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Genesis GV80 2021 review: 3.5T

This is better than you think it's going to be.

At first glance, I thought this was a Bentley. I mean, that colour (matt 'Brunswick Green') is a total head turner. But it’s actually a Genesis GV80, from parent company Hyundai, and I was not disappointed, at all. 

It’s my first time in a Genesis luxury SUV. This one is the 3.5T which is the top-of-the-range and certainly matches up to its $108,600 price tag. 

This one is a seven-seat petrol model, though it does come in five-seater and diesel models if that’s what you’re after. It competes with all the large luxury SUVs - the Audi Q7, BMW’s X5, the Volvo XC90, the Lexus RX and Volkswagen’s Touareg

I drove it for seven days with my family of four to give it the family test. Here’s how it performed. 

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✅ How does it look?

I got a lot of comments on this car. People stopped me in the street to ask about it, my neighbour came over to look at it, and generally people just loved it. 

The test car's colour helps; a glorious matt green. There are three matt paint colours in the range, 'Matterhorn White', 'Melbourne Grey' and 'Brunswick Green’, and they cost an extra $2000, but this green is worth it. 

Our GV80 was finished in 'Brunswick Green’, which costs an extra $2000. Our GV80 was finished in 'Brunswick Green’, which costs an extra $2000.

The shape of the car is classic, it has that huge grille at the front, but the headlights are rectangular slits which also carry around to the sides, and when you put the blinkers on, they are very conspicuous. It’s all a little space-shippy and flashy, but it works. 

Inside the car is luxe and decked out in cream and taupe nappa leather, with quilted seats and soft finishings on the dash and doors, it almost feels a little old British. 

The centre console is nicely designed and the large multimedia screen takes centre stage. The centre console is nicely designed and the large multimedia screen takes centre stage.

The seats are heated and cooling and power adjustable in the front. The steering wheel is leather and feels good but when I first got in, it felt a little large, this is something you get used to, though. The panoramic glass sunroof is standard across the range. 

The centre console is nicely designed and the large multimedia screen takes centre stage. Volume control is via cool textured silver rolls on the steering wheel and centre console, and the gear shifter is a circular knob, like a Land Rover. It all works cohesively in the Genesis and it feels good to be in this car on the road.

✅ How does it drive?

Perhaps the best experience is the driving with this large 3.5L V6 engine. It doesn’t have any heaviness on take-off which is so rare for a car this size, and feels almost light as you drive away. No lag here.

 It positively zooms up hills, and it’s great to take on a highway. You feel very confident overtaking with this speedy engine under the bonnet. 

The 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 produces 279/kW/530Nm. The 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 produces 279/kW/530Nm.

On first drive, it felt a little ‘loose’, not as refined as it could be, but that quickly disappeared and while not the most precise drive (not as precise as a Land Rover Defender, for example), it still did well and matched up to cars in the category. Handling is good for a car this size. 

Parking is as you would expect in a big car, the turning circle is large so it’s always going to take a moment to get it right, however the high res reverse parking camera with 360 degree view helps. Steering is easy to turn, not a workout on the arms. 

✅ How spacious is it?

This model is a three-row car and seats seven people, though there are five seaters if you just know you won’t use two extra seats.  

The front is nice and spacious, with loads of leg room for tall passengers and comfortable head clearance even with the sunroof. It’s a wide car and there is lots of space for large shoulders. 

The front is nice and spacious. The front is nice and spacious.

The second row is also roomy, my two children are aged seven and nine so they had lots of space to play together in the back. I can sit easily in there at 161cm (5'3") with lots of space between my knees and the seat in front, so taller adults will also be able to sit comfortably. 

The second row offers plenty of space. The second row offers plenty of space.

The last two seats in the third row are not as big as some competitors but I still found them fine to sit in. 

If you’re super tall you might not want to be relegated to the back row, and regardless, you may not want to put your children back there full-time as the side curtain airbag only covers the window area, it doesn’t go all the way to the back where heads will be, so you’d probably only use the back row as spare seats rather than every day. 

The third row seats are not as big as some of the GV80's competitors. The third row seats are not as big as some of the GV80's competitors.

Boot space is large. With the third row down, it’s 727L which is a lot of room. I was able to fit in everything I needed in this pre-Christmas week, which as any parent will tell you (while Christmas shopping), is a lot. 

It’s got enough room for a large, medium and small suitcase and will also easily fit a double pram or sporting equipment. 

  • With the third row down, boot space is rated at 727 litres. With the third row down, boot space is rated at 727 litres.
  • There's enough room to fit a large, medium and small suitcase. There's enough room to fit a large, medium and small suitcase.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

Being the top-of-the-range, this GV80 is fully automated. Both front seats are power adjustable, all the functionality is on the large 14.5-inch multimedia screen including the air conditioning, which took a moment to work out but once you do it’s actually very easy. 

Almost too easy - brush past the screen with your hand and you’ll accidentally turn the heat/cooler on, then suddenly wonder why your legs are freezing. Easy to do.

The other thing I had slight issue with was that the climate control for both the front and the rear of the car can be controlled by both the front and the rear. 

The temperature for the dual zone climate control is controlled by two rotating dials. The temperature for the dual zone climate control is controlled by two rotating dials.

This is fine if you plan on travelling with responsible humans but I had my kids in the back, who loved turning the air up full-blast suddenly, while I was driving! Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. You get the picture. 

Storage is good, there’s a large centre storage bin, two cupholders in the front, a spot for your phone but no wireless charger, and bottle holders in the doors. 

Second row passengers also get two cupholders in the centre armrest and third row passengers have one on either side of the car, plus there’s directional air vents in each row. 

The second row and third row seats go up and down via a button in the boot. 

✅ What’s the tech like?

There’s a 14.5-inch multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity

It’s a great tech system which replicates your phone’s interface and means you don’t actually have to touch your device while driving, you can do everything from the touchscreen including navigating, making calls and sending text messages via the voice control. 

At the centre of the cabin is a 14.5-inch multimedia screen. At the centre of the cabin is a 14.5-inch multimedia screen.

And if there’s one thing you do in the Genesis GV80, it’s turn the sound up when listening to music. There are 21 Harman Kardon speakers in 17 locations through the car, with an external digital amplifier and 'QuantumLogic' surround sound. It’s goooooood. 

✅ How safe is it?

It’s less “what safety does it have?” and more “what safety doesn’t it have?” because it has most things, like 10 airbags that include side airbags for second row passengers, though the side curtain airbags do just go back to the window in the third row, not actually where the head sits around the window. 

So third row passengers will want to be temporary rather than permanent fixtures. 

Still, there’s all the advanced safety - blind spot monitoring and collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, smart cruise control, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane keep assist. All standard across the whole range. 

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids car seats in safely. 

The GV80 hasn't been assessed by ANCAP, yet, so no star rating at this stage.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Genesis GV80 3.5T costs $108,500, before on road costs and extras. The matt metallic paint is an extra $2000.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 11.7L/100km, and this week I did 15.8L/100km which I found quite high, though it was mostly suburban driving with just a bit of highway running. It needs 95 RON premium petrol.

It’s covered by Genesis’ five year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is required every 12months/10,000km and Genesis will come and pick your car up for servicing if you live within 70km of a dealer, leaving you with a loan car. 


The Wrap

I thoroughly enjoyed driving the Genesis this week, if only for the extra attention it got from literally everybody! It also drives beautifully with loads of power, feels luxe and looks fabulous. With heaps of space at all angles for a family of four and beyond, plus the latest in safety.

The only thing I would be concerned about is the high fuel consumption, which could be something Genesis takes into consideration for future evolutions of the brand into a more eco-friendly version. 

I gave it a family rating of 8.4 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same, they loved the colour. 

Likes

Design (interior and exterior)
Powerful engine
Tech and sound

Dislikes

High fuel consumption
No full curtain airbag cover for 3rd row
'Universal' climate control adjustment

Scores

Nedahl:

4.2

The Kids:

4.2

$108,600

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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