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Butch and blingy; GV80 can take on RIVALs - once hybrid models ARRIVE.

Byline: COLIN GooDwin Motors Editor

ACOUPLE of weeks ago we tested the new Genesis G80 saloon - Hyundai's premium brand designed to rival the German giants and pinch a few of their sales.

It's going to be a tough road because introducing a new brand in europe, especially an upmarket one, is never easy. Just ask Nissan, whose Infinity crashed and burned in the UK.

But the SUV version of the Genesis we're testing today builds on the hopes of success on that tough road we saw in the saloon.

Surprisingly for someone who much prefers saloons to SUVs, the Genesis GV80 created a positive impression on me as soon as I saw it. I wouldn't say it was pretty but it's imposing with some clean and stylish lines. And it's a far better looking SUV than either a BMW X5 or a Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The G80 saloon has a striking interior with a variety of different quality finishes and details - but it's inside the GV80 where the real difference is to be seen.

It's a bit bling and actually reminds me of an American Buick or Cadillac. I don't mind flashiness though, especially if it's as well executed as it is here. There's even more leather in the GV80 than in the G80 and the open grain birch wood veneer is lovely.

The glass-topped rotary gear selector is a nice detail, too, as is the infotainment controller which also gets the Tiffany treatment. The G80 we drove was powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine (electric options for both cars will be introduced later this year) but this GV80 is fitted with a diesel.

The saloon is also available with a diesel but it's a four-cylinder unit whereas the SUV gets a six-cylinder diesel. It's 3.0-litre engine produces 274bhp and drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.

It's a very sophisticated motor that's as smooth and quiet as any similar engine used by rivals. What it isn't is particularly economical.

Official figures of 24.1-25.3mpg are very unimpressive. The hybrid powertrains can't come soon enough because without them the BIK tax hit for business users is going to be heavy.

The GV80 is available with either five or seven seats. The one we're testing has five.

On the subject of specification and trim, the GV80 comes in Premium Line and Luxury Line with a selection of packs. Our Luxury Line car costs PS59,700, but options added are the Innovation Pack, Comfort Seat pack, Nappa leather seats and the second row Comfort pack.

This little lot cranks the price up to PS74,620 which is a lot for a brand that's breaking its way into the market.

Genesis's SUV is of course bigger and heavier than the saloon so it feels accordingly different to drive - in a positive way because it's softer sprung and feels more comfortable. The diesel engine gives plenty of performance and 0-62mph in 7.5sec is perfectly adequate for a family SUV. Interior space is on a par with its main rivals, but the rear pair of seats in the seven-seat option are more cramped.

That's what you get from a more sleek profile rather than the BMW X7's and Land Rover Discovery's boxy rear ends.

Genesis is making a big deal of how it's going to be selling its car and how the customer is going to be pampered before, during and after purchase.

The dealerships will be limited in number and will be called Studios which you can visit, or you can order online. A car can be brought to your house for a test drive and a 'Genesis personal assistant' - like an Apple Genius - will explain all the car's functions. The assistant will deliver your new car - and, once you've bought it, it will be collected for servicing and sent back to you afterwards.

That novel way of selling won't be enough to ensure Genesis's success; only good quality and desirable cars will do that.

Judging by the GV80, the brand is off to a good start. But it needs electrified powertrains, and quick.

THE FACTS

Genesis GV80 3.0D Luxury Line 5-door SUV Price: PS59,700 Engine: 3.0 litre six-cylinder diesel, 274bhp Fuel consumption: 24.1-25.3mpg 0-62mph: 7.5sec
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Author:COLIN GooDwin Motors Editor
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2021
Words:701
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