The already award-winning Genesis GV80 is the Hyundai luxury brand’s first Crossover/SUV, entering a fiercely competitive and growing mid-size market, already crowded with four dozen different models and the most successful non-truck segment in automotive sales last year.
The luxury-laden GV80 accounted for half of all Genesis sales in the first half of 2021. Top awards included Best New Family Car, Best Buy, five Good Design awards, Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year and one of three finalists for the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award.
GV80 has also earned a prestigious Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, like every Genesis vehicle has earned.
We tested the GV80 Rear Wheel Drive 2.5T Prestige, top of four RWD trims, outfitted with Advanced ($3,900) and Prestige ($4,250) packages including upgraded comfort, convenience, 20” wheels and parking/safety features. Six All-Wheel-Drive GV80s offer two engine choices.
Competitively priced and built on a new platform, the stylish GV80’s large grille, contoured hood, chrome strips, slit LED headlights, chrome roof rails and panoramic sunroof riding all-season Michelin tires provide an attractive profile, hence the many exterior design awards giving to GV80.
Handling was excellent but the ride slightly stiff with a self-leveling front and rear multi-link suspension in any of four drive modes. Cutting-edge driver safety aids included evasive steering technology, forward collision and rear seat and driver monitor alerts, remote start, and hands free and remote parking assistance. Surround cameras show side video on the 8-inch digital instrument panel when turning. Voice recognition for navigation was excellent with a customizable map.
The cabin is spacious, luxurious, with quality materials, leather and wood trim, massaging driver’s seat and an elongated, elevated 14.5-inch split touchscreen with infotainment/features. A center spine dial also manipulates the screen, which isn’t intuitive but is information-rich when learned.
Qwner’s manual photos were dark and difficult to decipher. Technology included premium audio, cellphone apps, wireless charging and four USB ports. Ample cabin storage space is augmented with an extra-large cargo area above a compact spare tire.
Genesis is credited with the best warranty in the auto industry with three-year complimentary maintenance and reimbursement for inconvenience after using roadside towing assistance.
At a Glance
LIKES: Comfort, looks, handling, quickness, value, quiet, safety features, luxury, technology
DISLIKES: Poorly printed owner’s manual, slightly stiff ride
BOTTOM LINE: Will make a strong impact in tough market
Fact File: 2021 Hyundai Genesis GV80 RWD 2.5T Prestige
4,000 lbs. (est.)
2.5-liter, turbo, inline 4 direct injection, DOHC
300-hp at 5,800 rpm
311-lbs.-ft. at 1,650-4,000 rpm
8-speed automatic/manual paddles
21-mpg city/25-mpg highway
21.1-gallon tank, premium recommended
0-60 in just under 6 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.