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The Genesis GV80 is a luxury seven-seater SUV that looks just as good on the inside as it looks on the outside! Lots of people have stopped me to ask about this car while I have been out and about with it and I’m not surprised because it is striking! Owned by Hyundai, Genesis is their luxury brand, BUT, is it all style and no substance? And will it be any good for families? We'd better find out…

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I can tell you the Genesis GV80 definitely does not disappoint… It is so packed full of features that made our family life enjoyable and easier that it’s hard to know where to start!

Well, I’ll start with my favourite! In the back, the rear window blinds are electronically controlled, which has to be one of the best things in any car I've tested! When you’re driving along you can control the blinds from the front because they are controlled using the electric window buttons AND you can lock them as well as the rear doors using the child lock button on the driver's door control panel. So the kids can’t fiddle with either of them! It’s a great new feature that we will hopefully see filter down into more mainstream cars in the future.

Staying with the second-row seats, there are lit vanity mirrors in the ceiling. I’m sure these are designed to be used by adult rear passengers, however, they are gold for kids in forward-facing child seats and my five-year-old spent entire journeys looking at and singing to herself in the mirror! I can imagine these being a hit with children of all ages, especially teenagers doing their hair or make-up on the way to school!

Another backseat win are the handles to slide the second-row seats forward and backwards. They feel really nice in your hand and make adjusting the seating much easier than in most other SUV’s and the seats slide really smoothly too.

The second-row seats are very comfortable and I could sit in the middle between two child seats. In the model I tested these seats are heated and cooled, which you can control in the back of the central console or through the front media screen.

I found three child seats fit across the second-row seats, I installed two rear-facing and a forward-facing child seat using the top tether anchorages on the back of all three seatbacks and the ISOfix in the outer two seats.

2021 Genesis GV80 with three child seats installed in the second row

There are no top tether anchorages in the third-row seats so you can’t install any child seats in there.

Third-row access in the Genesis GV80 could be better. There is a press button on the shoulder of the second-row outer-seat backs. Without child seats installed this will bring the seat forward with plenty of room to climb through to the third row.

There are grab handles moulded into the inside of the car to make it easier.

However, with child seats installed the mechanism will only work if you are using the ISOFix NOT the seatbelt to fasten the child seats in. Also the seat will not come all the way forwards so the gap you have to climb through is only enough for a child.

So the Genesis GV80, like the Santa Fe and Sorento, is more of a five-seat SUV with a large boot, rather than an everyday seven-seat SUV if you need to have three child seats installed in the second row. You can read more detailed car seat and third-row access information in the ‘seats’ section at the end of this review.

Legroom throughout the Genesis GV80 isn’t enormous. I could sit in the third row and I’m 162cm (5ft 2”) and there wasn’t much legroom or headroom for anyone taller.

With a rear-facing child seat on the passenger side, a 184cm passenger could just sit in front of it or with a forward-facing child seat on the driver's side then a 184cm driver could sit in front of it. Or we could fit a rear-facing child seat behind a 170cm driver.

Now let’s talk about the super massage I had in the driver's seat! The front seats are very comfortable with electronic adjustment on the side of the bases, which senses your hand when you put it down there and brings up the functions in the media screen. They are heated and cooled too and the driver's seat has a massage function! Which was so needed after hauling my baby around in her carrier!

You can also adjust the front passenger seat from the driver's seat position, using the buttons on the side. I find this useful for school pickups so you don't have to get out to adjust the seats and to help elderly relatives in and out of the car. Some say that big kids in the back play with them while driving along to annoy the front passenger and I can completely imagine those family japes! Hopefully, my cherubs won't work that out for a few more years!

The Genesis GV80 that I tested has soft close doors which are fantastic for families, especially with little ones. As I find most luxury SUV’s have heavy doors that often don’t close first time and as a result, you have to slam the door shut which is obviously disturbing for sleepy little passengers but with the soft close doors they automatically pull to gently and silently when not closed properly eliminating this problem.

While we’re talking about the doors, the GV80 also has an auto-opening boot which is a real lifesaver when you have kids. Every morning and afternoon I go out to the car, which is parked boot out so it’s ready to load, with baby in one arm and school bag, scooter and/or coffee in the other and the auto-opening boot makes life easier because I can just stand behind the car and it automatically opens so I can put everything straight into the boot without having to juggle keys as well! The side doors will also auto-unlock too, but they don't open themselves up for you (you need a Kia Carnival for that)!

Storage is good throughout the Genesis GV80, with ample cup holders in all three rows of seats though the door bins are small in both rows, which makes storing water bottles a bit tricky. My favourite storage is the space underneath the central console, perfect for your handbag so it is not in the passenger seat or footwell. 

With there only being top tether anchorages for the second-row seats of the GV80, perhaps most are going to use the Genesis GV80 as a five-seater with a boot large enough for a couple of large dogs.

This way you will fit any size stroller or twin or double pram in the boot with plenty of space for shopping and kids' bikes etc. Or it will fit seventeen shopping bags. This is comparable to other luxury family SUVs like the Audi Q7 that also holds seventeen shopping bags and the BMW X7 that holds eighteen and BMW X5 that holds sixteen shopping bags.

However, when you are using all three rows of seats the boot space is much more minimal and I could only fit a compact stroller in the boot.

Or five shopping bags, which is smaller than the boot of other luxury seven-seat family SUV's like the Audi Q7 and BMW X7 which both hold seven bags.

The GV80, like top-spec versions of the Hyundai Palisade, Santa Fe and Kia Sorento has remote parking. You can start the engine and drive the car backwards and forwards just using the buttons on the key fob.

I found I used this a few times during our week when parking the GV80 in the tight parking space at the office and supermarket, it was easier to get the kids in and out of the back without bumping the cars parked on either side with the doors.

The media system in the Genesis GV80 is fabulous. It has a nice big screen and a modern and easy to use system with a lot of the great features you find in the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Carnival too.

A particular favourite of mine is Sounds of Nature, which is a selection of white noise at your fingertips and my baby loves the Calm Sea Waves setting. There are also other noises that help to get babies to sleep too and I quite enjoy the Lively Forest one when I'm driving on my own after a frantic school drop off!

There is also Passenger Talk and Quiet Mode, which I love for family life too. Passenger Talk amplifies your voice through to the third-row seats so you don't have to shout to be heard and Quiet Mode which brings the sound into the front so you don't disturb passengers who are asleep or on devices in the back.

The Genesis GV80 has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and you can control the rear climate and seats from the media screen also.

There are aircon vents in all three rows of seats to keep all the rear passengers cool and you can control the climate from the front whilst driving.

The second-row seats are heated and cooled as well as the front seats and there are USB ports in all three rows.

Overall the Genesis GV80 is a fantastic BabyDrive, it is crammed full of luxury family-friendly features that make everyday journeys with children so much easier. We found it a great car to drive, although the kids did complain a little of sickness in the back as it was a little head-wobbly for rear passengers but we found it improved when the suspension was in Sport mode.

The new 2021 Genesis GV80 comes with ten airbags including a central front airbag to prevent heads knocking together in the event of an accident and it has third-row airbags. The Genesis GV80 has a five star ANCAP safety rating.


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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

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