A winged logo can be confusing. Someone takes the Genesis GV80 for a Bentley, as the security of our business center. Others generally see “the same Aston Martin Jeep”. We also barely resisted the temptation to arrange an ambitious Genesis to get acquainted with German premium crossovers without foreplay. But for the first time he was paired with a Volkswagen Touareg. And they did not lose.
Genesis is good-looking, especially on 22-inch wheels, and the new corporate identity is recognizable and interesting. Large doors completely cover the thresholds, but they close with a rustic slap and not always the first time. The lack of closers for almost 6.5 million rubles is surprising. In the Tuareg they are, and the weighty doors slam shut with a thoroughbred sound and also keep the thresholds clean.
The interior trim in the GV80 corresponds to the price of the car and the brand’s claims. In addition to the seats, the front and door panels are trimmed with leather, and the polished wood is opposed to the cold aluminum of the Volkswagen. You will not find unassuming plastic even in the most secluded places, although the main puncture is always in front of your eyes. The steering wheel hub plate made of cheap shiny plastic spoils the impression of a beautiful high-quality interior. The curved cut of the two-tone seam on the rim is not so noticeable.
The soft driver’s seat is complemented by a pillow extender and is equipped with a massager that kneads either the whole body or separately the back with a fifth point. But the adjustable side rollers are spaced wide, and the back with an arched profile pushes out. The front passenger makes do with a minimum of adjustments at all, of the amenities – only three-mode heating and ventilation. Strange discrimination for the premium segment.
The attempt to be original in the management of the multimedia system was not very successful. The metallized rotary ring is lightweight, the fixation is indistinct, as is the recoil on the sensor circle located in the center. Even such an ordinary thing as entering an address in navigation turns into torture. The position of the widescreen touchscreen seems to be someone’s evil joke: if you don’t completely tear yourself away from the back, you won’t reach it. But the interface is designed with taste, everything works quickly, easily connecting with smartphones.
Volkswagen is complemented by an external R-Line sports package, but nothing is particularly memorable from the outside. The salon is more interesting. The driver, sitting in front of two large displays, feels like the captain of an aircraft. And what optional multi-contour chairs are here! The profile is verified, the density of the stiffer stuffing is optimal, and the electric drive allows you to adjust the developed side rollers on the back and the lengthening pillow. Plus, the landing is lower, the steering wheel adjustment range on departure is larger, and there are eight massage programs for both riders.
The rear seats of Genesis are almost the best in the class. The doors swing open to a large angle and open wide access to the sofa, which, in addition to heating with ventilation, is equipped with unique electrical adjustments for the segment. At the touch of a button, the seats turn into chaise lounges, which, combined with soft padding, perfectly positioned headrests and window blinds, gives a relaxing effect.
It’s a sin to complain about the lack of free space. Depending on the position of the sofa between the head and the ceiling, even with my 181 cm, there are from seven to 14 cm, and up to eight centimeters in front of the knees. A person of average height (in Nastya in the photo 174 cm) is even more at ease. Wide central armrest – with extendable cup holders.
The second row of the Tuareg offers more freedom to the feet and knees (90 mm), the molding of the sofa is more loyal to the third passenger, but otherwise inferior. Volkswagen has smaller rear door openings, the seat is stiffer, the landing is closer to the vertical. The range of deflection of the backrest is minimal, so that about six centimeters above the crown all the time. The width and comfort of the armrest are no worse than in Genesis, but the cup holders are not covered with anything. The floor tunnel is wide and very high.
That diesel crossovers are clearly audible from the outside. But in the Genesis cabin, it is imperceptible how the engine flails with cylinders lined up in a row, there are no vibrations on the controls. If you ignore the tachometer, you will not guess that you are dealing with a turbodiesel. Although the traction, of course, is diesel. The GV80 is quickly removed from its place, and when you touch the accelerator in the zone of maximum 588 Nm – with its nose up, it glides with a cool rumble. A two-ton truck with one person in the cabin and half a tank gains 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. On highways, the acceleration rate drops noticeably, but there are no difficulties with overtaking.
At first, the Touareg does not impress with a heavy start due to the damped gas pedal. The hitch is more noticeable when accelerating to the floor. But a second later, a kick of such force follows in the back, as if you are not a car under you, but an angry elephant. The maximum torque is not much higher, 600 N * m, nevertheless, even taking into account the long pause at the beginning of acceleration, Volkswagen is gaining the first hundred, for 7.3 s. The indefatigability of the well-deserved turbodiesel is impressive on the highway. It does not matter at what speed the spurt starts — there is enough passion at both 120 and 160 km/h.
Eight-speed “automatic” motors do not interfere. They switch quickly, react to a kickdown with a short delay and descend five gears at once. It is also possible to spur the power units with a sports mode, in which our crossovers become more sensitive to throttling. And the Tuareg has a separate S mode also provided for the box: the electronics cuts off the top gear and keeps the engine revs high for a long time.
Driving enthusiasm finds support only in one of the crossovers. And this is not the GV80, which we had some hopes for. Its imposing suspension allows for large rolls and rocking of the body. The chassis seems to live its own life. At the same time, the most important communication channel between the car and the driver – the steering wheel – is clogged with artificial effort, as is customary with Korean cars.
And not to say that controllability was sacrificed for the sake of comfort. Genesis is soft only on the road with rare small bumps, but when holes and cracks of at least medium size go one after another, the suspension gives up. The thermal seams protruding from the asphalt respond with sharp blows with loss of directional stability even on a straight line… Sound insulation? There are nuances: aerodynamic noises do not break through the double side windows and developed seals, but on the highway the background from the tires becomes intrusive.
In the Tuareg, the engine is heard more clearly, but in general, the German all-wheel drive is perceived to be quieter inside, although the wheel width here is 285 mm versus 265 for the GV80. Even with the already irrelevant R Line sports package for the Russian market, which greatly harms the smoothness of the ride, Volkswagen is more comfortable than Genesis. On any pothole, it creeps softer, and when the road turns into a leaky maasdam, it retains Teutonic composure, not allowing itself to be lax. Still, the body would not crunch when driving irregularities at low speeds, it would be quite good.
On winding sections, the heavy Touareg carries away. Rides responsibly and smoothly, without drawing attention to the operation of the fully-controlled chassis. The poor steering wheel from the budget Polo, although often filled with synthetic effort, but you can always tell from it whether the crossover is holding on to the trajectory or has already slipped. The demolition phase is short, and after it the car slides with four wheels. This process can be shortened as much as possible in time — you cover the throttle, and the car goes inside the turn.
Changing the modes of the air suspension and electronically controlled shock absorbers is justified: in “Comfort” the crossover really tries to be smooth, and in “Sport” it is going the way you expect from a car saturated with mechatronics. Genesis is not so variable, and riding programs exist more for show. Sport does not get rid of the ship’s rocking of the body, but clamps the adaptive racks to obvious discomfort. It is better to configure everything for yourself separately, which both machines allow you to do.
The damp chassis and ergonomic oddities do not allow me to put the GV80 on a par with other premium segment players. Even Touareg Genesis is too tough. But that’s my opinion, and read the reviews of the owners on the Drive2. There is no question where to include Genesis. BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac and Lexus are registered as competitors, and the asset of the “eighties” is a stylish appearance, expensive interior and rich equipment. The level of driving comfort even on 22-inch wheels is considered high. And all this is implicated in the blind belief in higher reliability than the “Germans”.
It makes no sense to convince someone of the choice made if it brings joy. Genesis can be bought for just the exterior or the rear seats, and the powertrain is good. But I would have settled on the Tuareg myself. Let it be a little boring on the outside, it is more simply finished and not so courteous with the passengers of the second row, but it is wealthier and more honest as a car. The Germans have been poring over the landing at the wheel for years, the balance of a more technologically advanced chassis and the settings of safety assistants, and the power unit, although not young, is ready to surprise with agility with better economy. Engineers of the European school also work for the Genesis brand, but for some reason their influence in the behavior of the GV80 is barely felt.
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