Kurt Verlin
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New GV80 SUV is Genesis’s Most Important Vehicle Yet

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New GV80 SUV off-road
Photo: Genesis

Genesis has officially launched its new GV80 SUV, which comes with a whole host of firsts for the Genesis brand. These include digital road-noise cancellation technology, an electronically-controlled suspension that uses a camera to preview the road ahead, and a six-cylinder diesel engine. Unfortunately, this last one won’t be offered with models sold in the United States.

Debuted in Seoul, South Korea, the GV80 is also the first Genesis vehicle to feature the letter “V” in the name. According to the automaker, it represents the “versatility that only a Genesis SUV can offer.” The vehicle is the realization of the promise that had been the GV80 Concept first revealed at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.

New GV80 SUV interior
Photo: Genesis

The new GV80 SUV undoubtedly enters the market as the most important vehicle in the five-year-old brand’s history. That’s because Genesis has so far been surviving on sedans when most customers are buying SUVs, and though it has done well enough so far — even reporting a record 2019 year with a 262 percent sales increase — an SUV is just what Genesis needs to properly pierce into the modern luxury market.

Related: Check out vehicles comparable to the new GV80 SUV

Interestingly, though Genesis has the option of simply enhancing and rebranding the popular Hyundai Palisade, it decided to avoid the shortcut. “A front-wheel-drive platform wouldn’t be authentic to the brand,” said Albert Biermann, head of Genesis research and development.

  • Genesis GV80 luxury SUV
  • Genesis GV80 luxury SUV
  • Genesis GV80 luxury SUV
  • Genesis GV80 luxury SUV

As such, the GV80 is totally new, though it definitely borrows some styling cues from the G80 and G90 sedans, particularly when it comes to the utterly massive grille. According to SangYup Lee, head of the Genesis Design Center, getting the front-end right was of utmost concern. “For the U.S. market, you have to have a face,” he said. “Look at the Cadillac Escalade. But, I most like the aggressive rear-wheel-drive proportions and the rear of the GV80. We worked hard to give it a low and wide stance.”

The GV80 also features an advanced suite of active and passive safety systems, including a world-first smart cruise control system that uses machine learning to learn the driving characteristics of the driver.

Though it’s already available in Korea, the new GV80 SUV won’t be offered in the United States until the second half of 2020.

Related: Genesis luxury brand raises standards