2025 Genesis GV80 First Drive Review: Under the Skin

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

2025 Genesis GV80 Quick Take

A subtle facelift hides big changes inside for the original Genesis SUV. The GV80 goes big on increased tech, adding to what is already the best cabin experience in the class.

Continued weaknesses? Just the engine lineup, which is smooth enough in operation but deeply thirsty. Is that enough to turn you away from an exclusive luxury experience?

This is the 2025 Genesis GV80. Yes, honestly.

There’s no arguing that for a brand that has had some dramatic styling swings since its inception, this is a very subtle facelift. That’s okay: the GV80 is the Korean brand’s first SUV, and the model to truly introduce the distinctive twin-line look from the ground up. For this mid-cycle refresh, Genesis has focused on sub-surface improvements, with major tweaks to the cabin and tech suite to keep its original high-rider fresh against a tough competitive set. We spent a day with the GV80 in Fort Worth, Texas to find out just how well the updates work.

What’s new for 2025?

The GV80 is still immediately recognizable on the road, but with detail changes for 2025.

Like the German models the GV80 competes against, the mid-cycle visual tweaks can be tough to spot. The head- and taillights keep the same shape as before, though the lighting elements within them are different. Notable up front is the Micro Lens Array (MLA) headlights, a feature pulled from the flagship G90. They may look like the early LED running lights of the late-aughts, but these little cube-style elements allow for ultra-precise lighting, minimizing glare for oncoming drivers. The basic grille shape is the same as before, but with more rounded corners and a dual-line mesh that better integrates it with the surroundings.

Look further down and the lower bumper design is tidier. The smile-shaped intake is now a frown—let’s call it more assertive—and there’s a more prominent skid plate. Big 22-inch wheels remain on higher trims (20s are standard), still a five-spoke design but different. The twin-line trend is even here, on the spokes. Genesis has softened the curves out back with a new rear bumper that now hides the exhausts, but with a garnish that subtly apes the grille shape.

This model year will see the GV80 Coupe join the lineup as well, featuring a more rakish roofline. That’s a model for a different time however: our drive sticks to the original shape. Every vehicle here is the top 3.5T Prestige trim too, one of seven available models in the US and four in Canada.

Powertrain and efficiency: Carryover couple

Behind that redesigned grille sits a not-redesigned 3.5-liter turbo V6.

That’s one aspect the GV80 SUV doesn’t change for 2025: its powertrain options. The vehicle that debuted the brand’s 2.5-liter turbo-four and 3.5-liter turbo V6 pair continues to offer both, paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive combo. The entry-level four-pot remains one of the most powerful in the segment, boasting 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile the V6 spits out 375 hp, at the same 5,800 rpm peak as the four-cylinder. Torque plateaus at 391 lb-ft barely over tickover (1,300 rpm) and stays there until 4,500 rpm.

(When the GV80 Coupe arrives, it will offer the electric-supercharged version of the V6, bumping power to 409 hp and 405 lb-ft.)

The V6 continues to do a good job as a well-integrated part of the package. It’s never angry or urgent—that would be uncouth and unbecoming of a luxury SUV—but simply scoops up the GV80 and wills it down the road. The eight-speed keeps time without issue, quietly sliding between gears in quick yet buttery-smooth fashion. If one is so inclined they can wring the six-pot out in Sport mode, but the 3.5L lacks the more cultured tone of the German inline-sixes. There isn’t much point in winding it past 5,000 rpm: the V6 does its best work earlier in the rev range.

Another continued GV80 weak point: fuel economy. The 3.5T scores just 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 19 mpg. For reference, that latter figure matches the city rating of the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 and Audi Q7. Meanwhile the BMW X5 xDrive40i leads the class with 23/27/25 mpg, respectively. Canadian figures are 14.4, 10.6, and 12.7 L/100 km, again respectively.

While I didn’t drive it at this event, prior experience suggests the 2.5T is more than adequate for daily use, and has the knock-on effects of improving both fuel economy and handling, as it strips significant weight out of the nose.

Handling and drivability: Steady as she goes

Smooth in handling and in ride, the GV80 feels properly luxurious on the road. Photo credit: Genesis

Speaking of, the GV80 remains a satisfying steer. The redesigned three-spoke steering wheel is direct and responsive, making it a cinch to keep this big SUV between the lines on the narrow, wrinkled roads outside Fort Worth. Every model comes with AWD now, but this is a proper rear-biased system: front power maxes out at 50 percent, and only when necessary. In typical dry conditions front torque is minimized, providing a sweet balance and keen turn-in. Steering weight is as you’d expect—light, yet consistent—and fiddling with the drive modes can add a little more resistance. An available electronic limited slip differential keeps the GV80 tidy through tighter corners.

Braking power is wholly adequate: never grabby nor feeling incapable of hauling up two tons of metal and leather.

Ride quality and comfort: Comfortable cruiser

Image credit: Genesis

Don’t let the enormous rolling stock fool you: the GV80 is a cruiser first and foremost. The ride is well-cushioned and additional sound deadening material for ’25 makes it even quieter inside. That's not to say the GV80 is sloppy or wayward: there's a tautness to how it quickly suppresses bumps in the road. Thank the adaptive suspension here, which uses the front-facing cameras to scan the road ahead and prep for irregularities. This isn't quite a magic carpet ride ... but it isn't far off, either.

Front-seat comfort is supreme, with a wide range of adjustment and ample lower leg and back support. Genesis' Ergo Motion seat is a personal fave: it doesn't offer the most aggressive massage function, but the stretch program that activates at regular intervals is enough to keep me feeling refreshed.

Interior style and quality: Classiest cabin in class

This is still the best interior in the class, and not just because of actual colors.

No other vehicle in this class feels quite so special inside. The craftsmanship of the GV80 cabin is still impressive, with soft-touch materials dang near everywhere. Especially noteworthy is the color combinations: five in total, four of which are two-tone setups with actual color. Our tester is a swanky white-and-blue affair, but the hero dark green and brown is a rich and wonderful setup too. Best of all, everything is color-matched: the carpets, the switchgear, the headliner—there are no errant black bits to save a few cents. The ol’ football-shaped steering wheel has gone, with a more traditional three-spoker in its place that feels and looks excellent.

Space is great for both rows, with ample head- and legroom. An important note: while Canadian 3.5T Prestige models feature three rows, all of the US-spec testers here have just two. Having spent time in the way-back before, it’s fine in a pinch for adults, but not great. The second-row experience is very swanky, with power sunshades and integrated vanity mirrors in the headliner. What’s more, the seats are six-way adjustable—including cushion angle—which is very rare for the class.

Changes for this year include the obvious swap to a 27-inch screen atop the dashboard. It’s a slick setup running Hyundai Motor Group’s ccNC on the backend, improving response times. Finally, Genesis will offer both USB-C and wireless Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto… though not on these cars, which will need an over-the-air update in a few months. A “mood curator” uses different scents to set the tone in the cabin. If you don’t feel like smudging up the big screen, a raised rotary dial has replaced the old iPod-like click wheel; a step back in my mind, but no doubt easier to use on the move. The whole center console sees a rejig to free up more storage and provide larger cupholders.

Value, dollars, and sense: A whole lot of bang for buck

The Genesis badge sees its own redesign for '25, now made of actual metal.

In America, Genesis has cleverly kept the GV80 entry price at $59,050 including destination. This is care of a new “Standard” trim set to arrive this summer, slotting below the previous, nameless base trim which goes for a grand more. The Standard skips out on the heated steering wheel, digital key, spare tire, and manual sunshades. A Select ($62,950) will slot into the middle of the 2.5T lineup at the same time as the Standard, while Advanced ($66,950) and Prestige ($71,800) ladle on niceties like leather, three-zone climate control, Ergo motion seats, and the B&O sound system.

The 3.5T is down to two trims, both of which are in Canada and the US. The $75,150 Advanced (w/ Tech Package in Canada) is a three-row affair in both countries, and the only of that type in America now. Meanwhile this top Prestige ($80,650) is the only way to get the Nappa leather, four-zone climate, heated plus ventilated second row, and a few other goodies.

Canadian pricing was unavailable at time of publishing.

2025 Genesis GV80 First Drive Review: Final thoughts

Big 22-inch alloy wheels don't ruin the ride of this luxury SUV.

If it sounds like the GV80 is more of the same, that’s because it is. The Korean brand’s inaugural SUV still does a whole lot right: a fancy experience inside and out for thousands less than competitors, only now with more tech and comfort. The cabin is still best-in-class while the driving dynamics are refined but not mute. Poor fuel economy aside, the 2025 Genesis GV80 should still appeal to those wanting the most luxury for their hard-earned—crucially, without it ever seeming that way—or looking to skip over the default choices.

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Excellent interior

Thirsty engines

Comparative value

Not the sportiest choice

Smooth ride

Third row availability limited in Canada

2025 Genesis GV80


3.5L V6 Turbo


375 hp, 391 lb-ft



US Fuel Economy (mpg):


CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km):


Starting Price (USD):

$59,050 (inc. dest.)

As-Tested Price (USD):

$80,650 (inc. dest.)

Starting Price (CAD):


As-Tested Price (CAD):


Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

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 1 comment
  • Tucson60 Tucson60 on May 14, 2024

    Really like the tefresh/tweaks of the design for 2025 a lot, except for the hiding of the rear exhaust pipes. WHY would they hide them, this isn’t a hybrid or EV. And one other mention is that so called “football” looking steering wheel is gone and replaced with a proper 3-spoke design which looks great!

    Luv this SUV both inside and out, great quality and comfort. Will definitely give it a look when it’s time to buy a new vehicle!