The first thing anyone commented about when they saw this week’s road test SUV – the Genesis GV80 – was its size: “It’s big isn’t it?”.

Though it’s almost five metres long and two metres wide, which is large but not exceptionally so, it’s shaped to look bigger than it really is. Bigger is better is often a sales incentive in the SUV field.

Bold is the first word that comes to mind. The front is totally dominated by a huge grille with headlight housings that seem to be a couple of sizes wider than they need to be. Funnily the lights aren’t all that large, it’s just the housings that make them look that way.

The rear lights follow the style of the fronts and the tail has a bold centre section.
The roof slopes sleekly to the rear and the side windows sweep upwards to give a streamlined look.

Inside the bold look continues, but it has a good combination of upmarket class at the same time. Our test Genesis had a luxury package that includes quilted Nappa leather. It had suede on the pillars and dash as well as timber trim on the centre console.

There’s space for three adults in the centre row seat, though it’s shaped for two individual seats, with the one in the middle being for occasional use only. The two outer rear seats can be adjusted electrically in the manner that we normally only associate with front seats.

Given the size of the vehicle there’s less legroom than you would expect. The front seats are fine but if they’re set back for a tall driver there is barely enough kneeroom for those in the second row.

Getting into the third row of seats isn’t easy because of the height off the vehicle off the ground. Again, there’s not as much legroom as we would like.

There appears to be too much emphasis on boot space, which is positively cavernous, resulting in the aforementioned missing legroom.

Perhaps it’s the sweeping style at the rear that has the third-row seats rather limited for headroom.

The very wide infotainment and navigation screen is excellent and simple to see at a glance. Apple Car Play or Android Auto can be easily accessed.

Sound comes from 21 Lexicon speakers and Quantum Logic surround sound technology. It is supported by a 14-channel high output external amplifier.

Our test vehicle was powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine with 279 kW, and 530 Nm of torque the latter with a very wide spread from 1300 to 4500 rpm. So, the torque is in the rev range that’s being used virtually all the time in normal driving.

When the driver uses the indicators to signal a change direction the speedometer or tacho shows a picture taken by an outside camera of what’s beside and behind the Genesis at that time.

We found ourselves still using the door mirrors, but with more time in the driver’s seat we might come to rely only on the pictures and keep our eyes on the road ahead.

There’s not only advanced collision avoidance if other drivers make a mistake, but also a feature that stops you making a driving error. Try to change lanes into another vehicle and it prevents you from doing so by using the brakes or not replying to your steering.

Obviously, you can still get into trouble, but the big Genesis does its best to save you.

It almost goes without saying that the GV80 has been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Response from the twin-turbo petrol V6 was very quick proving that its design is a cracker. It looks as though the days of the second or two of hesitation before turbo units really get going are virtually no more. At least with the Genesis unit, we wonder how long before other engineers get theirs up and running?

Comfort is very good as the car’s Road Preview Electronic Control Suspension has a forward camera that looks at the road ahead for potholes or bumps. It then quickly adjusts the suspension damping according to what it sees. This further adds to the feeling of being isolated from the outside world.

Handling is pretty good for a vehicle of this size and mass though obviously it’s not aimed at the driver who wants to toss it at bends. You can choose to use a Sport setting but if you feel that way inclined, but we wonder how many owners would do this.

Genesis GV80 is a large SUV positively stacked with many features and is sold for tens of thousands of dollars less than European SUVs in this class.


GV80 2.5T RWD: $90,600
GV80 2.5T AWD: $95,600
GV80 3.0D AWD: $103,600
GV80 3.5T AWD: $108,600
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Hyundai/Genesis dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Genesis GV80 2.5-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.497 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 224 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 422 Nm @ 1650 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 229 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4945 mm
Wheelbase: 2955 mm
Width: 1975 mm
Height: 1715 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2073 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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