2021 Genesis GV80

The Genesis GV80 does not have a V8, as its name seems to suggest it might. But it does have something else that’s getting hard to find in a crossover SUV – especially in something that costs less than $50,000 to start.

Rear-wheel-drive.

Unlike most of the other models in its class – like the Lexus RX, the Acura MDX and the Audi Q5 – which are built on front-wheel-drive layouts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your priorities. FWD is without doubt grippier than rear-wheel-drive, making it less necessary to spend extra to get all-wheel-drive (or four-wheel drive) if you have to deal with slippery conditions.

But rear drive is a good thing, too – if you prefer the better handling feel that usually comes with having the front wheels steer while the rear wheels power. The rear-drive layout is also generally more rugged because the work of steering and powering is not handled by the same pair of wheels – or a single transaxle.

You can also usually pull a heavier load for that reason, too – almost 8,000 lbs. in this case.

Which is several thousand pounds more than FWD-based rivals in the segment like the Lexus RX350 and Acura MDX – and also more than more expensive rear-drive-based rivals like the BMW X5 and Lincoln Aviator, too.

What It Is

The GV80 is the first crossover to be sold by Hyundai’s Genesis luxury division. It is built on a modified version of the Genesis G80 sedan’s underlying chassis but seats up to seven rather than just five.

It is also one of just a few of its kind that isn’t built on a light-duty, FWD chassis – like most cars. Instead, it is built on a rear-drive chassis, like the G80 sport sedan. Which makes it sportier than FWD-based crossovers – as well as more capable of pulling a heavy load.

While also being just as capable in the snow or mud, if ordered with its available AWD system.

It comes with either of two turbocharged engines- neither of them a V8 but both making what was not too long ago considered V8 power. And in some cases, more power than some current V8s make.

Even the four can pull 6,000 pounds.

Prices start at $48,900 for the base 2.5T trim, which comes with a turbocharged 2.5 liter engine that makes 300 horsepower, an eight speed automatic and rear-wheel-drive.

AWD is available as an option bundled with key card ignition/entry system, a panorama sunroof and heated steering wheel.

It lists for $54,650.

A top-of-the-line 3.5T Advanced+ comes with a 375 horsepower turbocharged V6, the eight-speed automatic, a power-folding third row, heated second row and standard AWD.

It lists for $65,550.

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