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2021 Genesis GV80: The Brand’s First SUV Is a Head-Turner Inside and Out

It may be late to the party—but just look at it...

More than four years after Hyundai spun off Genesis into its own luxury brand, the automaker is at last offering a premium people hauler by way of the new GV80 SUV— and as you can tell, it’s quite the looker.

In a world dominated by SUVs, it was only a matter of time before the world saw Genesis launch its own gentle giant onto the market. Such is the case with the refined GV80 that was unveiled on Wednesday at a special event dedicated to the all-new model. While that title might sound similar to a sedan already sold by Genesis, there is one key letter that sets the two apart. Genesis says that the “V” in GV80 stands for “versatility,” something only an SUV can offer, apparently.

via Genesis

Despite spilling quite a bit of intel during the reveal, Genesis has kept one thing secret about the SUV thus far: the engine(s) it’ll have. Korea-going models will be equipped with a Genesis-exclusive 3.0-liter, six-cylinder diesel that makes 274 horsepower, but the brand is keeping its lips sealed regarding what will end up in the United States.

Genesis confirmed that two turbocharged gasoline engines will hit the U.S. market, though we aren’t sure which ones. It’s possible that we could see the 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 from the G80 ported into the SUV. Regardless, the standard GV80 will come with rear-wheel-drive only, though Genesis will also offer an upgrade to all-wheel-drive for interested customers.

Drivers and passengers will surely feel at home whether peering at the GV80’s beautifully styled profile or sitting inside the roomy cabin. The SUV’s design was the product of a multi-cultural collaboration between various studios all over the world; tech from South Korea, luxury styling points from Germany, and simple American practicality all went into building Genesis’ first large vehicle.

via Genesis

The exterior speaks loudly of Genesis’ new design language. The GV80 has been sculpted in accordance with a new era of the brand’s identity, demanding notoriety and respect from its posture alone. Touches such as the large crest grille and quad lamp headlights are emerging as a clear staple of the brand and are something we expect to see make their way across other vehicles in the automaker’s lineup.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ll instantly notice that small touches of luxury have placed their mark on virtually every surface. From quilted stitching across the seats and kick panels to finely detailed woodgrain that reflects carefully placed ambient lighting, there is no shortness of craftsmanship for the eye to see. A large 14.5-inch split-screen display sits atop the thin air vents which run the length of the dashboard. Given that Genesis has limited the number of physical buttons and switches in the interior to give a more minimalist aesthetic, it’s likely that many of the vehicle’s controls will be toggled via this screen or a small touchpad nested on the center console which can interpret handwritten letters.

via Genesis

A roomy second row makes it possible to seat five, but if you’re looking to fit a large family inside the GV80, know that an optional third row will expand seating to seven. Rest assured, there’s plenty of safety tech that comes standard including adaptive cruise control, automatic forward-collision braking, blind-spot detection, and more.

Being a midsize luxury SUV, we expect the GV80 to compete directly with the likes of the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and BMW X5 in both footprint and overall value. After all, Genesis is a premium brand and it wants to make sure that the world recognizes its presence.

The GV80 is the first of three SUVs which Genesis is expected to announce in order to align the automaker’s large vehicle lineup with its current sedan offerings. A smaller GV70 has been spotted testing over the past several months and is believed to share underpinnings with the next-generation G80 sedan. The third offering, meanwhile, remains a well-kept secret.

Genesis will begin selling the GV80 in Korea later this January and is expected to announce stateside pricing by the second half of 2020.

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