2021 Genesis Gv80 AWD 3.5T Advanced+ Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Out runs and under-spends the best of the rest
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
This first ever SUV shot from Genesis hits the bulls eye. Six different models are offered, three powered by a 2.5 liter turbocharged four, and three more boasting a 3.5 liter turbocharged V6. We drove the penultimate version of the range, somewhat busily titled "AWD 3.5T Advanced+." The 300hp four cylinder Genesis uses the same chassis as the six cylinder offerings, with the least expensive rear wheel drive 2.5T going for $49,925. Stepping up to the 375hp six cylinder class, the rear wheel drive 3.5T is the least expensive at $60,175. If you opt for all-wheel-drive, two uprated models are available: the AWD 3.5T Advanced+ that we tested at $65,050, and the most fully equipped and luxurious GV80 of all, the 3.5T Prestige at $71,795.
From the get-go, Genesis has re-orchestrated the GV80 buying experience to make your purchase a pleasure rather than a chore. They label their gentle sales revolution the "Genesis Concierge" plan. This "fresh approach to shopping for a luxury vehicle" encourages you to test drive the GV80 from your home. With none of the typical dealership background noise to contaminate the experience, Genesis hopes the experience "will facilitate a seamless journey toward owning one." Driving the vehicle itself is every bit as refreshing and revolutionary as the concierge gambit. For starters, this massive 5,009 lb. SUV is imposingly large, athletically structured, and yet demurely understated.
Climb aboard and you are instantly seduced by the elegance and simplicity of your surroundings. The oblong, rectangular 14.3 inch dash top touchscreen is bigger than the TV I had in college. Below its sheer face sit an array of clearly marked buttons which activate Map, Radio, Navigation, Favorites, Media and Set Up. Below that lie a phalanx of clearly labeled HVAC controls, which in the Advanced+ model include front seat and steering wheel heat as well as seat ventilation. On the flat topped center console lie three major control pods. One operates the 8-speed transmission via a large round dial that swivels from Reverse to Neutral to Drive with a center button in the dial to activate Park. Paddles at the steering wheel control up and down shifts manually when needed. A second drive mode knob atop the console clicks through multiple options ranging from comfort to sport. Finally, a slightly depressed click wheel controller links to, and alters the settings shown on the display screen.
In practice, the shift control device, while occupying minimal console space, is rather annoying to use because you have to look at it before every shift change instead of simply operating it by feel. The mode control dial poses no problem, but the click wheel is best operated by the passenger when underway, as it is a rather fussy attention diverter. Genesis has made a point of simplifying the look and feel of the cockpit controls, taking the "less is more" mantra to extremes of reductionism that sometimes work well, sometimes not so much. However, the uncluttered look of the GV80's austere interior is a welcome salvation from the busy array of bits and buttons that predominate in SUV-land today.
With its athletic turbo V6 spearheading the charge, the GV80 3.5T sprints to 60mph from rest in 5.3 seconds, runs the standing start quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 101mph, and tops out at 149mph. This battleship is cruiser class fast, with an absolutely scintillating guttural punch when you floor the accelerator. In return you get about 350 miles to a tank of premium, with an overall consumption figure of 20MPG - only slightly worse than the 22MPG figure posted by the much slower 4 cylinder GV80. The Advanced+ all-wheel-drive model is well endowed in the tire and wheel department, with propeller bladed 20 inch alloys planting fat Michelin Primacy Tour A/S rubber (265/50R20) at each corner.
The GV80 is unquestionably off-road capable, and we did a modicum of back road travel without giving a second thought to traction loss on gravel. On the freeway, the GV80 is a pleasure to drive, thanks to its excellent road holding and explosive acceleration. However, we found the Smart Cruise Control (SCC) to be rather difficult to operate in conjunction with Highway Driving Assist (HDA). For one thing, the SCC actuation switches on the steering wheel are unclearly labeled as to function, making the system difficult to operate. Secondly, the HDA comes and goes on poorly marked two-lane pavement, so adult supervision is always required. Finally, the Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist takes the form of jarring red warning lights prominently displayed in each outside rear view mirror whenever adjacent traffic appears. At night these flashers alarmingly mimic police lights.
The GV80 3.5T marks yet another step into the big time for Genesis. This is a model that will run outrun and under-spend the best from BMW (X5), Mercedes (GLE-Class), Audi (SQ8) and Porsche (Cayenne). Without question the GV80 V6 AWD is SUV of the year.
2021 GENESIS GV80 AWD 3.5T ADVANCED+
ENGINE: 3.5 liter V6 T-GDI
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 18MPG City/23MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $66,475
HYPES: Soothing Minimalism, Maximal Luxe
GRIPES: Attention Suckling Shift Actuator, Sketchy SCC and HDA
STAR RATING: 9 Stars out of 10
February 23, 2021; If you were not familiar with the Genesis car brand you should be now. Tiger Woods suffered leg injuries in a car crash in Southern California. Tiger was driving a new 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV at excessive speed and lost control, according to reports. His injuries were not life-threatening. Law enforcement officials said the crash integrity of the Genesis GV80 — and Woods' use of a seat belt — may have saved his life. Passive safety features required for new vehicles today provide outstanding occupant protection. The Genesis GV80 features a front seat center air bag that in combination with front and side air bag cushion the occupants. ,