2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD Prestige
Class: Premium Midsize SUV
Miles driven: 389
Fuel used: 20.3 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|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 & 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 Specs||300-hp 2.5L|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cylinder
|Drive Wheels||All-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 type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $63,400 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Metallic paint ($400)
Price as tested: $64,825
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
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