The recently released Genesis GV80 is Genesis’ first attempt at an SUV and joins the G70 and G80 sedans. There are four different GV80 models with three different engine choices.
These include a 2.5 Litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol rear-wheel drive five seater, a 2.5 Litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol all-wheel drive seven seater, a 3.0 Litre inline-six cylinder turbocharged diesel all-wheel drive seven seater and a top of the range 3.5 V6 twin-turbocharged petrol all-wheel drive seven seater. The 2.5 Litre models have outputs of 224kW and 422Nm, the 3.0 Litre has 204kW and 588Nm while the 3.5 Litre has 279kW and 530Nm. The car on test is a Cardiff Green Genesis GV80 2.5T, costing $90,600 (including luxury car tax but not including on-road costs). It also has the Luxury package fitted, adding a further $10,000, bringing the total cost to $100,600.
The interior is where the GV80 really shines. Although I personally don’t like the look of the two-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters, occupants are treated to a wonderful cream/brown interior, with high quality leather, suede, real wood and metal accents. The Luxury package on this vehicle adds the high-spec Nappa leather interior, a very comfortable 18-way power adjustable driver’s heated and cooled seat with massage function, heated and cooled second row outside seats, power adjustable second row seats, heated steering wheel, power window shades, a 12.3-inch fully digital dashboard with 3D effect, soft-close doors, tri-zone climate control, suede headlining, noise cancellation technology, rear privacy glass and intelligent front lighting adaptive headlights.
The 14.5-inch touchscreen media display dominates the top of the dashboard and can be used as a touchscreen or controlled with a large easy to operate dial in the centre console. Through this display, the driver can scroll through a number of options, including the Map, Navigation Menu, Radio, Media, Phone, Phone Projection, Voice Memo, Settings, Sounds of Nature, Seat, Passenger Talk, Quiet Mode, Climate and Manual. The Settings menu contains vehicle settings (driver assistance, drive mode, active sound design, head-up display, seat, lights, door/tailgate and convenience), navigation, sound, device connection, user profile, display and touch pad/general). Below the touchscreen controller is another dial that is turned to operate the gearbox (Park, Drive, Neutral and Reverse).
There’s adequate legroom and headroom for front and rear seat occupants in this five seat model and also plenty of places to store drinks and small items. The dual zone climate control is easy to use and effective and rear seat occupants have access to their own climate control settings. In the second row, occupants also have access to USB outlets and a 12V socket and the outboard rear seats have ISOFIX child seat mounts. In this model, there’s a spacesaver included and 735 litres of luggage space with the second row included and a whopping 2152 litres with the second row folded down.
Exterior design of SUVs are more often than not a little bland, however the GV80 has a very distinctive design that draws a lot of attention. It has a sporty, unique design and this model is finished in metallic Cardiff Green. There are 11 different exterior colours to choose from. Eight of these colours are gloss/mica/metallic shades at no extra cost and these colours are Adriatic Blue, Savile Silver, Uyuni White, Vik Black, Gold Coast Silver, Himalayan Grey, Cardiff Green and Lima Red. The front of the car is dominated by the signature Crest Grille, inspired by the Genesis emblem. The cooling vents either side of the front bumper are functional. From the front to the side turn signal, and to the rear combination lamps, the car is connected in a horizontal layout. Chrome looking pieces are a feature on this car, most notably on the bottom of the doors. There’s a large ‘GENESIS’ badge on the rear tailgate along with the model designation, in this case a 2.5T badge. Dual exhausts are included, however like most modern cars there are fake exhaust outlets. The 20-inch five spoke alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV tyres; 265/50/20 profile front and rear. Brakes discs are ventilated, measuring 360mm in diameter on the front axle with two-piston calipers and 360mm diameter on the rear axle with one piston calipers.
In the boot, there’s a warning triangle, roadside assistance kit and first aid kit. Standard equipment (without luxury pack) includes a 14.5-inch touchscreen media display with satellite navigation featuring augmented reality and live traffic updates, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio, wireless smartphone charger, a 21-speaker Lexicon sound system, a 12.0-inch head up display, dual-zone climate control with ventilation/fan controls for the second row, leather upholstery, open-pore real wood trim, LED headlights, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 12-way power adjustable front seats with heating and cooling, keyless entry, push button start, remote engine start, 20-inch wheels, in-cabin mood lighting, panoramic sunroof, adaptive high beam, 360 degree camera, adaptive cruise control, rear window shades and a power operated tailgate. There’s also autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, evasive steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic assist, safe exit assist and 10 airbags. The car also has traction control and vehicle stability management.
Drive modes are activated by using the Drive Mode selector switch located underneath the gearshift controller, or through the touchscreen. There are four different drive modes to choose from in the GV80, including Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom. In Custom mode, the engine/transmission can be set to Eco, Comfort, Sport or Smart while steering can be set to Comfort or Sport. There are seven pages to toggle through on the instrument display. The first page displays drive information (current trip kilometres, fuel use in litres/100km, time driven in hours). Page two displays since refuelling (kilometres, fuel use in litres/100km, time driven in hours). Page three shows accumulated information (kilometres, fuel use in l/100km, time driven in hours). Page four shows the digital speedometer and page five shows attention level and last break. Page six shows tyre pressures while page seven displays the contents configurator.
Driving impressions and performance
This base model GV80 is fitted with a 2.5 Litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, with outputs of 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine has a bit of turbo lag in the lower part of the rev range but power delivery is relatively linear for a turbocharged engine. Engine performance is dulled by the weight of the vehicle (2073kg) however the GV80 completes the 0-100km/h sprint in a respectable 6.9 seconds. The engine/transmission is most responsive in Sport mode and there’s a big difference in responsiveness between Eco and Sport. The GV80 is competent at putting its power down through the rear wheels, and it never feels like traction loss is an issue. The exhaust note of the car is unfortunately a bit uninspiring. There’s an option to play fake engine sound through the speakers however this is something that doesn’t appeal to me. The GV80 achieves combined fuel consumption figures of 9.8L/100km and has an 80 Litre fuel tank.
The eight speed automatic gearbox is perfectly fine for cruising around town and on long distance journeys, however under hard in-gear acceleration, feels like it doesn’t know what gear it wants. It’s a very busy gearbox, particularly in Eco mode, when getting into the highest gears is its number one priority. The other frustration is that it doesn’t have a full manual mode. The gearbox is sometimes slow to respond when downshifting into a corner. The gearbox is operated by turning a dial in the centre console. I found this to be a bit clumsy to operate at times, particularly when needing to engage reverse in a hurry.
On some occasions, the GV80’s suspension takes a while to settle back to its normal setting after being driven over larger dips in the road surface. I expected the car to have more composure in this area, particularly with the input of local suspension tuning. Body roll is present, but this is expected due to the high ride height of the vehicle and higher profile tyres. The electric steering is good with adequate feedback. Steering feel doesn’t greatly differ between Comfort and Sport but the driver can position the front of the car exactly where it’s required. The 360mm ventilated disc brake package front and rear do a great job of pulling up all the mass, with no brake fade evident.
The tachometer takes time to adjust to as the needle moves in the opposite direction, similar to cars from Aston Martin. Personally, I didn’t warm to the 3D function on the instrument cluster and preferred the standard look. Another frustration is the lane departure warning being too intrusive, and it’s annoying that it always defaults to the on position when starting up the car.
When indicating to turn right, you can select a camera that takes place of the tachometer to show you what’s behind and to the side of you. When turning left, the camera takes place of the speedometer. This is one of the features that I really enjoyed on the GV80. Visibility out of the car is also a highlight, and it’s very easy to know exactly what’s in front of you, to the side of you and behind you when driving this car.
The Genesis GV80 2.5T is around the same cost as its German rivals, the Audi Q7 and BMW X5. I’m yet to drive these cars, but it would be interesting to see how they compare to the GV80, particularly in regards to engine performance, body control and suspension. All GV80 models come with a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty with five years of premium roadside assistance. Scheduled servicing is free for the first five years/50,000 kilometres.
Suspension and gearbox refinements for future models would greatly enhance this car’s appeal. The GV80 is a car that turns heads, is incredibly well equipped with the Luxury package, practical, packed full of technology and safe. The 2.5 Litre turbocharged four-cylinder is adequate enough to propel the mass of the car, but it would be good to see how the 3.5 Litre twin-turbocharged V6 performs in the GV80. The GV80 is a very comfortable and competent luxury car to cover many kilometres in and is a great first attempt at an SUV for the Genesis brand.
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