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2021 Genesis GV80 Review

Quick Verdict: The 2021 Genesis GV80 stands out from the crowd with its unique facade and, in the cabin, showcases what the luxury brand is about. With few niggles, it’s hard to not be impressed.

Genesis GV80 Review

  • After-sales service is up there, if not best.
  • Cabin quality is impressive.
  • Can't go wrong with engine choice from output perspective.
  • Third row is quite tight.
  • Unique steering wheel will have you breaking habits.
  • 3.5L petrol can be thirsty.

2021 Genesis GV80 Review

This unique-looking SUV is Genesis' first crack at the luxury SUV market. The "quad-lamp" design on the GV80 is distinctive and as you have probably seen across the web already, it looks Bentley-esque. If you're making a luxury SUV, Bentley-esque anything can only be a positive.

Who wouldn't want a Bentley-esque watch, or a soft Bentley-esque pillow? Hell, even a Bentley-esque coffee mug would have buyers.

Moving on though, we got behind the wheel of both the 3.0-litre Diesel AWD and 3.5-litre twin turbo AWD models. They cost a non-negotiable (there is no haggling) $103,600 and $108,600 respectively. The latter was also fitted with the only option (apart from Matte Paint), the $10,000 Luxury Package.

The Luxury Package

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, it might be worth highlighting what is included in the Luxury Package, as only one of our test vehicles was outfitted with it.

It is pricey, but you do get a lot of added extras for your hard earned money.

With that said, the Luxury Package on the GV80 costs an additional $10,000 and you get:

  • Nappa leather appointed interior
  • G-Matrix quilted seat pattern
  • Suede headliner
  • 3-zone climate control
  • 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster
  • Forward Attention Warning
  • Parking Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Intelligent front-lighting system
  • Soft-close doors and power door latch
  • Smart Parking Assist
  • Remote Parking Assist
  • 18-way adjustable driver's seat
  • Massage function for driver's seat
  • Heating and ventilation on first 2 rows of seats
  • Power-adjustable second row
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power-retractable sunshades
  • Second row vanity mirrors
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Plus more (yes, more!)

Genesis GV80 Electric seats rear

What's the 2021 Genesis GV80 like inside?

Let's start with the 2021 GV80 3.0-litre diesel that we tested.

This wasn't fitted with the optional Luxury Pack, so represents what you get as standard across the range, and it must be said it's still luxurious.

Throughout the interior is real open-pore wood trim with leather trim and heated and ventilated, electronically-adjustable seats. Impressively, you also get a large panoramic sunroof which is an added expense on many of the fancy German vehicles the Genesis GV80 has jumped into the ring with.

It's even added quilted leather where your knee rests on the centre console, which might start to give you an idea of the level of finish you can expect throughout.

As you would expect from a vehicle that aims to joust with the Germans, seating is comfortable and the leather plush. Electronic steering adjustment is also available on the steering column.

A retro looking steering wheel sits in front of the driver with a single spoke running through the centre. It definitely gets your attention and is easy to use from a functional perspective.

With our trim, it has some Aston Martin Lagonda vibes about it.

2021 Genesis GV80 Interior - Diesel

Behind the unique steering wheel is a semi-digital display, which has one analogue dial for speed while your tachometer is digital, albeit housed in an analogue frame. This swaps out for a camera view when the blinker is switched on.

Sitting atop the dashboard is a large 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Below that, the majority of your air conditioning controls are accessed through a touchscreen with haptic feedback. It's one fancy set-up.

Software loaded on the touchscreen is straight from the current run of Hyundai vehicles, but that isn't a knock on the Genesis. The system is clean, easy to navigate and responsive. There is even handwriting recognition along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Speaking of phones, wireless smartphone charging comes as standard too.

And if you're one of the many who, because of COVID lockdowns, are desperately missing live music, the GV80 comes with a 21-speaker, 1,050W Lexicon by HARMAN sound system. It's like being front row at your favourite gig or DJ set. In fact, it has "Quantum Logic surround technology" which uses frequency analysis to rearrange sounds.

The infotainment screen on the GV80 can also be used by a "jewellery-inspired" rotary dial in the centre console. The dial looks the part, but if you're anything like me, you will find yourself using the touchscreen, even if you do need to stretch a little to reach it.

There is a decent amount of cabin storage. Under the drive selectors is a storage shelf for various items, while a large split-folding console bin can store plenty of roadtrip snacks or drinks. It is also lined with suede material, meaning that it shouldn't damage screens should phones be in there.

Second row occupants are treated to adjustable and reclining seats to make things that bit more comfortable, while they also have access to USB and USB-C charging ports.

Things are less comfortable in the third row, as traditionally has been the case regardless of manufacturer. These are best reserved for small kids. And to entice them to take one for the team and hop back there, Genesis has included USB charging points in the back too.

In our 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T review vehicle, we had the Luxury Pack fitted, along with a clean, simple black interior, which is the box I would tick.

2021 Genesis GV80 Interior with Luxury Package

To start with, the Luxury Pack adds a full digital instrument cluster, which features the same 3D effects we talked about in our 2021 Genesis G80 review. This makes using features like the Blind Spot Monitoring easier, which we will explain later.

Seating, which was already comfortable, gets upgraded to plush Nappa leather with what is dubbed as "G-Matrix" diamond quilting, further increasing the perceived luxury in the cabin.

In the back, as part of the Luxury Pack, is a third air conditioning zone for rear passengers. The experience back there gets even fancier, with electric adjustment across the second row.

How good is that? No more complaining about being uncomfortable or losing fingers because they get jammed manually moving seats. There are also electric sunshades, among other things.

Our diesel tester was trimmed in Ultramarine Blue on Dune Beige, which wasn't really to my taste. The black trim (which admittedly was Nappa leather too due to the Luxury Package) on the petrol variant was where my money would go, but different strokes for different folks.

In total there are 5 different upholstery colour combinations: Birch, Metallic Ash, Olive Ash and Black Ash open-pore wood trims.

There are 2-tone options you could pick from as well: Urban Brown on Vanilla Beige, Ultramarine Blue on Dune Beige, and Maroon Brown on Smoky Green.

All-in-all, Genesis has created a spacious interior which feels equally as sturdy and well put together as it does luxurious.

Genesis GV80 boot

With the rear row folded down, there are 727 litres of cargo space available. However, fold the second row down too and there is a massive 2,144 litres available.

With all seats in place there is enough space for a small shop.

What's the Genesis GV80 like to drive?

Whether you get the 3-litre diesel or 3.5-litre turbo petrol engine (we can't speak for the 2.5-litre petrol), both have enough power for the day to day.

Both are mated to an 8-speed automatic and have the on-demand AWD system. For context, 0–100km/h is dispatched:

  • In 6.8 seconds with diesel power
  • In 5.5 seconds with the 3.5T

Neither powertrains are slouches, but factoring in fuel economy, (and I can't believe I am saying this) the less powerful diesel is probably the pick.

More to this point, you will barely be able to tell that you are in a diesel, such is the refinement of the engine. Not only that, but Genesis has put a lot of time and effort into vibration and sound mitigation in order to make the GV80 as plush and enjoyable as possible.

On the road in the diesel

The world of diesel power is changing, as we found in the Jaguar F-Pace. Manufacturers are managing to build really refined diesel powertrains and Genesis is no different.

As mentioned, in the Genesis GV80 you would be hard pressed to realise you were driving around in a diesel. There is none of the wobble or rumble that you associate with a truck.

It produces 204k of power, 588Nm of torque and Genesis claims that the diesel will consume 8.8-litres per 100kms on a combined cycle. During our time with the diesel GV80 though, our use saw us hit the mid 9-litres per 100km mark.

Not only is it efficient, but it is responsive down low too. Getting off the mark is no hard task, highlighted by the brisk 6.8-second zero to 100 acceleration times. Keep in mind that this vehicle is 2.26 tonnes.

2021 Genesis GV80 Seat configeration

There is no need to look away from the road as the speedo climbs either as a 12-inch Head Up Display is projected onto the windscreen to keep you informed and lawful at all times.

The 8-speed automatic pairs with the GV80's diesel well too, smoothly swapping cogs as you would want from a luxury SUV.

You can see the effort put into sound-deadening too, because there is little to no wind or tyre noise on open stretches of road. And, not only do outside noises not bother you, neither do road surfaces.

It managed to gobble up anything that Sydney's roads threw at it, coasting over the top in comfort. Genesis fit the GV80 with adaptive dampers as standard across the range with the engineers spending several months dialing in the ride of the GV80 on Australian roads.

I'd imagine it would have been harsher given that the 22-inch rims mean there was only a lick of rubber between them and the road, but I was happy to be proven wrong. They do look great though.

One thing you will notice, while you are cruising for longer stretches, is the unique steering wheel. If you are like me with a tendency to drive with your arm on the windowsill, it can feel a bit more difficult to grab onto, such is the height of the spoke.

For that reason, I am not a big fan of the design.

Not many people will be taking the Genesis offroad, however there is a terrain selector should you ever need to.

Likewise with towing, though while it is fairly capable in this respect, with a braked towing capacity of 2.7 tonnes, it is a bit behind some competitors.

On the road with the GV80 3.5T with Luxury Pack

The first thing you notice after jumping out of the diesel is just how sharp this 3.5-twin turbo is. The added power was welcome but not necessarily needed in a vehicle of this type.

It is sharp and responsive, and just like the diesel, the 8-speed automatic goes about its business well.

Our petrol variant was fitted with the 3.5-litre twin turbo unit which produces 279kW and 530Nm. As expected, the 3.5-litre petrol is a little bit more thirsty. Doing a similar circuit to that with the diesel, we registered 13 litres per 100kms.

The added Luxury Pack did add Road-Noise Active Noise Control, which despite having the unfortunate acronym of "RANC", does a brilliant job of keeping the cabin quiet.

With the luxury upgrade on the 2021 Genesis GV80 comes the 12.3-inch digital display that features 3D graphics.

On the standard display, regardless of which way you are indicating, the video feed shows up on the right hand side of the cluster, whereas the digital display will show it on the corresponding side to which you are indicating.

It sounds much more confusing than it is… unless you don't have the digital display, in which case indicating left and seeing the vision on the right may be just as confusing.

The various drive modes (eco, comfort, sport and custom) all change the 3D display. With eco having a futuristic display, while sport mode gives you flaming gauge needles.

Regardless of if you have the Luxury Package optioned or not, you get a 3D surround view camera, which is no gimmick.

Reversing cameras can often deceive and when you hop out, you find yourself 6-feet from the object behind. However, with the 3D camera, a quick spin to a side-on view gives you a much more realistic indication of your proximity to danger.

Picture not described

What perhaps is a bit more gimmicky, albeit cool, is the remote parking function in the Luxury Package. When driving the vehicle normally, for everyday purposes, I didn't have a need to use this.

So I went and made one up...

The remote parking function worked 9 times out of 10, and was fun to watch, but in reality, I could have parked the car in a fraction of the time.

I'd rather have it than not have it though, purely to show off.

How safe is the Genesis GV80?

The GV80 is fitted with a load of safety features as standard. All models come with 10 airbags and the big SUV scored a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

Standard across the range is:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Blindspot View Monitor
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • High Beam Assist
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Safe Exit Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control, with stop and go, and machine learning
  • Surround View Monitor

The Luxury Package, as fitted to the petrol we tested, adds Driver Attention Warning (that monitors the driver's face for fatigue). It also adds intelligent front-lighting, which detects oncoming vehicles and adjusts headlights to not dazzle other motorists.

Genesis GV80 ownership

The new South Korean brand really is looking to lead the way with after sales service and as with the 2021 G80, this is a real highlight.

Genesis offers complimentary scheduled servicing for the first 5 years or 50,000kms, whichever comes first. This means both parts and time are not billed.

The "Genesis-To-You" program helps to elevate the complimentary servicing to another level though. A representative from the company will come and pick up your vehicle, leave a loan vehicle with you and when the service is finished, bring your vehicle back and take the other away.

Genuine hassle-free servicing. No sitting around, no waiting and maybe more importantly, no bills.

Plus the savings could help convince you to go for that Luxury Package.

GV80 warranty

Genesis offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty on the 2021 GV80.

If you aren't purchasing the vehicle for business use, you will also cop 24/7 roadside assist. Touch wood it isn't ever needed, but the roadside assist policy will also cover flatbed towing.

2021 Genesis GV80 review: The Verdict

Genesis has had a red hot crack at competing in the luxury SUV arena with the GV80. It is impressive at the price point.

When it comes to the GV80, I think the more efficient and very refined diesel makes a lot of sense. Not only is it an impressive power plant, but the $5,000 saving goes half way to funding the Luxury Package which really elevates the 2021 GV80.

After-sale customer care is up there with the best of them too. Yet another reason for savvy consumers to consider Genesis in general, regardless of the model or vehicle type they are after.

If you are in the market for a luxury SUV, you may want to take a serious look at the Genesis GV80.

Frequently asked questions about the Genesis GV80

Thinking about a new car? Check out our comprehensive car reviews to see if your dream vehicle is up to scratch. And compare car loans and car insurance to make sure you're not paying too much.

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Alex Jeffs is the senior publisher for personal, car and business finance at Finder. He has been building websites since he was 14 years old and has tested cars everywhere from race tracks to Oodnadatta. See full bio

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