What it is: Hyundai launched their luxury line of vehicles a few years ago, but now we finally have their first attempt at an SUV: the GV80. Comparable in size to the Lexus RX, BMW X5 or an Acura MDX, it provides a surprisingly great product at a good price.
One of the things I loved about the GV80 was the technology. My test model was a top trim GV80 3.5T Advanced, which is just one step below the highest prestige package. The $5,200 advanced package comes with real leather seats, 16-way power driver seat, three-zone climate control, heated second-row seats, a Lexicon 21-speaker stereo system, heads-up display, surround view monitor, remote smart parking assist and more. One of my favorite features, and a great party trick, is the remote smart parking assist. On your key fob, you can remote start the vehicle and then there are dedicated buttons to slowly roll the GV80 forward or backward while you are outside of the car within 15 feet. I also loved the heads-up display more than the usual HUD offering because while using the advanced cruise control, it will actually show you driving in your lane while also showing ghostlike versions of the cars that surround you. No more wonder if there is someone in your blind spot because it shows it to you right in front of your face.
I was also impressed with the lane centering assist while cruise control was active. The system was extremely good at making those small adjustments for you to keep you in the center of your lane. You are supposed to keep your hands on the wheel, but the Level 2-capable highway driving assist doesn’t beep at you for roughly 30 seconds if it doesn’t detect you holding onto the steering wheel. The lane centering assist may seem somewhat pointless, but on long-distance drives it lets your mind focus more on the cars around you and I think helps keep you more alert and for longer as a result.
By far the biggest comment I received on the GV80 was the striking exterior appearance. The interior is nice as well, but the exterior is WOW. It looks like nothing else on the road and has a beautiful and luxury-focused design that I love. The split headlights with matching turn signals on the fender in particular are stunning. Even the rear of the car invokes the Bentley Bentayga more than a Hyundai-manufactured vehicle.
There are two engine options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo and a 3.5-liter V6 turbo. Most buyers will opt for the extra power, and my test model was reasonably quick with a 0-60 time under 6 seconds. It would be nice to see a hybrid model available because of the somewhat bad fuel economy, but I believe Genesis has a pure electric version coming out in the next few years to deliver the best of both worlds.
The interior is certainly luxurious, but is still a half notch down from the German and Japanese luxury manufacturers, but is still really good. I loved the 14.5-inch horizontal infotainment screen and on the default page, it will combine a background that features live weather information with a subdued map of the streets you are driving on. Very unique and quite aesthetically pleasing (a rather appropriate description for the entire vehicle actually).
MPG: 23/21/25 for the four cylinder. 20/18/23 for the six cylinder.
Price: $48,900 base price for the 2.5T engine. $65,775 as-tested.
Upsides: Great value. Quiet ride. Beautiful.
Downsides: Bad fuel economy.
Wrap-up: I can easily recommend the purchase of the GV80. I think that the 3.5T with advanced is probably the best choice of the trims, and I would definitely choose the Cardiff green paint ($500) which is a rich color that complements the car beautifully. You still get the incredible Hyundai warranty of 5 years/60k miles bumper-to-bumper and 10 years/100k miles for powertrain, but you also get the added benefit of included valet maintenance where they will retrieve your car and drop off a loaner so you never even have to go to the service department at the dealership. Other luxury manufacturers may have nicer service waiting areas, but with Genesis you never even have to go! I would appreciate it if Houstonians would purchase more GV80s so I can at least get to look at something more beautiful than a normal SUV while driving around town.