Genesis GV80

2023 Genesis GV80

The Good:
– Excellent styling in and out
– Powerful and responsive
– Ride and handling
The Bad:
– Limited offroad capabilities
– Artificial steering feel
– No variable ride-height option

The Genesis brand had been trundling along as a second-tier luxury player, competing with the likes of Jaguar and Alfa Romeo for whatever buyers were left after the big boys took their share. While Hyundai was doing great, Genesis was hunting for a corporate design identity. We believe they’ve found it now, because we’ve never been as excited to try out a new Korean offering as we have with the Genesis GV80.

Exterior design

Just look at the styling. Genesis finally has a distinctive face that can be spotted from a mile away. The GV80 almost has a Bentley Bentayga vibe going for it, although it shares nothing style-wise with that far pricier SUV other than a mesh effect on the grille. The 22-inch wheels are cool, the profile is swoopy, and the lighting becomes a part of the styling, as the chrome fender bits hide full-length indicators that make for a sweet effect when flashing with the stripe headlights and tail lights.

Interior design

The interior is outstanding and original as well. While earlier Genesis models used to try copying elements of Mercedes-Benz or BMW, the Germans could now learn a thing or two from the Koreans.

Great materials, leathery surfaces all over and open-pore style wood, all the cliche premium bits are done in a tasteful way. Genesis leans deep into the luxury trope with a knurled-metal look around many buttons, a nice LED-lit gear selector, and generous dollops of mood lighting. Of course, you are occasionally reminded that the GV80 is not, in fact, a Bentley, as there are the odd hard-plastic bits, such as the top of the steering wheel centre cover.

Front passengers enjoy a great view inside and outside the car, while rear passengers can either enjoy generous rear legroom or slide the second-row bench forward and power-recline in a 60/40 split. In our test car, the second row can power-fold up and down, while we hear a third row is optional.

The interior features plenty of centre-console storage, USB-A charging ports, and a wireless charging pad that was temperamental about whether it wanted to work.

Genesis GV80 technology features

Unique tech features include a 3D effect in the LCD gauge cluster, a “sounds of nature” feature for chilling, a regionally-relevant qiblah feature, seat bolsters that squeeze your sides in sport mode and at speed, and a temperamental auto-open tailgate that works when it wants.

Other features include a heads-up display, panoramic glass roof, a wide 14.5-inch touchscreen that uses a controller with haptic feedback, Apple Carplay and Android Auto (wireless for 2023), navigation, 360-degree cameras, soft closing doors, rear a/c controls, roll-up rear blinds, wireless charging pad and more. However, our test car was missing the optional rear entertainment system, and the rear door handles didn’t have auto-unlock when in proximity to the smart key.

Genesis GV80 engine specifications

Under the hood, the GV80 offers two powerful engine options, namely a 2.5-litre turbo four that produces 300 hp and 422 Nm of torque, and a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 that cranks out an impressive 378 hp and 530 Nm of torque. Our test car had the latter engine, although both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel-drive is available.

Our turbo six was pretty fast, clocking in a time of 6 seconds flat in our 0-100 kph test during a Dubai winter afternoon. The throttle responds well enough, and it sounds pretty good at full tilt as well.

It’s not the most efficient of engines, as we clocked fuel consumption at 16 litres/100 km (6.3 km/litre), but for V8-like power, it’s fair enough in mixed driving.

Ride comfort

On regular Dubai roads, the ride is surprisingly comfortable even with aggressively low-profile tyres, and it’s as quiet as others in its class. Bumpiness is only felt on rougher poorly-maintained surfaces.

Take it for a spirited run and the chassis proves to be very competent, with limited body roll, impressive grip, good body control and overall neutral handling. The steering lacks feedback and the artificial weightage makes it feel a bit unnatural. But overall, the car behaves well enough to be entertaining and is backed up with strong brakes and a host of active safety electronic nannies.

There are several drive modes and terrain-select options on offer, but they just play with the throttle response, gear-change points, steering weight and possibly the behaviour of the suspension.

The ride height is fixed, so although the ground clearance is decent enough for mild offroading, you won’t be trying anything tougher than low slopes and gravel trails. There is no low-range gearing, and the tyres are road-biased, but there is enough power to keep things moving on soft-sand surfaces.

Genesis GV80 verdict

Genesis has finally hit their stride with their own unique design philosophy. Paired with driving dynamics and comfort levels at least comparable to many of their German rivals, as well as massive showroom appeal in terms of “wow” features and a competitive price, the Korean luxury nameplate is poised to perform in terms of product. But marketing will be the key to growing the brand. Genesis has a long way to go from “You own a what?” to “Oh, you own a Genesis!”

Price Range:
Dh 350,000-355,000

Current Model Introduced in:

Body Styles:
5-door wagon

3.5L 378 hp V6 turbo / 530 Nm

8-speed automatic


Front: independent
Rear: independent

Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
2250 kg

4945 mm

2955 mm

Top Speed:
250 kph (limited)

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
5.8 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
16.1 litres/100km

What do you think?


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