Genesis GV80: Best SUV To Buy 2021

January 4, 2021

With stunning good looks, the ability to tow up to 6,000 pounds, strong turbocharged engines, and a sumptuous interior, the Genesis GV80 is The Car Connection’s Best SUV To Buy 2021.

With a TCC Rating of 7.8 out of 10, the new GV80 beat last year’s winner, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, by more than a point.

The 2021 GV80 represents a change in how crossovers have blurred the classification of SUVs. Historically, SUVs were body-on-frame vehicles built like trucks that rode like trucks, with a two-speed transfer case for off roading. The Genesis GV80 five-seater is none of those things.

SUVs cast a wide net now, and encompass tall-riding vehicles built on car platforms, such as how the GV80 shares its bones with the 2021 Genesis G80. Even though it barely qualifies for the $50,000 price cap on our annual awards, the $49,925 Genesis GV80 comes with rear-wheel drive, a turbo-4, and no receiver for towing, yet we’d choose it over SUVs costing $20,000 more. Here’s why.

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

In any spec, the Genesis GV80 looks like the upper echelon of luxury vehicles at a fraction of the cost. The huge grille that can be a bit much on Genesis sedans seems fitting on the GV80’s large canvas. The quad LED headlights and taillights help distinguish the GV80 from all the other crossover SUVs on the road, in the day and night.

Inside, the exterior’s muscular design melts away into a velvet lounge-like interior with glitzy chrome, warm wood, and lovely leather. A wide 14.5-inch touchscreen spans the dashboard while hard buttons and knobs allow quick access to the climate controls and vehicle functions.

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

Base GV80s are powered by a 2.5-liter turbo-4 with 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque that can be sluggish off the line and noisy under heavy throttle. An available 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque is quieter, more refined, and far more potent. Higher trims distance the cabin from engine and road noise.
An 8-speed automatic transmission shuttles power smoothly to the rear wheels, though all-wheel drive is a popular option that increases the weight of the GV80 to a portly 4,850 pounds. The robust acceleration might satisfy those cross-shopping with the German competition but no amount of tuning hides the weight around corners. Every GV80 has a 6,000-pound tow rating.

2021 Genesis GV80

2021 Genesis GV80

Most GV80s will comfortably, and quietly, haul five people, and rear seat riders have nearly 39 inches of leg room. The middle seat passenger might not be the happiest camper in the luxurious family hauler, but they’ll likely be happier than those who find themselves in the optional third-row seat only offered on the 3.5T Advanced+ trim. It’s best for short trips and the shortest people. The front seats provide Lincoln-like levels of comfort, with side bolsters on the optional 16-way seats that hug you like Grandma at Christmas.

Every GV80 comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control along with blind-spot monitors. Other luxury automakers charge extra for these essential features.

Ranging from just under $50,000 to up to $65,000 the GV80 screams value with options such as a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 22-inch alloy wheels, surround-view camera system, and head-up display. No matter which GV80 you choose, it feels and looks like it should cost much more.

Read all about the winners of The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.

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