Crossover & Midsize

Will the New Genesis GV80 SUV Be the Best Luxury SUV of 2020?

Genesis is out to prove you don’t need a hedge fund to get behind the wheel of a luxury SUV. We’ve known the automaker would release its first SUV, the GV80, sometime this month. And previously, we were only able to share a few design and interior details. But now, we have more information. Genesis has officially launched the GV80 in South Korea. And based on what’s been revealed, the Genesis GV80 SUV might make other luxury marques worry.

What the Genesis GV80 SUV is like inside

Genesis GV80 interior front
Genesis GV80 interior front | Genesis

Arguably more important than a luxury SUV’s exterior is its interior. After all, behind the wheel, you can’t see the outside, but you experience the inside. Although the GV80’s design was a collaboration between studios in South Korea, the US, and Germany, Head of Genesis Design and Senior Vice President SangYup Lee claims the team tried to channel the brand’s Korean roots.

Genesis GV80 interior side
Genesis GV80 interior side | Genesis

The interior’s design and materials certainly look the part of a luxury SUV’s. Jalopnik praised the pleated leather seats, which Car and Driver reports are French-stitched. There’s plenty of wood and soft-touch materials, as well. The two-spoke steering wheel also improves the driver’s view of the gauges. The brown-and-green interior is part of the 5 interior options that will be available at launch.

2021 Genesis GV80 interior
2021 Genesis GV80 interior | Genesis

We’ve previously discussed the air vents that span the width of the cabin and rotary shifter dial. But we know now the infotainment display will be 14.5”, and split-screen. Passengers will also be able to enter information into the navigation system by simply writing on a special touchpad. In addition, Roadshow reports the Genesis GV80 will overlay augmented reality displays onto the navigation screen, via a front-mounted camera, to better guide the driver.

In fact, much like other luxury SUVs, the Genesis GV80’s luxury is really on display when it comes to technology.

The Genesis GV80 SUV’s tech

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

In what Genesis claims is a world-first, the GV80 SUV will come with active noise-canceling technology. As Motor1 explains, the SUV will monitor ambient road-noise, then play sound waves through the speakers which blocks said noise out. In addition, remember that front-mounted camera? It also feeds into the active suspension, which uses both live footage and nav information to prepare for corners and bumps.

Also helping the GV80 be a “mobile oasis”, as Genesis describes it, are the seats. Not only are the first two rows heated and ventilated, the driver’s seat gets another alleged world-first. The driver’s seat has 7 air bladders that inflate or deflate to prevent soreness.

But drivers won’t need to worry about their SUV putting them to sleep. In addition to ‘standard’ safety tech like forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring, the GV80 also comes with a driver-drowsiness alert system. It will both monitor the driver and their driving habits and warn them through noises and pop-up messages if it thinks the driver is getting sleepy.

Genesis also claims to have advanced the state of radar cruise control. The GV80’s system is allegedly an AI-based cruise control that learns how the habits of the SUV’s driver and other drivers around it. While Genesis claim this is a kind of autonomous driving, it’s clear this is a driver aid, not a driver replacement.

Finally, the GV80 will also come with an air purification system. It’s controlled via an interior dust sensor that will send air through two filters, removing a claimed 99% of solid matter.

The drivetrain

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

The base GV80 will be rear-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive will be available. AWD GV80s will come with something called Multi-Terrain Control, which is similar to Range Rover’s Terrain Response system. It lets the GV80’s traction and stability control systems change based on the kind of road conditions selected: rain, sand, and snow.

Genesis GV80
Genesis GV80 | Genesis

At the moment, the only engine confirmed for the GV80 is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel, making 278 hp and 434 lb-ft. It’s unlikely this engine will come to the US, Motor1 claims. However, two turbocharged gasoline engines will be made available at a later date.

Genesis GV80 rear
Genesis GV80 rear | Genesis

Roadshow claims these will be a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. The 2.5-liter comes courtesy of the Sonata N-Line sedan; in that car, it makes 290 hp and 310 lb-ft. According to a Genesis spokesperson who spoke with Roadshow, the V6 is a brand-new, Genesis-exclusive engine. Official power figures have not been released. However, both engines will come with an 8-speed automatic.

Pricing and availability

2020 Kia Telluride | Kia-00
2020 Kia Telluride | Kia

While the Genesis GV80 SUV goes on sale in South Korea later this month, it won’t come to the US until later in the year. Car and Driver expects it will arrive as a 2021 model.

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

Genesis has not revealed the SUV’s official pricing. However, Car and Driver predicts it will be priced above the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000. That would put it roughly equal in price to the Land Rover Defender, and slightly below the Range Rover Sport. And while the Genesis GV80 most likely won’t be as off-road capable, it will likely be more reliable and offer more value for money.

The luxury SUV market is about to get interesting.

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