It is not news that seemingly everyone, everywhere wants an SUV. So while 2021 has hardly been off to a gangbuster start for many, Hyundai’s premium spinoff brand Genesis has rolled out its new luxury SUV. If one can fall in love at first site with the looks of an SUV, this one would fit the bill.
Exterior lines are sleek and well defined and the wide, handsome grille seems to smile. Aesthetically it certainly stands up to the competition in the same price range. Once inside, drivers are further rewarded with elegant touches designed for both true comfort and functional minimalist aesthetics. Gorgeous diamond stitched leather seating is enhanced by the matte finish wood trim. With 12-way power front seating, it was easy to imagine that every possible body type and shotgun passenger would find a comfortable setting. Standard features include heated front seats, but the Prestige Package also has heated second row seats with the Advanced Package including manual rear side shades for optimal comfort.
The second row can seat two average sized adults comfortably for a long journey or three for a short haul. The dash was truly a thing of beauty. Central to it was the enormous 14.5-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system proving definitively that size does indeed matter. It is user friendly and fairly intuitive even for the techno-challenged. For the multi-taskers among us, it could be easily set for split screen usage supporting both AppleCarPlay and Android Auto.
On the center console is the stylish click-wheel mouse controller. This permits seamless interaction with the infotainment touchscreen. As I am a bit vertically challenged and thus my arms on the shorter side, the screen was a bit of a stretch for me while driving. I particularly liked the cool, easy turnstile gearshift also located on the center console. Particularly useful in the Advanced Package is the wireless phone charger, though like many must be used without the device’s case. So that no one goes without juice, there are both dual front and dual rear USB ports and 115V outlets.
The Advanced Package also included the Lexicon® 21-speaker audio system which was so crisp it often had me sitting in the SUV long after I turned the engine off. There are two options for powertrains. The model I drove for a week was a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating 300 horsepower with 311 pounds-feet of torque. It had rear wheel drive – but all-wheel drive is an option – and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It performed smoothly tooling around the city and on regular highway conditions. On hilly mountain roads it seemed to struggle to accelerate and was a bit noisy inside the cabin even in comfort mode.
Drivers wanting a bit more gumption in an SUV and easier acceleration will probably prefer the Genesis twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 model that has 375 horses under the hood and 391 pounds-feet of torque. The power hands free liftgate also has dual push button operation, one interior on the driver’s side left and a very discreet exterior one on the base of the rear windshield wiper. Roomy cargo space in the Genesis’ GX80 was a plus. This was the case even with the second-row seating in place. Another plus, if you are standing at the liftgate loading the spoils of shopping escapades or you’ve miscalculated the amount of sports equipment or luggage needed to transport, a conveniently located waist level button releases the second row.
My only real complaint about this model was that the second-row release button was a fairly aggressive snap when activated both from the liftgate or the second row. Also, returning the second row to its upright state is manual, requires two very strong arms and even then is difficult. The surround view and blind spot monitors ensure that parking this beauty is easy even in the tightest of city spaces. Roadies, road hogs and others who tend not to use blinkers – and you know who you are – the GV80 provides an extra incentive for doing so. As soon as the blinker is turned on, the exterior surround camera gives a real time visual image on the dash of both the exiting lane and the entering one and aids in the safest possible lane change.
The GV80 V4 gets an average of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 15 on the highway which is fairly impressive for an SUV that is just under 5,000 pounds. Genesis’ GV80 warranty is generous. New vehicle limited warranty provides coverage for five-years or 60,000 miles. The powertrain warranty is good for 10-years or 100,000 miles. Also included is a seven-year, unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty. With specialty Savile silver paint and the Advanced and Prestige Packages, the sticker price for the model I drove was $58,475. This is in line with other SUVs of this caliber such as the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. For an SUV that is enjoyable to drive and contains this amount of panache, style and grace, it is a very good value indeed.