2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T Review


Genesis, the luxury vehicle division of Hyundai, has proven itself to be a worthy contender in the upscale market. In just a few short years, the brand has gained significant consumer recognition, and collected multiple awards along the way.

Up until recently, Genesis has only offered sedans. But with the introduction of the GV80, Genesis is finally ready to take on the red hot SUV market. The GV80 was introduced at the same time as the recently reviewed 2021 G80.  The V stands for “Versatility”, and the GV80 is positioned to take on the likes of BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, and Lexus RX. Yes, it is a tall order to fill. But with Genesis’ proven track record, the GV80 might just have what it takes to pull it off .

Thanks to Genesis Canada, we were loaned the GV80 2.5T Advanced for one week to find out. Below is my unbiased review.


The 2021 GV80 and the G80 mark the brand’s new styling direction. The “Athletic Elegance” ethos is both expressive and luxurious. The overall proportions of the GV80 might remind you of the Bentley Bentayga, and the fact that they are both styled by the same designer Sangyup Lee is no coincidence. However, the GV80 in my opinion looks more modern and stylish. 

At the front, the massive crescent grille is flanked by two lines of quad LED headlamps to resemble Genesis’ wing shape emblem. The taller proportion of the GV80 allows the front sensing radar to be relocated to the lower air intake, eliminating the dreadful plastic cover found at the center of G80’s crescent grille. The lateral air intakes create air curtains around the front wheels to improve aerodynamic efficiency. They also provide additional styling to the front fascia with chrome trims and horizontal fins. 

The side profile of the GV80 showcases the designer’s attention to details. From the sharp shoulder line that extends from the hood to just above the tailights, the side signal light that matches both the headlamps and the taillamps, to the sculptured chrome trims that extend from the front bumper to the rear, the GV80 looks sharp and expensive. Our 2.5T tester comes with 20” aluminum alloy wheels that don't look out of place, but the 3.5T trims will get the bigger, better looking 22” wheels. 

The rear profile of the GV80 looks almost identical to the G80’s. You will immediately notice the quad tail lamps that mirror the front headlights, and the crescent shaped dual chrome exhausts. A wide deck lip and slim linear reflectors further emphasize the width of the car. 

The GV80 is one of the best looking SUVs on the market. Not only does it look well proportioned from every angle, there is also a timeless quality to the design. If the GV80 signals the direction of Genesis’ future design, we should expect to see some great looking vehicles from the brand in the near future.


Interestingly, the interior of the GV80 looks significantly different from the G80, and it feels even more premium. The two-toned obsidian black with vanilla beige color scheme matches well with the minimalistic design. Atop the clean dashboard is a slim 14.5” touchscreen. The rest of the controls are neatly grouped in the center console. Cabin materials are well appointed. Those include stainless steel door sills, leatherette door panel inserts with accent stitching, soft knee pads, and aluminum center console surfaces. I particularly enjoy the two spoke steering wheel design. It looks both retro and unique. 

The standard 12-way power adjustable front seats are exceedingly comfortable. The leather seating surfaces are plush yet supportive, and the seats provide plenty of lateral and lumbar supports. All trim levels come with heated front and rear seats, and anything above the basic Select trim also gets ventilated front seats. Nappa leather seating with diamond stitch quilting is reserved for the 3.5T Prestige top trim. With that trim, you also get a 16-way adjustable driver’s seat and ventilated 2nd row seats. 

The seats at the rear cabins are almost equally comfortable. There is plenty of legroom and headroom for the 2nd row passengers. Besides the comfortable seats, rear passengers also enjoy an unobstructed view provided by a massive panoramic sunroof. Other notable features in the 2nd row cabin include dedicated climate controls, privacy shades, coat hangers, and the ability to electronically manipulate the front passenger seat via rocker switches on the side of the front passenger seatback. 

Our 2.5T tester can only accommodate up to 5 passengers, but the 3.5T trims can seat up to 7 with two 50/50 split 3rd row seats. With the amount of room available behind the 2nd row seats, I would imagine the extra seats be best suited for children only. 


The slim 14.5” touchscreen is simply gorgeous. It features an iPod-like interface that is both attractive and easy to navigate. Just as the infotainment system in the G80, the center display is controlled via the new rotary/toggle/swipe interface in the center console. Even with my experience in the G80, I still find the system unintuitive. First of all, the rotary dial is flush with the center console surface, making precise rotation difficult because you can’t grab onto the dial like the rotary gear selector. Second, it is positioned too far forward to be comfortably reached while having your elbow resting on the armrest. Third, I find the touch pad unresponsive in more than one occasions. I still prefer the command dial control found in a BMW or a Mazda. While the 14.5” display is a touchscreen, it is located quite far from the driver’s seat. It wouldn’t be particularly safe to reach for the screen while driving. 

Our 2.5T Advanced trim tester comes with an 8” color LCD cluster display beside the analog gauges. The 3.5T Prestige trim gets the world’s first 12.3” 3D digital cluster. The 8” LCD cluster display shows you blind spot feeds from the cameras mounted on the side mirrors when turn signals are activated. Because the left side of the instrument cluster is occupied by the analog gauge, both sides of the camera feed will show up on the right side of the display. It can be confusing to some drivers.

Regardless of trims, the GV80 supports both Android Auto and Apple Carplay, but you will have to plug your phones in physically. The Prestige trim comes with a Lexicon premium audio system that incorporates 21 high efficiency speakers and a 14 channel digital amplifier. Our tester is equipped with a 9-speaker system that still sounds very good in the noise isolated cabin. 

There are 2 USB ports at the front and 2 at the rear. A wireless charging pad located at the front of the center console is standard. I like how the charging pad is positioned at an angle, so you can view the content of your phone while it is being charged (not while you are driving of course). 

Safety and Driver Assistance

Like all the Genesis I have test driven so far, the GV80 comes standard with loads of active safety features. They include:

  • Brake Assist (included with ESC)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Parking Distance Warning (4 sensors in front and rear)
  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)

The 3.5T Prestige trim also gets:

  • Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist Rear (PCA-R)
  • Forward Attention Warning

The 2021 GV80 earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS.


Our tester comes with a 2.5L turbocharged engine that produces 300hp of power and 311lb.ft. of torque. If you opted for the 3.5T models, the 3.5L turbocharged engine delivers 375hp of power and 391 lb.ft. of torque. All Wheel Drive is standard for all trims, so is the 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5T engine is lively. It pushes the car from 0-100km/hr in about 6.8 seconds. The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. I never found the need for more power with this drivetrain. The GV80 is also capable of towing up to 6000lbs, perfect for those family road trips. 

The multi-link front and rear suspensions are tuned for comfort. Compared to its sedan sibling, the GV80 does experience more body roll in corners, but handles road disturbances more effectively. The 3.5T trims get electronically controlled suspension that uses a camera to preview the road ahead, and adjust the suspensions accordingly. The Prestige trim also gets an electronic limited slip differential. Both of these systems should improve handling and ride quality. 

While the 3.5T trims provide that extra power boost, I think most people will be happy with the performance of the 2.5L turbocharged engine. By choosing the latter, you are saving 15,000 CAD up front and more at gas stations. The GV80 2.5T is rated at 11.3L/100km city, 9.5L/100km highway, and 10.5L/100km combined. The 3.5T will cost you an additional 1.3L per 100/km. 

Cargo Space & Storage

The GV80 is very practical with 991L of cargo space behind the 2nd row seats. Folding the 40/20/40 seats down increases the cargo volume to 2379L, more than both the BMW X5 and the Mercedes Benz GLE. The 2nd row seats are folded electronically through the buttons in the trunk or on the side of the seats. Below the trunk floor you will find a large storage bin and a tire inflation kit. It looks like there is enough space for a spare tire, but Genesis may have left the space unoccupied for the optional 3rd row seats. 

In cabin storage options are great. The side door pockets are wide and deep, so is the center console storage bin. The glove compartment is on the smaller side, but you will find additional storage below the floating center console. Rear passengers will find additional cup holders in the folding armrest. There are also hard-shell storage pouches behind the front seatbacks. 


The GV80 is a serious contender in the luxury SUV market. The handsome exterior and the sumptuously appointed cabin would give its European and Japanese rivals a run for their money. The fact that it is packed with standard safety features and costs thousands less further increases its value proposition. If there is an area the GV80 could improve on would be the driving dynamics. It has all the right mechanical ingredients. Perhaps some minor tweaks could make the GV80 that much more fun to drive. 

Test Vehicle

2021 GV80 2.5T ADVANCED 


$70,000 as tested. $80,000CAD for the 3.5T Advanced, and 85,000CAD for the 3.5T Prestige


Uyuni White


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