If you don’t know much about the Genesis GV80, you’ll be well-educated by the time I’m finished with you. And if you do know something about it, I might even share a few new things with you.
But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
It’s just a really expensive Hyundai. Or?
I know a marketing person at Genesis is cringing somewhere screaming silently at the screen that this is NOT a Hyundai!
So let me go ahead and clear a few things up.
Genesis is not Hyundai
Oh sure, Genesis is owned by Hyundai, as is Kia. And while the car divisions share parts and platforms, much like Honda-Acura, Toyota-Lexus, and Nissan-Infiniti, Genesis is a luxury brand with the personnel to back that up.
Current designers hail from Volkswagen, Bentley, and Lamborghini. And personnel from the BMW M performance division now head up performance development. It’s definitely an evolving brand.
The concept was introduced in 2003 as a “progressive interpretation of the modern rear-wheel drive sports sedan.” The resulting vehicles were the Hyundai Equus and Hyundai Genesis, introduced around 2008. Although there was much debate in the beginning, it wasn’t until 2015 that Hyundai realized that a luxury vehicle needs a luxury division. And Genesis Motors, LLC was born (you may even remember my review of the 2017 Genesis G80).
What Makes the Genesis GV80 Different?
Admittedly, I was less than impressed with the sedan that looked a lot like a Hyundai fleet vehicle. So I approached the Genesis GV80 with some healthy skepticism. Was it really just going to be a fancier Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride?
I’m a big fan of both of those vehicles so I wouldn’t have been sad about it. I just didn’t want to endorse a $70k vehicle that was just a Hyundai lipstick.
When you start to breakdown the features of the Genesis GV80, you’ll see that it’s a luxury vehicle that can stand on its own and actually offer pretty good value when you look at what comes standard.
Genesis GV80 Price
The Genesis GV80 that I test drove for a week came in at $73,510 MSRP. Yowch. That’s a big price tag so let’s start there.
Keep in mind that I drove the 2021 GV80 AWD 3.5T Prestige. The base price was $59,650 with add ons for a paint upgrade, Advanced Package, Prestige Package, and accessories.
Make no mistake – this is a luxury vehicle and the price reflects that. However, the base model (which has a lot of standard features starts at $48,900. That’s a very reasonable entry level price for a luxury SUV.
Genesis GV80 Performance
The GV80 has two different engine options – a 2.5-liter Turbocharged Inline 4 cylinder, available in AWD or RWD or the upgraded 3.5-liter Twin Turbocharged V6.
I drove the latter which is a turbo gas direct injection, 6 cylinder engine. It’s a smaller, light engine than you might expect but delivers more power giving this GV80 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque.
The drive is fast and responsive and sport mode is where you really feel the performance. The side bolsters on the driver’s seat will automatically adjust to “hug” the driver when engaging this mode.
It also has an 8-Speed Automatic transmission with Paddle Shifters. I’m going to be honest – I really didn’t test out the paddle shifters because I just enjoyed putting the pedal to the metal.
Genesis GV80 Interior
As a driver of a performance vehicle, Genesis really hit the mark in multiple ways. In addition to minor adjustments when changing drive mode, the Nappa leather quilted seat can be automatically adjusted to suit your posture.
And while behind the wheel, the Ergo Motion feature can activate seven air cells in the Driver’s Seat to reduce fatigue from long hours of driving. Think of it as a gentle massage when you need it most.
The outstanding features and build quality are too numerous to name (which is why I created a video review for you!) but here are a few highlights:
- Real wood and aluminum trim
- 14.5 inch touchscreen
- Ambient sound options (imagine a background noise of gentle waves or rainfall)
- Touch climate controls (with oh-so-satisfying haptics)
- Road Active Noise Cancellation, which means an extremely quiet cabin
- Handwriting recognition for infotainment control
- Design accents consistently carried throughout the interior
Genesis GV80 Exterior
The exterior is typically all about design for me. How does it look? How will it look on the road? How does it look to others?
Much to my disappointment, only one person stopped to look at the Genesis in my small town during the week I had it. And when they asked to take a closer look, I gushed and gave them a personal tour.
It’s clear that it has an unassuming design. It’s not in your face but definitely carries an athletic elegance. The only bold design choice is the G-Matrix Crest Grille but even I didn’t mind that, and I’m usually one for subtlety.
One of my favorite features (and a signature design choice) is the quad lamps in both the front and the rear. I also appreciate the upgraded paint, the 22″ alloy wheels, and that over-the-top light projection when the door is opened.
Genesis GV80 Video Review
Telling you is one thing. Showing you is another. If you’re really thinking about the Genesis GV80, you’ll want to see all of the highlights below.
Teenager Seal of Approval
The car review is really the destination and the week I spend in it is the journey. I almost always take my family, and especially my teenage son, along for the journey.
During the week we had the vehicle, we ventured out to Great Falls, Maryland (there’s also a Great Falls, Virginia). We spent time hiking out to see the falls, grab some ice cream on the way home, and stop to film the car video together.
When he doesn’t like a car I’m reviewing, he makes it known (to me) and looks forward to a return to my personal vehicle. By the end of the week, my ornery teen actually really liked the Genesis and was even able to appreciate the details I pointed out, like the sound deadening in the cabin.
I’d like to think I’m setting him up to be a responsible car consumer, asking the right questions. But I’m also giving him a taste of the good life. The Genesis GV80 is a great aspirational goal!