MIAMI — Promising a cruise control system that can learn your driving style, and aircraft-style noise cancellation to quiet road noise, Genesis unveiled the U.S. version of its first SUV on Tuesday to a room packed with dealers.
The 2021 GV80 will compete with vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes GLE, BMW X5 and Lincoln Aviator when it goes on sale this summer.
Debuting a new look that feature slit-like horizontal headlights, the GV80 will offer two or three rows of seats. Prices are likely to start around $50,000.
The headlights’ twin lines will become Genesis’ trademark, a styling theme repeated in side markers and taillights.
“Two lines will come to define Genesis,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group chief design officer.
The GV80 will probably be Genesis’ best-selling vehicle in the U.S. by the end of 2021, Genesis chief operating officer Erwin Raphael said. Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury brand.
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Launched in 2017, Genesis has yet to make a splash compared to established brands like Audi, Lexus and Jaguar. That’s at least partly because its current lineup consists of three sedans, and not a single one of the SUVs that make up a growing part of the market.
The GV80 was developed to change that.
“The GV80 is the brand’s most significant U.S. launch to date,” said IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley. “The GV80 opens opportunities to reach a broader base of customers. Expanding the product lineup by one more vehicle is a necessary step in developing the brand for the long-term future that Hyundai Motor Company expects for its young luxury brand.”
The GV80 will introduce a new adaptive cruise control system that can learn its drivers’ style. For instance, the system could adapt to match your preference for accelerating quickly when a space opens in front of your vehicle. Conversely, it also will apply accelerator and brakes more smoothly than the brand’s current system for greater passenger comfort, Raphael said.
The GV80’s noise cancellation system will go a step beyond current systems that mask engine noise and vibration by also screening out road noise. Like the noise cancelling headphones many of us use on airplanes, it should make for more relaxing travel and easier conversations.
The U.S. will probably be the GV80’s second-largest market, after Korea, so American tastes played a large role in the development of the SUV. It’ll be available with rear- or all-wheel drive. Power will come from a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder engine and a twin-turbo 3.5L V6 engine producing around 360 hp. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard.
About five inches longer than a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the GV80 has a large, five-sided diamond-pattern grille. The roof curves down at the D-pillar toward flared rear fenders. It’ll be available with 20-, 21- or 22-inch alloy wheels.
Genesis will add a second, smaller SUV called the GV70 in 2021.
“The GV70 is as sporty looking and performing as you can imagine an SUV being,” Raphael said.
The GV80 is built on the same architecture and likely to share its drivetrains with a new version of the G80 sport sedan debuting shortly after the SUV.