GV80: At Last, a Crossover From Genesis

gv80 at last a crossover from genesis

Sure, we weren’t hankering for a high-riding Genesis model, but the brand was. And many buyers might, too, or so the fledgling marque hopes.

After teasing the upcoming midsizer since 2017, Hyundai’s premium brand pulled the wraps off the GV80 in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday. In doing so, it raised the brand’s complement to four vehicles: three sedans, and this CUV. So, how does the GV80 stand apart in an overcrowded segment?

There’s only so much you can do to turn heads as a crossover, and Genesis no doubt hopes the GV80’s crisp lines and sizeable grille captures the attention of those with a desire for understated elegance…and value.

Riding atop the updated platform underpinning the next-generation G80 sedan, the GV80 will offer two turbocharged engines when it reaches the U.S. market this summer. Genesis didn’t flesh out that statement, leading us to believe a base 2.5-liter (found elsewhere in the Hyundai Motor Group stable for 2020) will join the brand’s twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 on the engine roster. Korean buyers can choose a market-specific 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel.

Rear-drive at its core and all-wheel drive for most buyers, the GV80’s design hails from studios on three continents. “Athletic Elegance” is the design language seen here, resulting in a CUV that appears to be the love child of Bentley and Infiniti. Quad Lamp headlights, arranged in stacked slits that flank the vehicle’s corporate Crest Grille, are mimicked by twin fender vents. A deep lower body crease combines with a flowing body line connecting headlamps to taillights to lend visual length and the appearance of a cinched waist.

“The Quad Lamp graphic will become the most recognizable, unique signature of Genesis design, as the simplest of lines communicate a distinct identity,” said Hyundai Motor Group design boss Luc Donckerwolke in a statement. “Two lines will come to define Genesis.”

Inside, Genesis’ mantra of “luxury in space” resulted in an airy cabin and uncluttered dash topped with a wide yet low-profile 14.5-inch split infotainment screen. There’s also a steering wheel panned by resident TTACer Corey. Placed atop the expansive, wood-topped console is a dial shifter for the eight-speed automatic and the Genesis Integrated Controller — a useful bit of kit that allows users to write, by hand, instructions or other various inputs, thus avoiding the annoyance of tapping away at the touchscreen.

Quilted leather fills the cabin of the GV80, joined by active noise cancellation technology to offset road noise and seven air cells in the driver’s seat to eliminate fatigue. Soft surfaces are everywhere, as Genesis apparently learned from rivals that the random spotting of a cheap-looking piece of plastic can pop a buyer’s luxury bubble in an instant. Further insulation from the surrounding world is provided by an electronically-controlled adaptive suspension that anticipates coming road imperfections and makes the necessary adjustments in advance of their arrival.

Standard driver-assist aids are many, and include smart cruise with AI-based intelligence, Highway Driving Assist (which will move the car over when the driver applies the turn signal), and assist features designed to prevent collisions when moving forward, pulling out of a parallel parking spot, and when backing up. Blind-spot monitoring is included in the bundle.

Pricing, like power specs, will have to wait until closer to the GV80’s on-sale date, but expect the brand’s first crossover to compare favorably with Japanese and American competitors. Genesis may be a premium brand, but its parent corp knows that value is still a Korean virtue.

[Images: Genesis Motors]

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