Why the strangest Genesis yet is by far the most appealing
By Matt Bird / Saturday, 20 August 2022 / Loading comments
You wouldn’t envy any car company entering a new market right now. The high bar is Tesla’s all-conquering success, of course, only now feels a terrible time to be selling any kind of car – let alone an expensive electric one.
Still, the advantage Genesis does enjoy with the GV60 in the UK is a complete lack of baggage. It doesn’t have to replace a much-loved powertrain with batteries, or evoke a classic shape to draw on some illustrious heritage. The protracted soul-searching and hand-wringing that afflict so many car makers as they electrify just isn’t a problem for Genesis – it’s only existed since 2015. All it must make is the range of electric cars it thinks stand the best chance of selling. No danger of sullying the reputation of a brand that is less than a decade old, while retaining all the advantages of having Hyundai as a parent company.
All that’s all most clearly evidenced in the way the GV60 looks, because it’s really like nothing else at all. There are a few cues from other Genesis models, but this is a weaker familial link than, say, the Audi e-trons. No bad thing, as this is attention-grabbing, dramatic and interesting – look how short those overhangs are – in a way that none of the Genesis cars have been so far. Quite what to classify the GV60 as is a harder task, lacking the butchness of a true SUV or even the conventions that now dictate a coupe SUV. You might say it’s a similar sort of silhouette to the I-Pace – and the Genesis matches the Jaguar for width and is only a fraction taller – but being more than 150mm shorter makes it that much squatter. And harder to figure out. It’s safe to say this isn’t going to be to all tastes, which is a good thing – Genesis has wholeheartedly embraced the design freedom it’s been offered as an EV from a fairly new make, and that’s commendable.
Don’t forget, either, that the GV60 shares its E-GMP architecture with the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5; good cars both, and also very different to what’s being offered here. Which is more than can be said for the cookie cutter SUVs being spun of VW’s MEB electric toolkit. Some familiarity with the Hyundai and Kia means an interior that’s well ahead of anything from VW, Audi, or Skoda, with smart touchscreens, tactile buttons where you want them and the fun features – see the crystal ball that becomes the drive mode selector – so conspicuously lacking from more sombre offerings.
On the road, despite a maximum output of almost 500hp and the ability to reach 62mph in four seconds, the GV60 isn’t what you might call conventionally rewarding in a way that something like the I-Pace would be. There just isn’t the sensation or satisfaction from operating any of the light controls for that. But the Genesis does have other ways to entertain, and attempting an alternative route to driving fun doesn’t seem a bad idea given the mixed results so far for EVs attempting to emulate ICE engagement. Examples include the Boost button on the steering wheel that’s hilariously overwrought and super sharp, like driving a real-life Mario Kart with the full 490hp unleashed, the dash lit up red and a countdown like you’re part of a gameshow. There’s an array of sounds (and volumes) on offer as well, from ‘G-Engine’ to ‘Futuristic’ and even a custom setting; crank up the combustion impression and the GV60 buzzes along like an old Mazda rotary. The seat bear hugs you in sport mode, and the ‘I-pedal’ regenerative braking is initially so severe it feels like the GV60 might do a stoppie. Some of it is contrived, sure, but these features at least ensure that the Genesis is memorable.
There’s undoubtedly quality here, too. The one-pedal driving is unsettling to start with, though it doesn’t take long to get familiar with, after which you’ll hardly touch the brake at all. (Which might explain why that pedal is so lifeless at the top of its travel.) The regen is adjustable through four settings too, imitating the Honda e with a ‘paddleshift’ for the severity and again giving the driver something to think about, use and experience. Great paddles, too.
Furthermore, though the 21-inch wheels feel maybe an inch too big and a little too heavy, the GV60 – a little like the Ioniq 5, in fact – doesn’t feel aggressively set up. So while a lot of the two-tonne mass is low and well managed, with strong grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres, there is some pitch and lean so at least let you know the purchase is running out. Again, that seems preferable to those cars that are tacked down it’s like riding a monorail – but the Jaguar remains a more authentically rewarding car.
And what of the Drift Mode? Honestly, we couldn’t find it. Not in time for shooting the photos, at least. Though given the GV60’s behaviour in the rain with everything off, with quite a lot wheelspin and flaring up of unloaded wheel, it doesn’t feel like a natural skidder. So don’t say you weren’t warned.
Despite not being the last word in EV dynamics or offering the most affordable battery-powered pseudo SUV package out there – a dual-motor car like this is £65k before options – the Genesis GV60 is an easy car to get along with. In not trying to be a record breaker or an electrified overhaul of an automotive hero, it has a personality all its own in what’s already becoming a very crowded marketplace. Back that up with electric architecture ahead of the rest (this can charge at 350kW, an Enyaq vRS is 135kW) and it’s easy to build a case for the curio crossover. The badge and the look mean the GV60 won’t find mass appeal, and those more affordable models lower down the range probably make more sense, but those courageous enough to take the plunge should have their faith at least partially rewarded. It’s still not entirely clear what kind of car the GV60 is, but it’s certainly a capable and – perhaps more importantly than anything else – likeable one. That ought to count for a lot.
SPECIFICATION | GENESIS GV60 AWD SPORT PLUS
Engine: Dual 160kW motors, 77.4kWh battery
Price: £65,405 (price as standard; price as tested £75,315, comprised of Innovation Pack for £2,070, Comfort Seat Pack for £3,390, Outdoor Pack for £880, Bang& Olufsen sound system for £990, Panorama Vision roof for £1,120, Electrochromic outside rear view mirror with auto dimming for £80, Matterhorn white matt paint for £1,100 and Lime Brake calipers for £280.)
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