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Genesis GV80 Diesel 3.0D AWD

Genesis GV80 Diesel 3.0D AWD (2020-2021)

Also referred to as: Genesis GV80 Diesel 3.0D AWD 2020 and Genesis GV80 Diesel 3.0D AWD 2022.
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4.25 out of 5 stars

Introduction

Welcome Lexus 2.0, aka Genesis. Lexus was born in the late 1990s as a result of Toyota putting to work a bunch of talented engineers to create some of the best luxury vehicles to come out of Japan.

Genesis on the other hand, was a little bit lost upon its initial conception. Initially, Genesis was set up to be Hyundai’s performance car arm, producing mediocre sports cars at best.

Hyundai has now given that job to the overachieving ‘N’ department, leaving Genesis with a clean slate. Rebirthed in the mid 2010’s, Genesis is now devoted to producing the best possible luxury cars to compete against the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Audi and especially Lexus.

Hyundai is so devoted to Genesis’s success in the Australian market, that there is a ‘Genesis Studio’ placed squarely in the heart of Melbourne and Sydney’s CBDs.

Genesis faces two challenges: the first is becoming known in the market for making genuinely luxurious cars. The second challenge is becoming an aspirational brand that capitalises on buyers who are interested in spending north of $80,000 on a car.

What better way to start with Genesis's latest range than with their largest and most opulent SUV, the GV80. Alongside the recently launched GV70, I think joining the SUV trend might just be the best shot this brand has at success.

Let’s jump into it.


Build Quality

4 out of 5.
Genesis rear door open

A testament to Genesis’s seriousness in creating a luxury product is the GV80 build quality.

There is no mistaking this car for a souped-up Hyundai. It takes the best parts of Hyundai’s interiors and dials that up to 11.

From a suede headliner, precise headlight designs, sharp puddle lights, rich nappa leather and seemingly perfectly weighted buttons - it’s all here.

I just wish there was a little bit more metal to compliment the plethora of leather and wood trim in here. Some plastic buttons occasionally distract from this plush interior.

Genesis opened a few ‘Design Studios’ around Australia’s CBDs in order to expose the public to the Genesis brand and its products.

Genesis needs customers to experience this attention to detail in person in order to understand what the Genesis brand represents, otherwise it’s going to be a harder sell just describing a GV80 on paper.

Value for Money

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 badge

The GV80 range kicks off with a 2.5L turbocharged petrol four cylinder, in a 2WD configuration, for $99,416 driveaway.

This GV80 is the diesel 3.0L AWD Standard trim, asking $113,066 driveaway. To digest this seemingly enormous price, you have to look across to the competition.

Against the likes of an Audi Q7, a BMW X7 or a Mercedes-Benz GLE, you’re getting a lot more features for less.

You won’t look like you’ve bought a cheaper model, instead, combined with its design, 22-inch wheels, sunroof and trim, you certainly come out on top without having to tick expensive options.

Additionally, with the buttery-smooth driving experience, torquey diesel, 21-speaker sound system and plenty of interior space and comfort, I’d say the GV80 is nearly the complete package.

If you really want the cherry on top, you’ll need to spend an additional $10,000 for the Luxury trim of the GV80. That’ll bring you a GV80 with absolutely everything, no option missing, but for a harder-to-stomach $123,566!

In short, for a unique luxury SUV, purchasing a GV80 is an absolute win if you want your dollar to travel further than just a badge on the bonnet.

Maintenance

5 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 engine bay

This is one of my favourite parts of the Genesis brand, as it’s one of the best after-care services you can buy when purchasing a $200,000 car.

Depending on the dealership, some European brands offer these services, however it's not a blanket service. It can vary from dealership to dealership.

With Genesis, during the standard 5 year/Unlimited kilometre warranty, Genesis will pick your car up from your desired location, and swap it for a loan car.

That’s the service you’d expect when paying for a luxury SUV, and that’s exactly what you get when buying a GV80. From personal experience, that alone is a massive plus against traditional European SUVs.

Noise Level

5 out of 5.
Infotainment screen inside GV80

A major strong suit of the GV80 is its noise level, or lack thereof.

Starting with the large 3.0L turbo diesel inline six, it’s so insulated from the cabin that Genesis offers fake engine noise to pipe through the speakers under heavy acceleration.

Exterior exhaust sound is muted and quiet, allowing you to swiftly move away without causing a ruckus.

This 21-speaker system is a treat to experience in the GV80. It’s branded as Lexicon, which is simply an upgraded audio system from Harman/Kardon.

I love the fact you have three audio presets that allow you to change the sound profile of the speakers. There’s Stage, Audience and Reference available when using the Genesis’s media player.

Stage throws the sound up front, like you’re listening to a live band on stage. Audience mixes the audio throughout the cabin, as if you were in the middle of a room playing audio from a couple of different speakers. Reference is simply the most balanced version, offering the least ambient echo out of the three presets.

Aside from offering a rich, deep, powerful and balanced sound, these speakers also offer active sound cancellation, increasing cabin isolation.

How effective is active noise cancellation? Well, upon a slight electronic bug that was resolved soon after turning the car on and off again, I could hear a lot more road noise bleeding into the cabin with the system disabled.

Braking

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 brakes

The braking experience in the GV80 was a little surreal at first encounter.

The brake pedal offers a feel as if you’re pushing against a sponge cake. That’s not a bad thing, as it is easy to pull this SUV up to a stop. It’s just a far more comfortable and controlled experience compared to your run of the mill brake pedal.

Large disc brakes adorn all four wheels, and they do a great job of bringing this SUV to a buttery-smooth stop.

I haven’t experienced brakes as smooth as these in some time, which was an awesome experience and refreshing to see in a luxury car.

Acceleration/Power

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 drivers display

You can get a four-cylinder petrol model in the GV80. However from experience, you either want 6 cylinders or more in a car of this proportion, or just go full EV.

The in-line 3.0L turbo diesel in the GV80 produces 204kW and 588Nm. You can expect a 0-100km/h time in around 6.8 seconds.

It’s surprisingly not a massive amount of power from an engine of this size. But what I can hope is that a less strained motor means increased chance of reliability as the years roll on.

Acceleration is more than enough for a family car, helped by the AWD system and Michelin tires fitted to the GV80.

Off-the-line pull and mid-range acceleration is rapid - surprising for a non- hybrid diesel motor here.

Overall, I’d give the acceleration and power of the GV80 a 3 out of 5. For the money, I’d hope for a little extra power and speed. However, it’s not a core requirement for this car. It isn’t a GV80 ‘Sport’ or performance orientated, first and foremost it’s meant to be a luxurious driving experience. Don’t think because it’s not as fast as some other European SUVs, it isn’t as good.

Gear Shifting

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 rotary shift dial

The GV80 is swift to respond to acceleration and great at keeping revs nice and low.

There are 8 gears to choose from, and all do a fantastic job at communicating with each other to avoid awkward shifts or even the occasional mis-shift.

The only fault comes in the form of manual shifting and the very occasional clunk you get from tapping the accelerator pedal.

For starters, you’re not going to use the paddles in this car. I can just predict that right now. There aren’t many gearboxes that evade that clunk feeling when tapping the accelerator pedal.

The GV80 gets a 4 out of 5 for a gearbox that perfectly compliments the luxury SUV driving experience. It isn’t exactly perfect in every aspect that is offered - like having paddle shifters available to use.

Suspension & Handling

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 exterior rear three quarters

22-inch wheels have no right being able to iron out imperfections in the road like these do.

Normally, I’d roll my eyes at wheels this big. Because they're going to make my ride in a comfortable car a juxtaposed one, as they reveal every bump in the road. Add to this fact that these are magnets for curb rash.

I can’t change the second part, but Genesis changed the first part. Amazingly, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

With the help of front-facing sensors that can prepare the suspension for bumps in the road, the GV80 offers a supple ride, with accurate road feel and a generous amount of comfort. Although, on sharp potholes and speed humps, those 22-inch wheels make themselves known.

The steering feel is a little artificial in its weight, but it compliments the driving experience quite well. The two-spoke design is a little chunky in the hand, but once used to that, the way the GV80 conducts itself in corners and on the straights is everything you’d want in a large SUV.

Genesis GV80 drive mode selector

Honestly, the way the GV80 rides around town, it’s almost driving like a car worth double what the GV80 is asking.

I’d give the GV80 a 5 out of 5 when it comes to suspension and handling, simply because there isn’t much to improve here. It rides well on 22-inch wheels, which is an automotive miracle in itself. This would be one of the main reasons I’d grab a GV80 - it's a car that I’d actually look forward to driving simply because it's so comfortable and capable.

Fuel Efficiency

3 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 rear tail lights

Now this isn’t a hybrid, so fuel efficiency is going to be a little on the high side.

The benefit of opting for the diesel is the lower combined fuel efficiency rating of around 8.8L/100km, you’ll be able to see a tank of diesel last a little longer than the petrol alternative.

Filling up the GV80 will set you back around $117 for a full tank of diesel. However, you should be able to travel around 800-900km from full to empty.

It is a little thirsty. For a large SUV, it still returns reasonable efficiency. And for that, it scores a 4 out of 5.

Interior Design

5 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 interior dashboard

It’s impressive to say the least, how a company like Genesis can come up with a unique yet familiar interior.

I appreciate the effort they’ve taken to avoid a copy and paste taken from competitors, instead going the extra mile to complement such an impressive exterior design.

There’s an attention-grabbing 14-inch touchscreen infotainment, a smaller screen for climate controls and a large centre console.

Genesis GV80 interior drivers side view

I love the jewel-like bezel on each dial button found throughout the cabin, and especially love the glass rotary shifter dial. It helps generate a sense of attention to detail throughout the car.

Although unique, the two-spoke steering wheel looks good to me, but sadly feels a little bloated when holding the wheel at 9 and 3. I managed to get used to this wheel, but for some, it might be a little distracting.

Whether you’re sitting up front, middle or back, there isn’t a single small detail missed.

Boot Size & Comfort

5 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 boot space with second row folded up

The GV80 has a minimum boot space of 727L and a maximum boot space of 2144L.

Genesis GV80 boot space with second row folded down

That’s excellent for a family SUV. The only issue is that if you want to constantly use the third row, you dramatically reduce your boot space.

Folding down the third row, you get a boxy, flat-load area, and single-button release to fold the second row. This is excellent and easy to use as a family car.

Additionally, the second row has a 40:20:40 split, with a nifty feature of a folding pin. This allows for easy access to fold the middle seat down and put cargo through that space.

Genesis GV80 front seats

The comfort level in this car is certainly close to class leading. The articulation of the second row is addictive. I love making the most of the space back there, that feels special thanks to the plush leather upholstered and stitched seats. There are blinds back here to help avoid making eye contact with the outside world too.

You can use controls on the front passenger seat, from the back, to provide yourself with an excessive amount of space. This makes the GV80 the ultimate road trip companion.

Comfort in the third row is improved compared to other 7 seaters, but limited headspace does make it a little hard to enjoy these seats for extended periods of time as an adult.

Overall for comfort and boot space, I’d give the Genesis a 4 out of 5. This is simply because it's not the most amount of space you can get in a large SUV. That third row is more of a set of jump seats, rather than a replacement for the likes of the 7 seater Hyundai Palisade.

Features

4 out of 5.
Genesis GV80 offroad mode on infotainment display

Throughout this review I’ve mentioned a few features. To keep it short, you’re getting a lot, but not all the features you could have.

You’ll need to spend a little more for the second row climate controls, and fully digital driver’s display.

From actual wood grain trim, ambient lighting, the overall eye catching design, comfort and driving experience - the GV80 is a complete package.

However, for the price, I think you’re getting more than you would with other European SUVs, and for that simple reason, it scores a 4 out 5. It misses out on a 5 out of 5 as this isn’t fitted with every possible option you could get.

  • 3.0L inline six turbocharged diesel
  • 204kW/588Nm
  • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • All wheel drive
  • 14.5-inch infotainment display
  • 21-speaker Lexicon by Harman audio system
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Bluetooth
  • Blind-spot cameras
  • Blind-spot avoidance assist
  • 360-degree parking cameras
  • Surround view 3D camera system
  • Rear cross traffic alert and assist
  • AEB
  • Lane keep assist
  • Rear occupant alert
  • Lane follow assist
  • Highbeam assist
  • Drive Modes
  • 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds
  • Terrain Modes with off-road data via infotainment screen
  • Flappy-paddle gear selectors on wheel
  • Heated/cooled front seats
  • Nappa leather
  • 22-inch wheels
  • Three seats in third row
  • Automatic folding second row controls
  • Radar cruise control
  • Heads-up display
  • Roof rails
  • Panoramic sun-roof
  • Second-row climate controls
  • Second-row window shades
  • Puddle lamps

Should you buy one?

Genesis GV80 exterior front three quarters

So Genesis scores 4.25/5. Under this scoring system, that’s a definite buy.

I can’t say more good things about this car. It offers what it sets out to do, and it does the luxury experience, right down to the welds in the door, really well.

The biggest issue Genesis faces is time. It needs to make sales, but it needs time to win over more and more of the market. It is a Lexus 2.0. Lexus has faced similar challenges, but now it's considered against the likes of Mercedes and BMW.

Patience will pay off for Genesis, as more people experience the brand, and more models like the GV80 and upcoming GV70 are offered.

I truly believe in 10 years time, Genesis will be just like Lexus. However, there needs to be a serious commitment by the brand to weather slower sales. Until buyers who have been waiting for the opportunity to spend over $100,000 begin to prefer a Genesis over German or Japanese alternatives.

The biggest challenge the GV80 suffers isn’t it being competitive, it's the brand growing in recognition.

However if you’re not a brand loyalist, or are exploring what’s on offer in the luxury SUV segment, opt for a Genesis GV80. You won’t only not regret it, but you’ll fall in love with a luxury SUV experience that you’d hope you’d get for the money.

CameronPicture

About the author Cameron is our resident car expert. Aside being a source of knowledge about the automotive industry, he has also driven a wide variety of cars. From Porsche 911 GT2 RS's, through to a 1998 Toyota RAV4, Cameron has not only seen it all, but has most likely driven it.

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Genesis GV80 Diesel 3.0D AWD (2020-2021)

Details

Compare all 4 Genesis GV80
CategoryLarge / 7 Seater SUVs
Starting Price $112,990
Warranty Distance Unlimited kms
TransmissionAutomatic
Drive TypeAll Wheel Drive (AWD)
Fuel TypeDiesel
Wheels22" Alloy
Doors 4
Seats 5 to 7
Fuel Consumption8.8 L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity 80 L
Engine3.0L In-Line 6 Cylinder
Engine CodeD6J III D3.0 FR VGT
Max Power204 kW @ 3,800 rpm
Max Torque588 Nm @ 1,500-3,000 rpm
Boot Capacity727 L
Country of ManufactureSouth Korea
Manufacturer Warranty5 year(s)
Release dateOct 2020
Compare all 4 Genesis GV80
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