When automakers first make their newest and biggest out there for journalists to check, they usually roll out loaded examples for reviewers to pattern. In different phrases, top-flight fashions with the poshest interiors, the flashiest wheels, the very best tech and most significantly, probably the most highly effective drivetrains. It is smart, insofar because it affords reviewers the possibility to expertise all of a automobile’s newness and greatness directly, giving us the possibility to determine what we like, and what we do not. Facet impact? It is tempting to get distracted by all these bells, whistles and horses. That is significantly straightforward to do when there are such a lot of of all three, as is the case with the 2021 Genesis GV80. 

In truth, this upscale SUV has so many new options and particulars to expertise, I assumed it finest to start out out with a loaded GV80 3.5T in all-wheel-drive Status trim, a $72,000 as-tested luxurious juggernaut. If you have not learn my first drive overview of that mannequin, please contemplate pausing studying this text and doing that now.

Irrespective of the engine, the GV80 is one sharp SUV.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

All completed? Good. Now, to Genesis’ everlasting credit score, the corporate made quite a few configurations of its new GV80 out there at its Detroit-area first drive occasion, so I will keep centered on powertrain and trim variations, since most of my different impressions carry over. So let’s take a better take a look at this considerably extra inexpensive model, the GV80 2.5T with rear-wheel drive. Whereas my tester remains to be spec’d out in highfalutin Status guise, this crossover is quite a bit cheaper, stickering at $58,475 as examined (together with $1,025 in freight). As you will quickly study, the Himalayan Grey Metallic sweetie seen right here is priced to strike worry within the coronary heart of as we speak’s premium SUV market. That is admittedly nonetheless a thick wedge, however a base GV80 begins at $49,925 delivered, which is not far above the value of a Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy from Genesis’ father or mother model. Make no mistake, regardless of the way you possibility it, the GV80 represents an unparalleled quantity of contemporary luxurious SUV for the cash. 

4-cylinder energy

Whereas I believe the twin-turbo V6 within the 3.5T mannequin fits the general ambition of the GV80 finest, the smaller, single-turbo, 2.5-liter inline-four featured right here has heaps to supply — not the least of which is its 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque (the latter peaking from simply 1,300 rpm). These output figures solidly outpoint not solely the smaller 2.0-liter I4s within the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE 350, they’re truly considerably extra spectacular than the ability metrics mustered by the liter-larger, naturally aspirated V6s within the Acura MDX and Lexus RX. 

On the road, this interprets to strong — however not overwhelming — quantities of oomph, whether or not trundling round city from stoplight to stoplight or merging onto the freeway. The eight-speed computerized shifts crisply and obsequiously, and I might ballpark a 0-to-60-mph time within the 6.5-second vary. The two.5T can be surprisingly quiet, particularly for an I4. That is smart, as a result of with the three.5T, the complete GV80 drive expertise is hushed, be it by way of engine, street or wind noise (frankly, I am unable to recall driving an SUV with a sub-six-figure price ticket that is as quiet as a GV80 V6). And but, even with out that mannequin’s distinctive lively road-noise cancellation tech (suppose: Bose 700 cans for the complete cabin), this 2.5T RWD is not far behind.

Talking of the four-cylinder, the two.5T’s soundtrack itself is not bothersome, however it’s a bit featureless, and its character does not match the GV80’s larger-than-life seems in addition to the pricier, thirstier V6. That mentioned, a strong slug of torque is at all times out there for passing and the engine’s fuel-saving stop-start tech is unobtrusive sufficient that I left it enabled for 95% of my drive (one thing of a rarity for me). 

It is value noting that I solely had the possibility to drive the two.5T unladen, with no cabin stuffed with passengers or gear within the cargo space, and my drive day occurred on Michigan’s drably flat and rain-slicked roads. I might have an interest to expertise an identical mannequin totally loaded, maybe within the mountains, if solely to see how a lot starch this powertrain actually affords. Regardless, Genesis says the two.5T can tow a strong 6,000 kilos, the identical as its 3.5T massive brother, so this combo should be moderately stout. After all, if you’d like the non-compulsory (small) third-row seats, you’ll be able to’t get it with a four-cylinder engine. In truth, it’s important to pony up a really particular 3.5T trim, Advance Plus.

The GV80’s 2.5-liter turbo 4 places out 300 hp and 311 pound-feet — extra energy than some rivals’ V6 engines.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

4-cylinder effectivity

The payoff for going with the smaller I4, along with a considerably cheaper price tag, is markedly higher gas economic system. The 2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD nets 21 miles per gallon metropolis, 25 freeway and 23 mixed in accordance with EPA estimates. If you happen to go for AWD, the numbers maintain up effectively, with solely the mixed quantity dropping by a single digit. Evaluate that to the AWD-only 3.5T, which will get 18 mpg metropolis, 23 freeway and 20 mixed. None of those effectivity totals (all achieved on premium gas) will rating you on a slot on the Rainforest Motion Community’s holiday-card listing, thoughts, however these are strong figures for this class.

So, the I4 is cheaper and demonstrably extra environment friendly. Great things. However for those who’re picturing this GV80 as some type of secret, cheap efficiency mannequin for driving fanatics as a result of it is rear-wheel drive and lighter general, effectively, suppose once more. This is not a sport sedan on stilts, and it nonetheless weighs each little bit of 4,700 kilos. That is to not say this Genesis handles like an overstuffed sofa — GV80s can hustle round corners well — however there is not a lot in the best way of really feel or involvement, particularly from the steering. On the plus aspect, despite the fact that Genesis’ road-scanning adjustable suspension is not out there on RWD fashions, as a result of this 2.5T wears smaller 20-inch wheels wrapped in 265/50-series Michelin Primacy Tour all-season rubber, this automobile affords higher experience high quality than the V6 I wrote about beforehand. (Base, 2.5T Customary trims experience on 19s with even taller sidewalls, so that they should be extra compliant nonetheless.) 

When you cannot get all the luxurious fixins discovered within the V6 mannequin, the two.5T’s cabin stays posh, authentic and really effectively geared up.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

Inside excellence

Though the two.5T RWD Status lacks most of the super-swish options discovered solely on the three.5T’s Status trim (e.g. quilted Nappa leather-based, energy soft-close doorways, 3D-effect digital gauges, and so forth), the two.5T RWD’s inside nonetheless feels upscale. This wasn’t a foregone conclusion, because the RWD Status even goes with out most of the options that come normal in AWD fashions with the identical engine and trim — you’ll be able to’t get lively noise cancellation or a head-up show, for example. Fortunately, the inclusion of options like a widescreen, 14.5-inch infotainment show, 21-speaker Lexicon audio system, knurled-finish switchgear, panoramic roof and matte-finish wooden assist elevate the cabin to important heights. Nevertheless, it is the general aesthetic and the standard of match and end that actually promote the premium vibe that permit the GV80 to face shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lincoln Aviator and Mercedes GLE.

On the subject of security tech, Genesis has fortunately been much more simple. No matter pushed wheels or trim, all GV80s obtain adaptive cruise management with Freeway Driving Help II (lane centering and street signal recognition), lane-departure warning and blind-spot collision-avoidance help, forward-collision warning with auto brake, plus a fundamental driver monitor and an uncommon further airbag mounted entrance heart airbag. Status trim provides 360-degree birds-eye digital camera protection for simpler maneuverability, reverse auto-brake, blind-spot monitor and ultrasonic rear-seat occupant alert, however that is about it. All in all, the complete GV80 line is on-point in the case of security gear.

Whereas the three.5T should still be the GV80 to covet, there is definitely no disgrace within the 2.5T’s sport.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

Must you purchase one?

Is it value shopping for a GV80 reasonably than the extra conventional (and predictable) luxurious manufacturers out of Europe and Japan? 100%. Greenback for greenback, the GV80 is not only a higher worth when optioned like-for-like, it truly has extra road presence than the institution, plus it has a nicer cabin and a much-longer guarantee. In equity, if historical past is any information, the GV80 will not have comparable resale worth entrenched rivals from Europe and Japan, however then once more, you will not be forking over as a lot cash to start with, and Genesis typically has higher dependability scores.

Now, do you have to contemplate this 2.5T versus a 3.5T? Effectively, for those who can afford to splurge, I’d. The additional energy — 375 hp and 391 lb-ft — and refinement makes the six-cylinder engine a worthy improve. Plus with the best way Genesis tiers its trim traces, you are inclined to get extra normal tools on 3.5T fashions, too. Another factor: Since RWD does not radically alter (not to mention enhance) the GV80’s agility or enjoyable quotient, I might go for an AWD mannequin no matter engine, particularly for those who’re situated someplace that sees quantity of rain or snow. In equity, this 2.5T RWD is prone to be a fairly uncommon chicken on vendor heaps anyhow. A Genesis spokesperson tells me that at the least within the early days of GV80 gross sales, solely round 30% of fashions on heaps are prone to include this smaller engine. Of that quantity, solely round a 3rd are anticipated to be fitted with RWD.

All in all, it is arduous to go fallacious with the 2021 Genesis GV80. It is not simply the most effective worth within the midsize luxurious SUV section, it is one of many higher choices, interval.

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