First Drive: Genesis GV60 2022 Review
Genesis? What’s that? It’s been a year since the upmarket Korean brand launched in Europe and that is still by far the most likely response you’ll get when you tell someone you’re driving a Genesis. It’s not surprising. In the UK it has a very small footprint so far and launching with a pair of saloons and SUVs exclusively powered by internal combustion engines on a continent getting ready to ban them, well, it’s a bit odd.
But, perhaps this is where that changes. What other companies make good, medium sized executive EVs? The GV60 might be able to find a niche all of its own. Sure, Mercedes makes the EQA, but to be honest we remained unconvinced by Mercedes EVs. So maybe we should all just pretend the GV60 is Genesis ground zero?
- Ride extremely comfortable
- Full of tech
- Acceleration addictive
We don't like
- Slightly numb steering
- Gawky looks
It’s a bit awkward to be honest. The Genesis GV60 is based on the so-far top-notch E-GMP platform from the Hyundai group that has already spawned the excellent Hyundai Ioniq5 and the magnificent Kia EV6. So it’s got some pretty good genes. Genesis’ designs to now have also been pretty much on point (we salivate over the G70 Shooting Brake). But the GV60? It’s just not quite there.
It takes roughly the same footprint as the other two cars, but manages to make itself look a bit tall and squished. The front, grafting the Genesis face onto a smaller car, looks too upright, like it’s constantly trying to recoil from what’s in front. Behind, there’s some nice design points – like the lightening design feature on the c-pillar (Electric innit) – and the rear would look really good if it weren’t for a really hollow plastic rear spoiler that sort of cuts it all up. Not for me Clive.
Performance and Handling
There’s only one battery option with the GV60, a 77.4kWh pack mounted in the floor. That is connected to a 229PS (168kW), 350Nm (258lb ft) rear-axle motor the basic Premium GV60. Sport AWD models get a 218PS (160kW) rear motor and an extra 100PS (74kW) front for a total of 318PS (234kW) and 605Nm (446lb ft). The top spec Sport Plus AWD GV60 gets two of the 218PS motors which combines to give 435PS (320kW) and a maximum 700Nm (516lb ft) in boost mode. Which, let’s be honest, is more than meaty enough.
Range, as always, changes depending on the model. A Premium will hit 321 miles on a full charge while the Sport Plus AWD brings that down to 292. The GV60 has 800v technology, so if you can find a 350kW charger it can go from 10 to 80 per cent charge in just 18 minutes – more than enough time for a trip to the services and a Costa.
Speed is delivered with alacrity in all three versions, we drove the Premium and Sport Plus models and found the former to actually deliver more than enough for a spirited drive (the Premium model will hit 62mph in 7.7 seconds and the Sport Plus in four flat). Genesis has fitted the GV60 with a suspension system that scans the road and sets the damping up dependent on what’s coming. This makes motorway cruising as smooth as a chilled beer on a hot day. The same is true round town, where it spots ruts and manholes and adjusts as such. Perhaps the downside is that, if you’re looking for performance, it can leave everything feeling a little anemic. As the suspension changes the wheel rarely weights up, and where the Kia EV6 has been blessed with a more rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, the AWD on the GV60 feels a bit more set for the middle – understeer will come, oversteer unlikely.
This is where the cheaper Premium model perhaps excels over its more expensive sibling. The lack of front motor feels a little nicer to the right foot, the front tyres are a teeny bit less stressed by loads through them and the slightly lower weight (1,975kg rather than 2,145) is noticeable. The fact that the Premium’s rear motor is slightly more powerful only helps it feel a little more alive.
Finally, we need to talk gimmicks, because we wouldn’t be in an EV if there weren’t some. First up there’s drift mode (only on the Sport Plus), which if you have it sends more power to the back to allow you to execute long drifts at relatively slow speeds. Did we had a chance to try it on the roads around Frankfurt? No. Then there’s BOOST mode. In a move similar to Porsche’s Sport Response button, this bumps power up for a short period – ten seconds of an extra 20kW – for overtaking and the like. You may well use the latter; we’d almost put money on you never touching the former more than once.
“White space” is the marketing nonsense that Genesis uses to talk of its interior, ironic given every press car was swathed in dark material. What it means is that there is a lot of unused space in the GV60. Like the Kia there is a flat floor, with the centre console entirely “floating” above it. This gives a more airy feeling to the cabin. That extremely upright windscreen helps too, making the GV60 feel less claustrophobic than such a dark interior should.
What Genesis has done well is manage to differentiate from the Kia and Hyundai. There’s a lot of shared parts – that centre console, the giant pair of 12.3-inch screens – but it’s all been clothed suitably differently to feel a bit more special inside the GV60. And then there’s the Crystal Sphere. Which isn’t a forgettable Indiana Jones film, it’s actually an entirely transparent hemisphere in the centre console. When the GV60 is off it helps project the cabin’s ambient lighting, when you turn on it rotates to reveal the rotary gear selector. Is it totally pointless? Yes, does it look slightly cool? Yeah go on.
Technology and Features
The GV60 comes at a premium over its Kia and Hyundai siblings, so thankfully it has had a tech bucket thrown over it to sprinkle value around. A couple of the headlines are a fingerprint authentication system and augmented reality sat-nav. The fingerprint authentication system will store all your personal settings – seat, wheel, infotainment – and you can have the car set to your standard with a touch of your finger, useful in a multi-driver car. Genesis’ version of augmented sat-nav sits in the instrument binnacle and shows the road ahead overlaid with which lane you should be in and other sat-nav instructions. It’s not the easiest place to see it, but as a complement to the optional HUD it works quite well.
Standard equipment on the base £47,000 Premium GV60 includes smart cruise control, lane keep assist, collision avoidance, LED headlamps, reversing guidance lights, lumbar support, electric adjusting seats, the 12.3-inch touchscreens, Bluetooth with voice recognition, parking sensors, rear view camera, rain sensing windscreen wipers, automatic lights, USB-C charging points, and a powered boot lid. Sport Plus extras include a limited slip diff, 21-inch wheels and Nappa leather for £65,405.
There’s no doubt that the GV60 is a good car, probably the best that Genesis has made to date. And it’s better than some EV offerings from the likes of Audi and Mercedes, legacy brands against which Genesis must no doubt be hoping to pitch itself. Filled with tech and with no poor materials the interior makes Mercedes EQ cars look a little low rent, and the drive is good.
The problem is that the Kia EV6 also does that, and does that for around £7,000 less. So you’re immediately pressed with the question of whether the kit that’s been lavished on the Genesis, and the move away from a Kia badge, is enough to push you into the newcomer. I would argue that it’s not, but if you like the looks and want to drive something different it may well sway you. If you it does you’ll get what is one of the better EVs available on the market and a lovely interior.
|Powertrain||Single or dual motor, 77.4 kWh battery|
|Power||229PS (168kW) Premium, 490PS (320kW) Sport Plus AWD|
|Torque||350Nm (258lb ft) Premium, 700PS (516lb ft) Sport Plus AWD|
Single-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive
|Kerb weight||1,975kg (Premium), 2,145kg (Sport Plus AWD)|
|0-62mph||7.7 seconds (Premium), 4.0 seconds (Sport Plus AWD)|
|Top speed||115mph (Premium) 146mph (Sport Plus AWD)|
|Range, efficiency||312miles, 4.0miles/kWh (Premium) 290miles, 3.74miles/kWh (Sport Plus AWD)|
|Charging||18minutes 10-80 per cent on 350kW charger, 73min 0-80 per cent on 50kW charger|
|Price||£47,000 (Premium), £65,405 (Sport Plus AWD)|
Reviewed by Ben Miles