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2021 Genesis GV80. Photo by Genesis

Hyundai's emerging luxury division, Genesis, is out with its first SUV, the GV80, and like the brand's first three sedans, it's a worthy contender against better-known Japanese and European rivals — and a relative bargain, too.

The big picture: Even before the SUV's arrival, the 4-year-old Genesis brand was punching above its weight, pushing brands like Lexus out of the way to snag top industry ratings on quality, dependability and safety.

As a midsized luxury SUV, the GV80 enters a fiercely competitive segment dominated by models like the BMW X-5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

  • It's more affordable, though, with prices ranging from $49,925 to $71,795.
  • The uncluttered interior is plush and comfortable, but it's offset by some unnecessary bling like the shiny metal click-wheel controller on the center console.
  • And the front end's huge mesh grille "looks like a chain-link fence separating you from a growling Rottweiler," a friend said.

The GV80 has all of the driver-assistance systems you'd expect in a luxury SUV, including lane-changing help and a driver monitoring system that alerts tired or distracted drivers to pay attention.

  • A smart cruise control system can even use machine learning to mimic the operator's driving style while in use.

Other cool innovations include an active noise cancellation system, which dramatically reduces road noise, and an electronically controlled suspension which sees bumps ahead and adjusts the ride accordingly.

The bottom line: Genesis should be on every luxury car buyer's shopping list.

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