Genesis might be fashionably late to the luxury SUV scene, but it wants to make up for lost time with a model that stands out in a seriously crowded segment. After the namesake concept revealed nearly three years ago, the GV80 in production form made its debut late last month at home in South Korea. It has now arrived on U.S. soil as Hyundai’s premium brand brought the BMW X5 rival to Miami for members of the media to check out.
Motor1.com’s Associate Editor and Video Producer, Clint Simone, attended the glitzy event where Genesis finally introduced its long-awaited SUV to join a trio of sedans. Based upon initial impressions – we have yet to drive it – the GV80 does seem to have what it takes to go against the more established names in its segment.
Being a vehicle showcased to auto journalists, it makes sense Genesis brought a nicely equipped version of the GV80. Examples of goodies include the optional all-wheel-drive layout, dual panoramic sunroof, and those large 22-inch alloys – a first for the brand. The seven-seat SUV with its interesting exterior design brings a breath of fresh air to a hugely competitive segment and should lure in buyers interested in getting something other than a Mercedes GLE or an Audi Q7.
From its two-tier headlights and taillights to the dominating “Crest” front grille, the GV80 has quite a few design traits that make it unique. Even the side turn signals follow the double-bar lighting motif and are mounted on the front fenders rather than being integrated into the side mirrors like on most cars. Another relevant example that makes Genesis’ first SUV special is the shape of the exhaust tips, which has been designed to mimic the grille.
The interior feels just as nice, not just because it has an abundance of leather and soft-touch materials, but also due to the interesting two-spoke steering wheel and the large infotainment system. There’s a ton of tech onboard, including artificial intelligence-based navigation billed by Genesis as being an industry first. It works with the adaptive cruise control system by learning the driver’s behavior behind the wheel and using the gathered data to automatically develop autonomous driving patterns similar to how the owner controls the vehicle.
Gallery: 2021 Genesis GV80
Genesis promises “limousine-level” relaxation on the second row of seats, along with an electrically folding third row. There are also some other neat features, including active noise cancellation by generating sound waves of opposite phases every 0.002 seconds based on real-time analysis of the road noise. The GV80 even has an active motion driver’s seat with seven air cells to reduce fatigue during extended journeys in an effort to create a “mobile oasis.”
The 2021 GV80 will go on sale this summer in the U.S. with turbocharged 2.5- and 3.5-liter gasoline engines, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive. Go for the latter and your luxury SUV will boast an electrically controlled limited-slip differential at the back. Genesis hasn’t officially revealed pricing details, but we’re hearing it will cost from around $50,000 and rise to $65,000 for the fully loaded version.