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Eric's Autos: 2021 Genesis GV80

Eric Peters on

The Genesis GV80 does not have a V-8, as its name seems to suggest it might. But it does have something else that's getting hard to find in a crossover SUV -- especially in something that costs less than $50,000 to start.

Rear-wheel drive.

Unlike most of the other models in its class, such as the Lexus RX, the Acura MDX and the Audi Q5, which are built on front-wheel-drive layouts. That's not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your priorities. Front-wheel drive is, without doubt, grippier than rear-wheel drive, making it less necessary to spend extra to get all-wheel drive (or four-wheel drive) if you have to deal with slippery conditions.

But rear-wheel drive is a good thing, too -- if you prefer the better handling feel that usually comes with having the front wheels steer while the rear wheels power. The rear-wheel drive layout is also generally more rugged because the work of steering and powering is not handled by the same pair of wheels -- or a single transaxle.

You can also usually pull a heavier load for that reason -- almost 8,000 pounds in this case.

What It Is

 

The GV80 is the first crossover to be sold by Hyundai's Genesis luxury division. It is built on a modified version of the Genesis G80 sedan's underlying chassis but seats up to seven rather than just five.

Prices start at $48,900 for the base 2.5T trim, which comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that makes 300 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive.

All-wheel drive is available as an option bundled with a key card ignition/entry system, a panorama sunroof and a heated steering wheel.

It lists for $54,650.

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