2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige Review: No Skimping on the Luxury

If you thought the 2021 Genesis GV80 was a steal in its most expensive trim, the lower-end models will make you question how they manage to keep the value proposition so strong. We recently spent a week with a rear-drive-equipped Prestige model equipped with the 2.5-liter turbo-four and eight-speed automatic and found that it’s still an extremely compelling option. Genesis doesn’t punish you for not going for the most expensive model and it shows with this particular test car.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige: What’s the Same and What’s Different?

When equipped with the base engine, the 2021 Genesis GV80 loses out on certain features that are exclusive to the V6-powered model, especially if you stick to RWD. That means a GV80 2.5T RWD with the Prestige package is essentially a mid-grade model. You get all the works but you lose out on things like the digital gauge cluster, adaptive suspension, 22-inch alloy wheels, Nappa leather upholstery, and the limited-slip differential. The emergency third-row seating is also available only on the Advanced+ trim, which is exclusive to the V6-powered GV80. We’d skip that option, though, because the GV80 is best experienced as a five-seater where every passenger can indulge in its ability to pamper you regardless of whether you’re the driver or a passenger.

Other than those extra features, the GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige is generously equipped. You get heated and ventilated front seats, a 14.5-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, a hands-free power liftgate, LED interior and exterior lighting, and a 21-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system as standard equipment. Genesis doesn’t penalize you in the build quality department either. The fit and finish of this specific GV80 are just as impeccable as it is on the range-topping 3.5T AWD Prestige. Nearly every surface is covered in soft-touch materials or padding, and the controls operate so nicely you want to keep using them just to hear those satisfying clicks when you push a button or turn a knob. The high levels of sound insulation retain the GV80’s vault-like interior ambiance. Even at freeway speeds, the cabin is incredibly tranquil and free from excessive exterior and powertrain noises.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige: Democratizing Tech Features

The consistent value proposition through the GV80 lineup is most apparent when you take a look at the available driver assistance features. Every single trim gets the same suite standard. That means you don’t need to opt for the most expensive version to get Highway Driving Assist 2, which enables automatic lane changing and allows the car to react defensively when someone cuts you off. In operation, Genesis’s driver assistance features are some of the best, which is no surprise given that Hyundai Motor Group’s semi-autonomous and active safety technologies are some of the most effective yet also the least intrusive. Lane-keeping assist, for instance, gently keeps you from drifting around and doesn’t jerk you back to the center. Blind-spot monitoring’s evasion assist component keeps you from swiping another vehicle with the slightest braking and steering inputs so that it doesn’t destabilize the car. Adaptive cruise control works based on traffic data in gets from the built-in navigation system and can predict changing road conditions. Together with lane centering and steering assist, the GV80 lets you know with a tug of a steering wheel if it needs help taking a turn via additional steering inputs or reducing speed. You can also allow adaptive cruise control to adapt to your driving style or tie it with the drive modes. The level of customizability you get allows you to select just the right amount of assistance that fits your liking.

Every GV80 gets the same infotainment system meaning that the 14.5-inch touchscreen is standard across the board. As expected from an interface done by Hyundai Motor Group, the menus are logically laid out and easy to navigate. Snappy responses from the display minimize the level of distraction while operating the system. When you go into submenus, they appear on a time next to the last one you were on, making it less likely to get lost. Nearly every trim gets the 21-speaker Lexicon surround sound system, which is one of the best in the segment. The audio quality is crisp and stunningly clear even at higher volumes. You get immersed in tunes with just the right amount of balance and plenty of customizability to further tailor the listening experience to your liking.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige: Does It Drive Differently?

When you get a Genesis GV80 that only puts the power to the rear wheels, its character change. As a result, this GV80 2.5T RWD is more agile and light on its feet. Turn-ins are more immediate, giving this luxury crossover livelier road manners than its 4,700-pound curb weight would suggest. The best part is that you don’t lose out on the comfort end. Broken pavement and other types of road imperfections barely register in the GV80 thanks to the suspension doing a great job keeping impacts out of the passenger cabin. The additional sidewall from the standard 20-inch alloy wheels helps cushion the car, too.

RWD GV80s are only available with the 2.5-liter turbo-four, which makes 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Although it’s down versus the V6, there’s still enough on tap to move this crossover around without struggling. Thanks to generous low- to mid-range torque and minimal turbo lag, you always have power on tap. The eight-speed automatic also helps keep the engine in its sweet spot thanks to its smooth yet quick responses. Best of all, the powertrain never gets jarring when you work it hard, retaining the high levels of refinement you expect out of a luxury vehicle.

2021 Genesis GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige: The One to Get?

Without a doubt, the 2021 Genesis GV80 quickly became one of the class leaders when it initially debuted last year. Between the refinement, outstanding fit and finish, and great road manners, this crossover gives you a lot of car for less than most of its rivals from Europe and Japan. That’s across the lineup, not just the most expensive version. The GV80 2.5T RWD Prestige is the epitome of giving you more than what you bargained for. At $58,475 as-tested including the $1,025 destination fee, this car is a steal and it’s proof that luxury and value can coexist. If you’re the type of consumer who doesn’t need to have it all and you don’t need AWD, this version of the GV80 is the one for you. It’s luxurious, refined, pleasant to drive, and distinctive all at a compelling price, especially when you add Genesis’ long warranty to the equation.

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