Genesis GV80 luxury SUV, something different

In Car Reviews, Genesis by Maggie Barry

It was probably not how Genesis bosses planned to bring Europe’s attention to their new brand.

But the pictures of Tiger Woods cheating death when he rolled his SUV, a Genesis GV80 down a ravine told their own story.

Now Genesis has finally brought their cars to the UK, so we can now see for ourselves what this big, robust SUV is made of.

Well, we know it’s safe – Tiger proved that – and the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety count both the GV80 and the saloon-bodied G80 among their top picks.

But what is Genesis and where did it come from?

It is a premium brand, part of the Hyundai Motor Group, with all the research and development of over 50 years in the business.

Although Genesis cars have been available across the world for several years now, this is their long-awaited entry onto the European and UK sales floor – one of the toughest in the world because of the standards drivers expect.

The cars are aimed directly at the premium end of the market, where you would typically expect to find the German brands. And the cars reflect the luxury quality motorists want to experience.

From the outside, the GV80 is elegantly understated. It has a beautiful matrix grille under the badge on the bonnet and quad lights at either side. The lines sweep back to a lovely rear and inside, everything is soft to the touch and very luxurious.

Two trim levels – premium and luxury – are available with every detail considered down to the exceptionally quiet noise level, the feeling of spaciousness and the diamond chrome finishes.

The seats are designed to conform to AGR standards – that’s Aktion Gesunder Rucken – the German organisation that campaigns for seats for healthy backs.

The infotainment system is driver-based and commanded by the Genesis Integrated Controller at your fingertips – a command dial that makes everything easy.

It is all managed by artificial intelligence with the added remote parking assist that gets the car in and out of narrow spaces while you control it from the key.

Everything, including over-the-air updates for the car’s maps and data, comes with the vehicle and lasts for five years. Five years of carefree driving.

I drove the big 3.0-litre diesel GV80 and was astonished at its silent runnings, although you can channel the car’s inner roar should you wish with a soundtrack that reverberates through the cabin.

It came with three driving modes – Eco. Comfort and Sport – and was deft enough to handle even the tightest country lanes.

Its saloon sibling was a delight, lighter, more dextrous and with a petrol engine. It has been a long time since I have driven such an enjoyable car.

There are no new systems on the GV80 or the G80 but what Genesis has done is take the best and put them all in one car – hence the video display on the instrument binnacle when you put down the indicator to pull out, the way the volume of the sound system automatically adjusts to the speed of the car, the 3D Head-Up Display, the evasive steering assist – the list goes on.

What is new is how you buy this car. No more salesrooms or feeling pressurised to take the aftercare service.

All Genesis cars will be sold out of studios by salaried sales assistants taken from areas like hospitality and retail. They will come to you and take as long as you like to hand over the car – coming back twice or three times if you do not understand any of the vehicle’s features.

Managing Director Andrew Pilkington says this is the Korean way of doing things – service, innovation and looking to the future. And the future for Genesis is at least six more models in the pipeline this year, including EVs and that’s an eastern promise.

Author Rating 4.2/5

Car reviewed: Genesis GV80 Luxury

on the road price as tested £62,415

  • 0-62mph 7.5secs
  • Top speed 155mph
  • Mechanical 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel
  • Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 31.5-33.1mpg
  • Power 278PS@3800rpm
  • Torque 580Nm@1500-3000rpm
  • Dimensions MM 4945 L / 1975 W / 1715 H
  • CO2 emissions WLTP 220-231g/km
  • Transmission 86-speed Manual all-wheel-drive
  • Bootspace 727 / 2144 litres seats down

Maggie Barry


Maggie Barry is an Award winning journalist, she regularly travels in Europe and beyond to test drive cars. A former lecturer in journalism and motoring editor of Media Scotland she has written for and contributed to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail among others. She is on the panel judging the Scottish Car of the Year and Women’s World Car of the Year. She lives near Glasgow with her husband and several cars.