Nicely designed and made, cabin as good as anything else out there, online buying and caring ownership proposition
Luxury is undermined by a sub-par ride, 2.5-litre petrol engine isn’t the most refined, poor economy
What is it?
This, the GV80 crossover, and the G80 saloon, were the first cars to emerge through its doors. Now, there’s also a smaller GV70 crossover and a similarly smaller G70 saloon and estate. Plus an all-electric GV60, and electrified versions of the G80 saloon and GV70 crossover. Something to please everyone. Perhaps.
The target audience are people who are just tired of the obvious choices like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. Let's hope they don't mind repeatedly having to explain what Genesis is.
WHAT OF THE CAR?
It's a big crossover, almost exactly matching the X5 in size. You can have it with five, six or seven seats. At launch you had the option of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and a straight-six 3.0 diesel engine, both with four-wheel-drive as standard, but the latter has now been discontinued.
The design was led by Sangyup Lee, ex of Bentley. It wouldn't actually be a ridiculous stretch to think of this as a better-looking Bentayga. There's lots of chrome and sweeping curves on the outside. Inside it's a world of prominently stitched leather, knurling on the knobs, and flourishes of wood.
Count the luxury gewgaws and fancy driver assist system, and you have a car that's on par for the expensive territory it’s being pitched at.
DOES IT DRIVE EXPENSIVELY?
The 2.5-litre petrol offers a respectable 300bhp and 311lb ft of torque and is generally fine, but it isn’t the most refined four cylinder and becomes noticeably strained when pushed hard. Which you’ll need to do, given the weight of this thing.
It steers and corners well enough, but lots of rivals do it better. Then again, the experience is what really matters here, thanks to things like double glazing, noise cancelling technology, and the fancy camera-controlled damping system.
And by and large, it is a very pleasant place to be. But it’s not perfect. The camera system which scans the road ahead and adjusts the damping accordingly works so so, and the ride isn’t great, often becoming unsettled.
At least on our typically broken roads. On smooth motorways you're better served. It tracks well and stays subdued, thanks in part to active noise cancellation. All the better to enjoy the optional hi-fi upgrade, which is truly excellent.
You'll find more details by clicking through to this review's Driving section.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Genesis is all about new ways to explore and acquire the car, and about the warranty and service rolled in. If you're playing buzzword bingo, it's the purchase journey and the ownership experience.
You never need go to a dealer. In fact, there aren't any. Much of the process is online, but 'online' is more than purely digital.
When you're ready, ask questions of a human. Traditionally, car dealers are full of salespeople paid commission for each car they shift. Genesis takes a different tack. The company's 'Genesis Personal Assistants' (GPAs) answer your questions, hold your hand, and bring the car to you. More on that over on the Buying tab.
SPEAKING OF BUYING, HOW MUCH IS IT EXACTLY?
Prices start at £58,305 in base specification, rising to an eye-watering £75,825 in top-spec trim. Head over to the Buying tab for the full lowdown.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
The Genesis GV80 is a tricky one to sum up. On the one hand it looks smart – and it will be mistaken for a Bentley by countless people, which’ll do wonders for your ego – its cabin is a fantastic place to be, and there’s lots of impressive tech.
But those things aren't unique, and the driving experience lets it down. The 2.5-litre petrol engine – now your only option we remind you – isn’t the most refined, and very thirsty. And the ride leaves a lot to be desired.
But shopping (for nearly everything) is changing. Add to basket, click for home delivery, online support. Genesis is bringing that to car shopping and there’s a lot to be said for that convenience. Time will tell if it’s enough to tempt buyers.