New Model News

Genesis introduces its first SUV, the three-row 2021 Genesis GV80

Genesis has debuted its new SUV. Another is soon on the way.

Photo courtesy of Genesis

An SUV is finally joining the Genesis lineup. This week the Korean automaker unveiled the GV80, its flagship model, showing that the design, engineering, and value proposition of Genesis sedans can carry over into a SUV.

Designed in collaboration between studios in South Korea, the United States, and Germany, the 2021 GV80 features many similar design elements to the recently redesigned 2020 Genesis G90. The Crest Grille sits on the face of the SUV while lines run from the grille and headlights back onto the body of the model.

2021 Genesis GV80The GV80 has the Genesis Crest Grille at its front.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The GV80 has a commanding stance and looks like a luxury model even at first glance. The Quad Lamp headlights are a signature of the model, the same way they are the G90. The two models also share a G-Matrix pattern in light fixtures throughout the interior, which are inspired by orchids. The GV80 also has the pattern on its 22-inch wheels.

Genesis vehicles are known for being spacious and the GV80 appears to be no exception. The automaker says that the GV80, "focuses on 'the beauty of white space,' characteristic of the elegant South Korean architectural philosophy. The concept of 'luxury in space' defines the open feeling of the cabin of GV80, with the G-Matrix pattern as a motif."

The dashboard of the GV80 is centered by a 14.5-inch infotainment screen. Simplicity has reigned supreme in the cabin design with a special focus on keeping the number of buttons and switches to a minimum.


2021 Genesis GV80The GV80 has many of the design characteristics of the Genesis G90.Photo courtesy of Genesis

At the center of the console is a dial-style shifter and a controller that features handwriting recognition, a technology used in Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles, among others.

2021 Genesis GV80The interior of the GV80 is suitably plush.Photo courtesy of Genesis

Genesis has made augmented reality navigation which is described by Genesis as utilizing, "virtual driving guidelines over actual driving images to help drivers recognize roads. Video taken by the front-mounted camera will be displayed on the infotainment screen, and the optimal driving path will be displayed in a virtual graphic so that the driver can drive along the route easily and accurately."

The automaker is set on making the GV80 an "oasis." That includes covering the cabin with soft-touch materials from quilted knee pads to the center and installing the first application of the company's Road Active Noise Cancellation, which takes traditional noise cancellation technology a big step forward. The driver's seat has seven air cells to help drivers achieve maximum comfort. Heated and ventilated seats are available in the first two rows.

The GV80 comes standard with rear-wheel drive and has available all-wheel drive. GV80 AWD models will come standard with an electronically controlled limited slip differential at the rear.

2021 Genesis GV80Genesis has specifically engineered the cabin of the model to be spacious.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The SUV's suspension is electronically controlled and features road preview, which recognizes the road ahead and optimizes the suspension for optimal comfort, similar to what the Lincoln Aviator's system does.

Genesis has plans to sell the GV80 with the buyer's choice between two turbocharged engines in the U.S.

Electronically controlled suspension with road preview, another Genesis first, helps provide passengers with optimal ride comfort by recognizing information on the road ahead in advance via the front camera.

2021 Genesis GV80Each new GV80 comes with a long list of safety technology.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The new SUV features a number of new technologies for the Genesis brand including:

  • Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning: A world first, SCC-ML advances the science and engineering behind smart cruise control. It is an artificial intelligence-based intelligent navigation technology that helps enable GV80 to independently learn the driving characteristics of its drivers and implement autonomous driving similar to that of human drivers.
  • Highway Driving Assist II: This system helps assist the driver in a wider variety of situations than before, including lane change when the turn signal is used, and helping to merge in congested situations.
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist: This system is able to help automatically bring GV80 to a stop in certain situations where there is a risk of collision with an approaching vehicle on the left or right side of the intersection. GV80 is also able to help detect potential collision risks, if a pedestrian is in close proximity to the vehicle while in motion.
  • Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist: BCA is essentially a Blind Spot Monitor with active capabilities. BCA helps reduce the chance of potential impact with a moving vehicle, upon departing a parallel parking spot as one example.
  • Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist: This system uses rear side radar to help detect and prevent impact with obstacles.
  • Driver Attention Alert Warning: This system monitors the driver's attention when driving, by analyzing driving patterns and behaviors, including intermittent steering and unnatural deceleration, through vehicle signals, such as steering angle and steering torque and vehicle position in traffic lane. A forward-looking camera monitors the driver and will generate pop-up messages and warning tones when fatigue or forward-looking neglect is detected.

The 2020 Genesis GV80 will go on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the model's on-sale date.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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