The Genesis GV80 Should Terrify Infiniti

Up until now, we’ve only been able to compare the new Genesis GV80 from a features and design perspective. The mid-size luxury SUV just launched in South Korea, and won’t be coming to North America until later in the year. And it’s just the first in an expanded lineup that Genesis is bringing here. But now, the first ride reviews of the GV80 are coming in. So, will the new Genesis SUV be able to keep up with the competition?

What the Genesis GV80 is like to drive

If potential customers were worried that the GV80 would be a gussied-up Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade, Car and Driver reports those worries are groundless. The Genesis GV80 is actually several inches shorter than the Lincoln Aviator, more on the scale of a BMW X5/X6 than X7. However, the GV80 will weigh less than the Lincoln. Even with all-wheel drive, the GV80 will undercut the Aviator by about 100 pounds.

Genesis GV80 front camera demo
Genesis GV80 front camera demo | Genesis

The Genesis GV80 isn’t necessarily light, at roughly 5100 pounds, but behind the wheel, Car and Driver reports it feels that way. On pavement, the SUV felt responsive and riding on adaptive dampers with coil springs, there was very little roll. The development team spent some time at the Nurburgring testing the SUV’s durability and chassis tuning, which included the electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. However, with the optional 22” wheels, the ride is rather firm.

Although the US won’t get the diesel engine, our GV80 will come with the same 8-speed automatic. And both Car and Driver and Roadshow report it’s very well calibrated, delivering smooth and quick shifts. The SUV also comes with paddle shifters.

Genesis GV80 interior side
Genesis GV80 interior side | Genesis

But just as important as how a luxury SUV drives is how comfortable its interior is. Luckily, the Genesis GV80’s interior quality appears to match its looks. The seats are firm but not hard, and well-bolstered. Roadshow called the quilted leather “top quality”, and also reports the headliner and roof pillars are fitted with a micro-suede-like material. What little knobs and buttons remain are knurled metal. Genesis will also provide the option of soft-close doors.

It’s also appreciable quiet inside. But that may also have something to do with the GV80’s tech.

How does the Genesis GV80’s technology work?

Genesis GV80 interior front
Genesis GV80 interior front | Genesis

One of the GV80’s luxury features is active noise canceling. There’s an array of microphones scattered through the cabin. The SUV’s computer takes in the ambient noise, then plays tones through the speakers to cancel it out. Roadshow did note the Genesis GV80 didn’t appear any quieter than other luxury SUVs, though perhaps that was due to the condition of Seoul’s roads.

Genesis GV80 off-road
Genesis GV80 off-road | Genesis

Neither Car and Driver nor Roadshow tested the AWD system’s multiple terrain modes. However, both publications were impressed with the navigation system’s augmented reality features. And if either publication looked into the SUV’s air purification system, neither found it worthy of note.

Although the GV80 won’t offer second-row captain’s chairs, the second- and third-row seats will be power-folding. The second-row seats will be heated and ventilated, though. However, because of the GV80’s size and roofline, Car and Driver found third-row seating to be tight, with “tall teens and adults…basically pinned between the headliner and the second-row seatbacks.”

That is the case, however, with some other mid-size third-row luxury SUVs.

How does it compare to other luxury SUVs?

2020 Lincoln Aviator
2020 Lincoln Aviator | Lincoln

Car and Driver expects the Genesis GV80 to cost roughly between $50,000 and $60,000. Given its mid-size dimensions, its expected competition is SUVs like the Infiniti QX60, Land Rover Defender, Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5, and Lincoln Aviator.

2020 Land Rover Defender 110
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 | Land Rover

Technology-wise, the GV80 does compare favorably. That augmented-reality navigation feature is similar to what Mercedes already offers. The Genesis SUV’s camera-based adaptive suspension, however, is something rarely seen at its price point. And price will likely be an important GV80 selling point.

2020 Land Rover Defender interior
2020 Land Rover Defender interior | Land Rover

While the Land Rover Defender is more capable off-road, its reliability is questionable, and with options, prices can go up to $80,000. The same price escalation applies to BMW’s and Mercedes’ mid-size luxury SUVs.

2019 Infiniti QX60 Limited
2019 Infiniti QX60 Limited | Infiniti

The GV80’s closest competition will likely be the Infiniti QX60. Both SUVs are good value for money, with extended warranties and reputations for reliability. They’re both priced fairly similarly. Figuring out which is the better buy will likely require another comparison drive.

2020 Infiniti QX60 dashboard
2020 Infiniti QX60 dashboard | Infiniti

However, Car and Driver noted the QX60’s interior to be rather plain, with a few noticeably-cheap materials. Purely on interior quality, I’d say the Genesis GV80 would win that comparison.

Genesis GV80
Genesis GV80 | Genesis

A bigger question, though, is whether consumers will find the Genesis GV80 desirable enough to buy over the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade. However, based on these reviews, it’s clear the Genesis SUV offers enough merits to warrant consideration.

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