Brand-new for 2021, the Genesis GV80 brings a load of features and a lot of style at a starting price under $50,000. Volvo’s full-size 2021 XC90 SUV has three rows of seats and a powerful hybrid option. Let’s compare them.
2021 Genesis GV80
Above Average: Tons of standard and optional features; excellent safety technology; class-leading warranty; rear- or all-wheel drive.
Below Average: Optional third row is tiny; no V8 or hybrid; lacks rivals’ brand recognition.
Consensus: Brand-new this year, the 2021 Genesis GV80 is the first crossover SUV from Hyundai’s luxury brand. Not surprisingly, it offers a ton of value, great safety features, and excellent driving manners for thousands less than its German competitors.
2021 Volvo XC90
Above Average: Optional plug-in hybrid; beautiful interior; superb upgrade Bowers & Wilkins audio system; partially autonomous driving system.
Below Average: No V6 or V8 engine options; too much touch screen rather than physical controls; plug-in hybrid starts close to $70,000.
Consensus: The 2021 Volvo XC90 offers a good blend of safety, driver-assist, and tech features, and plenty of luxury options in a 3-row, 7-passenger SUV, all starting under $50,000. The base turbo 4-cylinder is a bit weak, however, and the third row is best for smaller passengers.
GV80 vs. XC90: Style, Space, and Safety
Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis has so far offered a trio of luxury sport sedans, but the 2021 Genesis GV80 marks the company’s first foray into the crossover/SUV segment. Being the new kid on the block, Genesis knew it had to bring its “A” game, so the GV80 comes extremely well equipped in all trim levels, with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
Two engines are available: a standard 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for an impressive 300 horsepower, or a 375-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Both are mated to an 8-speed automatic with a drive mode selector. The 2.5-liter can be had in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), while the V6 model has AWD standard.
The trend seems to be toward large grilles these days, and the GV80 is no exception, but its looks are distinct and modern. Standard equipment is plentiful, including a 14.5-inch screen with both handwriting recognition and redundant controls, a 12-speaker premium audio system, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration.
Driver-assist and safety features are numerous as well, and there are also an included valet service and an optional self-parking feature. Make no mistake that the GV80 is designed primarily for five passengers. One trim offers a third row, but it’s extremely tight and provides virtually no cargo space behind it.
As with all Genesis products, the 2021 GV80 is backed by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Volvo has made its reputation with strong, well-built cars and wagons, and its SUVs have continued to carry that mantle with elegance and grace, tasteful design, and plenty of safety features. The 2021 Volvo XC90 is the company’s 3-row variant, offering seating for seven or, with optional captain’s chairs in the second row, six. As with the GV80, however, the third row is best for children or smaller passengers.
Power comes from a 4-cylinder engine, which is turbocharged or both turbocharged and supercharged. There is also a hybrid variant, the Recharge, which takes the turbo- and supercharged engine and adds an electric motor. Some may not appreciate the lack of a V8 or even a V6 in a luxury SUV. While the base T5 engine is a bit sluggish, the upgrade T6 offers plenty of grunt.
The interior is luxurious if a bit conservative, with lots of tech features and some driver-assist functions that make it partially autonomous thanks to Volvo’s excellent Pilot Assist feature. There is also a superb optional 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade. The base model is front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive optional. All others get all-wheel drive standard.
Base price; optional all-wheel drive; third row of seats.
2021 Genesis GV80 Advantages
Base power; warranty; rear-wheel drive.
2021 Volvo XC90 Advantages
Fuel economy; optional hybrid; excellent safety record.
Which One is Right for You?
Brash, a bit bold, and even offered in dark purple, the 2021 Genesis GV80 makes a statement and boasts athletic manners thanks to its rear-drive setup and a choice of powerful engines. It’s well equipped right out of the gate, with plenty of luxury options and a class-leading warranty.
The 2021 Volvo XC90 is an impressive 3-row European luxury SUV with a variety of powertrains including a 400-hp hybrid that returns 27 mpg combined.
Ready to buy a Genesis GV80 or Volvo XC90? Shop for one on sale now near you.
|2021 Genesis GV80||2021 Volvo XC90|
|Engine||2.5-liter turbo I4||2.0-liter turbo I4|
|Horsepower||300 hp @ 5,800 rpm||250 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque||311 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm||258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd automatic||8-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||23 mpg (21 city/25 hwy)||25 mpg (21 city/30 hwy)|
|Also Available||3.5-liter twin-turbo V6; AWD||2.0-liter turbo/supercharged I4; hybrid; AWD|
|Basic warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||10 years/100,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||n/a||5 stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||7||7|
|Wheelbase||116.3 inches||117.5 inches|
|Overall Length||194.7 inches||194.9 inches|
|Width||77.8 inches||84.3 inches|
|Height||67.5 inches||69.9 inches|
|Turning Diameter||39.3 feet||38.7 feet|
|Headroom, Front||40.2 inches||38.9 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.4 inches||38.5 inches|
|Legroom, Front||41.6 inches||40.9 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||38.7 inches||37.0 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||60.2 inches||57.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||58.2 inches||56.6 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||108.7 cubic feet||104.0 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||84.0 cubic feet||85.7 cubic feet|