And the subject of this test sits at the top of the GV80 pyramid. As the name implies, the 3.5T AWD is powered by a 3.5-litre turbo-petrol V6 sending drive to all four wheels.
We spent a week with the three-row, six-seat version to see how it copes with the rigours of family life.
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What does it look like?
As mentioned in previous reviews, Genesis models moving through the CarsGuide garage are most often mistaken for Bentleys. Not a bad misattribution for a relatively new and still low-key brand.
The big chrome-accented grille and winged logo are Bentley-esque, but the distinctive two-tier headlight (and tail-light) treatment stands this substantial SUV apart.
Our test car’s optional ‘Brunswick Green’ matt paint adds an extra air of sophistication and the GV80 3.5T’s huge satin-finish 22-inch alloy wheels dial up the premium presentation and take-no-prisoners attitude.
The GV80 features two-tier tail-lights. (image credit: James Cleary)
Inside, the look and feel is top-shelf thanks to quilted leather upholstery, multiple (large) screens, polished metal trim pieces and genuine wood details on the front and rear centre consoles, as well as the doors.
The test example’s ‘Smokey Green’ leather and reddish brown dash and door trim colour combination isn’t my cup of tea, but that’s a subjective opinion, and you may love it.
Pulling power is immense, the twin-turbo V6 engine surging off the line with heaps of mid-range power once up and running for safe overtaking and relaxed freeway cruising.
But it’s never raucous, thanks in part to an acoustic laminated windscreen and front door glass, as well as active ‘anti-phase’ noise-cancelling tech minimising road rumble and mechanical noise in the cabin.
The 3.5-litre, twin-turbo V6 produces 279kW/530Nm. (image credit: James Cleary)
The ride is plush but this big SUV feels well buttoned down thanks in no small part to an adaptive suspension with a preview function that’s able to read the road ahead and rapidly change settings accordingly.
It remains balanced and stable on twisting sections with fat Michelin high-performance SUV tyres wrapped around the car’s big 22-inch rims and a limited-slip differential ensuring drive goes to the wheels that can make best use of it.
The GV80 wears 22-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: James Cleary)
The steering is agreeably light for parking, but weights up nicely as speed increases. Road feel is good, too. Bear in mind, though, a 12.0m turning circle means you’ll have to pick your spots for U- or three-point turns.
Braking is professional grade thanks to big ventilated discs all around, with tricky four-piston calipers at the front. They feel progressive and powerful, which is no bad thing when you consider the GV80 3.5T is rated to tow a braked trailer up to 2.7 tonnes.
At close to 5.0m long, a fraction under 2.0m wide, and just over 1.7m tall the Genesis GV80 is a sizeable machine.
And with a wheelbase (the distance between the axles) edging up towards three metres there’s plenty of space inside, with lots of breathing room for the driver and front seat passenger.
Rear passengers are spoiled with limo-like head and legroom. (image credit: James Cleary)
Move to the back, and as they say, space is luxury, and there’s limo-like head and legroom for the two passengers slipping into their individual reclinable, heated and ventilated seats. Handy too that the driver has access to electric controls on the inboard side of the front passenger seat backrest so they can adjust for legroom behind it.
Even the third row is pretty good, although access is a bit of a scramble. Grown ups will be okay for medium to mid-length trips and the kids will be loving it.
Third row seating is pretty good. (image credit: James Cleary)
As you might expect, boot space is limited with the 50/50 split and electronically folding third row seat upright. But it’s enough for a modest amount of groceries or some school bags, and we were able to sneak in the smallest (36L) suitcase from our three-piece demo set, with room to spare.
Drop that third row and and you have a generous 727 litres at your disposal, which grows to a whopping 2139L with the second row down.
Boot space is limited with the third row in place. (image credit: James Cleary)
We were able to fit our smallest suitcase. (image credit: James Cleary)
Drop the third row and and there's 727 litres. (image credit: James Cleary)
With the second row down, cargo space grows to 2139L. (image credit: James Cleary)
Space is one thing, but storage helps make it more usable, and the GV80 has plenty.
Up front there are long pockets in the doors with space for bottles, a deep, lidded storage box between the front seats (which doubles as a centre armrest), two large cupholders in the centre console, as well as a lower oddments tray underneath the console, and a decent glove box.
Then there are two USB-A sockets (one for media connectivity, the other for charging only) and a 12V outlet (in the lower tray).
In the second row a broad centre console houses a lidded compartment, two cupholders and media controls, plus there are adjustable vents and a climate dial above a pair of USB-A jacks and a 12V socket in the back of the front centre console.
There's a deep, lidded storage box between the front seats. (image credit: James Cleary)
There are hard shell map pockets, door bins (with space for bottles), even illuminated vanity mirrors that flip down from the roof.
Retractable rear door window shades are great for taming direct sunlight with babies or small kids in the back, and unlike many three-row SUVs where the back row feels like an afterthought, wayback-seaters in the GV80 are well taken care of with cupholders, proper adjustable ventilation and a storage compartment.
Parents will love the ‘Passenger Talk function’ where the driver’s voice is communicated through rear speakers. I like to call it the voice of authority. And a ‘Quiet Mode’ limits the audio to ‘25’ in the first row and mutes it in the rear. Thoughtful.
A hands-free power tailgate is always a welcome inclusion, and this one is height and speed adjustable. Don’t bother looking for a spare wheel, though. A repair/inflator kit is your only option.
The GV80 received a maximum five-star ANCAP assessment is 2021 and active (crash-avoidance) tech is impressive, including ‘Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist’ (incorporating AEB with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, junction turning and crossing function and ‘Evasive Steering Assist’), blind-spot assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist, lane-keeping and following assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
There’s also active cruise control, a 3D surround view, a rear-view monitor, multi-sensor front and rear parking distance warnings, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
If, despite all that, a sheet metal interface is unavoidable there are no less than 10 airbags on board (driver and passenger front and side), driver’s knee, a front centre bag (to minimise head clash injuries), second row side and full-length side curtains.
Multi-collision brake reduces the chance of a secondary crash after an initial impact, and there are top tether points for baby capsules or child seats and ISOFIX anchors for each second row seat. There’s even a first aid kit, hazard triangle and roadside assistance kit.
The tech is laid on pretty thick in the GV80, especially this 3.5T ‘Lux Matte 6-seat’ version.
The Surround View Monitor is super-helpful and high-resolution delivers a crisp image, even at night. The 14.4-inch multimedia touchscreen is responsive and easy to navigate, the 12.3-inch instrument display is crystal clear and easy to configure, as is the 12.0-inch multi-function colour head-up display.
Inside is a 14.4-inch multimedia touchscreen. (image credit: James Cleary)
Heating and ventilation is managed by a sensible mix of on-screen controls (via a dedicated 6.0-inch display) and physical dials, the 21-speaker audio system is superb, and there’s nothing like dual 9.2-inch HD media touchscreens to keep middle row kids quietly entertained on a road trip.
Shout out for the reliable wireless Apple CarPlay connection, which can be frustratingly flaky in other, even high-end, vehicles.
But our test example featured a couple of tasty options in the form of the ‘6-Seat Luxury Package’ ($13,500) and ‘Matte Paint’ in Brunswick Green ($2000), for an as-tested MLP of $125,000.
That kicks it up into the same territory as the BMW X5 xDrive40i ($130,900), Lexus RX 500h ($126,000) and Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 ($135,200).
As you might expect, the GV80 3.5T is loaded with standard features that help it match, and at times exceed, the competition. Prepare yourself.
Aside from the safety and performance tech covered separately in this review, it includes, three-zone climate control, leather trim on the seats (partial), dash, doors and centre console, active cruise control (with stop-go function), ‘Surround View Monitor’ (360-degree 3D view, reverse view, parking distance warning, and more), a 14.4-inch multimedia touchscreen, 21-speaker ‘Lexicon by Harman’ audio (with 1050W 14 channel amp and digital radio) and 12-way power-adjustable (heated and ventilated) front seats (with two memory positions on the driver’s side).
Inside, there is three-zone climate control. (image credit: James Cleary)
Then you can add wireless phone charging, a panorama glass sunroof, a hands-free power tailgate (height and speed adjustable), 8.0-inch configurable digital instrument display, a 12.0-inch multi-function colour head-up display, genuine open pore wood trim on the doors and front centre console, LED headlights (auto-levelling), LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, 64-colour ambient interior lighting, and 22-inch alloy rims. Phew!
The GV80 features auto-levelling LED headlights. (image credit: James Cleary)
You’d think there wouldn’t be room for anything else, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and our test car’s 6-Seat Luxury Package adds even more swag.
How about ‘Remote Smart Parking Assist’, 18-way power fronts seats (with all kinds of additional electronic adjustments), power-adjustable second and third-row seats, a bigger 12.3-inch instrument display, dual 9.2-inch HD media touchscreens for back seaters, heated and ventilated second row seats, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather trim, suede headlining, and the open pore wood trim is extended to the second row centre console. This is getting ridiculous…
Back seat passengers get dual 9.2-inch HD media touchscreens. (image credit: James Cleary)
If you want to go down to the next level of detail there’s even more standard kit, but you get the idea. This is a genuinely luxurious SUV with an amazing amount of included features for the money.
The Genesis official fuel economy number for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 11.7L/100km, the twin-turbo V6 emitting 273g/km of CO2 in the process.
Over a week of city, suburban, and some freeway running we averaged 13.3L/100km, which is thirsty, but not outrageous for a 2.2-tonne twin-turbo V6 SUV.
Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded and you’ll need 80 litres of it to fill the tank.
Using the official number, that translates to a range of around 680km, which drops to just over 600km using our real-world figure.
The Genesis GV80 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty (now the norm in the luxury segment), with paint application defects (overspray, runs, mismatch, etc) covered for 12 months/unlimited km.
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