2020 Genesis GV80: top things we like about Genesis’ first-ever SUV

The 2020 Genesis GV80 was officially unveiled in its final production form in a private event in Seoul, South Korea. The GV80 is the first-ever SUV from the South Korean automaker. The vehicle is riding on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform which Genesis claims will underpin future Genesis vehicles, particularly the next-gen G80 sedan.

It took Genesis quite a while to add a worthy SUV in its lineup. First seen as a concept at the 2017 New York International Motor Show, Genesis started 2020 with a bang by offering us a shadowed glimpse of the GV80. And from that, the GV80 looked every inch the flagship it’s supposed to be.

“As we launch GV80, our first luxury flagship SUV, we simultaneously open a new chapter for Genesis,” said William Lee, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Genesis. “The GV80 represents the essence of the innovative spirit of Genesis.”

Based on what we’re seeing so far, here are the top things we like about the 2020 Genesis GV80.

It looks like a G90 on stilts, and there’s nothing wrong with that

The refreshed 2020 Genesis G90 is not an all-new model. But then again, it might very well be ‘all-new’ since only the doors and roof are shared with the outgoing 2019 model. After taking the new G90 for a spin, it’s clear most of the budget was spent on giving the entire vehicle an extensive nip and tuck job, and the results are astonishing.

The new Genesis GV80 inherited much of the ‘Athletic Elegance’ design language pioneered by the G90. Apparently, the GV80’s gorgeous silhouette was the result of a collaboration between the Genesis Design Studios in South Korea, Germany, and the United States.

The signature Genesis Crest Grille, first seen in the G90, is the best-looking large grille in the business. There are powerful haunches above each wheel while the long hood and wider stance provide an aristocratic stance. The front is also adorned by quad-LED headlight strips, also lifted from the G90’s new fascia.

All in all, the Genesis GV80 has the aura of a Rolls Royce Cullinan or Bentley Bentayga, which are both benchmarks in the premium luxury SUV niche.

The posh interior has a minimalist design

Unlike the G90’s interior layout with a huge plethora of buttons and switches, the new Genesis GV80 is the exact opposite. The vehicle’s two-spoke steering wheel (which we previously reported as a four-spoke tiller) adds a nice vintage touch while the slim air vents imbibe a dose of sophistication inside the cabin. “The concept of the ‘beauty of white space’ is a hallmark of Korean design,” said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Genesis Design.

The number of physical buttons and switches were intentionally kept to the barest minimum, which we highly like in modern cars. There’s a massive 14.5-inch split-screen infotainment touchscreen front and center while the driver receives digital gauges – the latter of which comes with an array of sensors that tracks the driver’s eyes to project a three-dimensional effect on the display screen.

The center console is equipped with the Genesis Integrated Controller with a handwriting recognition system. Also, you won’t find a conventional shift knob in the GV80. The task of switching to park, drive, or reverse is controlled via a shift-by-wire dial-style shift knob.

It has active noise cancellation technology

The goal of the Genesis GV80 is to make your trips as stress-free as possible. Apparently, the GV80 is the first production vehicle to have Road Active Noise Cancellation (RANC). The system reduces road noise using digital signal processing.

According to Genesis, RANC overcomes the limitations of physical noise control technologies such as using thick and heavy insulators to quell road noise. The system analyzes road noise in real-time and generates opposing sound waves to literally block/cancel out road noise and harshness.

The active suspension literally scans the road ahead

The new Genesis GV80 also has an electronically controlled suspension system with road preview. The system reads and analyzes the road surface to deliver optimal ride comfort whether driving in the city, speeding on the highway, or traversing off-road terrain.

Also, the GV80 is available in standard rear-wheel drive while all-wheel-drive is optional. Genesis said all U.S.-bound GV80 models with AWD also receives an electronically controlled limited-slip differential at the rear axle. This means better traction and grip over loose or muddy surfaces.

There’s a diesel version of the GV80, but it won’t arrive stateside

Whether this is a good or bad thing is up for debate. Korean versions of the GV80 will initially have a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel mill rated at 278-horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. However, this engine won’t be arriving in U.S. shores anytime soon.

Instead, we’re expecting a turbocharged V6 or V8 motor similar to the G90, while a smaller turbocharged four-pot might also be in the bag.

The 2020 Genesis GV80 will be initially sold in its hometown of South Korea with the first deliveries arriving later this month. In other markets, the GV80 is slated to arrive at dealer showrooms later in 2020.