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Driven: 2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.

Driven: 2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus
This top-of-the-range model is designed to bring the GV80 closer to the world’s high-end luxury SUVs.


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2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus

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Genesis has been working hard to establish itself as one of the big premium brands, and though the GV80 was one of its first attempts, it was also among the least convincing. But now there's a new Luxury Plus version that aims to ensure the GV80 can mix it with the poshest premium 4x4s out there.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus 2.5T AWD
Price: GV80 from £58,305, Luxury Plus from £75,825
Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 304hp
Torque: 422Nm
Emissions: 243g/km
Economy/Range: 25.9mpg
0-62mph: 6.9 seconds
Top speed: 147mph
Boot space: 727 litres


The GV80's design is a bit odd. That's not because it looks weird per se - it's quite attractive, really - but there's something of the knock-off luxury SUV about it. If Grand Theft Auto did a knock-off Bentayga, it might look something like this. Certainly, it intrigues passers-by, most of whom seem to struggle to work out what the GV80 might be. But for all that, the GV80 is unmistakably an upmarket car, with its big wheels, chrome grille and acres of chrome trim. It's imposing, too, thanks to its sheer size, and it comes with some neat touches, including the twin-stripe lights and the puddle lamps under the doors.


The GV80’s interior is by far its biggest draw, with a beautifully styled cabin that draws not-inconsiderable inspiration from a certain British manufacturer. You know, the one based in Crewe. But whether it’s a Bentayga rip-off or not, the GV80’s cabin is delectable, with quilted leather, wood trim and a smart, stylish ambience.

Quality is, as we now expect from Kia, Hyundai and Genesis, very good indeed, with everything feeling just as premium as it would a Volvo XC90, for example. The materials are excellent, the design is brilliant and the way in which it all fits together is more or less faultless. Perhaps it isn’t quite as classy as a Bentley – what is? – but it’s more than a match for the likes of Lexus, Jaguar and Land Rover.

And the tech is equally impressive. You get a massive central touchscreen that’s too big to reach across, so there’s a control wheel down by the gear selector that makes navigating the system relatively simple. Add that to a clear, easy-to-operate digital instrument display and a climate control system that effectively combines physical and touch-sensitive interfaces, and you’ve got a cockpit that uses technology well, rather than simply using it extensively.

But there’s tech in the back, too, with electrically adjustable rear seats and two extra seats in the boot. There are screens for the two middle-row seats, too, complete with their own controls in the arm rest and plugs for headphones. They have their own heating and ventilation, too, making the back of the GV80 a very comfortable place to sit.


Naturally, given the size of the GV80, there's plenty of space on board. Rear-seat passengers get ample leg- and headroom, not to mention all the comfort-orientated technology, and those in the front sit in massively comfortable seats. There's luggage space, too, even with the back seats upright, although Genesis doesn't publish an official figure. With the back seats folded into the boot floor, however, the GV80 offers a massive 727-litre boot, and that grows to a cavernous 2,139 if you fold all four rear seats down and fill the car to the rafters.


Although Genesis once offered the GV80 with a choice of petrol and diesel powertrains, the diesel has died a death, leaving petrol to prop up the range. The engine in question is a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces an ample 304hp and sends that power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's a reasonably smooth engine, and the gearbox is very good, while there's more than enough grunt to pull the GV80 along. It gets from 0-62mph in a sufficient 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 147mph.

Economy is predictably poor, with 30mpg achievable only by the most careful drivers on a long motorway slog. Around town, you'll probably get about 20mpg, and most long journeys will yield something in the high 20s, which isn't too eye-watering, but it isn't ideal either. At least it's fairly refined, and the engine does a passable impression of a six-cylinder engine that would arguably be a more natural fit in a car such as this.

Ride & Handling

The GV80's engine may be fairly competitive, but the way the car drives isn't so impressive. As you might expect from something so large, there's quite a bit of body roll and the brakes feel a little underpowered when they're pushed hard. The steering is vague, too, and that leaves you with very little confidence in the car's capabilities in a corner. That means it can't hold a candle to the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 when it comes to handling, but then it doesn't have to, because as the G80 saloon has shown us, Genesis knows how to make a comfy car.

Unfortunately, the GV80 isn't a comfy car. With those enormous alloys and low-profile tyres, it clatters and fusses over bumps, leaving it feeling less than luxurious around town or at speed. In fairness, it's quite good at soaking up those long compressions you get on American highways, but it's completely lost at sea when it comes to potholes and cobblestones. Even the motorway ride isn't that smooth.

It's the worst of both worlds on the road, therefore, but it claws something back on the rough stuff. With a clever, Land Rover-style terrain selector and hill descent control, it's more than capable enough on farm tracks and the like, particularly if you fit some all-season tyres. And though the ability to tow a 2.7-tonne trailer is hardly class-leading, it'll be enough for most customers to be getting on with.


Genesis GV80 prices start at just over £58,000, which makes it about £12,000 cheaper than the basic Porsche Cayenne, and about £9,000 cheaper than an entry level Audi Q7. That's pretty good value, but the Audi and Porsche come with bigger engines and better-known badges. This Luxury Plus version of the GV80, however, starts at just under £76,000, and though it comes with a beautifully upholstered interior and six seats, it's an expensive bit of kit. Still, it's much cheaper than a similarly snazzy Range Rover, so despite the driving experience, it represents reasonable value for money.


The GV80 isn't the most convincing luxury SUV on the market, but it's at its best in Luxury Plus form. It still doesn't ride properly, and it isn't that brilliant to drive, but the spacious and luxurious interior is among the best in the business. So while the GV80 may not be the best car in its class, it at least shows us Genesis can compete with the big guns. This is a brand the likes of Audi and BMW should be worried about.

James Fossdyke - 30 Sep 2023

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2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.

2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80 Luxury Plus. Image by Genesis.


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