Genesis GV80 review
The large and luxurious Genesis GV80 SUV is a welcome alternative to the German establishment
The Genesis GV80 proves that it’s possible to build a luxury SUV good enough to steal sales from the established players in a highly competitive market. From the imposing styling to the well-appointed interior, the GV80 is a worthy flagship for Hyundai’s upmarket sub-brand and deserves to be on buyers’ shortlists alongside Audi, BMW and Mercedes. That’s before you factor in the company’s comprehensive five-year care package, which truly does put the customer first.
There are no electric or hybrid versions available, which will limit sales, while the axing of the diesel engine means you’re limited to a brisk but economical 2.5-litre petrol engine. On the plus side, there are five-, six- or seven-seat interiors, along with a choice of trim levels. It speaks volumes that, even with prices starting from around £66,500, the GV80 feels like a bargain for a luxury SUV.
Our choice: Genesis GV80 2.5 Luxury
About the Genesis GV80
Do not adjust your set, because this isn’t a new Bentley. It’s the Genesis GV80, the luxury SUV flagship of Hyundai’s posh sub-brand, which means it goes up against the likes of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, Lexus RX, Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery. Squint a little and, yes, there are subtle hints of the Bentley Bentayga.
Stealing sales from its German rivals won’t be easy, which is why Genesis is offering a different ownership experience. There are no traditional dealerships, with everything done online or via Genesis ‘Studios’ located in shopfronts in posh retail centres.
Anyone interested in buying a GV80 will be looked after by one of Genesis’ Personal Assistants, who will guide them through the buying process and beyond. Like all Genesis models, the GV80 comes with a Five-Year Care Plan package, comprising a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, five years’ scheduled servicing, European roadside assistance and free over-the-air software. Genesis will even collect and return your car when it’s time for a service, leaving you with a courtesy car until your GV80 is ready.
This all sounds very promising, but the package will be of little value if the product isn’t up to scratch. Fortunately, it is, with the GV80 boasting the kind of quality we’ve come to expect from a Mercedes or Lexus. The interior is a particular highlight, with Genesis using plush materials to great effect.
Prices start from £60,500 for the Premium model with five seats, rising to £76,000 for the Luxury Plus version with six seats. There’s also a Luxury seven-seater and a five-seat Sport, both of which cost around £66,500. Standard specification includes an impressive 14.5-inch widescreen display and enough equipment to make you think twice about splashing out on a more expensive version.
With the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine no longer available, you’re limited to a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 305bhp. Although not quite in keeping with the luxury vibes, performance is adequate, which is more than can be said about the fuel economy.
Still, the GV80 is convincing enough to be a credible rival to the Q7, GLE and X5, and could even be mentioned in the context of the Bentayga.
Engines, performance and drive
Genesis has prioritised comfort over ride and handling, so don’t expect the GV80 to feel like an Audi Q7 or BMW X5. At 2,300kg, it’s a heavy car, which is never far from your mind on a country lane or B-road, and it also means that it lacks the low-speed ride finesse we’ve come to expect in modern large SUVs.
It comes with a camera that monitors the road surface and adjusts the dampers to suit, which works well at high speeds and over bumps in the road and potholes. It’s less impressive at low speeds and over frequent undulations, when the ride can start to feel fidgety.
While many GV80 buyers will fancy the Bentley-like 22-inch alloy wheels, the ride quality is softer and more cosseting on the Premium model’s 20-inch wheels. The steering is sharper, too, if a little light and lacking feedback. That said, this is a luxury SUV, not a sports car.
Unlike the smaller GV70, which is available as an appropriately named Electrified GV70 model, the GV80 doesn’t come with electric or even hybrid options. Instead, you’re restricted to a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 304bhp. It’s fine if you don’t push it too hard, but under hard acceleration it feels harsh and unrefined, which puts a dent in the GV80’s luxury credentials.
We preferred the old 274bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel, which offered decent performance and more torque for overtaking manoeuvres. Both cars come with noise-cancelling tech to keep things quiet inside the cabin. Four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are fitted as standard.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The GV80 will sprint to 62mph in 6.9 seconds, which is a decent time for a car of this size. Top speed is 147mph. With figures of 7.5 seconds and 143mph respectively, the diesel wasn’t significantly slower.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
Predictably, fuel economy isn’t a strong point, with the combination of a petrol engine and all-wheel drive contributing to an official 25.3mpg to 26.1mpg on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions of 241g/km to 248g/km put the GV80 firmly in the highest Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car drivers.
A 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine was available at launch and offered a reasonable 33.1mpg on a combined cycle. Not brilliant, but certainly better than the petrol version.
The GV80 is likely to be an expensive car to insure, with groups ranging from 46 for the Premium model to 48 for the Luxury trim. For comparison, some versions of the Audi Q7 start from group 41, while an entry-level BMW X5 slots into group 43.
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It’s too early to predict how well the Genesis GV80 will retain its value, but the company’s relatively unknown status is likely to mean steep depreciation. That said, the GV80 has exclusivity and the backing of an impressive warranty package, which should help.
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Interior, design and technology
The Genesis GV80 has more presence than most of its rivals. Indeed, on our first test drive, an Audi Q7 owner asked if we were driving a new Bentley. It certainly has the whiff of the Bentayga about it, right down to the winged logo above the imposing grille.
Genesis calls it a G-matrix front grille, and it’s flanked by a pair of split front LED headlights, creating a signature look for all of the brand’s current models. The Bentley vibes continue with the bi-level illuminated side vents, while the split rear lights mimic those at the front. Only the Premium model rides on 20-inch alloy wheels, with 22-inch alloys fitted to the other trim levels. Make no mistake, the GV80 looks upmarket and expensive, with an air of exclusivity that its premium rivals cannot match.
It’s a similar story inside, where you’ll find a bit of Bentley-esque knurling on the switchgear and a level of quality that’s easily a match for Mercedes. Everything looks and feels as good as you’d expect from an SUV costing upwards of £60,000.
Four versions are available: Premium (five seats), Luxury (seven seats), Luxury Plus (six seats) and Sport (five seats). The Luxury Plus trades a second-row middle seat for extra opulence, with passengers treated to a level of luxury you’d find in a flagship Mercedes or BMW.
At £60,500, the ‘entry-level’ Premium model costs £15,000 less than the Luxury Plus trim and features the likes of LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leatherette heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and a nine-speaker sound system.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
A massive 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits atop the dashboard, and while it certainly looks impressive, it can be a little difficult to reach from the driver’s seat. Fortunately it can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel or a rotary controller on the centre console. As well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB radio, the system features a range of Genesis connected services.
An eight-inch instrument cluster is standard, but a 12.3-inch 3D display is available as part of a £3,900 Innovation Pack. It’s a pricey upgrade, but also adds a head-up display, wireless phone charger and an array of driver assistance systems.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The GV80 is a full-size SUV with a large boot and a choice of up to seven seats. There’s lots of room for adults in the first and second rows, while even the third row is fine for adults if you opt for the seven-seat version. There is also a range of Comfort Seat Packs available, adding the likes of laminated rear glass, electric back folding for the rear seats, electric rear side curtain, front and rear soft-door close and ventilation for the front and rear seats.
The GV80 measures 4,945mm long, 1,975mm wide and 1,715mm tall. That pitches it somewhere between the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 in length, roughly the same as the Land Rover Discovery (4,956mm). It’s also narrower than the Discovery, which is handy if your commute includes width restrictions and congested streets.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
As you’d expect from an SUV of this size, the GV80 is incredibly spacious, with lots of headroom throughout the cabin. Even if you sit in the third row of the seven-seat version, you’ll find it’s as roomy as the Audi Q7, but the Land Rover Discovery still reigns supreme in this area.
The boot is huge, regardless of the seating configuration. In five-seater guise, there’s 735 litres of luggage capacity at your disposal, but this drops to 727 litres in the six- and seven-seat versions. Drop the rear seats, and this increases to a massive 2,152 litres in the five-seat GV80, 2,144 litres in the seven-seater and 2,139 litres in the six-seater.
Unlike the smaller GV70 SUV, the rear seats fold 40/20/40, although not in the Luxury Plus version.
Both the petrol and diesel versions of the GV80 can pull 2,722kg braked or 750kg unbraked, so it’s ideal if you want to tow a caravan, horsebox or large trailer.
Reliability and safety
While neither the GV80 nor Genesis appeared in our most recent Driver Power owner satisfaction survey results, Hyundai finished a respectable 17th out of 32 brands in our best car manufacturer rankings. Given Hyundai’s reputation for reliability and the GV80’s excellent care plan, there shouldn’t be too many concerns.
The GV80 was awarded a maximum five-star safety rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2021, scoring 91 per cent for adult occupant safety, 87 per cent for child occupant safety, and 88 per cent for safety assist technologies.
Standard safety kit includes multiple airbags, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
The Luxury Plus model comes with an Innovation Pack, which adds tech to make it easier to reverse out of a parking space, a head-up display, blind-spot warnings, a 360-degree parking view and an impressive 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It’s also available as a £4,000 option on other trim levels.
Like all Genesis models, the GV80 comes with a five-year care plan. Not only does this include a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, but you also get free European roadside assistance and over-the-air software updates at no extra cost. It’s an impressive package, especially when you consider that many other premium SUVs come with a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Impressively, the care plan also includes five years’ scheduled servicing at a Genesis main dealer. Don’t worry if there isn’t a dealer near you, because Genesis will collect and return your car and leave you with a courtesy car. The five-year care plan is transferable to the next owner.
For an alternative review of the Genesis GV80, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...