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Ready Player Two: Rookie Luxury SUV GV80 Breaks Sedan Continuity

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Korean luxury rebrand Genesis Motors releases their first ever luxury SUV series – the GV80 – surprising both their local and international audience. With its release comes their 2021 lineup of G70, G80 and G90.

Breaking their sedan-focused releases from last year, they try to enter the crossover competition with highlights on noteworthy tech upgrades to all-road capability, intuitive driving, comfort and the overall auto experience.

They’re new to the game but let’s check if they got the basics right for their luxury SUV’s.

The Genesis website hasn’t put up any information regarding variations in color but a prominent cool space grey model takes it place right and center of the screen. It’s impressive though, the front of the SUV is dominated by the criss-cross hatch grilles that are framed nicely in a reverse pentagon. The headlamps look smart and modern with the horizontal dual slits and positioned slightly below them are the exhausts to reduce frontal drag and air resistance. The dual exhausts at the rear continue this “slit” theme, and the tail lights are no exception. The reason behind this design choice was to give the impression that the light diffuses around the vehicle, which would be useful for night drives in the outdoors, but come on, nobody really goes for a night drive in the middle of Arizona.

The reverse pentagon from the front has lines that run through the sides of the hood and continues across the side mold, underlining the windows, exuding a premium feel. The fenders aren’t pronounced – in fact they’re concave and give more emphasis to the embossed hood. This holds true to their design mantra that “less is more.”

But this theme isn’t continuous with the interior. At first look, there’s spectacular detail on the dash. There are simply so many shapes that it gives more of a distraction than focus. It’s an artwork through – the quilted nappa leather seats have the same pattern on the grilles, although it’s on a vertical configuration. The massive HUD takes the center of the dash but it’s not raised so much that it blocks the driver’s sightline. The steering wheel is the first thing you notice, with the Genesis logo in the center. It’s hard to take your eyes away from it.

The center console also has impressive wood details, almost like it was taken out of an industrial architecture magazine. Everything is in shades of ash white and brown, and but the hue for the red highlight running above the compartment and into the doors just doesn’t feel right.

Visibility wise, there’s ample natural light that comes in via the sunroofs above the driver and passenger seats. Overall, the cabin feels light and spacious.

But it’s not all looks though. The GV80 has 3.5L twin-turbo V6 with 375 horsepower, or if it’s too much, there is a standard 2.5L inline 4 turbocharged engines. The GV80 employs AWD but this might not be enough if one was to go truly off-road. It may be built for the jungle, but this one feels like it was made for the concrete jungle only. An 8-speed transmission compensates for this lack of control which is no problem for 4WD’s, especially in rough terrain, but this feels like it’s more of a control towards fuel efficiency and not off-road performance.

The GV80 has safety features, with a fancily-named collision detection software marketed as “Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist” but it’s basically the same with other collision software installed in other car brands. What’s good though is it continues the automatic braking system which is very useful in today’s SUV’s (or any other car models). The wheels are also secured. Safety goes beyond the driver after all, and the vehicle has wheel locks to protect against tire theft.

For a more intuitive driving experience, the GV80 monitors driving behaviors and uses this information to help the driver improve maneuverability. (It’s still the same theme with current SUV standards)

The website indicates they are manufacturing on a limited basis, but it doesn’t specify the number.

The 2021 GV80 2.5T AWD standard is currently priced at $54,650. Fuel economy on this model is on a 21/25 and comes with an engine output of 300 horsepower. The steering wheel is heated and the front seats have ventilation.  For the 2.5T RWD, the quote starts at $48,900 and already comes with 19-inch Alloy Wheels, a 14.5-inch HUD for navigation and collision-avoidance software. For the powerful 3.5T AWD variant, it’s priced at $59,150 and fuel economy is at 18/23 with an engine output of 375 HP. There’s a one inch increase in the wheel diameter and this model has the panoramic double sunroof. For the people who only want the best, there’s a 3.5T AWD Advanced+ variant which is ten grand higher than their cheapest make. It still has the same fuel economy with the 3.5T AWD, and you’re basically paying for 3rd-row seating and better seat maneuverability.

It’s not that bad of a car but on its price range and engine output, there are strong contenders that may put this new luxury SUV at the rear end of the line.

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