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[Behind the Wheel] GV80 packs in high-tech driving experience, with some unfamiliar functions

Hyundai Motor’s luxury brand Genesis unveiled its first sport utility vehicle GV80 last week, with a goal of selling 24,000 units in South Korea this year.

The model will be launched in North America this summer.


(Hyundai Motor Group)
(Hyundai Motor Group)

The Korea Herald had an opportunity to test drive GV80 in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, on the day of its launch on Wednesday.

Genesis’ first vehicle based on a rear-wheel-drive platform -- runs on a six-cylinder diesel engine -- which exerts a maximum torque of 60 kilogram-meters and up to 278 horsepower.

Unlike expectations, starting the engine did not make a large, heavy engine sound, like an ordinary diesel engine. Turning the dial knob of the rotary gear selector was also interesting.

While driving, GV80’s double-glazed window glasses and torque-converter automatics reduced the noise and its vibration to the minimum. 


(Hyundai Motor Group)
(Hyundai Motor Group)

For the first time in the world, Hyundai Motor has put inverted sound waves for noise control in the GV80. The company applied last year for a patent for Road-noise Active Noise Control, or RANC, both in the domestic market and the US.

With RANC, the internal noise of a vehicle drops three decibels, half of what a passenger hears in a regular vehicle.

The acceleration was smooth in four different driving modes: eco, comfort, sports and custom. I tried eco, comfort and sports mode, and among the three, the sports mode was most distinguishable. When the car picked up speed, the rough engine sound was audible and the air cushion behind the back of the driver’s seat was activated to fix the driver’s posture while driving. It was a feature similar to those in luxury sports car like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG.

The GV80 felt like a new toy -- a full package of high-tech functions converted into the vehicle, and one of them was level-two highway driving assist function (HDA II). It has been adopted for the first time ever in a local vehicle, and allows a driver to change lanes just by using the turning signal. 

But for Koreans who are accustomed to “ppalli-ppalli” -- hurry-hurry culture -- such a function may be not so practical because turning the steering wheel to the right to change lanes takes much less time and it is more convenient for a driver on roads where unexpected situations frequently happen.

The wide 14.5-inch display, artificial reality based navigation and enhanced head-up display were all very an instrumental part of the convenience. But it may take time to get fully used to all the functions.

Although the price of the currently available 3.0-liter diesel GV80 model starts from 65.8 million won ($56,650), when you add options, including safety driving function, the price will hover around 80 million won -- still slightly lower than other same-class foreign luxury SUVs including Benz GLE and BMW X5.

The price of Audi Q7 and XC90 begin from 80 million won, but many add options so the price goes up to 90 million won, placing GV80 within the reasonable price range.

On the first day of its launch, a total of 15,000 units of GV80 were ordered, according to the automaker.


By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 4 stars
Fuel economy: 3 stars
Safety: 4 stars
Price: 4 stars

Overall: 15/20
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