How We'd Spec It: 2021 Genesis GV80

How We'd Spec It: 2021 Genesis GV80

Spoiler alert! Bring $66k-plus if you want three rows.

  • The 2021 Genesis GV80 configurator is live!
  • The best GV80 configurations are obvious, and we'll tell you why.
  • If you need a third row of seating, prepare to pony up.

The all-new 2021 Genesis GV80 will play a key role within the Hyundai/Kia empire, providing a luxury-brand SUV experience for those who aren't suitably impressed by the cheaper Palisade and Telluride. Although the GV80 rolls on its own rear-wheel-drive architecture, it shares the corporate mission of disrupting the marketplace with unexpected style and refinement at an appealing price. In the GV80's case, pricing starts at $49,925 including destination, or just a smidge more than a fully loaded Telluride.

But now that the GV80 configurator is live on the Genesis website, how should you spec yours? It might be hard to find the sweet spot, since the GV80 promises luxury and value in equal parts. Fortunately, we've sifted through the order guide and crunched the numbers so you don't have to. If we had to put our own money down, here are our preferred configurations of the new GV80.

Spec #1: The Value Play ($54,225)

The Telluride and Palisade are great on their own, offering a surprisingly premium feel compared to the competition. It makes sense, then, that even the GV80's more affordable variants are brimming with appeal. If you're simply looking to upgrade from the Palisade/Telluride range to a luxury SUV, we recommend the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive — known as the GV80 2.5T I4 RWD —  plus the reasonably priced Advanced package. In rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi Q7, we've found that the base four-cylinder engines deliver sufficient power, and the GV80's Advanced package adds a ton of desirable features, including ventilated front seats and a 21-speaker audio system. Factoring in destination charges and your choice of metallic paint, this GV80 will run you a modest $54,225, just 10 percent more than a base GV80 with no options.

Spec #2: The "Conquer Germany" Play ($65,775)

2021 Genesis GV80 - Action Rear 3/4

2021 Genesis GV80 - Action Rear 3/4

If you have the budget to support a pricier purchase, you'll find tons of great stuff at the top of the GV80 lineup — we're talking genuinely Germanic performance and features. Want to feel superior to that BMW X5 driver next to you? Just check the box for the GV80's punchy turbocharged V6 engine (designated as "3.5T AWD"), which comes paired with all-wheel drive and pumps out 375 horsepower. The poor X5 xDrive40i can only muster 335 hp from its turbocharged inline-6.

As for trim levels, the GV80's range-topping Prestige has some interesting features — its ventilated second-row seats are essentially impossible to find anywhere else in this class — but we feel the price tag is a little too close to more prestigious rivals. Accordingly, we'd stick with the Advanced package, which gets a little fancier when you select the V6, adding niceties like massaging front seats and tri-zone climate control. Including metallic paint and destination, this Germany-humbling GV80 will set you back $65,775. As for the X5 xDrive40i, it starts around $63k without any options, so good luck getting a comparable feature set from BMW for anything near this GV80's price.

Spec #3: The "I Have to Pay How Much for a Third Row?!" Play ($66,475)

Though there are a few exceptions, the midsize SUV class is where you typically start seeing a third row of seating on the options menu. The GV80 is stingy in this regard, as seven-passenger seating only comes in one particular (and expensive) configuration. That would be the GV80 with the V6 and the Advanced+ package. You'll pay an extra $700 on top of the Advanced package for that plus sign, yielding a grand total of $66,475. It's quite an expensive proposition if your only requirement is a three-row luxury SUV, especially given that you could get a top-of-the-line Telluride or Palisade with three rows and save (gulp) $20k. But if you're a fan of the GV80 and need the extra seats, dropping $66k could still make a lot of sense. Even at that price, the three-row GV80 has a lot to offer.

Edmunds Says

While there are certainly other ways to build the 2021 GV80, we think one of our three recommended builds should fit the bill for most shoppers. Stay tuned to our Genesis GV80 page for the latest updates, including our exclusive driving impressions, as this significant SUV hits the market.

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