2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury (car review)

GENESIS, the first book of the bible, a great rock band and more recently, a car brand – one that has recently launched its first large premium SUV; the GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury. It is indeed truly something special.

Aimed at the BMW X5 xDrive40i and Lexus LX 570 S market, the GV80 3.5T is a worthy opponent for the more established players in the space, offering similar or better specs for as much as $60,000 less than its competitors.

The Genesis has a sophisticated and well-crafted presence, starting with the clean lines and quad, slim line headlights, with the brand defining separation bar. The large grille area is reminiscent of Bentley’s Bentayga too.

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The imposing 22-inch Michelin shod 5-spoke alloy wheels add to the car’s presence and are a combination or black chrome and powder coated details. The rear treatment is designed to look low and wide, with broad LED taillights.

The chrome integrated exhaust outlets mould into the bumper area. A roof spoiler sits at the top of the tailgate, which includes a wind deflector. Subdued exterior paint colours also highlight the class and luxury that Genesis is aiming for with the GV80.

Our test vehicle was finished in Matte Brunswick Green, but you can also choose Matte Melbourne Grey and Matte Matterhorn White. Gloss colours include Uyuni White, Himalayan Grey, Cardiff Green, Saville Silver, Adriatic Blue and Vik Black.

Gold Coast Silver and Lima Red complete the options. The range topping model powered a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, producing 279kW of power, with 530Nm of torque delivered over a wide band. It’s a pleasure to drive too.

The twin turbos harmonised well together and were matched perfectly, so acceleration was effortless through the 8-speed automatic transmission. An electronic limited slip differential is also paired with adaptive control suspension.

The combination makes it feel secure and stable on everything from highway driving to rough corrugated roads. The intelligent, electronic suspension package utilises a camera controlled detection system to change ride characteristics at will.

It works so well that it’s difficult to feel the changes, making the GV80 extremely competent and ensures comfort on all road surfaces. Genesis claims fuel economy of 11.7-litres/100km from the 80-litre tank. We managed 12.0-litres. That’s pretty thirsty.

It’s also pretty damn heavy for an SUV of this size, at more than 2.2 tonne. On the plus side though, it does have a 2,722kg braked towing capacity. The Genesis GV80 comes with terrain control dials in the centre console for variations in drive conditions.

These include options for Mud, Sand and Snow. Driving modes alter the settings as well, with Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom offered. Each one changes the 3D layout of the instrument cluster.

The 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury’s bold exterior and driving capabilities are mirrored inside, with the uninterrupted horizontal dash and striking heated twin colour steering wheel providing an air of opulence.

Large leather seats with 18-way controls, memory, massage, heating and ventilation continue to build on that grandeur, with a combination of bright silver, vanilla and urban brown leather appointments and timber inlays demonstrating beautiful design.

The sizeable centre console bin with bi-fold doors is deep and dark, but with no light it’s difficult to locate items. A convenient wireless smartphone charger and USB charging ports are under the front sliding panel.

There is a second USB in the tunnel storage area between the seats. The centre console area has two cup holders, plus a touch controller; the very intuitive and well-designed transmission change dial, an auto-hold button and terrain control dial.

The touch controller dial manages most infotainment functions, and can be used to enter destinations for navigation. The outer dial is very convenient, but the touch writing centre section is slightly gimmicky. Not that useful, especially if you are right handed.

The infotainment system itself is the hub of the car, and controls all media, phone, ambience (including warm fireplace sounds) and navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are quick and easy to connect as well.

The touchscreen in the 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury also displays the augmented reality navigation which takes a few moments to get used to. Once you’ve come to terms with it though, it’s extremely easy to use to follow the selected route.

The incredible sound system features 21 Lexicon speakers scattered around the cabin. Active noise cancelling and acoustic laminated glass make for a very relaxed environment. There’s a 360-degree 3D view for parking.

The Luxury pack, which featured on our test vehicle, adds remote smart parking assist, which controls the car and helps you drive in and out of parking spots. It can even be controlled from outside the car, via the key fob.

A 12-inch head-up display provides all the required information to keep your eyes on the road, including lane assist and cruise control settings. The display can be changed via the vehicle setup mode.

Second row seating is adequate and has separate climate controls, drop down illuminated vanity mirrors, and automatic window curtains. You’ll also find power adjustable seat backs.

These seats can be controlled from numerous points in the cabin for access to the fully automatic third row seats. To be honest these are kid size only, but do have storage and air-conditioning controls.

Rear boot space is 727-litres with the seats up and 2,144-litres with them all laid flat. The large panoramic sliding sun roof includes twin fabric converging sunshades. The car is also supplied with a tyre mobility kit, and a breakdown kit with sanitiser and vest.

There’s a first aid kit and a cargo net, with everything stored in a recessed compartment behind the third row seats. The rear cargo screen is hidden in here as well. All the luxury goodness aside, it’s in driver safety and assistance that Genesis has really excelled.

An array of technologies including blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance assist, driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance assist, lane change side function and evasive steering assistance, and rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist.

The cruise control function features machine learning, and there’s 10 airbags, including one that creates a screen between the driver and front passenger. Pricing starts from $108,600 plus on-roads for the 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD.

To add the Luxury part of our test vehicle, you’ll need the $10,000 Luxury pack, which adds (in addition to those items we’ve already mentioned), noise control technology, the quilted seats, three zone climate control and the massage seat function.

The Genesis GV80 comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 5-years complimentary servicing (conditions apply), and 24-hour roadside assist.

Our test vehicle was provided by Genesis Motors Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury, contact your local Genesis dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - stylish and sophisticated exterior and interior; cutting edge technology; high level of safety inclusions; powerful smooth engine; very competitive fixed pricing.
Cons - limited third row leg room; wind noise from sunroof on highway; gimmicky touch controller.
Geoff Counihan
Geoff Counihan
With a background in mechanical engineering, Geoff appreciates the workings of all things automotive. He's currently building a 1968 Ford Mustang from the ground up and his past includes work with Peter Brock as a development engineer. He's owned more than 20 cars and is a big fan of track testing.


  1. Why doesn’t it also “target” the Q7, GLE, and XC90? As a chauffeur, the base model Q7 would be my pick – slightly roomier than the GV80, comes with tri-zone standard (2nd row climate is mandatory), more prestige badge, the air suspension allows me to lower the height to assist some disabled passengers alight, (possibly – yet to be tested), and better commercial-use warranty – 3 years unlimited for Q7 vs 130,000km for the GV.

  2. Hyundai / Kia have three V6 engines with almost the same specs. The 3.3L used in the G70 and Genesis. The 3.5L used in this GV80. And a 3.8L V6.

    There’s circa 100cc difference between the 3.3L and the 3.5L. The 3.3 is bigger than 3300 and the 3 5 is less than 3500. This closeness shows up in the power and torque are about the same. Why bother? Why not delete the 3.3L and use the 3.5L. Even better – bump the GV80 and Stinger up to a 3.8L Twin Turbo.

    Ben Tate.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> stylish and sophisticated exterior and interior; cutting edge technology; high level of safety inclusions; powerful smooth engine; very competitive fixed pricing.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> limited third row leg room; wind noise from sunroof on highway; gimmicky touch controller.2021 Genesis GV80 3.5T AWD Luxury (car review)