You may remember the GV80 as the luxury SUV that Tiger Woods wrecked last February while he was in California for a golf tournament. Genesis—Hyundai’s Lexus, if you will—sponsored the tournament and loaned a demo to Woods while he was in town.
Photos of their GV80 crumpled up like an old shoebox, not to mention an ambulance taking away their celebrity driver, were not what the Genesis PR team had in mind when they handed Woods the key. But the whole mess eventually rebounded to Hyundai’s credit and it focused our attention on a brand that not enough people know about.
Yes, Woods was speeding—doing nearly 90 MPH in a 45-MPH zone. And yes, the SUV was a total write-off.
In a downhill right-hander, he panicked and hit the accelerator instead of the brake (the onboard black box recorded every movement of the controls), which sent the vehicle through a barrier and over a curb before it rolled into a tree and finally stopped.
Woods was not charged with anything, so Genesis couldn’t be accused of aiding and abetting some sort of miscreant; and he survived a major accident, which spoke to the GV80’s structure and crashworthiness.
One might even suspect that the vehicle’s power and smoothness contributed to his speed.
Smooth power is exactly what a driver experiences in a GV80—power delivered in stylish comfort and with luxury and safety features galore. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter turbo Four tuned to 300 horsepower; our top-line Prestige model has a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 rated at 375 horsepower. This much output no longer raises eyebrows, but it’s enough to endow a large and heavy SUV with effortless performance. Both engines get super-smooth 8-speed automatic transmissions with manual-shift paddles and selectable drive modes (Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport and custom).
Also shared is the self-leveling multi-link front and rear independent suspension along with nicely tuned and weighted rack-and-pinion steering and what must be an admirably stiff chassis. The GV80 rides, stops and goes near-brilliantly—and, thanks to a 360-degree camera system and proximity sensors all around, it can be maneuvered into tight parking slots easily, too.
Genesis offers two ranges of GV80: The 2.5T, which begins at $49,700, and 2.5T Advanced and 2.5T Prestige, with all-wheel drive available as a $5,000 option. And then there’s the 3.5T AWD range, which begins at $60,100 and steps up to Advanced, Advanced+ and Prestige trims. (Rear-wheel drive is not available on the 3.5T models. The GV80 spec sheet is so comprehensive yet simple that I’ve added a link to it here.) The sole option on our 3.5T Prestige is Himalayan Grey metallic paint, for $400, which brings its sticker price to $72,375. Spend a few minutes pricing out other high-end three-row SUVs and you’ll quickly see that this is a bargain.
Genesis offers two ranges of GV80: The 2.5T, which begins at $49,700, 2.5T Advanced and 2.5T Prestige, with all-wheel drive available as a $5,000 option. And then there’s the 3.5T AWD range, which begins at $60,100 and steps up to Advanced, Advanced+ and Prestige trims. Rear-wheel-only drive is not available on the 3.5T models; the sole option on our 3.5T Prestige is Himalayan Grey metallic paint, for $400, which brings its sticker price to $72,375. Spend a few minutes pricing out other high-end three-row SUVs and you’ll quickly see that this is a bargain.
On the rare but increasing number of occasions when I spot another Genesis on the road—this or its compact GV70 sibling or the G70, G80 or G90 sedans—I think to myself, Smart!
Silvio Calabi has been reviewing cars since Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House. He lives in Camden.