By completely dominating its segment.
While the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade have been busy raking up industry accolades including our 2019 Family Fun award, the Genesis brand has been readying a world-beating SUV of its own. The 2021 Genesis GV80 was first introduced to the Korean market but has just made its US debut in Miami, Florida. Genesis invited us to the big reveal event, where we were able to see the GV80 in person for the first time and check out the interior.
Although we haven't driven a single inch in the GV80 yet, we are convinced that it will pick up where the Palisade and Telluride left off - dominating in its segment. We expect the GV80 to eviscerate its competitors in the mid-size luxury SUV space and here's why.
Styling is highly subjective but we think the GV80 will leave a lasting impression when you see it in person. The design is the work of Hyundai Motor Group Chief Design Officer Luc Donckerwolke, who also styled the Palisade. We think it borrows all of the right pieces from the facelifted G90 sedan, such as the Quad Lamp graphic, while also having its own unique character. It possesses just the right amount of "bling" including the flashy grille and the massive 22-inch wheels. No matter what you think of the GV80's design, you won't easily mistake it for another SUV.
We've known that the Hyundai Motor Group can design an exquisite interior for a while now but this GV80 is on another level. Almost every surface is finished with quilted leather, knurled metal, and unfinished woods. To say this interior punches above its price point is an understatement (think Bentley Continental, not Lincoln Continental). The cabin also features an updated infotainment display that's massive, with a new and intuitive controller. It features directional buttons for up, down, left, and right, as well as a swipeable glass piece in the center. And if that's not easy enough, there's a touchscreen as well. Genesis has thought of everything.
The GV80 competes in the mid-size luxury segment, so think of it as Korea's answer to the BMW X5 and the Lexus RX. Speaking of the RX, it is currently the best-selling luxury SUV in the US and it's not exactly close. That may soon change. Genesis has clearly picked a hot segment for its first SUV and the GV80 seems like the perfect model for the job. The GV80 will be offered as a five-, seven, and possible a six-seater with an available third-row that seems suitable for small children rather than adults.
We asked Genesis about the availability for captain's chairs in the second row and the company declined to give any specific details. But since this feature is offered on the Palisade and Telluride, we'd expect it to be available here. Like the Palisade, Genesis has also included power controls for the third row and easy sliding seats in the second row.
Ever since the Hyundai Group poached Albert Biermann from BMW, its cars have been excellent to drive. Creations like the Kia Stinger, Genesis G70, and Hyundai Veloster N have all impressed us and although the GV80 has less of an enthusiast focus, it should feel great from behind the wheel. Unlike Acura and Lexus, who decided to battle the German automakers using front-wheel-drive platforms, Genesis will enter the fray with a rear-wheel-drive platform.
The GV80 will arrive in the US with two engines - a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with around 304 horsepower and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 producing well over 365 horsepower. RWD will be the standard option while all-wheel-drive will also be available.
Genesis has not revealed any pricing information for the GV80, so we can only speculate on what it will cost. But based on other vehicles in the segment, we'd estimate that Genesis will charge anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 more for the GV80 than its similarly-sized sedan, the G80. A new G80 is currently in the works but the existing model starts at $42,550. If our assumptions are correct, we'd ballpark the GV80's starting price somewhere around $45,000 for the four-cylinder model with RWD. This would put it right on par with its Japanese competition and significantly below its German rivals.
Pricing would obviously go up from there with options, but $45,000 would also be the perfect price point as it picks up where the Palisade and Telluride leave off in their highest trim levels. Genesis already offers tremendous values in other segments so we have little doubt it will be competitive on price with the GV80.