Over the past four years, Genesis has been making a name for itself by producing attractive luxury sedans that drive as well, or better, than the most sought-after products from Germany or Japan, but for thousands of dollars less. However, today’s auto market demands SUVs, and Genesis could not deliver on that front—at least not until the beginning of this year when the South Korean marque launched its GV80.
The new midsize SUV is a looker inside and out. When I attended the GV80’s US launch in Miami in late January, I personally congratulated Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group’s chief design officer, for creating such a striking machine. Donckerwolke is no stranger to courting eyeballs. He used to lead design at Bentley and Lamborghini.
We haven’t had a chance to get behind the wheel of a GV80 yet, but if any other Genesis is an indicator, the SUV should offer an impressive drive experience. Up until now, we’d expected the GV80 to be priced competitively, as well. Today, Genesis released pricing on the crossover and it starts at $48,900, which undercuts the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 by more than $5,000.
Genesis doesn’t skimp on standard features to get to that low base price, either. Right out of the gates, the GV80 comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, keyless access and a hands-free rear liftgate.
Standard interior amenities include heated front seats with memory, a telescoping power-tilt steering column, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10 airbags and adjustable interior ambient lighting. The GV80’s standard tech is notable, too, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 14.5-inch infotainment display, an 8-inch instrument cluster display with analog gauges and a 12-speaker premium audio system with HD and satellite radio. If you’re wondering if a base GLE-Class comes that well-equipped, it doesn’t.
The base GV80 is powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine sending power to the rear wheels. Genesis is still finalizing horsepower figures, but expect around 300 ponies. All-wheel drive is optional with the four-cylinder but standard with the available 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6, which can be expected to offer around 375 hp. Regardless of engine, all GV80s will use an eight-speed automatic transmission.
For the top-of-the-line GV80, with V-6 power, all-wheel drive, 22-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and a 21-speaker Lexicon premium audio system, you’re only looking at $70,950.
Genesis reports that 6,000 customers have already made reservations for the 2021 Genesis GV80, which hits dealerships this summer.