Expert Reviews

2023 Genesis GV60 First Drive Review

The 2023 Genesis GV60 represents the brand’s first cruise down electric avenue.

This four-door “crossover coupe” rides on the Hyundai Group’s dedicated electric vehicle (EV) platform that underpins the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 – y’know, the duo everyone wants but no one can get because the reserve list is a mile long. [We work in kilometres, Peter. – Ed.]

I’m mentioning this now, because if you’re in the market for a très chic, quick, and comfortable EV that’s well built and bristling with all kinds of cool tech in the $70–80,000 range, I would suggest contacting Genesis pronto. Lawrence Hamilton, executive director of Genesis Motors Canada, notes there are currently about 1,500 folks on the order list before you. So go make the call, then come back and finish reading my impressions. Yes, the GV60 is that good.

Sleek, Stylish, and (Fairly) Functional

Genesis has recently nailed down its design language, and here we see its signature split lighting punctuating the brand’s soft flowing lines. The lower “crest” grille gives the GV60’s visage balance and is also functional, providing cooling for the 77.4-kWh battery pack. There’s a fixed rear spoiler and the C-pillars are adorned with cool lightning bolt-shaped pieces of chrome trim. Genesis also offers a palette of fun colours for its first EV.

The GV60 is bigger than it looks in photos, with its 2,900-mm (114.2-in) wheelbase affording decent rear legroom. Despite the swoopy rear roofline, I found headroom in the back seat sufficient for my six-foot frame. The fellow next to me was 6-foot-4, and his head just cleared the sculpted-out part of the headliner aft the sunroof. The powered tailgate opens to reveal 680 L of cargo space, which is expandable to 1,550 L when the rear seats are folded.

We’ll be getting two trim levels in Canada: the $71,000 Advanced and the $79,000 Performance. The Advanced, with 314 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque, rides on 20-inch wheels and comes with the full laundry list of safety and driver aids, along with Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a sunroof, two 12.3-inch screens, five years of Genesis’s connected services, plus remote start, parking sensors, and, of course, all-wheel drive.

The extra $8,000 for the Performance trim brings 21-inch wheels, increased output (429 hp), electronically controlled suspension, active noise cancelling, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, alloy pedals, a sort-of-massaging driver’s seat, surround-view monitoring system, live blind-spot camera feeds in the instrument display, and a fabulous 17-speaker surround-sound system.

Meanwhile, the Performance’s boost button on the steering wheels releases a 10-second extra slug of juice from the batteries, providing an eye-widening and tire-chirping 483 hp and 516 lb-ft. There’s also a drift mode, for those times when you’re feeling extra frisky.

More Tech Than Best Buy

But let’s get to the really cool stuff. As we know, in the premium game it’s all about who can out-gizmo the next brand. Genesis taps into smartphone technologies for an innovative way to get into and start your GV60. A facial recognition camera hidden in the B-pillar allows you to unlock the car with just your mug, and a fingerprint sensor on the centre console enables starting. It also calls up pre-set personal profiles – everything from driver position to HVAC to audio preferences. As such, one can drive the GV60 without ever having a key or phone, great for those days at the beach (or the nudist colony).

All very clever, but the GV60’s pièce de résistance has to be the crystal sphere on the floating centre console. Is it here to tell you about your future? No, but when pressing the GV60’s start button, it flips over, with the other half being a rotary gear selector seemingly lifted right from a ’60s B-movie spaceship – and I mean that in the best possible sense. It’s also a foolproof way of knowing when the GV60 is running. Spot the crystal and the GV60 is asleep; see the dimpled metallic gear selector and you’re good to go.

And go the GV60 Performance certainly does. We’ve come to expect effortless, seamless, and silent urge from premium EVs, and the GV60 falls right in line. With its active noise cancellation, the GV60’s cabin is remarkably quiet – all the better to hear the magnificent audio. And dispensing with slower traffic is just an ankle flex away. The steering wheel paddles call up four levels of regenerative braking, with the most aggressive setting delivering true one-pedal driving.

As with all Genesis products, interior quality is excellent and the ergonomics human-friendly. Below the centre touchscreen sits a retro-cool oblong panel with hard buttons for climate and audio, along with a logical touch panel for a deeper dive into HVAC functions. The only ergonomic misstep is the small thumb touchpad on the right steering wheel spoke that had me inadvertently changing radio stations every time I brushed it.

A Darling to Drive

Even on its 21-inch wheels, the GV60 Performance delivers excellent ride quality, no doubt aided by the road-sensing system that adjusts the dampers for upcoming irregularities. Selecting sport mode makes a marked difference in the Genesis’ attitude; throttle and brake responses sharpen, the suspension tightens, and steering firms up.

Drive the GV60 within the realms of normalcy and it steers and handles well. A section of our drive route was spectacularly tight, twisty, and hilly, and when pushed the Performance’s 2,218 kg (4,890 lb) of mass makes itself known. Yes, that weight is low, but it still does its best to overwhelm the tires and push the car wide just when you want it to hunker down. In other words, don’t expect Porsche Taycan levels of poise and handling from the Genesis GV60 Performance. Back off a bit and all is well.

Claimed range for the GV60 Advanced is 399 km, with the Performance slightly less at 378 km. With its 800/400-volt electrical architecture, best case scenario sees the GV60 going from 10 to 80 per cent charge in 18 minutes on a 350-kW rapid charger, or 61 minutes at 50 kW. At home on a Level 2 charger, it will take about eight hours.

Final Thoughts

The 2023 Genesis GV60 is an impressive piece, made even more desirable by its generous warranty, five years of free maintenance, and all-in no-haggle pricing that includes delivery charge. As the brand’s first fully electric offering, it’s a silent spear that nails the target.