Five years ago, Hyundai Motor Company surprised the motoring world when they announced that they will relaunch the Genesis name as their new luxury brand. Aimed against the likes of Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, BMW and even Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai’s take on making luxury vehicles first started out with a fleet of sedans that consist of the following: the G70, the G80, and the flagship G90.
Fast forward to present day, and it looks like Genesis will now also be joining the luxury SUV fray. In order to show that they are indeed serious, the automaker recently released new teaser photos of their first SUV. Called the GV80, Genesis’ latest vehicle was first revealed in concept form at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, and it featured a sleek and futuristic design.
Based on the initial photos, the production version of the GV80 appears to remain faithful to the original concept albeit slightly toned down. From the distinct diamond front grill to the signature quad headlights, along with the large alloy wheels and sloping roofline, Genesis decided to keep the concept-like design of the GV80 for the production model.
The overly-large 23-inch alloy wheels appear to have been replaced as well by a smaller set of wheels. Also gone are the intricate patterns on the B- and C-pillars which now come with a simpler gloss black finish. We have yet to see how the GV80 appears at the back, but it looks like the rear will also look similar to that of the 2017 concept.
Moving on to the SUV’s interior, Genesis gave the GV80 a posh interior. Keen-eyed viewers, however, might notice that much like the exterior, Genesis decided to keep certain elements of the concept for the production model. This can be seen via the wide touchscreen display mounted on the center dashboard, the digital climate control system, huge center console, and what appears to be a fully-digital instrument panel.
With an emphasis on open space and minimalism, Genesis focused on providing a commanding driving position for the driver, as well as putting more digital displays instead of physical buttons. Also, unlike the concept which strictly had a 2+2 seating layout, Genesis claimed the GV80 will have a three-row configuration. This could mean that the new SUV can seat seven or eight in total.
The unique thing about the GV80, according to Genesis, will have its own rear-wheel drive platform that is exclusive to the brand, and with all-wheel drive as an option. This orientation means it differs significantly from other Hyundai crossover SUV models like the Santa Fe and Palisade; both are primarily front-wheel drive designs with optional all-wheel drive.
Genesis did not state as to what will power the all-new GV80. Originally, the concept had a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell technology. Our best guess is that it will come with an array of turbocharged engines, as well as several hybrid options. A choice of an automatic or dual-clutch transmission could also be available for the GV80.
“Over the last four years, Genesis has established itself as a respected luxury brand with superior vehicle quality and a lineup of class-leading sedans with charismatic and discriminating style. With the launch of GV80, Genesis will elevate expectations for excellence within the luxury SUV market,” said William Lee, executive vice president and global head of the Genesis Brand.
Genesis will be releasing more details about the GV80 closer to launch some time this January. Sales will also commence in its home market in South Korea in the same month.
With the Genesis G90 only available as an indent order in the Philippines, perhaps the GV80 might serve as a more lucrative option given that the country is now more into SUVs and crossovers. But until its official launch, all we can do is wait and speculate.