Hyundai is one of a horde of makers trying to ruffle the feathers of the German establishment by creating its own luxury brand.
We sample the top flight Genesis GV80 SUV that is packed with luxury features.
There’s a different level of customer service
Genesis is in its infancy as a brand. The luxury arm of Hyundai can’t match the badge appeal of a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz, so it differentiates itself by offering more ownership perks.
The first five scheduled services are free and Genesis will pick up and drop off your car when a service is due, provided you live within 70km of a Genesis studio.
They’ll also leave you a courtesy vehicle while the service is completed.
A complimentary five-year roadside assistance program provides some icing on the cake.
The cabin feels plush
Our test vehicle had the optional six-seater luxury package, which costs an extra $13,000 over the GV80 starting price of $92,000 plus on-roads. More seats costs less – the seven-seat version’s luxury pack is only $10,000.
For the extra spend, there’s quality Nappa leather throughout, a big 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver, suede finishes on the roof and pillars, heated and ventilated seats in the first and second rows and power adjustable seats and sunshades in the back.
The extra $3000 in the six-seat version buys individual, reclining second-row seats with airline-style winged headrests, a center console with a wireless charger and twin 9.2-inch rear entertainment screens.
It feels like business class.
Some of the tech feels like overkill
Genesis isn’t alone in having electric adjustment of all three rows of seats, but you’re left wondering if a simple manual lever to fold the seats would be a better solution.
It certainly would be quicker.
The automatic parking function is also something you tend to use only once to show off to the neighbours. The massaging seats switch on automatically after a certain time, which can be disconcerting if you’re not expecting it.
It’s a genuine luxury brand
The attention to detail and quality of materials in the cabin is up there with German rivals and there’s more bling for the buck in terms of gadgets and luxury items.
Highlights include the blind-spot alert that shows you a video feed of the road behind you when you flick the indicator. The ambient lighting adds an air of sophistication after dark, as do the puddle lamps that light the road when you open the door at night.
Genesis finished top of all the luxury brands in the respected JD Power quality and dependability survey.
The driving experience is a little off the pace, though
There are three engine choices for the GV80. It kicks off with a turbo four-cylinder putting out a healthy 224kW and 422Nm, then there’s a 3.0-liter diesel with 204kW and 588Nm and a 3.5-liter turbo V6 pumping out 279kW and 530Nm.
We had the diesel, which delivers an impressive blend of grunt and refinement. A silky 8-speed auto manages to pluck the right gear for maximum thrust and it’s reasonably efficient for its size.
The driving experience is let down, though, by suspension that struggles for composure on rougher roads. It tends to float a little over bigger bumps, while the big 22-inch wheels with low-profile rubber get fidgety on pockmarked bitumen.
The steering feels sharp but through corners you can feel the weight of the car as it pitches and leans. It’s fine for family freeway motoring, but lacks the poise of a BMW X5 or Audi Q8.