- Genesis is a luxury brand owned by the parent company of Hyundai and Kia.
- The GV80 was released for the South Korean market, so we don’t have exact specs for the U.S. car.
- The mid-size luxury crossover will join Genesis’s current three-sedan lineup.
Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, has been off to a slow and steady start in the U.S. since its inception in 2016. Its current lineup consists of three satisfactory sedans: the sporty G70, mid-size G80, and budget-luxo-barge G90. With the new-car market turning its attention away from sedans and toward crossovers and SUVs over the last decade, it’s perplexing why Genesis waited this long to introduce its first crossover, the GV80.
Perhaps the Genesis team decided that they could either rush a crossover to market and risk it being a poorly executed flop, or they could take their time and produce a polished premium product that could blow wind into the Genesis sales sails. Evidently choosing the later of these hypothetical routes, the South Korean automaker has given us a lot to anticipate.
Genesis is using the GV80 for more firsts than simply having a crossover. The GV80 will feature active noise cancelling, a feature that exists in some cars today, but Genesis claims their technology will be more successful than current efforts. The SUV will also scan upcoming road surfaces as it drives and make preemptive adjustments to the electronically controlled suspension. For example, if a speed bump is detected, the GV80 will anticipate it and attempt to deliver a smooth experience over the bump. We’ll reserve judgement on its success until we get behind the wheel—and over some sleeping policemen.
The only officially announced engine for the GV80 is an intriguing six-cylinder turbocharged diesel making 278 hp, but it’s very unlikely that it will come stateside. Genesis promises two gasoline motors; one will almost certainly be the 3.3-liter turbo six found in all of their sedans. The other motor may be a new power plant or the existing 2.0-liter turbo found in the G70. In the case of the later, it would be a bit of a dog, but other competitors make due with similar engines, such as Volvo’s XC90.
Speaking of competitors, where does the GV80 fit into the market? Given its size and specs (it can be optioned with a third row), it will go up against the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-class, Volvo XC90, Lexus RX, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Audi Q7, and arguably the Porsche Cayenne. It’s certainly a saturated field, and all of these manufacturers are rabidly scavenging to win buyers (well, actually mostly leasers) with updates and improvements.
Genesis is hoping that, despite the crowded market, the GV80 will be appealing enough to lure shoppers into Genesis showrooms. Oh, wait, what Genesis showrooms? As it stands, you’re unlikely to find a dealership dedicated to selling and servicing Genesis vehicles. And it’s not easy to coax a buyer into a $600-a-month payment when she’s standing 15 feet from a Hyundai Accent. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg situation where Genesis needs dealers to sell cars but also needs to sell cars to justify more dealerships.
Hopefully the GV80 can get that ball rolling faster, because Genesis really does make some impressive products. We can’t wait to get into the new GV80 and tell you all about it.