The first Genesis SUV, called GV80, will arrive in Australia half way through 2020 with three engine options, a long list of brand-first technology, and market-specific suspension calibration.
UPDATE, August 19 2020: Australian pricing for the 2021 Genesis GV80 has now been confirmed. Details here. The rest of this review remains unchanged.
The GV80's styling has been billed as a collaboration between design studios located in Korea, the United States and Germany.
Signature elements such as the vast diamond-pattern grille, cab-rearward proportions, "parabolic" side line, and curvaceous silhouette ensure it looks at home next to its stablemates. Genesis also flags its "sophisticated... quad lamp graphics".
"The G-Matrix pattern that appears in light fixtures throughout the exterior is inspired by beautiful orchids seen when diamonds are illuminated by light. The pattern also appears on the available 22-inch wheels," the company claims. That redefines flowery language...
On a side note, Genesis's design is headed up by former Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi designer Luc Donckerwolke.
The body structure of the GV80 is made from mostly high-strength steel, but lighter aluminium is used on the doors, bonnet, and tailgate. Reports suggest the GV80 will be sized similarly to the X5, measuring 4945mm long and 1975mm wide.
The cabin's design is said to focus on "the beauty of white space", and embody classic South Korean architectural themes. We've seen Lexus embrace its Japanese roots in similar fashion with its 'Takumi craftsmanship'.
Highlights of the fascia include the slim air vents that run the width of the compartment, the vast (14.5-inch) landscape split screen display, padded leather dash, wood inserts along the console tunnel and doors, and the diamond-pattern leather seats.
Also, get a load of the strange steering wheel design. Polarising, right?
"Soft materials cover every surface, from the inside of the door handles to the quilted knee pads that line the lower sides of the console," the company added.
The control unit on the centre console covers a shift-by-wire transmission base with "dial-style" shifter, a bit like a previous-generation Jag XF.
The user interface isn't only controlled by touch and voice, because its touchpad also recognises mimicked handwriting like Audis do. So you can enter your destination old school.
What else is there... For one thing, augmented reality navigation uses virtual driving guidelines over actual driving images to help drivers recognise roads. This system seems very similar to Mercedes-Benz's, which we're big fans of.
"Video taken by the front-mounted camera will be displayed on the infotainment screen, and the optimal driving path will be displayed in a virtual graphic so that the driver can drive along the route easily and accurately," the company says.
Genesis also claims to offer the "world’s first application of Road-Noise Active Noise Control (RANC) technology". This system is said to dramatically cut road noise inside.
"Based on the science of digital signal processing, RANC overcomes the limitations of existing noise control technologies that rely on physical technology, such as materials and body structures, to quiet the cabin. RANC generates sound waves of opposite phases in 0.002 seconds by analysing road noise in real time, dramatically reducing irregular, simultaneous road noise," says the company.
Kind of sounds a bit like the Active Noise Cancellation in a Ford Everest, albeit one that is more proactive and tailored to specific noises.
Another world-first technology is an active motion driver’s seat that contains air cells designed to reduce fatigue from long hours of driving. Genesis also claims its one-touch front moving seats allow "limousine-level relaxation in the second-row seats", which can be heated and cooled as well.
The G80's air purification system automatically operates according to indoor air quality, through an in-vehicle fine dust sensor. Active air purification with dual filters monitors the in-vehicle air quality in real time, and removes 99 per cent of fine particulate matter.
The entry-level engine will be Hyundai’s new Theta-III 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing what we believe to be 226kW.
Next is the new 'Smartstream' 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6, the next-generation version of the 3.3-litre used in the Genesis G70 and Kia Stinger, producing a reported 283kW.
Finally, the GV80 will feature the brand’s first inline six-cylinder diesel. The new 3.0-litre turbodiesel inline-six produces a reported 207kW and 588Nm. Genesis claims fuel economy as low as 8.5L/100km.
While the vague media kit doesn't convey as much, Hyundai and Kia have apparently also developed an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that might feature. The GV80 will also be available with either rear- or all-wheel-drive.
Those with AWD will feature Multi-Terrain Control with dedicated Sand, Mud and Snow modes that alter throttle mapping and ESC tune, and also an electronically controlled LSD at the rear axle.
Electronically controlled suspension with road preview accesses camera and navigation data to read information on the road ahead and adjust accordingly, with comfort the focus.
“Our chassis engineers matched these versatile drive modes to an electronically controlled suspension with road preview that employs the intelligent ADAS camera to detect obstacles like speed bumps and adjust the damping forces accordingly,” said Albert Biermann, the Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group, and former BMW M chief.
Genesis Australia uses Hyundai's Australian suspension engineers to work on specific suspension and steering tuning for our roads. Work "has been underway for several months now, with a couple of disguised test cars on the roads in Sydney", it says.
The platform is shared with the next-generation G80 sedan, due to launch later this year.
Driver-assistance tech includes active cruise control with machine learning, lane-change and lane-keeping assistants, and active blind-spot collision assist. The GV80 also includes 10 standard airbags, including a centre-mounted airbag between the front occupants.
Into the realm of car-to-network communication, the Genesis CarPay feature unique to the South Korean market is a simple in-car payment service that allows drivers to pay for fuel through the navigation screen.
Real time remote diagnosis provides identification of vehicle issues through analysis of vehicle data, without the need for a service visit, while a phone app allows drivers to remotely check on their vehicle and its surroundings.
When will the Genesis GV80 come to Australia?
"We are targeting a GV80 local launch around the middle of the year," the company says.
"At this early stage we can confirm three engines for Australia... It’s too soon to be discussing pricing and model line-up in more detail at this time, more will be revealed closer to the Australian launch."
As we know, Genesis Australia eschews conventional franchise dealerships, selling its products through high-end studios like this one in Sydney, with Brisbane and Melbourne to follow. Online orders, fixed pricing, and service pickups in all regions apply.
Whether Genesis will expand its complimentary five-year service plan (free servicing) to the GV80 remains to be seen.