The 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Rivals the Genesis GV80

Premium models aren’t exclusive to luxury companies. Alternatively, fully loaded vehicles like the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy provide an incredible level of comfort. But does this family SUV out-value its luxurious corporate cousin – the Genesis GV80?

The answer is closer than it appears at first glance. The Palisade is one of the most praised SUVs in its segment. And while it’s upscale, most people wouldn’t place it in the luxury category. However, the Calligraphy trim is in a whole different class.

What amenities help the Palisade Calligraphy keep up with the GV80? And which high-end SUV is the better buy? Let’s take an in-depth look at these vehicles to make a determination.

How much does a 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy cost?

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy parked on display with a dusk sky in the background
The 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy on display | Hyundai

Hyundai is known for its value-packed models. But a glance at the Palisade Calligraphy’s starting MSRP of $46,200 quickly makes consumers realize that this model isn’t for the frugal. In fact, it’s actually quite close to the 2021 Genesis GV80’s starting MSRP of $48,900.

However, the GV80, which debuted for the 2021 model year, gets much more expensive very quickly. Genesis – Hyundai’s luxury brand – offers its SUV in just three trim levels. But the top-of-the-line GV80 3.5T V6 AWD begins at an astounding $59,150.

So, if you’re cross-comparing these vehicles, you’ll likely be choosing between the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy and the base GV80.

Does the base 2021 Genesis GV80 offer higher-end features?

A blue 2021 Genesis GV80 driving down a highway road
The 2021 Genesis GV80 in action | Genesis

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Yes. The GV80 is big on luxury in every sense of the word. It takes Hyundai’s techy interior to the next level with enormous upgrades. For example, the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy has a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system. Meanwhile, the GV80 comes standard with a gigantic 14.5-inch display.

That’s not to say that those with a taste for finer things won’t feel at home inside the Palisade Calligraphy’s cabin. It features premium Nappa leather upholstery, heated/ventilated seats, an in-cabin intercom, wireless charging, and much more.

In fact, it’s so well-equipped that experts have trouble deciphering where this premium Hyundai trim ends and where Genesis begins. CNET’s Craig Cole gave the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy a stellar 8.5/10 rating in his review of the SUV. And he wrote, “Designers managed to push the Palisade into luxury car territory — to the point where it’s knocking on sister-brand Genesis’ door.”

The 2021 Genesis GV80 is ultimately a little nicer. But whether it has enough upgrades to be worth an extra $2,700 is up for debate.

Which premium SUV offers better bang for your buck?

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The differences between these sibling models all come down to preference. The 2021 Genesis GV80’s higher trims offer Bentley-like luxuries. However, the base model isn’t too much better than the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy.

It’s important to note that both vehicles offer different powertrain options. The Palisade Calligraphy features a burly 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, a 300-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission powers the 2021 Genesis GV80.

Notably, the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy has an all-wheel-drive system, while the GV80 comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Consumers would have to pay $54,650 for the 2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T I4 AWD to get this drivetrain. So, this factor could easily tip the scales for drivers in snowy or rainy climates. AWD helps provide extra traction on slick driving surfaces, making it a little safer to traverse through inclement weather. 

In the end, test-driving these SUVs is the best way to tell which one is for you. Those who just want an ultra-refined vehicle will likely be satisfied with the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. However, those who prefer a sportier drive and big-time tech should lean toward the 2021 Genesis GV80.