By Larry Lark, contributor
Genesis is branching out.
With the introduction of the 2021 GV80, Genesis enters the luxury sport utility fray, a category that is currently flourishing.
My tester was the AWD 3.5T Prestige trim level, with a base price under $60, but with over $10k in options including Advanced and Prestige packages. The GV80 ensconces five adults in abject comfort, with a generous cargo area for family necessities.
Powered by a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that generates 375 horsepower the engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivers class-leading power and 20 miles per gallon fuel economy in combined city/highway driving.
The “V” in the GV80 marque represents versatility that only a Genesis SUV can offer. The electronically controlled all-wheel drive system is standard and focuses on system and weight efficiency. In normal driving conditions power distribution varies from front (0% up to 50%) to rear (100% down to 50%). In steady-state driving, front torque is minimized to aid efficiency.
GV80 3.5T Prestige is also equipped with an electronic limited slip differential which distributes power between left and right rear wheels according to driving environment and the level of available grip. Up to 100% of rear power can be sent to either wheel to ensure GV80’s journey continues uninterrupted even in challenging terrain.
In addition to that Drive Mode Select is also available, allowing the driver to control performance in all weather and driving conditions.
Comfort and convenience features – as expected – are over-the-top. Premium navigation comes with a 14.5-inch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power hands-free liftgate, and interior ambient lighting all standard.
Other amenities include the world’s first 3D instrument cluster, smart cruise control, power-folding outside mirrors, panoramic sunroof, and matte finish wood trim.
The Advanced Package ($5,200) adds leather seating, surround view monitor, remote parking assist, premium Lexicon 21-speaker sound system, heads up display, three-zone climate control and heated second-row seats.
Prestige Package ($6,600) adds 22-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, Nappa leather seating surfaces, road active noise cancellation, power second-row seats with power side window shades, ventilated second-row seats, and vanity mirrors.
Rounding out the comprehensive Genesis GV80 package is an advanced safety technology suite second to none.
The safety suite features stop and go, forward collision avoidance including pedestrians and
cyclists, lane oncoming, junction turning, junction crossing, lands side evasive steering, driver attention warning, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, blind spot collision avoidance assist, safe exit assist, rear occupant alert, rain-sensing wipers and parking distance warning.
The South Korean auto manufacturer crossed its t’s and dotted its i’s, taking no shortcuts with the GV80. It appears to be an out-of-the-box success that will compete with the likes of Mercedes and BMW for the affections of luxury SUV buyers.
Base Price: $50,175
Price As Driven: $72,375
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.