Trucks and SUVs

2022 Best Luxury 3-Row SUV: Genesis GV80

Genesis beat out all other luxury brands last year with its first ever SUV to clinch the award for Best 3-Row Luxury SUV. This year, the Genesis GV80 has done it again, and it’s easy to see why.

More than 20 automotive experts from across Canada cast votes for the 2022 AutoTrader Awards, considering and evaluating every single model available to buy in this segment, and the jury remains smitten by the Genesis GV80’s remarkable blend of luxury, style, and value.

Venturing into a segment full of exceptional machinery, the designers at Genesis might have been forgiven for playing it safe, but the GV80 is bold, handsome, and true to the brand. Its distinctive stacked lighting, commanding cross-hatched grille, and fluid profile could teach Bentley’s designers a thing or two about blending substance with style. There’s no denying the Genesis has tremendous road presence, and when parked amidst the established premium brands, it holds its own.

The entry-level 2.5T Select trim is quite well-equipped, but stepping up the range to the top-tier 3.5T Prestige presents a properly decadent cabin replete with creamy leather finishes, soft-close doors, and digital instrument gauges that feature a slick, stereoscopic 3D effect unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s the attention to detail throughout the GV80 that’s sure to resonate with first-time Genesis buyers being drawn away from the traditional premium brands.

The 14.5-inch infotainment screen dominates the central dash and offers bright and crisp graphics, but more importantly, a truly logical user interface that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The integrated 21-speaker Lexicon sound system available in the top trim is a delight for audiophiles, while the active noise cancellation makes the cabin more peaceful for all occupants. While lacking the first row’s available massage function, the heated and ventilated second row seats offer first-class accommodations and plenty of space, but even the smaller third row provides enough comfort for occasional trips.

In line with its core competition, the mid-sized GV80 offers a choice of both a turbocharged four-cylinder and turbocharged V6, with power directed through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, ensuring four-season capability. The four-cylinder produces a competitive 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, while the larger 3.5L V6 offers up 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, making it properly quick when it needs to be. The larger engine, in particular, is smooth and quiet, and the transmission offers crisp, but almost seamless shifts, all of which is appropriate for the category.

But it’s not just the drivetrain that’s smooth. As AutoTrader Road Test Editor Dan Ilika describes in his review, “there’s an electronically controlled adaptive suspension in the top trim that makes this one of the smoothest riding SUVs this side of $100,000, and perhaps even beyond.” This feat is all the more impressive when the GV80’s available massive 22-inch wheels are considered.

Genesis has loaded up the GV80 with a comprehensive suite of active driver aids, including forward-, rear- and parking collision avoidance assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist, plus an adaptive cruise control system that works in everything from stop-and-go traffic to the open highway. The GV80 can even be squeezed into or retrieved from tight parking spaces without a driver via the key fob remote.

Even premium SUVs need to live up to their utility promise from time to time, and with both rear seat rows folded flat, the GV80 will swallow nearly 2,400 litres of cargo, and with the third row occupied, there’s still 328 L available. If there’s even more to haul around, the Genesis is rated to tow up to 6,000 lb (2,700 kg).

Given its size and capability, the GV80’s consumption of fuel is a respectable 10.8 L / 100 km Combined for the four-cylinder, and 11.8 for the V6.

Key three-row SUV competitors from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Cadillac can all easily swell their cost into six figures, which highlights what a stellar value the GV80 is, starting at $65,000, and topping out at $85,500, with no pricey option packages, no fees, and no additional destination charge to add. Genesis also provides a five-year comprehensive warranty, plus at-home valet service with courtesy vehicle, and scheduled maintenance, all complimentary.

What makes the Genesis GV80 so brilliant isn’t a single defining element, but rather the sum of stand-out styling, genuine luxury, refined road manners, and tremendous value. It’s why Genesis’ first SUV has continued to capture our attention and was voted for the second consecutive year as the top pick in this competitive segment.