Fledgling luxury carmaker Genesis has proven that it is quite capable of challenging European and Japanese luxury brands and now its getting into the premium SUV game with the 2021 GV80. The GV80 takes on the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-class. Genesiss first SUV is powered by a standard turbocharged four-cylinder or a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine; rear-wheel drive will be standard and all-wheel drive will be optional. Weve sampled both engines and have conducted an instrumented test on both the V-6 and the four-cylinder; we can report that the new SUV delivers both agile handling and a serene ride. We were so impressed with the GV80 during our annual 10Best evaluation event, we gave it a spot on the 2021 list and an Editors Choice award.

Whats New for 2021?

The GV80 is a brand-new entrant into the mid-size luxury SUV marketplace and is also the Genesis brands first SUV.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Since all GV80s come with a plethora of features that include a 14.5-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, and a power liftgate, even the entry-level models are suitably luxurious. Still, we crave the extra power provided by the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that costs about $10,000 more than the standard four-cylinder, but we think its worth the money because it comes standard with all-wheel drive and helps make acceleration effortless. Likewise, wed opt for the top-of-the-line Prestige model that has 22-inch wheels, a large digital gauge cluster, Nappa leather upholstery, and adjustable rear seats with heated and cooled cushions. While this configuration pushes the price of our GV80 over $71,000, its a bargain compared with luxury rivals that have similar options.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

This mid-size luxury crossover shares the same all-new underpinnings as the upcoming next-gen G80 sedan and is available with rear- or all-wheel drive. The engine choices start with a 300-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder and escalate to a 375-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, the latter of which delivered a brisk 5.3-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track. With the turbo four, the GV80 delivered a slower 6.1-second zero-to-60-mph time, but many drivers wont miss the extra power. A hybrid variant has been rumored, but so far Genesis hasnt released any information on such a powertrain. After driving both versions of the GV80, we can say that the new SUV feels athletic in corners and delivers a quiet ride, but buyers seeking more thrills could consider an Audi SQ8 or a Porsche Cayenne.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA estimates that GV80 models with the four-cylinder engine should deliver 21 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway; going with the V-6 reduces those to 18 mpg and 23 mpg respectively. We haven’t had the chance to put the V-6 version through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, but the GV80 with the turbocharged four-cylinder delivered exactly on its promise of 25 mpg highway. For more information about the GV80s fuel economy, visit the EPAs website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The GV80s interior ushers in a new, more upscale vibe for Genesiss lineup. Burled-wood trim, metal accents, integrated ambient lighting, and a large slim-shaped infotainment display keep things upscale but uncluttered. Despite the fancy materials, the interior design provides a sense of minimalism that feels truly elegant in person. The front seats are comfortable, supportive, and available with a massage function that feels legitimately relaxing. A standard three-across bench seat in the second row allows for up to five passengers; a third row of seats is an optional feature but space back there is limited and should be considered a place solely for kids. We fit 13 carry-on suitcases behind the second row and the GV80 swallowed a total of 28 with the second row folded flat.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Infotainment and Connectivity

A slim, 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen stretches across the middle of the GV80s tailored dashboard. The fact that the screen is touch-sensitive is most likely to provide the front-seat passenger an opportunity to change the radio station or manipulate the navigation system, because the screen itself is quite a reach from the drivers seated position. Luckily, a click-wheel controller is mounted on the center console so the driver can interact with the system and it works quite well.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

A full suite of driver-assistance features will be standard. A semi-autonomous driving mode is standard; it can learn how the owner drives and mimic that persons driving style while in use. For more information about the GV80s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist

    Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

    Among its rivals, the GV80 offers one of the best standard warranty packages with its extensive powertrain coverage. The X5 and Volvo XC90 both offer the same amount of complimentary maintenance, but neither the GLE-class nor the Range Rover Sport offer such a policy.

    • Limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
    • Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
    • Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles

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