Is Genesis a car of Biblical proportions?
All of a sudden I have a new favourite car. Nothing new there top be honest. I’m fickle when it comes to wheels and have counted Kia Stinger, Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender and the Volvo XC40 as my preferred machine in recent months.
At other times I’ve had a penchant for the BMW 5 Series, obviously. The Lexus LC500 is an all-time great, as is the Jaguar F-Pace. And – I’m still not sure why – the Renault Modus took my fancy, a model now consigned to the car dealer in the sky.
But now most controversially I’m fallen for the Genesis. I tried not to like this johnny-come-lately car, feeling it has been created instantly rather than being allowed like most models to evolve. Maybe the clue is in the name.
But I’m smitten. The look, the style and the general feeling of the car won me over but my love is tempered by its thirst and old-school diesel-only and petrol-only power.
Is it the love than cannot be? Well, let’s see. Genesis is the new posh off-spring for the Hyundai brand. It is what Lexus is to Toyota or Infiniti is to Nissan.
Hyundai certainly deserves credit for launching an ambitious project in the midst of a pandemic and economic uncertainty but the feeling is that this will be a long-term project so coronavirus and a financial crisis matter little in the long run. Genesis is no flash in the pan.
So, what is Genesis? It has launched G80, a saloon, and GV80, an SUV, the latter of which is tested here. Other models including estates (shooting brake), saloon and compact SUVs with a range of powerplants are either here or coming soon.
But we are focusing on the GV80. Does it look like a Bentley? It has been suggested so, and even the Genesis logo resembles the Bentley wings.
But a flying emblem and huge but graceful grille apart, these cars are not quite so close.
Bentley Bentayga starts at £146,700. Genesis gv80 starts at a relatively mere £56,715.
But while it may be a bargain Bentley, it is still astonishingly expensive for a Hyundai-created marque. But is it good value? I would suggest it is. It feels wonderful, a little like those bulky, confident American jeeps. It has a proud style which I adore.
The signature seems to be the huge grille which features across the range. The dashboard is brilliant, with a wide screen and premium switchgear; the seats have a very upmarket leather; the ride is sweet – arguably too comfortable for some who like their SUVs solid – and the engine is fabulous. The view from the cabin as you meander is brilliant. It has an impressive bonnet and impeccable road manners.
It might be an upstart but it certainly seems to have breeding. Size wise, it’s about the same length as a Range Rover but lower.
It rides well and is certainly engineered for on-road comfort rather than off-road ventures.
Style-wise, I like it. It has plenty of interesting features such as the side air grilles. Genesis say it has been devised by experts in three main geographical areas – Europe, America and South Korea.
It has a sporty feel to it and it is rapid zooming to 60mph in 7.5 seconds and on to 143mph, where legal.
There seems to be no boundary to the luxury aboard. The engines contain a “noise cancellation” system which makes it feel very much like a refined limousine. This is called Roads Active Noise Cancellation (RANC) which “reduces all incoming sound from the road by producing an inverted soundwave creating a quiet, luxurious and premium environment” delivered by an 18-speaker sound system.
The dashboard is distinctive with a fabulous 14.5in information screen and a system which allows you to handwrite instructions which is simpler than typing devices.
This model – together with the G80 saloon – hails Genesis’s arrival in the UK. Both luxury vehicles offer distinctive exterior design with trademark Genesis design cues, including the quad lamps that extend outward across the vehicle from the crest grille. It has a wide, confident stance delivers presence on-road, while the sweeping parabolic line, visible across the shoulder of both vehicles, balances the proportions to lend prestige.
Best-in-class safety and state-of-the-art technology come as standard as well as an unrivalled customer service with Genesis Personal Assistants to guide customers through the buying and ownership experience.
It comes with remote park assist and evasive steering assist, which can help detect and prevent collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
We know from previous experiences of new brands such as Infiniti, Lexus and co that it can take time for brands to become established. Genesis will find it tough going but it has style on its side.
Genesis GV80 E-VGT seven-seater automatic Premium Line AWD
Price: £56,815. Range starts at £56,715
Engine: A 2,996cc six-cylinder diesel engine generating 278bhp via eight-speed automatic transmission with shift-by-wire and paddle shifters
Performance: Top speed 143mph and 0 to 60mph in 7.5 seconds
Costs: combined 34.4mpg
Warranty: Five years’ warranty including servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car and mapping and over-the-air software.