2021 Genesis GV80 | UK Review

The GV80 certainly isn't short of big-name SUV rivals – so how does it compare?

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, June 9, 2021 / Loading comments

So, the Genesis G80 is a pretty decent take on the executive four-door: roomy, luxurious, handsomely designed and good value. But Genesis knows as well as anyone else that the saloon is not going to be the big seller of the range, not the car that really nails its colours to the mast – that’s the job of the SUV, the GV80.

Attempting to list the rivals for this car is thankless task. A range that extends from a little less than £60k to a little more than that brings all sorts of alternatives: Q7, X5, GLE, Discovery, Cayenne and Touareg just for starters. A formidable line up, brimming with quality because they have to be – you will have seen enough of all of them to understand the indefatigable popularity. This sector is arguably a tougher test for Genesis’ SUV than the saloon one is for the G80, with an all-star cast of established models that buyers will need convincing out of. But if the challenge is harder, then the rewards are more lucrative; if Genesis can forge a favourable reputation in this segment, many more people will be taking notice than merely a few contented G80 drivers.

The approach is broadly familiar from that car, albeit with a more extensive range as GV targets a wider customer base; both 2.5, 304hp petrol (same as the G80) and 3.0-litre V6 diesel tested are available with five or seven seats as well as the Premium or Luxury Line. That means eight models to start with from launch, starting with a five-seat Premium petrol at £56,715 and ending up at £62,915 for the diesel Luxury seven-seater. For reference the XC90 range starts at £56,135 for the 250hp B5 petrol, a Discovery at £53,150 for the P300 and the petrol Audi Q7 range from £57,500 for the 340hp V6. Genesis certainly isn’t being shy in its pricing strategy.

Nor should it, at least if first impressions count for anything. Like the G80, the GV is big and if not exactly beautiful then certainly brimming with presence. You suspect that might count for a lot in this area of the SUV market. At almost five metres long and more than 2.2 tonnes, the GV really is as large as it seems on screen, leading more than one commentator to suggest there’s a hint of Bentayga about it. Again, that’s probably a favourable comparison, and one that hasn’t been achieved by accident. Who wouldn’t fancy something like a Bentley experience for half the money?

The GV80 interior is much like the G80’s – vast, opulent, lavishly equipped – with a similar layout and, truth be told, a better relationship with it sat that bit higher. Build quality feels mostly excellent, though the drive mode dial felt insubstantial and the knurled selector for the infotainment could probably be better done. Audi need not worry quite yet, but the Genesis is close.

Driving in a fashion recognisable from the G80 – noticing the theme? – probably suits the GV’s remit more comfortably. Where you might reasonably want some driving satisfaction from a 300hp, petrol saloon, the job of the diesel SUV is abundantly clear: move lots of people, including the one behind the wheel, quickly and effortlessly to the next destination. Those that can do that and deliver some reward deserve praise – Jaguar and Land Rover, most notably – but it feels less of a concern here than anywhere else.

The V6 diesel fits here as well as the four-cylinder petrol felt a bit incongruous in the G80. Maximum torque is there from 1,500rpm, the six-cylinder soundtrack feels more appropriate, and the automatic gearbox is less prone to hunting around with deeper reserves to draw on. If not the fastest – an X5 M40d has another 62hp, and 83lb ft – then GV80 performance always feels just about strong enough.

Moreover, that ability to maintain almost complete calm on any surface complements the GV80 and the diesel engine really nicely. Sure, the Genesis doesn’t change direction like a field mouse or connect the driver like a sports car – though grip is high – but who really cares in something this big? Everything the driver interacts with is accurate enough to build confidence, meaning you can sit back in a wonderful seat and relax as the world goes about its business and the miles pass by. Comfy without being lazy and capable without being unduly taut (though one inch off the biggest wheel might be advisable again), the GV80 is a nice way to travel. The Genesis isn’t Bentley quality for half the price, no, but it is satisfying in its own discrete, reserved way. With the way that both car and company do business – operating with least hassle possible for the owner – it’s easy to imagine a GV80 slotting seamlessly and successfully into family life.

Will that be enough? Let’s see. Certainly, the notion of a seven-seat SUV that should make driving and owning (still the chief selling point) as stressless as possible will hold considerable appeal to parents who don’t know what day it is. But that will mean leaving behind one of a very talented group of competitors that have likely already won them over. And on this experience the Genesis isn’t quite their equal, with more powerful engines, more capable chassis, and even more inviting interiors available elsewhere. Which isn’t to say the GV80 is bad, more that it’s operating in a sector of extremely desirable cars. Whether or not good enough will be good enough in the long run depends on how much buyers value both what the Genesis experience promises – and the badge on their current SUV.


Engine: 2,996cc, straight-six diesel
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],800rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500-3,000rpm
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Top speed: 143mph
Weight: 2,255kg (‘minimum mass in running order’)
MPG: 24.1-25.3 (WLTP)
CO2: N/A
Price: £59,700 (price as standard for 3.0D+ five-seater; price as tested £73,900 comprised of Innovation Pack for £3,900, Comfort Seat Pack for £1,250, Second Row Comfort Pack for £2,280, Nappa Leather Seats Pack for £2,350, Electronic limited-slip diff for £450, Sunroof for £1,460, Lexicon audio system for £1,020, Compact spare tyre for £40 and Himalayan Grey paint for £750.

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