Gadget

As smooth as it looks

(Pocket-lint) – Genesis is spreading its wings; the luxury arm of Hyundai introduced itself to Europe in 2021, having already launched in the US in 2016. But the launch of the GV60 could really cement the brand in people’s minds.

If you follow cars, you’ll know that Hyundai introduced its first car on a dedicated electric platform in 2021 – the Ioniq 5. This was followed by the Kia EV6 on the same platform – and now we have the Genesis GV60.

If you’ve read any reviews – or even driven – either of those other models, then you know that the E-GMP platform is delivering great things. Genesis adds it own twist to the story.

Our quick take

Having driven cars on the same platform as the Genesis GV60, its performance is no surprise: we expected it to be great and it really is a great car to drive. There’s plenty of range, loads of technology and just about enough to make this car unique. 

For Genesis and its mission to launch into Europe, this could be its most important model, because it lands in the highly desirable SUV segment, with plenty of quality, performance and range. Its natural rivals might be cars like the BMW iX3 or the Audi Q4 e-tron, but there’s strong competition from those models from sister brands, which are cheaper, offering much the same experience.

So what the Genesis GV60 really represents is a pure electric car with performance to match from a brand that’s a little less common. The technology is sure to appeal, as is the drive – but there’s no lack of competition. 

Genesis GV60 review: As smooth as it looks

Genesis GV60

4.5 stars – Pocket-lint recommended

For

  • Sits on a dedicated EV platfrom
  • Futuristic touches
  • Great range and technology
Against

  • Positioning of front USB sockets is a little impractical
  • Steering wheel a bit fussy
  • Hyundai and Kia offer much the same

Design

There’s an immediate familial feeling to the Genesis GV60. It’s about the same size as the Ioniq 5 and the EV6, sitting firmly in that crossover or small SUV space. But Genesis, like Hyundai and Kia, isn’t throwing this car out with rugged looks; it has the road presence of an SUV without pretending that it’s going to be eating green lanes at the weekend.

That’s likely to appeal to customers as a best of both worlds, far enough removed from a hatchback-style compact, large enough to give you the interior comfort most seek from an SUV.

Much of this keen positioning comes down to the platform, E-GMP. It’s designed from the ground up as an electric car and in doing so, it avoids some of the compromises made in vehicles which share a platform with a combustion model.

One thing that sets this model apart from combustion Genesis models that have come before is the lack of that large grille on the front. We’ve always felt this was appeal to the American market – there’s a sort of big US car feel to that grille, which is gone from the GV60 and that’s a good thing in our books.

From the exterior you have a futuristic-looking car, the segmented lights looking like something from a sci-fi movie, while the (optional) cameras for mirrors are a sleek addition, paired with internal displays. That’s something that comes with the Sport Plus, while the Premium version has normal mirrors. 

While video mirrors bring a futuristic leaning, we’re actually not huge fans. Something about having that permanent display on the interior of the door feels a little less natural than a traditional mirror. Yes, we’re sure you get used to the change in configuration, but we’re not sure it’s enough to make you choose one car over the other.

Naturally, there are flush door handles too, popping out when you unlock the car.

The rear of the car has a fast back, dropping off for more a more coupé-like aesthetic and the designers have had a little fun here with the C pillar design highlighted in chrome. That boot comes in at 432-litres, while there’s also a 53-litre frunk under the clamshell bonnet on the rear-wheel drive model (the Premium), reducing to 20-litres on the all-wheel drive (the Sport and Sport Plus).

It looks a little sportier than the Hyundai Ioniq 5, closer perhaps to Kia’s EV6, but it certainly is a good-looking car. We’ve driven two models, the grey colour here is the Premium, while the lime colour is the Sport Plus.

An interior you’ll want to be in

Coming to this third iteration of cars on E-GMP, we know what to expect from the interior and as we mentioned, it’s the space for passengers that’s really appreciated. Those in the rear seats get good knee space, more generous than other vehicles with these sorts of exterior dimensions.

Again there’s a modern approach to most areas of the interior of the Genesis GV60, a use of quality materials and that centre console between the driver and passengers seats that appears to float. That creates space around your feet that’s rare in cars, although it’s not hugely useful – you can’t put anything there, because you can’t take the risk of that sliding under the driver’s feet.

It also throws up one quirk of design, which is that the front USB connections (both USB-C) are then effectively down by your feet, so you might end up with a phone down in the cubbyhole at floor level. We commented on this in the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and we still think it’s a strange design decision, when the armrest area is a more logical place to connect a phone. There is, however, a neat Qi charger in that armrest, allowing you to slip in your phone out of the way, rather than having a flat plate that the phone has to sit on.

Genesis has played with the design in this centre console, giving us the Crystal Sphere. It’s actually the underside of the transmission controller, rotating when you start the car so you can put it in “gear” by rotating it. It’s a little detail, but it’s a bit different, a nice touch to give a premium look, but as soon as you push the start button, it rotates and vanishes.

Controls are divided between the centre console – which houses most of the buttons – while the dash only really offers the curving displays and the climate control unit, pretty similar to the Hyundai. 

The steering wheel is big and round and that might sound like a stupid thing to say, but first impressions are that the steering wheel perhaps isn’t as futuristic as the rest of the car. There’s a lot of buttons on it, including the drive mode and a boost button (on the Sport Plus), a touch navigator (which looks like something from an old BlackBerry). While everything is easy enough to use, it feels like it’s been lifted from a car that’s half a decade older.

The drive mode button lets you cycle through the modes – eco, comfort, sport – while the boost button that you get on the Sport Plus is a bit like overdrive. Tap the boost button and you’ll find the throttle is suddenly a lot more responsive. We’re not sure we’d actually use it in normal driving, but if you wanted to quickly overtake when rolling along in eco mode, it might do the trick.

As with other cars from this family, Genesis doesn’t throw out a confusing range of options, it basically offers trim levels that step up, adding more features as you go and pairing this with powertrain options. The great thing here is that it starts with a great level of spec and it’s really easy to see what you’re getting for your money. For the GV60 the important thing to note is that the Premium is rear-wheel drive single motor, while the Sport and Sport Plus is all-wheel drive, dual motor.

Power, range, battery and drive

There are three versions of the powertrain, named Premium, Sport and Sport Plus – although you might not have the option of each in your region. Here’s how they breakdown:

  • Premium: 77.4kWh, 168kW, RWD
  • Sport: 77.4kWh, 160kW+74kW, AWD
  • Sport Plus: 77.4kWh, 160kW+160kW (plus boost mode), AWD

So there’s one battery capacity and that’s the 77.4kWh (gross), which is the same as the larger battery in the Hyundai and Kia, although Hyundai also offers a smaller 58kWh battery too, so can swoop in with a much more lower price as a result.

As you’ll have spotted from the powertrain options above, the entry point will be the rear-wheel drive 168kW version, before stepping up to the dual motor options driving the front wheels too. The top Sport Plus models not only has the most powerful motors, but offers a 20kW boost for 10 seconds when you hit that button. You can expect a 0-62 mph time of around 4 seconds on the top model, and that’s not the only thing that’s fast about this car. It also supports up to 350kW charging, so it’s fully prepared for the most powerful chargers on the roads.

That’ll take you from 10-80 per cent in 18 minutes – barely time to queue for your coffee. Charging at home is more like 7 hours 20 minutes to get it to 100 per cent. But certainly, the Genesis GV60 is well prepared for charging into the future. There’s also the option for vehicle to grid – i.e., the car can charge other things, or indeed, power stuff. Power your camping fridge from your car? It’s possible.

As for the range, Genesis cites 321 miles for the Premium, 292 miles for the Sport and 290 miles for the Sport Plus. Naturally, the real-world range will depend on how you drive the car and the conditions you’re driving in. Our driving resulted in an average of 4.4 miles per kWh, which would equate to about 340 miles. This was careful driving in optimal conditions, including plenty of regeneration.

Of course, things like motorway driving will cut that down – or driving it with a heavier foot, and the long-term average for the car was 2.9 miles per kWh which is more like 225 miles of range, likely thanks to journalists testing accelleration and the like. You can expect somewhere between these two figures.

Thanks to those paddles on the steering column, you can easily and directly control the regeneration level independently of the mode the car is in. That means you can flick it to your preference, for example off when on the motorway (when you probably don’t want deceleration when you left off) through to the top level which is more like one-pedal driving, which is great for urban areas, meaning you rarely need to touch the brake pedal.

The dirving modes do make a difference in how the car responds and a nice touch is that when you switch to Sport mode, not only does the car’s response change, but the seats grip you a little tighter to stop you rolling out when taking faster corners – it’s very slick.

The result is a really smooth and comfortable drive. The Genesis isn’t too harsh on rougher roads, while it also corners comfortably enough at speed thanks to the low centre of gravity provided by that battery in the floor of the cabin. It’s just a great car to drive, with great visibility and great tech to support that.

The technology

There’s loads of technology crammed into the Genesis GV60. From driving aids to entertainment, control is centred around that curved display. It’s divided into the driver display and the 12.3-inch central display, which is where most of the interaction via touch takes place – although as we alluded to earlier, there’s also a controller on the steering wheel to allow finer controls without taking your hands off the wheel.

There driver display allows you to leaf through a range of screens to get the information you want, including mapping, but the highlight is definitely the side view camera that activates when you flip on the indicator. This acts like a blind spot camera, so if there’s something next to your car, you’ll spot it on the display. It’s also really useful when reversing around a corner or parking. 

The user interface of the Genesis GV60 feels modern enough, allowing you to swipe through major sections and tapping around to access everything. The navigation seems pretty good, although it can get a little confused with voice instructions on busier junctions with lots of roads. There’s also an AR element, using a camera to give you a live video feed of the road ahead and indicating where you’re supposed to be going. It looks great, but the fact you have to look down into the car to see it rather spoils it – and it would be better implemented as an AR view in a heads-up display on the windscreen.

Still, if you’re driving with a passenger, they’ll have something a lot more entertaining and useful to look at. 

The Genesis GV60 also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so if you want to use your smartphone to power those systems you just have to connect it up. There’s also a great 17-sepaker sound system in the car, powered by Bang & Olufsen, if you want a little more punch from the audio.

Aside from entertainment, there’s technology to keep you on the road and help drive the car. It’s really easy to switch on the lane guidance system and the adaptive cruise control, including lane changing assistance, by which point the car is essentially driving itself.

To recap

In the GV60, Genesis has a solid electric car: it’s smooth, it feels up to date, it offers interior space without being bloated on the exterior – and it’s probably the most “European”-looking Genesis so far. This feels like the right car at the right time for a brand trying to establish itself in Europe. But with solid performances from Hyundai and Kia, its sister models could prove to be its biggest rivals.

Writing by Chris Hall.


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