This 2021 Genesis GV80 Tech Feature Is Amazing and Americans Can't Have It

This 2021 Genesis GV80 Tech Feature Is Amazing and Americans Can't Have It

Genesis Could Have Really Put Mercedes-Benz on Notice

  • The Genesis GV80 has a lot of cool features, but American buyers don't get the coolest one.
  • The GV80's augmented reality tech is available in other countries but not the U.S.

The new 2021 Genesis GV80 comes with all sorts of cool tech features, including massaging seats and a camera that can read the road ahead to make the ride more comfortable. But there's one trick option that won't be coming to U.S.-bound GV80s: augmented reality. Here's what AR is, what it does, and why I'm so steamed that we can't have it.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is a catchall term for a real-life experience enhanced by computer-generated information. Imagine walking in a European city square, looking at the remains of an ancient basilica, and seeing information pop up in your field of view, giving you details such as when it was built. If that sounds cool to you, please invent a time machine, go back a few years and try to convince people that we need to go all-in on Google Glass.

Assuming you can't bend the space-time continuum to your will, you can actually find AR pretty much everywhere, albeit in a far less dorky form. Certain apps will overlay information on top of the image generated by your phone's camera. And how's this for a shameless plug? You can open the Edmunds app, hit the "More" button, then select "Can It Fit?" Voilà! Now you can see if the car you're shopping for will fit in your garage. Nifty, huh?

In vehicles, the most common type of AR interface is a head-up display, which projects information directly onto the windshield, or, less commonly, on a flip-up screen on top of your instrument panel. Neat, but there are other manufacturers that take this tech a step further.

Mercedes Is What Genesisn't

The newest Mercedes-Benz cars are equipped with the MBUX infotainment system. One nifty feature of this interface — provided you tick the box for the tastily named "MBUX Augmented Video for Navigation" option — is its ability to overlay information on top of a live video feed. For example, if you have a destination set in the nav system, the central display screen will show an image of the view in front of the car upon approaching a turn, complete with digitized arrows and the name of the street so you know exactly where to go.

It's a cool parlor trick, and one that Genesis includes on the GV80. In other markets. Really, check out the Genesis Australia page for the GV80 — you'll find a cool video of the GV80's AR feature in action about halfway down the page. But we aren't getting it here in the U.S., with Genesis citing safety concerns as the reason.

That's a huge missed opportunity for Genesis since AR really could have helped the GV80 stand out from the crowd. It has a strong value statement, to be sure, and the styling is uniquely bold for this class. But luxury buyers are a fickle bunch, and nothing is more enticing than something they can hold over their neighbor. The more "Oh, your BMW X5 can't do that?" conversations the GV80 can generate, the better its chances.

Edmunds Says

Augmented reality isn't the end-all, be-all of new car tech, but Genesis dropped the ball by not including it on U.S.-spec GV80s. It could have been an interesting and unusual selling point for what will arguably be the fledgling luxury brand's most important vehicle. Don't change the channel from our 2021 Genesis GV80 page and you'll get all the news and info as this distinctive SUV creeps closer to production.