- Make: Genesis
- Model: GV
- Variant: 80
- Engine/Transmission: 3.5 twin turbo petrol / 8 speed auto
- Manufacturer claimed fuel economy: 11.7L/100km
- Price: From around $110000
The very first thing that hits you when you get into the GV80 is that the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car! The entire flavour of the GV80’s interior design is more Cadillac than Mercedes and more Lincoln than Lexus. It really does give the impression of an American luxury SUV. This isn’t a bad thing – it just takes some getting used to. Actually, it kind of makes a refreshing change from faux Euro. I like it.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that the Genesis is ten times the car of either a Cadillac XT6 or Lincoln Aviator – the GV80’s natural competitors Stateside. The GV80 is a truly great American car. Only, of course, it isn’t made in America. Genesis is Hyundia’s luxury arm and is produced in South Korea at Hyundai plants. You could make an argument that Hyundai’s Palisade does just as good a job as the GV80 for a lot less money. While this is true, don’t for a second think that the Genesis is just a Hyundai with a different badge.
The build quality on this thing is epic. Attention to detail reaches OCD levels and goes well past colour matched seatbelts and flows onto all sorts of odds and ends and buttons and switches that are manufactured from thick, lush plastics in a range of colours, dependent on their location throughout the cabin. Front and rear seats are heated and cooled and sport deep, plush diamond stitching. Air conditioning can be zoned to front, middle and rear row seating. The carpet is thick and lucious. Even the gear selector and terrain selector are bedazzled!
Drivetrains are differentiated from the Hyundai range too with the GV80 available in 2.5 litre turbo four, 3.5 litre twin turbo V6 or (my favourite) a straight 6 diesel – none of which can be found in the Palisade range.
As you would expect, Hyundai has thrown the kitchen sink at the Genesis range and the GV80 is not exception. Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension (GACS) is deeply impressive, including a camera and GPS road preview function. The 21 speaker Lexicon branded stereo provides brilliant clarity and adds a real sense of occasion to your drive. The 14.5″ touchscreen display is clear, but lacking the haptic feedback of something like an Audi. In some ways, this is overcome by the ‘Genesis Integrated Controller’ – a bedazzled crystal type rotary switch that, with use, becomes quite intuitive. Front seats are massage capable and adjust depending on which drive mode is selected. Rear seats can recline, tilt, slide, heat and cool. The six seater option brings screens, wireless charging and a centre console to rear seat passengers. Augmented reality sat nav displays real-life, real-time footage recorded by a front-facing camera that is overlaid with nav route symbols. I told you it had some kit!
MOST IMPRESSIVE FEATURES
I keep coming back to an American comparison because the situation simply demands it. USA sales are hugely important to Genesis and designers were clear that this is where their focus lay. The quality isn’t subtle craftsmanship, like an Audi. Rather, quality is found in places like the rather brash, trim coloured, two spoke steering wheel that would make you want to vomit if it wasn’t so beautifully stitched and jewel encrusted! Likewise, the huge grill isn’t exactly to my personal taste but the depth of the chrome and paint is unmatched in this price bracket. As I said previously, it’s all rather odd but also refreshingly different to drab blacks and greys.
NOT SO IMPRESSIVE
You simply can’t pick fault in the build quality or drivetrain of this big Korean so we’ll move to criticising other parts of the design; it’s not a pretty car. I bumped into an architect friend while I had the GV80. Admittedly, he’s not a car guy but he ran up to me, full of excitement, hoping to get a good look at the new Bentayga that Bently had loaned me! Like I said, he’s not a car guy, and side-by-side the GV80 and Bentayga are very different cars but what my friend picked up on was the aesthetic that both manufacturers are hoping to achieve – ugly, pretentious, SUV excess. In this regard, the Bentayga turns the dial up to eleven for ugliness, pretentiousness and excessiveness, but the GV80 is, sadly, in the same neighbourhood.
An opportunity has been lost to create a truly avant garde exterior design. This is, no doubt, an attempt to appease conservative American sensibilities. It is such a shame because the Genesis X Speedium coupe concept shows just what the Genesis design studio can achieve.
For people that use their SUV to tow boats or horse floats, an impressive 80L tank and 2722 kg towing capacity are offset by a silly 182kg tow ball weight limit and 22” rims.
ON A TEST DRIVE
Try to sample the full range. The 2.5 litre four is certainly competent and might be sufficient to suit your needs, but I adore that big straight six diesel. Genesis really is a brand that deserves a close look.