is standard. All-wheel-drive is available on the four-cylinder models and standard on the V6.

Two engines are available. The standard is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is available that produces 375 horses and 391 pound-feet. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The GV80 is fun to drive! It’s more athletic than many crossovers with lively acceleration and sharp handling, and it stays planted when cornering. My tester has the V6 and it’s punchy and quick. There’s also plenty of smooth power for merging and passing at freeway speeds. The eight-speed shifts smoothly and quickly, always finding the right gear. The ride is firm—while it’s not uncomfortable, it’s not as cushy and smooth as some rivals.

When properly equipped, the GV80 can tow up to 6,000 pounds.

Fuel efficiency is about a little below average for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway with a combined rating of 20. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

The interior is handsome and upscale and is one of the nicest in the class. It’s everything you’d expect in a luxury vehicle. Materials are top notch and the fit and finish are exemplary, with every stitch in place. A nice touch is the quilted upholstery and trim. Seats are comfortable and supportive. There’s plenty of leg- and headroom in the two rows of seating. The optional third row is tight and is best for small kids.

A ginormous high-res 14.5-inch infotainment system is the focal point on the dash. While it’s a touchscreen, there’s also a rotary controller on the center console. You can pinch and swipe, like a tablet, and there’s a pad that recognizes handwriting so you can write commands. Graphics look great and the system responds quickly to commands. The system takes some getting used to but becomes easy to use with some practice.

Even the base model comes well equipped. Standard features include rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, eight-inch digital gauge cluster display, 14.5-inch display, navigation, 12-speaker audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and four USB ports,

Available features include a head-up display, surround-view camera system, tri-zone automatic climate control, real leather upholstery, Nappa leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power-adjustable rear seats,

21-speaker Lexicon audio system, wireless device charging, rear-seat reminder, and a panoramic sunroof.

Standard driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane change assist, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, front and rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, driver drowsiness monitoring, and vehicle exit warning.

Available driver assistance technologies include a blind spot camera, reverse automatic emergency braking, and remote smart parking assist, which can adjust the vehicle’s position after parking if need be.

Cargo space: 33.9 cubes are behind the second row and 84 cubes with the second row folded. The second row splits 40/20/40 and folds flat with the push of a button. For models with three rows of seating, there are 11.6 cubes behind the third row. A power liftgate is standard.

The GV80 comes with Genesis’ awesome warranty with five-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.

The good:

Reasonable pricing for a luxury crossover

Nimble performance

Elegant, upscale cabin

Tons of standard and available amenities and tech

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Excellent warranty

The not-so-good:

Infotainment system can take some practice

Slightly below average fuel efficiency

Optional third row is cramped

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $59,150. Cardiff Green paint is $400. Advanced Package is $5,200 and includes leather seating surfaces, surround view monitor, blind spot view monitor, remote smart parking assist, rear parking collision-avoidance assist, Lexicon 21-speaker audio system, head-up display, power driver seat bolster and cushion extension, Ergo motion seat, three-zone climate controls, and heated second row seats. The Prestige Package is $6,600 and includes 22-inch Alloy wheels with all-season tires, electronic limited slip differential, Nappa leather seating surfaces, microfiber suede headliner and pillars, 12.3-inch 3D digital cluster, road active noise cancellation, power second row seat recline, slide and cushion tilt, forward attention warning, power rear side window shades, ventilated second row seats, power door closure, and second row vanity mirrors. Destination fee is $1,025 bringing the grand total to $72,375.

Bottom line:

The new Genesis GV80 is an excellent midsize luxury SUV and easily competes with rivals from established brands from Acura to Mercedes-Benz. It offers style, elegance, nimble performance and a slew of amenities and technologies, all at a price that can be thousands less than those other brands.

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