U.S. gets first up-close look at Genesis GV80 crossover

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MIAMI — After rolling out three sedans and struggling to establish a U.S. dealer network, Genesis finally debuted its first crossover in the U.S., with high hopes for the midsize GV80 to conquest traditional luxury brands.

For the U.S. market, the GV80 has a choice of two engines, Genesis said Tuesday at its North American debut here. A 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the more economical option, while the 3.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine will offer better performance. In the future, Genesis is expected to offer a hybrid powertrain in the crossover.

Prices were not announced.

Genesis offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the compact G70 sedan and a turbocharged 3.3-liter six- cylinder engine in the G70, the midsize G80 and the flagship G90. Parent company Hyundai Motor Co. recently gave an early look at a 2.5-liter turbo motor that it’s putting in a performance N-Line version of the Sonata sedan later this year.

Otherwise, the details of the GV80 for the U.S. market are similar to the Korean-spec versions in terms of features. The crossover is built on a rear-drive platform with all-wheel-drive optional. A smallish third row is also optional.

Other features include an electronically controlled suspension with road preview from a front-mounted camera, active road-noise cancellation, available 22-inch wheels, a 14.5-inch infotainment screen, handwriting recognition on the infotainment controller and a driver’s seat with seven air cells to reduce fatigue.

Among the safety equipment is a second-generation highway driving-assist system that includes lane change via the turn signal and a driver-attention alert that detects unusual driving characteristics and provides warning messages, Genesis said.

The GV80 goes on sale in Korea this month and in the United States by summer.

Genesis also offered an early look at its upcoming Super Bowl ad with new “spokes-couple” John Legend and Chrissy Teigen during the GV80 event in Miami — the site of this year’s game — highlighting the brand’s new marketing theme of Young Luxury.

In the 60-second spot, Teigen and Legend attend a symbolic going away party for “old luxury” at an ornate mansion full of stuffy personality types, crashing the event with their casual attitude and witty digs at the more obnoxious guests. They then run off in the stylish GV80 crossover, with its minimalist interior and restrained exterior styling.

Genesis, which became an independent offshoot from Hyundai in 2016, is leveraging the new SUV, the Super Bowl and new brand ambassadors to raise its profile in the U.S. now that it has a more complete lineup. The Korean automaker plans a new, smaller crossover next year and an electric vehicle after that.

Legend, 41, is a singer and songwriter who was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in November. Teigen, 34, is a model, TV personality and cookbook author. They have two small children and live in Beverly Hills. The couple are active on social media and Genesis sees them as the embodiment of the casual elegance of Young Luxury.

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