After its introduction for the 2021 model year, there’s been no shortage of good press for the Genesis GV80. Fresh off a win as the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Best Large Premium Utility Vehicle for 2022, we don’t need to sing too many more praises about it. This week’s 2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T Prestige AWD in the Daddy’s Digest garage takes a bit of a deep dive in a different direction – looking at one of the better safety features to come out within the last few years – the Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) system. The ROA system itself is a winner of AJAC’s Best Safety Innovation Award for 2022, which is why I’ll be waxing poetic about this a bit today – I also happen to be one of the jurors who picked the ROA system to win, so I greatly believe in its importance.
Pediatric Vehicular Heat Stroke
We all hear about these incidents on the news. A parent or caregiver travels to their destination – whether at work or at home or somewhere else – and a child is forgotten in their child seat for whatever reason. It’s easy to deride these adults for not fulfilling their basic duties, but the reality is that it doesn’t take much at all for these momentary lapses in judgement to occur. And sadly, sometimes, that comes with fatal consequences – in hot summer temperatures, the interior of a car is a greenhouse and can get to lethal temperatures after just ten minutes parked in the sun.
I know that there have been days where I haven’t been 100% mentally when parenting, and any dad who tells you that this doesn’t happen, is lying. It could be simple things like stressful life events unrelated to the child, a sick child who kept a parent up the night before, or breaks in routine, such as one day when somebody else drops the child off at daycare. You think it’ll never happen to you, but it could happen more easily than you might think.
In the United States, according to noheatstroke.org, 916 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke between 1998 and July 1st, 2022 (Source: Jan Null, CCM, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University). Of those, more than half were forgotten by their caregiver, and only about twenty percent were knowingly left by a caregiver. Additionally, more than half were under two years of age. As a parent of a child under two myself, this is a pretty difficult statistic to write about, and I did get a bit upset just thinking about it.
2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T: Rear Occupant Alert
The ROA system is standard equipment across all trim levels on 2022 Genesis GV80 in Canada. While many cars nowadays have a warning chime for the driver when the vehicle is turned off, Genesis takes it a step further by using an ultrasonic radar sensor to detect children and pets moving in the rear seats after the doors are locked. The system is also smart enough to know whether or not a rear door has been opened prior to each trip – solo journeys won’t run the risk of triggering any false alarms.
The system is powerful enough to detect the breathing motions of a sleeping child and will sound the horn and flash the lights when triggered. For customers who subscribe to Genesis Connected Services (telematics), a text message and app alert will be pushed to registered smartphones.
Of course, this system is not 100% foolproof, and there are some limitations. Knowing that only just over half of incidents in the US were caregivers who accidentally left children behind in a hot car, there are still a number of kids that this system may not necessarily help. A child who gains access to a car accidentally left unlocked may not trigger the system, since it’s traditionally armed at the end of a trip and when the doors are locked.
2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T: The Other Details
Starting at a base price of $71,500 Canadian for a four-cylinder Advanced 2.5T model, the Prestige 3.5T AWD tested here tops the range at $88,500 with three rows of seating. All-wheel drive is standard on all models in Canada, and features include a limited-slip rear differential, Nappa leather seating with quilting, active noise cancellation, ventilated front and second-row seats, soft close doors, and a panoramic sunroof. There’s more than enough second-row leg room for rear-facing child seats, which won’t eat into front-row legroom due to their bulkiness.
The GV80 offers a driving experience that is extremely competitive with its European rivals (BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Mercedes-Benz GLE) for considerably less money – a similarly equipped X5 will likely run you into the six figures. The GV80 wins points for its interior design and comfort, as well as its 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 that has plenty of get-up-and-go. It does lose points for fuel economy, however – expect it to be closer to the bottom of the class in this regard.
The Rear Occupant Alert system is exclusive to Genesis (and its Hyundai and Kia siblings) at the moment, but hopefully will be adapted by other automakers in the future. Future tragedies can be avoided with this system in place, and everybody should know and recognize that it isn’t fair to stigmatize families who have lost a child who was left behind in a hot car. In today’s day and age, we’ve learnt to destigmatize things such as engaged fatherhood and mental health, and Pediatric Vehicular Heat Stroke should be no different. Instead, we should be working to understand why it happens, and implementing safeguards to prevent future incidences.
You can read all over the internet about how the 2022 Genesis GV80 3.5T is one of the best options in the premium midsize luxury sport utility vehicle segment, so we didn’t need to go into too much detail on that here today. Like the smaller GV70 SUV, and G70/G80 sedans in the lineup, they’re universally loved as great alternatives to the Japanese and Europeans. With future electrified models coming to the Genesis lineup, concerns about fuel economy with the 3.5T V6 powertrain will be addressed, and you can expect the Korean marque to continue to be extremely competitive with the best of them.