2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD – Bottom Line Review

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Since no luxury brand can any longer survive on cars alone there is this new plenty fancy mid size crossover ute in town.

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON: With each new experience or phenomenon comes an attempt to rationalize it.  In terms of modern consumerist experience man has well exceeded need and is highly motivated by desire. It used to be that aspirants of luxury automobiles had to be content with either a stately sedan or plaything grand touring coupes. These days, due to modular or flexible platforms and sophisticated marketing, there are luxury vehicles to go with nearly every personal transportation lifestyle.

A TIME TO BE BORN: Though there is no grand touring coupe yet in sight, Korean luxury off-shoot Genesis now appeases that new sizable affluent motoring segment of active lifestylists who want their sport utility vehicles. One can now find the winged emblem on the hood of the all new 2021 Genesis GV80 sport activity vehicle.

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WHAT: All new 2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD standard size 2 or 3-row (3.5T V-6 only) luxury crossover utility vehicle, built on Hyundai – Kia M3 modular platform.

Standard Power: intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged 2.5L, direct injected, dual VVT-i DOHC 16V I-4 gas engine = 300 hp/ 311 lb-ft @ 1650 rpm + 8-speed planetary automatic transaxle.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: New to brand larger displacement turbo gas I-4 belts out plenty healthy 300 HP, 311 lb-ft. Matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission and optional on-demand all-wheel = 22 combined MPG

Optional Power: intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged 3.5L, direct injected, dual VVT-i DOHC 24V V-6 gas engine = 375 hp/ 391 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm + 8-speed planetary automatic transaxle.

  • Idle Stop and Go
  • 5 Drive modes: Smart, Sport, Comfort, Eco Snow
  • Optional Drivetrain: PTU to viscous multi-clutch differential all-wheel drive

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: 2021 Genesis GV80 , for a first effort, masterfully bestows just the right amount of curves and premium bling to conceal upright boxy -ness, without becoming a more compromised sport activity coupe.

Notably Noticeable: Bling -ey tall, wide chromed lattice diamond shaped grille, dips down nearly to lower front air dam ; Sides of hood beveled to lower fender shoulders; Upper and lower dual LED headlamps split by tandem amber directionals to white DRLs; Matching aft fender split lateral directional lights w/ chrome bars; Swept back windshield w/ low cowl;

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: new corporate deep diamond cradle lattice grille and tandem lateral LED directionals = Bling.

Flared door cheatlines; Flared lower body crease for integrated side spats; Tall beltline; Prominent D-pillar high kink for floating roof effect; Flared mid rear quarter panels;

Sloped roof to body color matching roof spoiler;   Tall liftgate backlight; Beveled mid liftgate forms space for “Genesis” lettering flanked by wrap-around stripe LED taillamps with tandem amber directionals aligned with fender directionals; Beveled lower liftgate; Lower rear facsia with license plate crater; Darkened lower rear valance with dual corner exhaust diamond shaped housings.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Especially muscular stance from rear with sloping roof and wide flared quarter panels.

Stand-Out GV80 Styling Cues:

Matching tandem lateral directional / DRL lighting aligned fully around perimeter

 Chrome bands on lower front fascia, lower body skirting, rear bumper cover with reflectors.

WHY: Now more than ever it takes a stylish crossover sport utility vehicle to make a legitimate contending luxury carmaker.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since early 2021

WHERE: Genesis new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Ulsan, South Korea

WHERE TO: Lockable 50:50 all-wheel drive torque split + 8.0″ ground clearance means probably never getting stuck in accumulated air frozen H20 crystals.


The test vehicle for this Roadblazing.com Bottom Line Review is the base new corporate gas 2.5 inline-4 with turbocharging. It’s a sweetheart of a mill with plenty of brawn, with low end grunt impressively measuring at 310 lb-ft just off idle. Audio system artificial aural enhancement can be varied in intensity but it best silenced. The gear rowing match-up is a an effortless 8-speed planetary transmission. Sport drive mode is for longer torque converter lock-up, while eco mode darts for the highest gear for a sensation of hesitancy. Attractive magnesium looking dorsal shift paddles nearly make up for the transgression of a center console rotary dial just aft of a to be confused with rotary infotainment scroller. For triple digit pull-aways the rated 300 horsepower is credible and ample.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Five drive modes include multiple systems Custom settings.

In the primary role of effortlessly placid boulevardier the 2021 Genesis GV80 is a resounding success.  One look at the shiny near DUB sized 22″ wheels and 40 series rubber might instill shivers. However,  the 5-links suspending each absorbs quivers before the can reverberate. Undulation composure against whoopsie daisies isn’t BMW M package stiff but the dry grip from the Michelin’s is commendable and work well in concert with a variable ratio steering rack. Where road feel has gone, though, nobody knows. Suffice it to say that impressively sized brake rotors, vented at both ends, get the stopping done confidently despite length of pedal travel.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Sophisticated front & rear 5-link suspension features optional electronic adaptive damping to tamp down most harshness from the 22″ inch wheels.

HOW FAR: 22 combined miles per gallon observed fuel economy; 450 miles highway range.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: Firmly a larger mid-size crossover, Genesis GV80 = +4.0″ inches wheelbase vs. three row Hyundai Palisade. (Early teen sized 3rd Row optional exclusively in 3.5T V-6 model.)

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: 2nd Row fold down cargo area pass through

2021 Genesis GV80 116.3″ wheelbase = 0.8″ < BMW X5; 6.5″ > Lexus RX 350; 1.6″ <  Mercedes Benz GLE

44.1″-inches Row 1 legroom = 4.3″ > BMW X5; = Lexus RX 350; 3.8″ > Mercedes Benz GLE

38.7″-inches Row 2 legroom = 1.3″ > BMW X5; 0.7″ > Lexus RX 350; 0.4″ < Mercedes Benz GLE

HOW USEFUL: Low load floor floor bumper cover chrome scuff plate; 60/40% sliding, power tilting back split 2nd Row seatbacks; Fold & slide 2nd Row access to 3rd Row; Available cargo shade; +1 Wide front seat cushion; +1 Front & 2nd Row door pocket, 3rd Row wall storage; +1 Tow Rating: 6000 lbs.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Easy cargo loading made possible by low floor and power remote 40/20/40% split 2nd Row seatback folding.

PARTICULARLY USEFUL: +1 Proximity operating, dual speed power liftgate; +1 Power folding, cargo area remote power fold & raising 40/20/40% split 2nd Row seat backs; 60/40% split sliding 2nd Row seat cushion.

Not So Useful: -1 4-prong tow package receiver requires 7-prong trailer adapter

  • 2021 Genesis GV80  84.0 cu. ft. cargo space (max.) = 38% > BMW X5; 42% > Lexus RX 350; 24% > Mercedes Benz GLE

HOW SAFE: IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus ; 10 airbags; Rear camera; Forward & rear sonar park assist; Blind Spot Warning (available); Forward collision & pedestrian avoidance braking; Full adaptive cruise control; Lane departure warning, keep assist, trace; Rear Cross Traffic Alert, collision avoidance; Automatic high beam headlamps; Auto parking brake hold

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: comprehensive Level 2.0 semi autonomous driver assistance suite, with a variety of customizable settings

SAFETY STANDOUTS: +1 Bird’s Eye view Rear camera; Approaching side traffic 2nd Row door lock-in with daylight bicycle recognition; Sonar based 2nd Row occupant minder which notifies in cabin & by smart phone application.

+1 Outward visibility from low cowl, narrow front & side pillars, tall tailgate window;

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: The GV80 cabin exudes a warmth absent in some of the class, blending traditional luxury trappings with just the right touch of modernity, with an airy, clutterless feeling. Satin aluminum switch clusters and vent dampers, stainless steel speaker housings, open pore woodgrain panels, smooth damped storage apertures, compartment mouse-fur linings, sueded pillars & headliner, double tandem seams stitching on upper dash and other padded panels and glove satin hides do the cossetting. Trick touches include a single lateral spoke steering and a floating center stack convenient for purse storage. Yet mounting a large media display dashtop rather than embedded is a cost concession. Precision barrel metallic audio controls in the center console solve no problem. And it’s far from obvious  why a rotary dial transmission selector is superior to a toggle lever type especially when it is located so close to the rotary remote infotainment dial. A TFT dual analog dial gauge cluster is visibly connected to the Hyundai line. Courageously, a hokey watch dial clock does not reside in the upper dashboard.

Heated & cooled 23-way driver, 16-way front pax power seats, w/ 2-setting memory; 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express; Rear door front & cross controlled power sunshades; Puddle lamps at each door; Row 2 remote front pax seat pitch adjust; Panoramic moon roof;

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: available 23-way power adjusting driver’s seat features Ergo motion optimal seat configuration and massaging

Cool Gizmo(s): Recessed dish media display rotary dial remote controller, script text pad; Driver’s seat optimal posture settings; Driver’s seat massage; Driver’s door Genesis winged logo puddle lamp; Variable custom color LED ambient cabin lighting; Aft front center console Row 2 digital climate control panel; +/- Hyundai “Sounds of Nature” mood audio sounds includes clanking dishware at a sidewalk cafe.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Recessed fore rotary remote infotainment scroller touch pad and raised aft rotary transmission controller might initially be confused but free up much space in a floating center stack.

Details Done Right: Drive mode color variable 12.3″-inch color TFT instrument MFD cluster / drive status display; Fully padded and contrast stitched dashboard; Matte metallic and wood dashboard and door accents; Middle dashboard pebble graining; Metallic vent bezels; Grooved brushed metallic toggle integrated steering wheel spoke controls; Brushed metal mid-dashboard media switch buttons. Simulated suede lined ceiling & pillars; Serrated Brushed aluminum switches; Genuine open pore burled wood veneers; Contrast stitched, Satin Nappa leather seating; Variable color full cabin ambient lighting; Power Tilt / telescoping heated leather & wood steering wheel; Exposed stitched leather dash cover & hinged ceiling pull handles; Stainless steel door audio speaker covers;

Nearly Non-Descript-1 Seats have short cushions and limited lateral support; Leather wears premature, Faux embossed dashtop stitching; Hard plastic front seat backs advertise scuffs; front climate display reflections;

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Center dash-top 14.5″-inch capacitive touch LCD infotainment 80:20 split pane screen + driving landscape home screen Rotary remote controller w/ touch pad script; +1 Large touch display icons; Voice learning hands-free communications; Native GPS HD voice command, guidance navigation; 12-speaker, 450 W audio w/ streaming audio & HD radio; Mobile powered Android Auto/ Apple Car Play application & navigation overlays; BlueLink Apps.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T AWD: Effortless interstate cruising made possible by Level 2.0 automated hand-on wheel driver’s assist and a large media display and available HUD.

Audiophile Upgrade: 21 speaker, w/ Kevlar cones, 1050 Watt, 14 channel DSP 7.1 DTS Lexicon streaming audio is a bit punchy down low, owing to twin 8.0″ subwoofers under the front seats, and slightly more brassy at higher frequencies than expected, but leaves little doubt that the audio outfitter stands with the best in soundstage fidelity and depth.

♦ Subscription based: Sirius XM & Sirius XM TravelLink (90 days included trial); Connected Services telematics (5 years included)

USB-C x 4, 12V x 3 (incl. cargo bay); 110V AC x 1; +1 Floating center stack w/ sub storage & connectivity; Damped sliding covered center console bin w/ Qi wireless charging.

HOW MUCH: $64,945 = 2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Prestige AWD

WHAT’S MISSING: Less confusing center console rotary remote infotainment and transmission controllers.

ANY COMPETITION: BMW X5: +1 limitless options, PHEV available; Lexus RX 350: +1 rad look, popular FHEV option; Lincoln Aviator: streamlined silhouette, brilliant cabin contrast;  Mercedes-Benz GLE: +1 Benz solid -ness, prestige, full virtual gauge cluster; Volvo XC90; streamlined bauhaus cabin, seats that are thrones.

BOTTOM LINE: The lack of SUV has finally been remedied at Genesis. And it’s a doozy.

(Contributing Editors: J. Flynn)

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