“Looking for a BMW? Drive the GV80 first.”
That advice comes straight from our list of the Best New Cars for 2021.
Best New Cars for 2021
In highlighting the best new cars of the year, we called the 2021 Genesis GV80 “a luxury car beyond its price” and “an imposing, slick, refined, and comfortable SUV.” It’s made quite a first impression to be sure.
The 2021 Genesis GV80 is the first SUV from Hyundai’s burgeoning luxury brand, a midsize luxury SUV that competes against well-established rivals like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX and Acura MDX. The GV80 is primarily a two-row/five-passenger SUV, but one trim can be optioned with a small third row. Like its German competition, the GV80 comes standard with rear-wheel drive or can be optioned with all-wheel drive.
As an all-new model from a newer brand, the Genesis GV80 doesn’t have the familiarity of its competitors but deserves serious attention. This new Genesis SUV blends luxury and value with a starting price less than $50,000. It includes a strong suite of safety features and can be had with cutting-edge technology such as the ability to pull in and out of parking spaces while the driver stands outside the vehicle. The Genesis also has a class-leading warranty that includes 10 years/100,000-mile coverage for the powertrain.
The 2021 Genesis GV80 starts at $48,900 with prices stretching beyond $70,000 for a fully loaded model.
Behind the Wheel
With its rear-wheel-drive foundation, the new Genesis GV80’s driving manners are athletic by nature, similar to German rivals like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
RWD is standard on GV80 2.5T models with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, with AWD optional. The more powerful GV80 3.5T has AWD standard. Acceleration and power similarly comes in two doses: strong or stronger.
With 300 hp, even the base 2.5T is quick and has the power to satisfy all but the most demanding drivers. In our tests, the GV80 2.5T felt spry and quick off the line, with plenty of power in reserve for passing.
For buyers who want even more, it’s there in the 3.5T V6 that delivers 375 hp and nearly 400 lb-ft of torque. Behind the wheel of this model, the GV80 3.5T had even more rewarding acceleration that allowed this Genesis to both slip in and out of traffic and effortlessly get up to speed on highways.
Both engines are connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission that did its duty deftly in the background.
Various drive modes change the GV80’s personality from relaxed and efficient to agile and dynamic. Those seeking to maximize comfort will do well to opt for a model with the electronically controlled suspension. In addition to its ability to quickly adjust the GV80’s ride quality in relation to the road, it has the ability to “read” the road ahead and anticipate.
The Genesis GV80 offers a choice of two turbocharged engines. GV80 2.5T models use a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes a potent 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. This model comes with RWD as standard or AWD as an option. In RWD form the GV80 2.5T is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. With AWD it has the same city/hwy figures but is rated at 22 mpg combined.
Higher-trim and higher-power GV80 3.5T models come with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 that makes 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. AWD is standard with the 3.5T. It is EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy and 20 mpg combined.
All GV80 luxury SUVs use an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Genesis GV80 has a broad lineup that spans 10 trims.
The GV80 2.5T RWD Standard starts at $48,900, plus destination fee of $1,025, and includes the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, heated 12-way adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, hands-free power tailgate, 19-in alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers and power-adjustable steering wheel. The standard infotainment system bundles 14.5-in screen, 12-speaker premium audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and four USB ports.
The GV80 2.5T AWD Standard ($54,650) has AWD, panoramic roof, ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger and Digital Key.
The GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige ($57,050) includes leather upholstery, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Remote Smart Parking Assist, surround-view camera, massaging front seats, heated second-row seats and tri-zone climate control.
The GV80 2.5T AWD Advanced ($59,000) includes AWD, leather seats, 20-in wheels, surround-view monitor, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Remote Smart Parking Assist and Lexicon audio.
The GV80 2.5T AWD Prestige ($63,400) has AWD, 22-in wheels, electronically controlled suspension with Road Preview, head-up display (HUD), massaging front seats, heated second-row seats, Blind-Spot View Monitor, surround-view camera, tri-zone climate control and Remote Smart Parking Assist.
The GV80 3.5T AWD Standard ($59,150) has the more powerful twin-turbo V6, larger front brakes, 20-in wheels and electronically controlled suspension with Road Preview.
The GV80 3.5T AWD Advanced ($64,350) gains leather upholstery, the surround-view monitor, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Remote Smart Parking Assist, HUD, Lexicon audio, massaging front seats and tri-zone climate control.
The GV80 3.5T AWD Advanced+ ($65,050) is the only 7-passenger GV80. It adds a small third row with power-folding functionality.
The GV80 3.5T AWD Prestige ($70,950) is the top-line model. This Genesis luxury SUV is loaded with Nappa leather upholstery, power-operated second-row seats, 22-inch wheels, electronic limited-slip differential, active noise cancelation, a 12.3-in digital instrument cluster, suede headliner and ventilated second-row seats.
All GV80 models have a class-leading warranty that includes 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain. The GV80 includes 3 years/36,000 miles complimentary maintenance, valet service and connected services.
The new GV80 comes stocked with a full suite of active safety and driver-assistance systems. Included in its repertoire are lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot collision assist, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Optional are even more impressive systems. Blind-Spot View Monitor presents a live image in the digital instrument cluster of the GV80’s left and ride sides when changing lanes. The Remote Smart Parking Assist enables the GV80 to pull in and out of tight parking spaces while you control the vehicle while you stand outside it. Another good-to-have feature is Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (Rear) – essentially automatic emergency braking for when you’re in reverse.
What We Like
- Long list of standard and optional features
- Leading-edge safety and technology
- Class-leading warranty
- Rear- or all-wheel drive
- High-end amenities like massaging seats
What We Don’t
- Small third row only available on one trim
- No V8 or hybrid options
- Newer brand may lack familiarity
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW X5 – All-new just last year, the X5 features a standard 6-cylinder engine or optional V8. Along with brand panache, this luxury hauler brings excellent driving dynamics and versatility.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE — This other German rival, formerly known as the M-Class, features sophisticated technology
Used Acura MDX – Like the Lexus RX, the Acura MDX has a solid history of reliability. It is a versatile and well-equipped 3-row luxury crossover SUV with a standard V6.
The Genesis GV80 joins a crowded and competitive segment, but it looks to have the chops to take on the segment’s best players. Any model is recommendable and well-equipped but we think the Advanced trim – especially in 2.5T trim – is an excellent value. Those with deeper pockets can get a more sublime and sophisticated luxury SUV. Genesis’ standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty makes the GV80 all the more appealing. See the Genesis GV80 models for sale near you