Genesis GV80 SUV review
"The Genesis GV80 is a big SUV that's worthy of consideration if you fancy a change from the German stalwarts"
Give a warm welcome to the Genesis GV80, which is the large, upmarket SUV from Hyundai's luxury brand. It sits above the Genesis G80 as the flagship model and gives designers of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes GLE yet another rival to worry about. Costing from £56,000, it might not be cheap but it comes loaded with equipment and undercuts its German rivals.
Going by the response of bystanders during our test, its design is also a big hit - one person even asked us if it was a new Bentley. There's certainly a hint of the £140,000 Bentayga at the rear, with a similar looking boot spoiler and oval tailpipes. At the front, the GV80's 'G-matrix' grille, split-level front and rear LED headlights and illuminated side vents certainly give it a unique look.
Its interior is not only luxurious but also feels very well-made, with attractive materials and an optional Lexicon premium stereo system that sounds fantastic. The standard 14.5-inch windscreen display serves up lots of information and can be controlled from the centre console while you're driving. The sheer size of the GV80 also means there's plenty of space for tall passengers, and even the third-row in the seven-seat version is usable. When its rearmost seats are stowed, the 727-litre boot is larger than you'll find in the BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE.
One diesel and a single petrol engine are offered, with decent performance but somewhat high running costs. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel lacks any electrification but can still return a reasonable 33.1mpg. This is a fair bit better than the 26mpg of the petrol but both engines suffer from having CO2 emissions well above 200g/km, putting them firmly in the highest Benefit-in-Kind band for company-car drivers. Don't expect to see too many GV80s in the office car park as a result.
Both choices cost almost exactly the same and get the GV80 from 0-62mph in under eight seconds. Both also come with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, and the GV80 excels in providing a relaxing and assured drive. The focus is slanted towards comfort and a forward-facing camera can scan the road to help the suspension adapt to the road surface. We still found the ride on 22-inch wheels slightly firm but versions with 20-inch alloys are better.
The Genesis GV80 might have an uphill struggle to gain recognition among conservative SUV buyers but it's easily talented enough to convince some to switch allegiances. Not only does it look rather like a bargain Bentley, in many ways it drives more closely to one than you may expect. It doesn't skimp on the latest technology and safety features either.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The GV80 comes with just two engines that are almost identically priced, so picking one should be fairly straightforward. If you plan on racking up the miles, with plenty of stints on the motorway, the 3.0-litre diesel is probably the best choice because it can return up to 33.1mpg. Pick the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol and the maximum combined figure is a bit lower at 26.1mpg.
Business drivers aren't likely to be forming a queue outside Genesis dealerships because CO2 emissions from 220-248g/km place the GV80 in the highest BiK band. Annual VED (road tax) will also be expensive in years two to six because an additional surcharge is added to cars costing more than £40,000. Depreciation could also be a concern because Genesis' status as a relatively unknown brand in the UK means it's unlikely to retain quite as much of its value as an Audi or BMW.
A five-year care plan should help with costs and it includes the warranty (with unlimited mileage), servicing (for up to 50,000 miles), roadside assistance, courtesy cars and over-the-air software updates.
Engines, drive & performance
Genesis is aiming for comfort ahead of sports car-like driving dynamics but it faces tough competition; rivals like the BMW X5 have already mastered the art of delivering both. We also found the GV80 can feel a bit unsettled over frequent road imperfections but once the speed picks up, it's better at dealing with larger bumps and potholes. A brief drive in a GV80 with smaller 20-inch wheels showed it to be more comfortable but still on the firm side. The car is fitted with a camera that monitors the road surface just ahead of the car, adapting the suspension to make the ride as smooth and uninterrupted as possible.
The 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine is the larger of the two but it's slightly less powerful than the petrol, with 274bhp. As with both versions, four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic are fitted as standard, and acceleration from 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds.
It feels like plenty of performance from behind the wheel and clever noise-cancelling tech helps keep the interior quiet even when you press the throttle. Cruising feels very relaxed, aided by semi-autonomous features that help keep the GV80 in its lane and match the speed of the car ahead.
With 300bhp, the 2.5-litre petrol engine might have the power advantage but it actually takes 7.7 seconds to cover the 0-62mph benchmark because it doesn't have as much pulling power as the diesel.
Interior & comfort
While Genesis may be new to the UK, the quality of the GV80's interior is good enough to compete with luxury SUVs and beat some of them. Opulent leather is even more generously used here than in the G80 saloon, and switches and dials get Bentley-style knurling to make them more attractive and tactile. The front seats also offer plenty of adjustment, so it should be possible for almost anyone to get comfortable.
There's a huge 14.5-inch widescreen infotainment display sat atop the dashboard, which looks great, but it can be difficult to reach while driving. Luckily, there's also a control wheel mounted on the centre console, which is safer to use to make selections whilst on the move. It can also run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can use familiar apps from your smartphone.
Two trim levels are offered: Premium Line and Luxury Line, with around a £5,500 increase in price for the range-topper. Even the GV80's standard specifications are lavish, with LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, 'leatherette' heated front seats, the 14.5-inch infotainment setup and a nine-speaker sound system. Luxury Line adds 22-inch alloys, wooden interior trim, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated rear seats and climate control that extends to rear passengers.
There are also some notable options, including an Innovation Pack for both trims that costs just shy of £4,000. That's a significant outlay but it does add desirable features like adaptive headlights, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a head-up display, wireless phone charging, a 360-degree view camera and extra safety tech. Buyers can also add an opening panoramic sunroof for £1,500, Nappa leather upholstery for just over £2,000 and a premium Lexicon stereo system with active noise cancelling for £1,000. For the five-seat version, a temporary spare wheel costing less than £50 seems like a no-brainer.
Practicality & boot space
See a GV80 in the metal and you quickly realise it's a big vehicle, slotting between a BMW X5 and Audi Q7 in size. This means there's lots of room for tall adults in the front and rear seats, even if it isn't quite class-leading. If you really want to spoil back seat passengers, there's also the Second Row Comfort Seat Pack, which brings a 40:20:40 split and fold middle row with electric adjustment, reclining and sliding. You also get ventilated front and rear seats and even a 220-volt power socket to power devices like a laptop.
When you first buy a GV80, you'll also need to choose if you want the five- or seven-seat version, with the latter costing around £500 extra. The third row can raise electrically, and while there's not as much room in the third row as the Land Rover Discovery, it can compete with the Audi Q7. There's also an impressive 727 litres of boot space with them stowed away, beating the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE. This increases to a huge 2,144 litres with the middle row folded down and the five-seat GV80 is even bigger, with volumes of 735 and 2,152 litres.
If you plan on towing with your SUV, the GV80 is also likely to meet expectations because both the petrol and diesel can haul a 2,700kg braked trailer.
Reliability & safety
Genesis isn't a well-known brand in the UK but considering it's the luxury arm of Hyundai - in the same way Lexus is owned by Toyota - there shouldn't be too much to fear. While Genesis hasn't yet appeared in our rankings, Hyundai has performed well in our Driver Power owner-satisfaction survey for years, and came a respectable 13th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 standings. Of the Hyundai owners who responded, 8.9% reported a fault in the first year of driving.
The GV80 has already been subjected to Euro NCAP crash-testing, and gained an impressive five-star results with strong scores. Ratings of 91% in the Adult Occupant and 87% for the Child Occupant categories show the Genesis has plentiful crash protection.
Regardless of which trim level you pick, it's also important to consider adding the Innovation Pack. While pricey, it adds a lot of extra safety technology to make driving less stressful and help prevent collisions, including while reversing in car parks or out of a driveway, and when pulling out of junctions. Blind-spot warnings will also be of benefit to anyone who drives on the motorway often and its 360-degree parking view is useful considering the GV80's sheer size.