With the GV80, Genesis can now go full steam ahead in the U.S. market

Up until today, Genesis’ lineup in the U.S. market consisted exclusively of sedans, and good ones at that. But that’s about to change soon now that Hyundai’s luxury division has unveiled the U.S.-spec Genesis GV80. It’s the first SUV to come out of Genesis, making it one of the more important vehicles in the fledgling automaker’s lineup. The GV80’s arrival comes at a crucial time for Genesis, too. SUV sales are at an all-time high these days as automakers scramble to release as many as they can to take advantage of the rising demand for these models.

For its part, Genesis has yet to really establish a presence in the U.S. market, in part because of the current models it offers. But now that it finally has an SUV, the automaker can now move forward and create its own identity in the luxury car segment. The GV80 won’t be the only SUV to come out of Genesis — more are planned to arrive soon — but for now, it’s tasked with the responsibility of carrying the Genesis flag into battle. From the looks of it, the GV80 is more than capable of that responsibility.

Same look, different market

One thing that didn’t come as a shock, at least not anymore, was the design of the Genesis GV80.

The SUV made its world debut a few weeks ago in South Korea, and it’s nothing short of a beauty. Perhaps that’s partly due to the production GV80 owing some of its design roots to the GV80 Concept from 2017. The headlights are unique and, together with the mammoth front grille, they immediately give the luxury SUV a distinctive face. The GV80 also looks imposing. It’s big and confident, mixed in with a little bit of aggressiveness on the side. In other words, it’s exactly what a luxury SUV should look like.

There are no aesthetic differences between the Korean version of the GV80 and the U.S. version of the same model. I have zero complaints about that. As far as Genesis’ first SUV offering is concerned, the automaker doesn’t have to worry about the GV80 turning some people off with its aesthetics. Sure, there’s a tiny part inside me that thinks the design isn’t going to age well, but I don’t want to look that far ahead. The Genesis GV80 just arrived. The last thing it deserves is for someone to wonder if its design will carry over for the next half-decade or so.

Tech loaded

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market
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Those of you who fawned over the GV80’s tech features when the SUV made its world debut in Korea a few weeks have nothing worry about. The U.S.-spec GV80 will carry all the goodies, too.

That includes the massive 14.5-inch infotainment screen that will serve as the beating heart of a lot of the SUV’s apps and features.

One such feature that we’re excited to try is a handwriting recognition system that allows you to write out numerous inputs that the tech can implement, including driving destinations and phone numbers to name a few.

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market
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Augmented reality also touches down on the GV80 through the SUV’s navigation system. This technology should help you navigate better through complicated city routes easier. Then there’s the noise-canceling system, another tech we’re eager to try. This technology monitors road noise in real-time and emits an opposite-wave sound to block all of it out.

How about the GV80’s air purification system that actively monitors air quality and activates its purification process when called upon?

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market
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Plenty of engine options

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market Exterior
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This is where it gets interesting for the Genesis GV80. When Genesis unveiled the SUV in Korea two weeks ago, it came with just one engine: a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine that produced 274 horsepower. It’s decent power, sure, but it’s also a diesel engine so the likelihood of that engine being offered in the U.S. is, well, it’s probably not happening.

So, instead of the diesel, what kind of engines should we expect from the U.S.-spec GV80.

The most likely candidate is the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Hyundai uses on the Sonata. The output from that unit comes up to 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That’s a palatable output for the base version of the GV80.
2020 Genesis GV80 specifications (est)
Engine turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder 3.8-liter V-6 5.0-liter Tau V-8
Horsepower 290 HP 311 HP 420 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT 293 LB-FT 383 LB-FT

Of course, don’t expect the U.S.-spec GV80 to come with just one engine. A V-6 engine is a likely candidate, too, and it just so happens that Hyundai has a few options to choose from. There’s the 3.8-liter that powers the G80, the GV80’s sedan counterpart. This engine produces 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque. Again, it’s decent power, but the output sits a little too close to the output of the four-cylinder unit. I doubt Genesis offers two different versions for the G80 with the power figures sitting so close to each other.

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market Exterior
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A few more options include a 3.3-liter V-6 and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 375 horsepower. Honestly, either engine would suit the U.S.-spec GV80 just fine.

Now, there have been rumors that Genesis could borrow another familiar engine from Hyundai’s engine storage room. We’re familiar with the 5.0-liter Tau V-8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque in the G80. It’s possible that Genesis could use this powertrain on the GV80, though the likelihood of one of those V-6 units making it to the SUV could force Genesis to choose just one among the available options.

Whatever engines end up on the GV80, they will be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which comes standard across the entire SUV lineup. All versions of the GV80 will also be all-wheel-drive and will carry an electronic limited-slip differential.

How much is it going to cost?

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market Exterior
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Genesis hasn’t announced actual pricing details for the Genesis GV80, but word on the street has it that the base model with the rear-wheel drive, inline-four cylinder engine will start at around $50,000. The range-topping, fully-loaded all-wheel-drive V-6 version, on the other hand, could set you back around $65,000. If these rumored figures are accurate, the GV80 would be a more affordable version than a lot of its peers in the segment. The Mercedes GLE-Class, for example, starts at around $55,000 while the range-topping model will set you back well into the $80,000 range.

Is the Genesis GV80 a Good Buy?

America's Version of the Genesis GV80 Has Arrived to Take on the Luxury SUV Market Exterior
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From the looks of it, I’d say “yes, it’s a good buy.” Obviously, the full scope of details hasn’t been revealed so it’s hard to say if the Genesis GV80 will live up to the growing hype it’s been getting. But as far as first impressions go, Genesis’ first stab at a luxury SUV appears to be a home run.

I like the way it looks and the potential engine options are intriguing, to say the least. But the best thing about the GV80 — for now, at least — is the tech that it comes with. From the massive 14.5-inch infotainment display to tech features like handwriting recognition system and the air purification system, Genesis outfitted the GV80 with enough pioneering technology to give its German rivals cause for concern. I love it that Genesis swung for the fences with the GV80. Now let’s see if it lives up to all the hype.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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