The Genesis GV80 has finally been revealed and it’s better than expected!

The 2021 Genesis GV80 is a midsize SUV from Hyundai’s premium vehicle division. The company’s first crossover, it joins a lineup made of three sedans, so it’s also the company’s largest vehicle yet. Unveiled in South Korea, Genesis’ home market, in January 2020, the GV80 will come to the U.S. later in 2020. Although U.S. engine specs are still a mystery, the SUV will probably travel across the pond with two gasoline units. The GV80 is fitted with an impressive technology package and features the largest infotainment display in its class. More on that in the comprehensive review below.

2020 Genesis GV80 Exterior

  • Based on the concept car
  • Big grille
  • Sporty headlamps
  • Aggressive side skirts
  • Two-piece taillights
  • Larger rear window
  • Good ground clearance
  • Looks really cool and unique
2021 Genesis GV80 Exterior
- image 880495
Not surprisingly, the GV80 looks a lot like the concept SUV that Genesis unveiled in 2017.

But, some design cues have been toned down. Up front, the twin-blade headlamps are thicker and longer, extending closer to the grille and the wheel arches. The grille no longer features the arched trim at the top, while the bottom extends to include the vent seen on the concept. It’s basically taller now and features the same honeycomb-style mesh with chrome accents.

The front bumper looks different too, as in a bit more mundane. With the vent under the grille now gone, Genesis added a wider opening in the apron. It also features a honeycomb mesh, but this time around finished in black for a subtle look. There are two more vertical vents toward the sides, coupled with fin-like elements that also feature horizontal winglets. The bottom of the bumper includes black trim that simulates a protection plate. This feature alone makes the GV80 look a bit more utilitarian compared to the concept. But that’s not an issue, SUVs are supposed to look like that.

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The profile looks very similar to the concept at first glance, but notable changes surface at a closer inspection. The first new element that catches the eye is the grille insert on the front fender. There’s no word whether this feature has a specific purpose (cooling maybe?), but it mimics the design of the headlamps; a nice touch. Then there’s the revise beltline that no longer runs right under the window trim. On the production model, it descends slowly from the bottom of the B-pillar to meet with the top of the taillights.

But the more important change here is the location of the door handles. While the concept features small handles mounted in the beltline, the production SUV features larger handles fitted a few inches below the main character line. Definitely a more production-friendly design. The big and deep dent at the bottom of doors was also replaced with a finer scallop. Although it doesn’t look as impressive, it retains some of the vibe for the concept SUV.

Other changes include SUV-style cladding around the wheel arches, simpler wheel designs, and thicker chrome trim around the windows.

Genesis also replaced the concept's thin side cameras with proper mirrors.
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The rear of the GV80 sports changes similar to those seen in the front, starting with much larger taillights. Again, these retain the twin-blade design seen on the concept vehicles, but they’re notably thicker and longer. They extend well into the rear fenders and leave room for large "Genesis" lettering in the center tailgate.

The rear window is a bit taller for improved visibility.

The spoiler on the tailgate is also much larger than the concept’s. This is a bit surprising given that show cars tend to look sportier than their production counterparts.

Another new design element is the more acute break angle between the upper tailgate and the lower fascia. This creates some sort of integrated spoiler. We can see a similar brake angle between the lower fascia and the upper bumper, which makes the center fascia look heavily recessed compared to the rest of the rear end. The license plate recess is rectangular instead of trapezoidal and much smaller than on the concept. Genesis also added a traditional belly plate under the bumper instead of the concept vehicle’s two-piece diffuser.

Overall, the production GV80 lost some of the concept’s sportiness, but it still looks appealing thanks to the twin-blade lights, the big grille, and the organic profile.

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2020 Genesis GV80 Interior

  • Unique layout
  • Stylish and modern
  • Clean and simple
  • Premium features
  • State-of-the-art tech
  • Biggest infotainment display on the market
  • Quite fancy
  • Big trunk
2021 Genesis GV80 Interior
- image 880493

The interior of the GV80 looks surprisingly good.

Like most luxury automakers nowadays, Genesis adopted a clean and simple design centered around practicality and tasteful features.

The dashboard is as clean as they get with a flat top and a continuous air-vent strip that stretches from the instrument cluster to the corner of the passenger side. On top of the center dash sits a massive, 14.5-inch infotainment display. This screen is impressively long and it also has the largest diagonal of any existing production model on the premium market.

This cutting-edge infotainment system handles most of the vehicle’s apps and features. It also includes a handwriting recognition system that lets you write out various inputs, including destinations for the navigation system or phone numbers. The navigation system also features augmented reality that will help you navigate better through complicated city routes. These features put Genesis’ infotainment system on par with Mercedes’ highly praised MBUX system.

The center stack features an interesting design as well. It begins from the lower section of the dashboard, where a curved, angled element houses a screen for the climate controls. It then runs into the center console, which features controls for the transmission and a bit of storage room.

2021 Genesis GV80 Interior
- image 880531

The steering wheel sports an elegant design with thick horizontal spokes and is devoid of the lower spoke seen in most modern cars. The instrument cluster behind it is all digital and seems larger than the industry standard, now at around 12 inches. It displays "analog" gauges for speed and revs, all sorts of performance data, and navigation info.

Like many luxury vehicles, the GV80 is fitted with a noise-canceling system. However, Genesis’ system seems to be a bit more advanced, as it actively monitors road noise and emits an opposite-wave sound to block it out. We don’t know how successful this is, so we’re waiting for the first test cars to arrive to the U.S. The GV80 also features an active air-purification system that monitors air quality and keeps the cabin ambiance fresh.

The GV80 is also packed with driver-assistance technologies, starting with rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. But you’ll also get forward-collision warning and a driver attention monitor. The latter monitors your movement and reacts if you get too tired behind the steering.

Genesis also introduces brand-new feature called Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning.

This feature has the ability to learn your habits and applies them to the driver-assistance tech. It also influences cruise control, lane-keeping and lane-change assist features so you’ll enjoy the same setup when you’re traveling.

2021 Genesis GV80 Interior
- image 880532

There’s isn’t much data available from the Korean launch, but the photos suggest a luxurious interior packed with premium materials. There’s leather on the dashboard and the upper door panels and quilted leather on the seats and the sides of the center console. The steering wheel is also wrapped in leather, as is the armrest on the center console. The official photos show a GV80 interior in a cool two-tone finish that combines brown and a greyish green. We can also see wood trim on the center console, aluminum on the dash and steering wheel, and red seams on the lower dash and the door panels. Rest assured, Genesis will offer more color options for the upholstery.

As far as seating goes, the two-row, five-seat layout is standard, but you can add an extra row from the options list. This feature extends the GV80’s seating capacity to seven, matching offerings from the competition.

2020 Genesis GV80 Drivetrain

  • Four-cylinder and V-6 engines
  • Diesel in Korea
  • Up to 400 horsepower
  • Hybrid possible
  • Eight-speed automatic
  • All-wheel drive
2021 Genesis GV80 Exterior
- image 880497
The U.S. range should include two gasoline engines and an eight-speed automatic gearbox

The GV80 was unveiled in South Korea with just one engine, a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel rated at 274 horsepower. As you might have already guessed, this mill won’t be offered in the United States. Genesis has yet to release info on what engines will be available in the U.S., but the range should begin with a turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The luxury brand will likely borrow this mill form the Sonata, so output should be similar at 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

The second engine will most likely be a V-6. Genesis already offers a couple of V-6 units in its sedans, including a 3.8-liter that cranks out 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet in the G80 four-door. While this engine is plenty powerful, it is only marginally more powerful than the four-cylinder and falls behind on torque, so it wouldn’t make sense for the GV80 to feature this unit.

Genesis could squeeze a bit more oomph out of it, but word has it the company is preparing a brand-new V-6 that will be exclusive to this SUV.

Expect it to generate at least 350 horsepower or even close to 400 horses.

Both engines will mate to eight-speed automatic transmissions. Rear-wheel drive will probably be standard on the four-cylinder model, while the V-6 will come with AWD at no extra cost.

2021 Genesis GV80 Exterior
- image 880518

For a long time it has been rumored that the GV80 will also feature 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, this V-8 generates 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque in the G80.

However, with the V-6 likely to deliver close to 400 horsepower, Genesis might skip the naturally aspirated V-8 for this SUV.
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

Later on, Genesis could introduce a hybrid drivetrain that will mix the V-6 with at least one electric motor.

What we do know so far is that the GV80 marks the debut of a brand-new, rear-wheel-drive platform. These underpinnings will eventually make it into other large Genesis models, like next-generation G80 sedan. All-wheel-drive models will feature a Multi-Terrain Control system, with sand, mud and snow modes. An electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential will further improve the SUV’s capability.

2020 Genesis GV80 Prices

2021 Genesis GV80 Exterior
- image 880509

It’s difficult to estimate pricing without actual U.S. specs, but Genesis needs to keep the sticker on par with 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. The GV80 will go against the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and the Audi Q7. The X5 starts from $58,900 in the U.S., while the GLE comes in at $54,250. The Q7 starts from $53,550 before options. So the GV80 should come in at around $53,000 to be relevant. But needless to say, it could cost more.

2020 Genesis GV80 Competition

BMW X5

2019 BMW X5
- image 782612

Introduced in 2018, the fourth-generation X5 is one of the most popular midsize SUVs on the premium market. It boasts a sporty exterior with styling cues inspired by the sedans with a big grille flanked by aggressive-looking headlamps. It also features a modern interior, albeit not as clean as the GV80, and it’s packed with state-of-the-art technology. Highlights include big displays for the infotainment system and instrument cluster, the latest iDrive operating system with over-the-air updates, and premium materials even in the more affordable trims. You get to choose from two versions here in the U.S. The base 40i model comes with a 3.0-liter inline-six that generates 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet, while the 50i variant features a 4.4-liter V-8 that cranks out 456 horses and 479 pound-feet. Prices range from $58,900 to $76,150.

Read our full review of the 2020 BMW X5.

Mercedes-Benz GLE

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
- image 795089

Yet another popular choice on most markets, the GLE is one of the newest of its kind, having been redesigned in 2019. Although fresh, it doesn’t look as aggressive as the X5 and it’s somewhat mundane compared to the GV80. However, it boasts a luxurious interior, some of the best technologies out there, and semi-autonomous capability. The GLE is also available in two trims, exclusive AMG models of course, in the United States. The GLE 350 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of twist. If you want more power, the GLE 450 comes with a 3.0-liter inline-six engine and a 48-volt system (EQ Boost), that delivers 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from $54,250, but the GLE 450 fetches $61,750 before options.

Read our full review of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Audi Q7

2017 - 2020 Audi Q7
- image 846800

Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Audi Q7 is the oldest SUV in this comparison. Although the tech package is not on par to the competition, the Q7 is far from dated. The interior is clean and simple, the materials are worthy of a luxury model, but the exterior design is a bit boring and reminds of the company’s station wagon models. The base U.S. model draws juice from a turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough, you can go with the 55 TFSI, powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 good for 329 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of twist. Pricing for the base model starts from $53,550, while the 55 TFSI comes in at $59,950. Go with the range-topping Prestige model, fitted with extra equipment, and it will set you back $67.850.

Read our full story on the 2020 Audi Q7

Conclusion

2021 Genesis GV80 Exterior
- image 880492

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, the GV80 stands out design-wise and comes with a comprehensive array of premium features, so it looks really good on paper. It’s Genesis best vehicle so far and it definitely has what it takes to take on its German competitors. However, the Genesis badge doesn’t mean much right now so it will be difficult for the Korean brand to make a big impact on the U.S. market. But it remains to be seen how this thing performs and how it compares to the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and the Audi Q7 in the real world.

  • Leave it
    • Not a lot is known right now
    • Tough competition
    • No word on drivetrains yet

Update History

Updated 10/27/2019: Genesis is preparing to launch the GV80 next month at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Before that the car has been taken to one final testing session around Nurburgring.

Update 08/09/2019: The Genesis GV80 was caught testing on the road, eight months after its last sighting. Has anything changed since then? Check out our spy shots section below to find out!

Updated 01/25/2019: The upcoming Genesis GV 80 was caught testing for the first time. The model is supposed to be unveiled later this year, so stay tuned for updates!

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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