GV60 too odd? The more conventional 490hp electric Genesis SUV is pretty good, too
By Matt Bird / Friday, 24 February 2023 / Loading comments
Quite why Genesis didn’t launch as an EV only brand in Britain continues to bemuse. Following a selection of vaguely acceptable saloons and SUVs powered by below average combustion engines have come seriously good electric cars: the GV60 is as good as – if not better in some areas – the brilliant Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 with which it shares so much, the G80 Electrified has been received well and now there’s the GV70 Electrified SUV. Which, spoiler alert for those concerned, is also worthy of recommendation.
Alright, sure, in the world of battery-powered SUVs it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking. The range is under 300 miles, the performance is merely sports car fast rather than supercar-grade scary, and it could be argued that the Genesis styling cues have enjoyed more success elsewhere. There’s none of the implied drama of the 60, though the GV70’s relative plainness may appeal to as many as it puts off. It’s the constant conundrum of building both ICE and EV versions from the same platform: does an electric SUV that looks like a petrol-powered version attract buyers wary of making the change (think BMW iX3), or is the daring design possible with bespoke electric architecture – like an I-Pace – more of a draw?
Genesis can now at least claim to offer both, though even with Luc Donckerwolke heading up design – and with cars like the stunning X Convertible concept being created – it would be a monumental stretch to call either electric SUV a knockout. The 60 might be a bit too weird for its own good, while at the other end the 70 seems almost nondescript. The standard, smaller 19-inch wheels surely won’t do it any favours, either. Bring together the best of the GV70 and GV60 and you might end up with an interesting car to look at – but for the moment something like the related Ioniq 5 or an I-Pace are much more appealing designs. Fortunately for Genesis, other rivals like the iX3 and Tesla Model Y aren’t exactly lookers, either.
There’s much to be encouraged by, though, including a fantastic interior. It blends contemporary technology with traditional usability almost perfectly: the screens are vast and vivid but simpler to navigate, the active safety intervenes only when necessary (and is easily switched off) and one-pedal driving is cleverly integrated. The paddles have a nice feel to them and offer meaningful changes in regen, with a useful warning buzzer when you’re reached the one-pedal maximum. When so many car interiors seem overthought and overwrought, the GV70’s feels luxurious and inviting yet nowhere near as bewildering as some premium-minded cabins can. The materials are second-to-none, and huge slabs of ambient lighting complement the calm to create just the right sort of atmosphere. It’s certainly on a par with the I-Pace and iX3, if not better when it comes to surprise and delight features. It should be noted, however, that the GV70 isn’t the biggest, with perhaps not as much rear-seat and boot space as might be expected.
Mercifully for both those who write about electric cars and those who buy them, there’s only one GV70 Electrified available: the 435hp, 77kWh Sport. No choice of battery pack or motor here, or the option to add something transformative from the extras list should the mood take you. The 70’s power looks competitive when the iX3 costs similar money for less than 300hp, and certainly feels it on the road, especially when the 10 seconds of 490hp overboost is deployed. We’ve criticised EVs for a lack of personality before, but no such complaints here: press the wheel-mounted button and the whole cabin glows red, from dials to doorcards, and the GV70 feels like it’s gained 155hp rather than 55hp, tyres clawing at the surface and wheel wriggling a little in your hands. It’s a gimmick, of course – and the very opposite of the authentic gratification we look for – but the boost is fun, especially with Genesis’ funky range of EV sounds as well. We’d take contrived entertainment over none at all.
It helps that the GV70 drives well. There isn’t the same finesse as an I-Pace or rear-driven feel of the BMW, but it is balanced, grippy and accurate enough, if inevitably a little detached. If a Korean SUV came out five years ago that drove like this, it would be revelatory, because it does such an admirable job of managing 2.3 tonnes and nearly 500hp. Fact is the world of electric vehicles – to say nothing of the Korean car industry – has made such huge progress in recent years that would have seemed unimaginable a decade ago is now merely competitive.
There are Eco, Comfort and Sport drive modes, the latter taking a leaf out of the boost book and actually dropping the seat squab lower (as well as clenching the bolsters around you) as an accompaniment to a sharper throttle and heftier steering. In all of the modes the GV70 has little aspects that make it stand out as not just another electric 4×4, with a nicely tuned throttle pedal and sensible steering weight. Ultimately, it all gets a bit ragged when pushed, if never to the degree a combustion engined version would. (Genesis actually points to 24 per cent structure stiffness for this Electrified model.) The low-speed ride is fidgety, too, if no worse than so many of these heavy cars on huge wheels.
The overriding impression is of a supremely refined, nicely appointed, very comfortable and surprisingly fast SUV that’s a bit different to the norm and likeable to drive; it’s exactly the sort of thing Genesis has been promising since its UK launch and was never going to be possible with the gruff engines. When they’ve gone to the effort of hydro mount bushes in the suspension and subframes to further eliminate unwanted noise, it’s clear there’s more to this than the ‘Electrified’ name might imply. This feels much more like we thought a Genesis would, and just the thing for mile after easy mile.
Ah, you’re thinking, but that’ll be no good given the range limitations. To some extent, that’s true: on a brisk but not crazy fast 20-mile, half-an-hour drive, the GV70 returned 2.2 miles/kWh. It was going up and would no doubt be higher in everyday driving, as otherwise that’s little more than 150 miles from a full charge. Moreover, Genesis has a couple of strategies to mitigate against range anxiety, with discounted Ionity charging, access to Shell Recharge points and a home charger included. Given the GV70 can accept the full 350kW (and given how pricey an Ionity can be) that feels like a useful perk for a company driver or an owner frequently visiting far flung family. Any minutes saved at services are precious, especially as the GV70 is such an assured cruiser, and 350 looks an even bigger number when no other non-Tesla rival can muster more than 150kW.
The GV70 isn’t perfect, then, but for those that don’t like the GV60 it is comfortably the most desirable Genesis yet. The problem may be the number of willing buyers out there for a £65k electric SUV from a relatively unknown manufacturer, particularly with so many worthy alternatives from household names; it’s often felt like luxury offshoots from Japan and Korea could give away free puppies and childcare to buyers and still not get a sale, let alone merely cheaper charging and a competitive product. But those that do take the plunge deserve to have their alternative thinking rewarded – the Electrified GV70 is one of the better offerings out there, with a great interior on top.
SPECIFICATION | GENESIS GV70 ELECTRIFIED SPORT
Engine: Dual 160kW motors, 77.4kWh battery
Transmission: Single-speed, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 490 (overboost, 435 otherwise)
Torque (lb ft): 516
0-62mph: 4.8sec (4.2 with boost)
Top speed: 146mph
Weight: 2,310kg (mass in running order)
Range: 283 miles (WLTP, consumption 3.24 miles per kWh)
- 2022 Genesis GV60 Sport Plus | UK Review
- Space, Grace, I-Pace | PH Footnote
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