2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige in Lima Red (a $400 option)

Consumer Guide Test Drive

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD Prestige

ClassPremium Midsize SUV

Miles driven: 389

Fuel used: 20.3 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA-
Power and PerformanceB-
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs300-hp 2.5L
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cylinder
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAll-wheel drive

Real-world fuel economy: 19.2 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21/25/22 (mpg city, highway, combined)

Fuel typePremium gas recommended

Base price: $63,400 (not including $1025 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Metallic paint ($400)

Price as tested: $64,825


Quick Hits

The great: Posh, comfortable cabin; quietness; long list of available comfort and convenience features

The good: Respectable acceleration from 4-cylinder engine; confident, distinctive styling

The not so good: Mediocre observed fuel economy; steering and ride composure aren’t quite at the level of class leaders

More Genesis GV80 price and availability information


John Biel

We’re guessing this is where things really get interesting for Genesis.

Having first put itself on the outer ring of the premium-class radar screen with a trio of sedans, Hyundai’s young spin-off luxury brand is now entering the equally (if not more) important crossover/SUV segment. The 2021 model year sees the debut of the Genesis GV80, a midsize crossover allied to the new-generation G80 sedan. No pressure—it’s only going up against a crowded field partially populated by the likes of the BMW X5, Cadillac XT6, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Consumer Guide’s “Best Buy” Volvo XC90.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
The GV80 debuts for 2021 as the first SUV in the Genesis model lineup. The Genesis brand launched for the 2017 model year as the luxury division of Hyundai Motor Company and has offered only premium sedans up until this point.

If anything should help the GV80 stand out right away in this milieu, it is its great value proposition. Prices for a 4-cylinder rear-wheel-drive GV80 start at $49,925 with delivery, down in entry XT6 and RX territory, but nearly $6000 less than a GLE 350 and almost $10,000 south of an X5 sDrive40i. At the top end, an all-wheel-drive V6 GV80 Prestige could leave the dealership for $71,975. However, there’s nothing cut-rate about the execution of this newest Genesis.

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2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
The GV80 boasts a clean, sophisticated dashboard layout with an extra-wide infotainment screen that can be configured to display two or three different info readouts (a navigation map and exterior climate readout are shown here).

CG’s first test of a GV80 comes as a top-trim Prestige with AWD and the 2.5-liter turbocharged four. Four-cylinder models are available in either rear- or all-wheel drive and seat five. (Those with the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 have AWD only, and one version with third-row seats holds seven.) The only option on the $64,825 vehicle was a $400 application of Lima Red paint—a charge pretty hard to avoid considering that any color other than Alta White costs extra.

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Consumer Guide Test Drive
The GV80 uses a rotary-dial gear selector and a circular infotainment control interface (in addition to touchscreen functionality on the infotainment screen itself). One clever touch–the gear selector’s lighting glows red when the vehicle is in reverse, and matches the color of the selectable-color ambient cabin lighting when the vehicle is in drive.

Genesis treats GV80 trim levels like option packages added to the Standard model. In the 4-cylinder family, the upgrades are Advanced and Prestige. Furthermore, the cost of adding AWD escalates with each trim level because in addition to the different driveline, all-wheelers also come with more equipment than their 2-wheel-drive namesakes. For instance, the AWD Standard has some features that don’t kick in until the Advance level with RWD, a tactic that is repeated up the line. As a result, the example that we drove cost $6350 more than it would have with the rear wheels doing all the work.

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GV80 2.5T
There’s decent space for adults in the GV80’s second-row seats (a third-row is available, but only on the 3.5T Advanced+ model). The second-row seat backs fold easily with the press of a button on the seat bottoms.

The Prestige that we drove started out with plenty of goodies brought up from the lower lines. That included a panoramic sunroof, matte-finish wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-door sun shades, 110-volt power plug in the cargo area, hands-free liftgate, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assists, forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear-occupant alert, 21-speaker premium audio with satellite and HD radio, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, wireless charging, digital key, surround-view monitor, and Remote Smart Parking Assist that can parallel park the GV80 with the operator outside the vehicle.

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GV80 2.5T Prestige
Though the cargo area’s load floor is a bit high, it’s also nice and wide, and the second-row seat backs fold to create a flat surface. The cargo area’s lighting is better than the class norm–a welcome feature when loading or unloading at night.

Prestige-specific items are 3-zone climate control; heated second-row seats; and 16-way power driver’s seat with power seat bolster and cushion extension, and Ergo Motion function with internal air cells that adjust to driving mode and vehicle speed. Included upgrades not even found on the rear-drive Prestige are 22-inch alloy wheels, electronically controlled suspension with “Road Preview” that adjusts damping to upcoming road-surface irregularities, head-up display, and active noise cancellation.

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2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
GV80 2.5T models are powered by a 300-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder.

The GV80 rides a 116.3-inch wheelbase and is 194.7 inches long. It has a stylistic kinship to the redesigned G80 sedan through things like a huge pentagonal grille filled with a bright diamond-pattern surface and stacked slitlike headlights that establish a pattern continued as simulated vents on the front fenders. Inside, much of the switchgear and controls are the same, but the dashboard and console designs are different in the two vehicles, and there’s a different steering wheel in the GV80.

In the Prestige, surroundings are plush, with lots of padded surfaces, even on the sides of the console. The test truck displayed an elegant look and feel to the beige leather on the nicely detailed and highly comfortable seats. Certain controls on the console like the silver rotary transmission selector and circular infotainment controller (upon which fingertip “handwriting” commands can be made) have knurled surfaces for enhanced look and feel. Better yet, the cabin is delightfully quiet.

An up-to-the-minute infotainment system features a 14.5-inch touchscreen atop of the dashboard. The plethora of information available from it can be managed by touch on the screen, through the central controller, from steering-wheel buttons, and/or voice command. The climate system’s big external dials permit quick, direct temperature settings, but the remainder of the controls are on a touchpad of their own. Glove box, console bin, door pockets, seat-back pouches, and cup holders in the console and pull-down rear armrest take care of passengers’ needs for personal-item storage.

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2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
All-wheel-drive 2.5T Prestige models step up to 22-inch alloy wheels in place of the 19s or 20s on lesser 2.5T models.

The GV80 is commendably roomy in both rows, and sports pretty good cargo space with the rear seats up, plus some organized underfloor space. For more room, rear 40/20/40-split seats fold nearly flat and in an uninterrupted surface from the load floor. Though there are remote seat releases in the cargo hold, a handy button on each side of the second-row seats also lets you drop seat backs at a touch without groping for levers or going to the back of the vehicle.

The 2.5 turbo engine is new to Genesis. It develops 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Working through an 8-speed automatic transmission, it behaves about the same way it does in the G80, with good-not-great standing-start acceleration but responsive trans kickdown for effective highway passing. Selectable drive modes include Comfort, Snow, Eco, Sport, and Custom, and adjust transmission mapping, throttle responsiveness, and suspension. (Sport also induces the seat side bolsters to grip the driver a little tighter.) When this driver put 75.5 miles on the test car—all of it in city-type driving—it returned 19.0 mpg, which falls short of the EPA city-mileage projection of 21 mpg. About the only way the GV80 needs to really improve to draw near to the brands it hopes to run with is in chassis dynamics. It lags somewhat behind their levels of ride composure and steering feel.

Genesis has gotten off to an impressive start as a luxury-grade automaker. The GV80 will show if that was more than just beginner’s luck.

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2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige
The GV80 is a fine first-SUV effort from the upstart Genesis brand. It boasts distinctive styling, a posh cabin, and an impressive array of available comfort and convenience features. However, ride quality trails the premium midsize SUV class leaders, and our observed fuel economy was disappointing.

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