Genesis at last has its first SUV following the unveiling of the 2021 GV80 in the brand’s native South Korea. While Genesis has some impressive cars, you can’t build a luxury brand today without SUVs — even Porsche sells more SUVs than cars. And the GV80 was first shown as a concept car in the U.S. way back at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.
There still are U.S.-specific details, including a price, to come closer to the launch here later in 2020. But it seems likely that the GV80 will follow the lead of the sedans — including the refreshed G90 flagship just priced this week — as a value versus comparable vehicles from established luxury marques. While we wait, here are 10 things we know for sure about the 2021 Genesis GV80:
1. We’ll Get Turbos, No Diesel
The GV80 will offer six-cylinder diesel in South Korea but not in the U.S. Instead, Genesis said the U.S. will get two turbocharged engine choices — without specifying them. A good bet is that one will be a version of the 365-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 available in all three Genesis sedans, and the other likely will be a turbo four-cylinder. That could be the 252-hp 2.0-liter now in the G70 sedan, but it also could be a new 290-hp, turbocharged 2.5-liter four that’s reportedly coming to the G70 after making a debut in the Sonata N-Line.
2. It’s a New Platform
Nice as the new Hyundai-brand SUVs are, a luxury SUV needs a classier pedigree. So the GV80 rides a new rear-wheel-drive platform specific to Genesis, with all-wheel drive available. AWD models will get an electronic rear differential. And if you’re channeling your inner Escalade, you also can opt for 22-inch wheels.
3. It Has Eyes on the Road
As offered by some other luxury brands, the GV80 can smooth the ride with an available electronically controlled adaptive suspension that uses the front camera to recognize upcoming road conditions.
4. It Gets G90’s New Grille and Headlights
While the greenhouse seems pretty generic-SUV, there is design drama below the beltline. GV80 gets the latest big Genesis crest grille, and flanking it are a pair of the high-tech LED headlight lines that Genesis calls Quad Lamps. The lamps, which also are reflected in the taillights, made their debut on the refreshed 2020 G90, and Genesis says the two-line design “will come to define Genesis.”
5. The Interior Shows Class
Getting our hands on it will be the test, but the GV80 interior certainly looks the part of a true luxury SUV. The elegant design has simple shapes, horizontal lines and plenty of French stitching and quilted leather (even for console knee pads). And in the battle of luxury screen size, the GV80’s 14.5-inch multimedia display should play well. Genesis did not specify whether it functions as a touchscreen; there’s a knob controller on the center console and also a writing recognition pad for using handwritten letters to set a navigation destination. Knob and button controls are minimized, though they’re included for climate control. The shifter is a rotary knob.
6. A New Kind of Quiet
The GV80 has what Genesis calls a world’s-first noise-canceling technology, which goes beyond existing tech with a system based on digital signal processing that analyzes road noise in real time.
7. Even the Driver’s Seat Is Smart
Genesis also claims the first-ever “active-motion driver’s seat,” which uses seven inflatable air cells to help cut fatigue in hours on the road.
8. Virtual Reality Navigation?
Maybe. While not saying whether the U.S. will get it, Genesis says “certain markets” will have available an “augmented reality” navigation system that superimposes driving guidance over actual driving video from the front camera.
9. A Third Row Is Optional
10. Driver Aids Boost Safety
The GV80 offers sophisticated safety and driver assistance tech, with some features making a first Genesis appearance. The adaptive cruise control has machine-learning capability to adapt its performance to the habits of its drivers. The highway assist system includes lane changing when the turn signal is used and help with merging in congestion. The rear cross-traffic alert system includes automatic braking. The blind spot monitor system can actively intercede and avoid collisions in situations such as leaving a parking space. And the forward collision system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection also will respond to vehicles approaching from the right or left at an intersection.
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