2019 Genesis GV80
Hyundai’s first luxury SUV will arrive in 2019by Ciprian Florea, on
Envisioned in the early 2000s while Hyundai was developing the first-generation Genesis sedan, the Genesis brand was officially established as a standalone marque in November 2015. And since then, things progressed incredibly fast. The flagship G90 was launched in late 2015, followed by the slightly smaller G80 in early 2016. In 2017, Genesis launched its third vehicle, the G70, which is smaller than the G80 and aimed at the compact premium market. 2017 also brought the GV80, a concept that previews the company’s first SUV. The hauler is set to arrive in 2019, but I already created a speculative review of what it will bring to the table, alongside with a rendering of what the production model might look like.
The GV80 may be Genesis’ first SUV, but it won’t be its last. Now that it has launched three sedans, the South Korean firm wants to expand in the crossover market with at least two vehicles. What’s particularly interesting here is that unlike other brands, Genesis jumps on the SUV bandwagon with a full-size vehicle. Specifically, the GV80 will go against the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the upcoming BMW X7, the latter to become Munich’s flagship hauler. Obviously, the big question is whether Genesis will be able to give its competitors a run for the money. I won’t be able to provide an accurate answer until it hits showrooms, but let’s take a closer look at what we already know about this SUV.
Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis GV80.
2019 Genesis GV80
Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.
Design-wise, the GV80 won't stray too far from the concept
Design-wise, the GV80 won’t stray too far from the concept, but expect some of the show car’s more extreme features to be left outside the production line. The first feature you should forget about are the slender, twin-stripe headlamps. While they look pretty cool would look out of place on a model SUV, Genesis will most likely go with a more familiar design. As seen in the rendering, I expect the brand to keep the lower LED stripes but replaced the upper units with conventional headlamps based on those seen on the sedans. Specifically, look for significantly larger units with a swept-back design that extends toward the upper front fenders.
Next up, I wouldn’t bet on the production car getting the same front grille as the concept. Sure, the shape and size will be similar, if not identical, but the big slab of chrome that extends into the engine hood won’t make it. Instead, Genesis will go with a slightly slimmer chrome trim, and an upper section finished in the same color as the body. What might make it into production is the honeycomb-like mesh. Just like with the G80 sedan, Genesis may offer two different versions of the GV80: a standard-spec SUV with thin, horizontal slats, and a Sport model with a honeycomb mesh.
Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.
I wouldn't bet on the production car getting the same front grille as the concept
Some changes to the bumper are also expected, and these are again visible in our rendering. Instead of the organic looking side vents, the production model will get proper side intakes. An additional vent will be added to the lower side of the apron. Onto the sides, I expect the GV80 to remain similar to the concept car, but with a few changes. Specifically, look for less aggressive side skirts, conventional mirrors and door handles, revised pillars, a roof rack, and different wheels.
Around back, we should find changes similar to the ones seen up front. The slender, twin-stripe taillights will be replaced by larger units seen on almost all SUVs, while the bumper will get a more conventional design and an underbelly plate. There’s a big chance that the rear window will be redesigned as well for enhanced visibility.
All told, while it won’t be as fancy as the concept, the production GV80 will have the premium look needed to compete against the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7.
Note: Genesis G80 pictured here.
Given the size, the SUV could draw its interior cues from the G80
The interior of the GV80 is pretty much a mystery at this point. Sure, we do have the concept’s cabin for a few ideas of what Genesis may offer, but it’s pretty obvious that the production model won’t get most features. We can also look at the big sedans for hints, but it’s not yet clear whether Genesis plans to do what every carmaker does in this niche nowadays. But if the Korean brand is to follow in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, we’re likely to see a GV80 with an interior heavily based on a four-door car. Given the size, the SUV could draw its cues from the G80.
The sedan feels stylish and modern, so this wouldn’t be a bad idea. The dashboard sports a big slab of wood veneer, which gives it a premium look, while a big screen in the center of the dashboard makes the cabin feel as driver-friendly as they get. Also look for similar aluminum and chrome inlays, a digital instrument cluster, a multi-function steering wheel and fancy door panels with leather and wood veneer. The seats should be just as comfortable, but the seating position will be higher. The center console will also be adapted to SUV needs, as in it will be wider and taller. The rear section should provide plenty of legroom and headroom in order to compete with the German SUVs, but the GV80 will also need a spacious trunk.
Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.
Some of the concept's materials could also make it into the production model as Genesis aims to offer a superior product
As to what it may get from the concept, I’d say you should expect to find the long dashboard screen inside the production model. However, the SUV could get the more modern instrument cluster with detailed information and maybe even the clean looking dash and center console surfaces.
Some of the concept’s materials could also make it into the production model as Genesis aims to offer a superior product. As a brief reminder, the show car used semi-aniline leather with quilted diamond stitching on the door panels, seating surfaces, and center console, as well as "architexture" suede on the dashboard. The center console and floorboards are made of ash wood, which is usually found in very expensive luxury cars. Needless to say, this layout would make the GV80 one of the most luxurious offerings in this niche.
Note: Genesis G80 engine pictured here.
Expect the engine lineup to include V-6 and V-8 units
Just like any automaker out there, Genesis is looking to share as many parts as possible between models, including drivetrains. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the GV80 will most likely use the brand’s existing engines. Genesis currently employs a range of four-cylinder, V-6, and V-8 units, but the GV80 will probably share engines with its sedan counterpart, so we need to look away from the 2.0-liter four-pot and the 3.3-liter V-6 in the G70.
The larger G80 sedan starts off with a 3.8-liter V-6 that utilizes a three-stage variable intake system, triangular fuel injector pattern, air-gap exhaust manifold, and a two-stage oil pump. The mill produces a solid 311 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 293 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm, which is enough to push a big SUV to solid performance.
The big 5.0-liter V-8 should generate in excess of 400 horsepower
The other engine option available in the G80 is the familiar 5.0-liter Tau V-8. Using a high-pressure direct injection, a low-torque exhaust manifold, increased compression ratio and upgraded multiple-injection mapping, the V-8 generates 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. This powerplant will be offered in the range-topping GV80, regardless of whether it will carry a "Sport" badge.
Both engines will mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission and don’t expect manual or dual-clutch options in the United States. Rear-wheel-drive will probably be standard on the entry-level model, but AWD will be offered as an option.
A third drivetrain of the green variety is possible, but there’s no word on whether Genesis will go with a plug-in hybrid or an evolution of the hydrogen fuel cell showcased in the concept car. There’s no specific data for "advanced plug-in hydrogen fuel cell" drivetrain in the GV80 Concept, but Hyundai is no stranger to hydrogen propulsion, already selling a version of the Tucson (ix35) SUV using this technology. And of course, it would be really easy to transfer fuel cell tech to Genesis.
It’s difficult to estimate pricing without actual specs, but Genesis needs to keep pricing similar to the competition in order to stand a chance. Actually, unless it comes with significantly more premium features and tech than its rivals, it should cost a bit less at first since the "Genesis" badge lacks the brand cachet of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. With the Mercedes-Benz GLS priced from $69,550 and the Cadillac Escalade retailing from $73,395, the Genesis SUV would be an appealing option at around $66,000 before options. But needless to say, it could cost more.
The GLS is arguably the most important competitor the GV80 will have once it arrives, but needless to say, the Merc is a bit long in the tooth, and it may get a redesign until Genesis’ SUV rolls out. Introduced in 2012, the current-generation GLS was updated for the 2017 model year. The "GLS" badge was also introduced with the facelift, replacing the previous GL nameplate in Mercedes’ new naming strategy to associate SUVs with their sedan counterparts. Obviously, the "S" in the GLS stands for S-Class. The mid-cycle update isn’t exactly comprehensive, but the massive SUV boasts a slightly sportier design and just enough tech upgrades to keep it fresh. The GLS is available with quite the varied drivetrain lineup for an SUV this big. In the U.S. there are three choices, starting with a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque in the GLS450. Moving over to the GLS550, it comes with a turbocharged V-8 that cranks out 455 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The third option is the AMG GLS63, which uses a beefed-up V-8 that’s good for a whopping 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet. In Europe, a diesel model comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 255 horses and 455 pound-feet of torque. U.S. pricing starts from $69,550.
Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The Escalade may seem out of Genesis’ league due to its massive design, but ignore the boxy body, and you get a luxury SUV that has what it takes to give the GLS a run for its money. The Escalade is actually much newer than the GLS, having been redesigned for the 2015 model year. While not exactly sporty on the outside, it’s roomy on the inside and features much of Cadillac’s latest technology. But unlike the Merc and the upcoming Genesis, there’s only one engine available, in the form for a 6.2-liter V-8. The massive EcoTec3 unit is rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, which might not be as powerful as some options from Mercedes-Benz, but makes the Escalade one of the few large luxury SUVs to still have a naturally aspirated engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission moves all that power to the wheels. Pricing for the Escalade starts from $73,395, which makes it the most expensive proposition in this comparison.
Read our full story on the Cadillac Escalade.
The BMW X7 isn’t yet available, but BMW confirmed that a flagship SUV placed above the already familiar X5 and X6 is underway. Production is set to commence in 2018, and even though the X7 is still a camouflaged test car as of this writing, it’s pretty obvious that it will be a larger, more massive version of the X5. Its interior is likely to blend features from both the X5 and 7 Series sedan, with highlights to include iDrive 5.0, Touch Command Tablet, and a wide range of premium surfaces and features. Under the hood, the X7 is expected to get a 3.0-liter inline-six and a 4.4-liter V-8. The former will crank out around 320 horsepower, while the latter will arrive with at least 440 horses. A diesel is also likely, but it remains to be seen if it will be sold the United States. Pricing should start from around $70,000.
Read our speculative review of the BMW X7.
It’s really difficult to draw a conclusion here with so many details under wraps. And while there are three Genesis sedans available as of this writing, none of them has been on the market enough to get a solid grip on how they’re doing in their respective segments. But needless to say, all three are appealing to look at and come with a comprehensive array of premium features, so I guess it’s safe to say that the upcoming GV80 looks good on paper. I will update this reviews once more information becomes available, so make sure you stick around for more.
Read our full review on the Genesis GV80 concept.
Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis G80 sedan.
Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis G70.