While the boundaries around the luxury vehicle segment have shifted dramatically as prices rise across the auto industry, prestige remains one of the defining characteristics of a luxury brand but it is difficult to quantify.
Lexus certainly had to work diligently over three decades ago to be considered a luxury brand and it did not secure its position overnight. It took a while. Now Genesis, the luxury brand from Hyundai, is making its bid for status and it is hard not to be impressed by its effort. Genesis has introduced a number of new vehicles even through the pandemic and supply shortages, which have only bolstered its reputation.
One of them, the GV80 AWD Prestige, the South Korean automaker’s entry into the luxury utility vehicle segment, is a powerful, accomplished vehicle equipped with a long list of comfort and convenience features that match anything offered by long-established brands such as BMW, Audi, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz. It is also comfortable, functional and practical at the same time, which helps in distinguishing it from some of its competitors in the luxury segment.
If prestige is one of the keys in today’s luxury segment, and you do not have the ready cash on hand for a Ferrari or Bentley, then the vehicle’s exterior has to look smart, handsome and expensive, which the GV80 certainly does.
The expressive exterior of the GV80 includes a swept back roofline with a wing at the rear edge, while the rear liftgate is set off by the horizontal light fixtures. Its profile is accentuated by the expansive greenhouse. Genesis stylists also emphasized the appearance of front fascia with its geometric shapes for the air intakes and the light fixtures. The Asian-style grille has a detailed, mesh-like appearance that blends into the overall design of the front end. The large wheel openings are complemented by the sharp design of the 20-inch wheels.
The cabin of the GV80 Prestige is luxurious and includes a mix of materials such wood veneer, leather and bright metal accents, which serve to give the cabin the feel of well-crafted luxury. But the overall design of the interior is understated.
The controls, including the rotary shift knob, are within comfortable reach. A 14.5-inch horizontal screen in the vehicle’s center stack for entertainment and navigation also is laid out to benefit the driver. A 12.3-inch digital cluster with analog gauges sits behind the steering wheel.
The GV80 I drove also was equipped with a panoramic sunroof to bring natural light into the cabin during the day, and interior lighting scheme is user friendly rather than a distraction. Utility vehicles are purchased for their ability to carry passengers and second row seating in the GV80, which comes with three different climate control zones, is very comfortable with plenty of legroom thanks to the vehicle’s long wheelbase. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent and the Lexicon premium sound system made any kind of music sound great in the quiet cabin, which is equipped with a noise-cancellation system.
The power in the GV80 comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 equipped with turbocharging and direct injection. It is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain produces 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.
The GV80 also is equipped with a drive mode selector and all-wheel drive system, which operates electronically. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the 2023 Genesis G80 a combined fuel economy rating of 20 mpg, including 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The GV80 also can tow up to 6,000 pounds.
Safety and Technology
The Genesis GV80 protects both the driver and passengers with 10 different airbags. But it also comes with smart cruise control with “stop and go” capability, forward-collision avoidance as well as alerts for cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles changing lanes. It also has driver attention warning, lane-keeping, and blind-spot collision warning.
The GV80 boasts rear cross-traffic alert and surround-view camera and parking collision avoidance. The model I drove also had rain sensing windshield wipers, remote smart parking assistance, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio connection and Bluetooth through Genesis Connected Services. It also had the aforementioned Lexicon premium sound system with multiple speakers, and wireless charging.
Out on the road, the GV80 was surprisingly nimble and easily adapted to Michigan’s winter weather, which this year included a series of nasty late season storms. But the GV80 did well on snow and ice, handling the inclement without much fuss. The electronically controlled suspension helped smooth over rough pavement. But the GV80 also was very proficient at slipping into crowded suburban shopping areas with tight parking spaces.
It also offers plenty of power out on the highway and the torque was more than enough to move from a standing start and the shifts of the gears came smoothly and effectively. For a relatively heavy vehicle, the steering on the GV80 was crisp and accurate even at speed around tight curves or corners and the brakes were first rate even on wet surfaces.
2023 Genesis GV80 Prestige 3.5 Turbo Specifications
DimensionL: 194.7 inches/W: 77.8 inches/H: 67.5 inches/Wheelbase: 116.5 inchesWeight5,018 poundsPowertrain3.5-liter turbocharged V-6, 8-speed automatic transmission and AWDFuel Economy18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combinedPerformance Specs375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torquePriceBase price: $65,750; As tested: $72,595, including $1,095 destination chargeOn-Sale DateAvailable now
The GV8 has its own unique character and offers the kind of prestige buyers of authentic luxury vehicles want when they purchase an expensive car, utility vehicle or pickup truck. It has distinct styling it can call its own and its interior is very comfortable on a longer drive, but it does not lull you to sleep. There is plenty of power while the overall driving dynamics are very good.
It is clearly is designed to attract an affluent audience, but also has some of the practicality that even up-market buyers undoubtedly seek when they shop for a vehicle. But the price tag, at almost $76,000 for the version I drove, does seem to mark off some new and more expensive territory for a family oriented, luxury vehicle.
2023 Genesis GV80 Prestige 3.5 Turbo — Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in Genesis Prestige package?
The Genesis GV80 3.5T V-6 AWD Prestige offers the following standard equipment: second-row power-adjustable heated and ventilated captain’s chairs, second-row wireless charging for compatible devices, and a 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument display.
What is the most luxurious Genesis model?
Genesis’s most luxurious model, the G90 sedan, has received a dramatic redesign for the 2023 model year that brings it into the modern era.
Is Genesis actually a luxury brand?
It is a luxury vehicle through and through, there is no denying it. The sleek proportions, elaborate details and general appearance are somewhere between the Mercedes S-Class and the Bentley. With Genesis continuing to debut some truly stunning concepts, you can expect that the brand will continue to grow.