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Genesis GV80


In early March the Wall Street Journal’s automotive columnist, Dan Neil, reviewed Bentley’s Bentayga EWB, a lifestyle box those capable of affording lifestyles are hellbent to check. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to schedule a Bentley from that company’s press fleet, but then, putting a Bentley in my neighborhood would be roughly akin to putting Mar-a-Lago in my neighborhood. You could, of course, make it fit – but it’d never fit. In the absence of Mr. Neil’s Bentley I have a Genesis GV80. And while the Genesis represents a $200K savings when cross-shopped against the Bentayga, in my ‘hood no one’s the wiser. And if this Genesis is parked in your garage – with or without a valet – your neighbors wouldn’t be, either. 

As you’d by now know, Genesis is the upmarket variant offered to us by Hyundai, in a manner not dissimilar with what Honda’s Acura or Toyota’s Lexus have offered. While almost 40 years ago Honda was simply looking for a way to get the money from existing Honda owners moving up a pay grade, Lexus was unabashedly gunning for Mercedes. And almost 35 years later, it would seem Genesis is unabashedly gunning for Lexus. Despite a dealer network that remains – at best – a work in progress, the Genesis lineup is presumably running on all cylinders, whether the specific model has four cylinders, a twin-turbo V6 like our GV80 press vehicle or all-electric propulsion – which is available in electrified variants on the GV70, G80 sedan or only-electric GV60. 

Our GV80, finished in an expressive matte green metallic called Brunswick Green, would impress even the Bentley prospect with its in-your-face face, which leads to an aggressively raked windshield before tapering off with a handsomely angled hatch. Befitting the GV80’s rearward bias, the body sits back on the platform, and while this ‘thing’ ain’t a small thing, neither do its dimensions – an overall length of 195 inches atop a wheelbase of 116 inches – overwhelm. 

The GV80 is, however, heavy; its V6 version, according to Car and Driver, weighs 5,000+ pounds. Opt for the turbo four and you’ve dropped 200 pounds, allowing you to add your pre-Ozempic gal friend (or post-Ozempic boyfriend!) and not notice.

Inside, you’ll quickly see where at least some of your $80K goes. The test vehicle’s Prestige Signature trim takes ultra-luxury forward, with Nappa leather, a suede headliner (not sure how the light beige suede will work in the drive-thru) and matte finish wood trim. Look up and you have a panoramic sunroof – look down and you’ll see quilting, perforated seating surfaces and piping. Bentley customers will obviously get more, but they won’t get that much more…

Behind the wheel the GV80 and its twin-turbo V6 drive like a lighter, more athletic vehicle, while remaining serene at any speed. The smaller GV70 is more of a point-and-shoot projectile, but this bigger sport-ute is far removed from a Buick; in fact, it seems more athletic than the similarly positioned GLE Benz. If there’s room for improvement it’s in the V6’s efficiency – or lack thereof. The EPA supplies an 18 City/23 Hwy/20 Combined, and that’s all well and good, but in our around-the-town errand running the dashboard computer rarely registered over 15. Some sort of hybrid assist would probably improve that by 20-30%, and it would seem to be worth any reasonable bump in cost. 

Beyond all this is the Genesis warranty, generous on all levels, but extraordinary in offering buyers 10 years and/or 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage. For Hyundai to do this when competing with Honda and Toyota is one thing; it’s viable, but not absolutely necessary. For Genesis to do it in competing with BMW and Benz constitutes an out-of-the-park marketing advantage, as the horror stories – generally told in German – of luxury automobiles out of warranty are never ending, and when they do end they typically end badly. If buying a Genesis you can budget for the monthlies and, perhaps, hotel rooms – but during most ownerships you shouldn’t encounter financial surprises.

Without a doubt, the GV80 delivers a lot for a relatively (everything’s relative) modest amount of coin. Were it my monthlies I’d probably opt for the base 4-cylinder with a 0-60 a tick over six seconds, and a window sticker a tick over $60K. And that would more than compensate for waiting for your oil change in a Hyundai waiting room. With – you know – the riffraff. 

That’s something those Bentley people – and Dan Neil – don’t do.

Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, The Washington Automotive Press Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage, a regular panelist on the AutoNetwork Reports webcast/podcast, and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.

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