Genesis debuts its first ever SUV, the GV80
Hyundai's luxury division Genesis has unveiled its first ever SUV at a launch event in Seoul. The GV80 rocks a six-cylinder diesel, and has prescient suspension, AR navigation and active seats to go with a very comfy interior.
First seen as a concept in 2017, the GV80 is a very necessary addition to the Genesis line. SUVs are well and truly where the sales are at as we mosey our way into the 2020s, and luxury brands are being forced to swallow their contempt for these bulky, high-riding soccer-mom mobiles and get to work making fancy ones for rich folk.
Rolls-Royce made one, and it propelled the brand to record sales. Aston Martin is desperately hoping its upcoming DBX will save it from money troubles. Bentley sent one up Pikes Peak to try to prove an SUV can boogie, and even Lamborghini has choked back bitter tears and tried to make one that vaguely fits the Lambo ethos.
It's sad, but in reality the kinds of people that can afford luxury cars are getting older, stiffer and less interested in bending their knees to get in a car, so until the boomers start handing in their car keys for mobility scooters, the SUV will likely remain king.
You can't sell cars in China without big grilles, so they say, and the GV80 is styled to take advantage of this with what its Korean/American/German designers call a "Crest Grille" that dominates the front of the car. The headlights, too, are a quad lamp, stacked-line design that Genesis hopes will become iconic and tied to the brand.
There's little pretense of off-road capability here; the GV80 will be available in all-wheel-drive, but will be rear wheel drive as standard. It gets its own 278-horsepower, 3-liter, six-cylinder diesel engine upon launch, with two petrol turbos soon to follow. The focus is on performance and efficiency, with the rear wheel drive diesel returning 11.8 km/l (a touch under 28 mpg) when it's configured as a five-seater. A three-row seven-seat configuration is available too.
Plenty of driver assistance systems are featured, including adaptive cruise that uses machine learning to slowly make its driving more and more like yours. There's an automated lane change capability as well, as well as things you'd expect like auto emergency braking, blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic collision avoidance and more. The active suspension system uses the adaptive cruise system's cameras and navigation information to read the road ahead and prepare the shocks for what's coming.
Inside, it looks as nice as you'd hope, with a few interesting touches. The navigation system, for example, presents you with augmented reality nav prompts overlaid on live imagery from the car's front camera, showing you exactly where to turn on the generous 14.5-inch infotainment screen.
There's active road noise control, using the sound system to cancel out exterior noise, and an "active motion" driver's seat uses seven air cells to change shape and reduce fatigue on long drives. In-car air purifiers pull out 99 percent of particulate matter, making the GV80 safe and comfortable in heavily polluted areas.
It all looks lovely and comfy, and Genesis can probably expect the GV80 to outsell the rest of its range.