The 2021 Genesis GV80 is the luxury SUV that pro golfer Tiger Woods made famous this year when he crashed one in southern California – an accident still shrouded in mystery as to the cause. Unfortunate news indeed for Tiger Woods, the incident did launch the GV80 not only into the underbrush but the national spotlight. Now you’ve heard of one.
The luxury three-row SUV is built upon a unique chassis architecture exclusive to Genesis which is rear-wheel drive based and features high-content chassis components like rubber isolated sub-frames and multi-link suspensions front and rear. It’s not a derivative of some front-drive model lower on the Hyundai brand food chain.
This puts it more in line with vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. On this side of the pond, it almost becomes a direct rival to the Lincoln Aviator in size, form and even price point.
Our near fully loaded 2021 Genesis GV80 AWD 3.5TT Avanced+ tester cashed in at $66,475. Its only option was Adriatic Blue metallic paint for $400. For this price, the GV80 coddled us in a sumptuous navy blue and saddle tan leather interior with beautifully finished wood trims.
The design of the cabin is one of the best we have experienced in a long time, in every way befitting a luxury line. Material and switchgear quality, fashion appeal and the level of creature comforts throughout didn’t disappoint.
We like the look and provenance of the glass and metal dials on the console for their design panache but they were hot from the sun. Furthermore, a dial shift selector is not the best way to go for safety or intuitiveness.
Front seating was heated and ventilated and features a myriad of adjustment range. We did find them a bit firmer than expected however. All three rows of passenger seating proved roomy enough, the second row seats featuring both a slide and recline function. The third row seats fold down at the press of a button, the second row too for a fully flat load floor.
The 14.5” wide touchscreen infotainment system with Lexicon audio impressed with many features and crisp graphics. We especially liked the nature sounds palette that allows you the option to turn off the voices and music and relax in different environments from a forest to sea waves. Loved it.
What we didn’t love was the system’s insistence to home screen every time you turn off the car. This means every time you start a journey you must navigate to the screen you want. Every time. Annoying.
Powering the GV80 is a 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine with 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. This power streams to all four-wheels through a silky smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.
Power comes on strong once the GV80 gets rolling and it sounds decent but can be rough around the edges when pressed. It’s not refined and finessed like the inline sixes from Germany. It’s also not all that efficient. Rated at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined isn’t bad but we could only best 17 mpg combined in our week.
Handling was a strong point with a chassis that serves up decent athleticism and a quiet ride. On curves at speed it gives you good feedback and response. Even on the washboard road we found a level of refinement above average for the class. Well done Genesis.