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Driven: 2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.

Driven: 2023 Genesis GV80
Can Korean premium marque Genesis really compete with upmarket SUV royalty from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz?


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2023 Genesis GV80

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Genesis' attempts to park itself firmly among the premium-market contenders has generally been pretty successful. The GV70, for example, is a great premium SUV, and the electric GV60 has plenty of appeal, too. But can the flagship GV80 really compete with the best in the business, such as the BMW X5 and Range Rover?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Genesis GV80 Sport 2.5T AWD
Price: GV80 from £58,305
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


We've long maintained that the GV80 looks a bit like a knock-off Bentley Bentayga, but there's nothing especially wrong with that. It means it immediately looks at home among other premium products, and though there's a bit of Chinese copycat about it, it's far from ugly. During our time with the car, it got plenty of attention, and most of it was positive. Although a few questioned whether it was some kind of Aston Martin, suggesting Genesis still has plenty of work to do when it comes to brand awareness.


Just as the GV80's body looks a little Bentayga-ish, so too does the cabin. The overall design is a smart, luxurious one, but there's more than a whiff of the big Bentley around. Even the virtual needles in the digital instrument display look a bit too similar to those of the British luxury brand.

Yet the overall effect is still very upmarket. Genesis' parent company, Hyundai, knows a thing or two about building cars to last, so the GV80's cabin feels really solidly made and durable, while the materials on show are far better than anything you'll find in an i30. Even the balance between touch-sensitive tech and conventional switchgear is perfect, while the design perfectly blends the modern and the classic.

Speaking of modernity, the whole thing is dominated by the massive central screen, which is touch-sensitive, but it's so wide you can't really use it as a touchscreen. Instead, you use a rotary controller on the centre console, just as you would in a BMW X5. And because the screen is so clear, so well laid out and so easy to navigate, it feels very natural. You get the hang of it really quickly.

Combine that with a great (if a bit Bentley-esque) instrument display, a clear head-up display and a clever climate control panel that mixes virtual and physical controls beautifully, and the GV80's tech offering is very well judged indeed.


Because the GV80 is such a big vehicle, thereís plenty of space inside. For those in the front, the space feels enormous thanks to the massive windscreen and wide dashboard, which means thereís plenty of elbow- and headroom. One row further back, space is equally commodious, but the big seats in front mean the view out isnít so good. And behind those is a third row that ensures six passengers can travel in relative comfort. Getting in isnít necessarily that easy, but once youíre in, the sixth and seventh seats are comfortable enough for a short trip.

With those seats upright, boot space isnít especially impressive Ė at least not for a holiday or anything like that Ė but itís enough for a few squishy bags or small suitcases. Fold those seats down, however, and you get a massive 727-litre boot, which is more than you get in a BMW X5 or a Mercedes-Benz GLE. And if you fold the middle row down, that expands to a huge 2,139 litres.


There was a time when the Genesis GV80 was offered with a 3.0-litre diesel engine, which felt like the obvious choice for the big SUV, even if it wasn't especially refined. Now, the only option is the 2.5-litre petrol engine, which is significantly quieter than the diesel, but noticeably less economical. The 30mpg mark will be a distant dream unless you're really careful, but you will probably manage something in the high 20s on a long run, and that is at least an improvement on the official 25.9mpg economy.

The GV80, then, won't appeal to company car drivers, but it's perfectly powerful enough. The engine sends 304hp to all four wheels via a silky eight-speed automatic gearbox, and a 0-62mph time of under seven seconds makes it pretty brisk when you put your foot down, while a top speed of 147mph means it still feels fairly effortless on the motorway.

Ride & Handling

Perhaps the biggest issue with the GV80 is the way it drives. Perhaps we don't expect miracles from something so big and cumbersome, but we do expect either comfort or handling prowess, and the Genesis doesn't really deliver on either front.

Let's start with the ride, which is perhaps the bigger disappointment. The big alloys, low-profile tyres and unrefined suspension mean while the car feels acceptable enough on the motorway, it struggles around town or on really distressed surfaces. Cobblestones are particularly unenjoyable, and potholes result in a noisy, jolting impact in the cabin.

That might be okay if the GV80 handled nicely, but it doesn't do that, either. The steering is vague and devoid of feel, the body is ill-controlled despite the firmness of the suspension, and the overall impression is that of a car that would far rather run on straight American highways than British streets.

Still, it is a surprisingly competent off-roader, and while it may not give the Range Rover any sleeping troubles, it offers a clever traction control system that can be tweaked according to the conditions and it has enough traction and ground clearance to deal with anything most customers are likely to throw at it. Only the towing weight of 2.7 tonnes is a little disappointing, although perhaps not a surprise given the relatively small petrol engine.


With prices starting at just over £60,000, the GV80 looks competitive alongside the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7, both of which are significantly more expensive. But then Genesis is a bit of an unknown brand, and branding counts for quite a lot in this market. The Germans get bigger and better engines, too. But the GV80 is well built and well equipped, with even the basic Premium model offering 20-inch alloy wheels, the huge infotainment screen and a reversing camera, as well as a power-operated boot and faux leather upholstery. You only get five seats as standard, though, and you'll need to upgrade to the £66,625 Luxury version to get the third row included.


Although Genesisí range is generally pretty strong ó the GV60, GV70 and G80 are all very good indeed ó the GV80 is the weak link. But that doesnít mean itís a write-off. Perhaps it isnít as comfortable or as efficient as it should be, and maybe dropping the diesel option was shortsighted, but itís still a beautifully made car with a stunning interior and a design that feels right at home parked alongside other luxury 4x4s.

James Fossdyke - 28 Feb 2024

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2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.

2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis GV80. Image by Genesis.


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