2021 Genesis GV80 | Review & Road Test

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For the latest Genesis GV80 pricing and information:
https://www.kbb.com/genesis/gv80/

The Genesis GV80 is a mid-size luxury SUV made to compete with established players like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Acura MDX, and such.

There are many ways to define ‘luxury’ but, to me, this one is particularly compelling.

A cornerstone of luxuriousness is desirability and a quick way to achieve that is with a distinct style. As the luxury arm of Hyundai, Genesis has done a commendable job forging a clear visual identity.

The GV80 checks all of Genesis’s style boxes. Diamond-pattern grille. A twin light bar motif for headlights, side markers, and taillights. The hood is long and the bodywork looks taut and graceful.
I’ve said it before about other Genesis’s, the GV80 has presence.


Explore the GV80’s interior, you’ll experience quality touch points and countless knurled surfaces for tantalizing tactile enjoyment. There’s a richness to the materials and how they’re arranged. Authentic open-pore wood and metal reinforce the sense that this is a special place to hang out.
Thankfully all the premium elements are attached to a fundamentally practical cabin.



Outward visibility is good, rear passenger space is abundant, as expressed by all 5’10” of me sitting behind my ideal front seat position. The rear seats recline to a generous degree and split in a 40/20/40 arrangement, allowing long items to pass through the center with passengers aboard. Further rearward there is a respectably roomy cargo hold with available electronic seat releases, but I wish the cargo floor were lower for easier loading.

Back up in this region, at first glance, it looks like there are too many futuristic circles for easy usability. But all the functionality quickly feels natural.

Honestly, I’d rather have a volume knob than this roller but the rotary transmission selector is eye-catching and works without issue. As does this rotating, clickable controller, featuring a central pad where you can draw numbers and letters with your finger. You use it to manage the standard wide-format 14.5-inch infotainment screen atop the dash.

Alright. Let’s talk drivability. The GV80 is based on a rear-wheel-drive architecture, though all-wheel drive is optional for those who need it. For power, there’s a standard 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (300 hp, 311 lb-ft) or an optional 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 (375 hp, 391 lb-ft) that comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. Each engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and can tow 6,000 pounds.
I’m driving the 3.5-liter, let’s see what she’s got.


It comes paired with an adaptive suspension featuring Road Preview.
Road Preview, uses a camera to read the road ahead, adjusting the suspension in real-time for maximum ride comfort.

True enough, our GV80 drives with a sophistication that speaks to its luxurious intentions.

There’s also a sporting side for those who drive with gusto.
Honestly, for an SUV this thing hustles. Might need stickier tires though.

Corners reveal another interesting detail. The GV80’s standard steering rack offers both variable effort and a variable ratio. Meaning at low speeds it takes fewer turns to reach maximum steering angle, while on the freeway the ratio is slower for enhanced stability.


Technical details aside, from the driver’s seat the GV80 feels appropriately planted or lively depending on how fast you’re driving.

You can further explore that variable nature via a range of drive modes. Overall, I really like driving the GV80 though I will quickly lodge a complaint.
The brake pedal has a spongy bit of travel you have to press through before the braking action really kicks in.


As you’d expect, the Genesis GV80 includes a standard array of active driver assists including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, and lane-keeping assist which operates without the twitchy steering action found in some similar systems.

Rounding out this video’s premise, we’ve got indulgence, a hallmark of the luxury experience.

Even in the base, roughly $49,000 guise, the standard equipment roster includes smart key access, a hands-free power liftgate, 10 airbags, heated front seats, and a 10-year/100k mile warranty. In fact, ventilated front seats come standard on all but the base trim.
It’s that value story that I think makes the GV80 such a compelling luxury buy.



The GV80 looks and feels like a genuine luxury but throw price into the equation and something wonderful happens.

The Genesis GV80 provides the trappings of luxury…without anchoring quite so much cash to a depreciating asset. To me, that’s a smarter way to be luxurious.

00:00 2021 Genesis GV80
0:21 Competitors
0:38 Exterior
2:52 Driving Impressions
5:22 Features
5:48 Pricing
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