Just a few short weeks ago, we found ourselves behind the wheel of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the brand’s most recent and most serious foray into the EV space. We have never been shy about our reservations where electric cars are concerned for a variety of reasons- range anxiety being the biggest issue- but the slick Hyundai proved to be awfully good, so much so that it managed to cast a long shadow of doubt towards our aversion to electron-based powertrains. When concluding our road test, we stated that “If Hyundai can maintain this trajectory of developing compelling EVs right out of the gate, they are going to become a force to be reckoned with; Elon Musk should be very worried.”
Genesis, Hyundai’s nascent and continuously excellent luxury brand, has made no secret of their plans to release the marque’s first EV to be known as the GV60. Since platform sharing is a strategy employed by pretty much every manufacture extant, it made sense that it would be developed on the very same bones as the Ioniq 5. Since Hyundai’s effort was so good out of the gates, you might think that the Genesis team of engineers and designers could rest on their laurels a bit and make their car a little better to look at with an interior that would be a little bit nicer while adding just a bit more horsepower. The GV60 does follow a similar playbook, but that summation does not do the overall experience any justice. The GV60 takes all the ingredients that make the Ioniq 5 such a compelling dish but enhances them appropriately.
The first thing you will notice is the styling. The pens of Genesis stylists were put to good work and the result is a car that is still proportionally similar to its Hyundai cousin but spiffed up suitably for Genesis duty. You’ll find the brand’s design language on full display, from the front and rear lighting elements to the diamond motif grille. Yet the GV60 doesn’t play to some of the weirder styling liberties so often taken by competitors, and it manages the rare feat of looking normal combined with a subtle element of futuristic design cues. If the swivelling heads of fellow motorists and pedestrians are any indication, they nailed it.
The same goes for the interior. It is very similar to the Ioniq 5, what with the screens spanning most of the dashboard and switchgear in their usual locations. Since this is a Genesis, it employs materials that are vastly more luxurious that its Hyundai counterpart. The seats are decadently comfortable so you wouldn’t shy away from a long road trip and offer lots of adjustability as well as a massaging function which Genesis claims that it keeps your muscles fresh during many hours in the saddle. Every single touch point has been given the requisite upgrades of supple leather and richer materials. The infotainment system offers the same quality as the Ioniq 5 but is reskinned and packs more features, and the Bang and Olufsen sound system sparkles with sound quality all the way up to volume levels that would make an otolaryngologist squeamish. We think the defining trait of the GV60’s interior is what Genesis has dubbed the Crystal Sphere. Before you set off, the sphere looks like something that might grace the desk of Dr. Evil; when you turn it on, it rotates into a rotary shifter. Normally we dismiss this kind of pageantry with an ambivalent wave of the hand, but the fact is we couldn’t help but find it exceptionally cool.
It's the same deal where the driving is concerned. The Ioniq 5 proved to be an entertaining steed, exhibiting a surprising amount of poise and entertainment. The proposition of more power and better handling is one that consistently elicits an arched eyebrow of intrigue around these parts, and the GV60 didn’t disappoint. If you never leave the Comfort or Eco drive modes the GV60 feels just like you’d expect a luxury-oriented EV to- which is to say that it is very comfortable and extremely quiet, with ride quality that lends the car a feeling of gliding along the tarmac. But if you ratchet up the aggression levels, the GV60 isn’t one to shy away from shenanigans. It boasts electronically controlled suspension with road preview- so it’ll scan the bit of tarmac you find yourself on and adjust the suspension accordingly- and will firm up or relax depending on the pace you feel comfortable with. It even as an electronic limited slip differential to help ensure all that power makes it to the ground with as much traction as possible. That’s a good thing, because when you hit the Boost button on the steering wheel and uncork the full might of the battery you’ll welcome the help in taming all that power suddenly sent to the wheels. Despite all this trickery, the GV60 never feels like a canyon carver; you will feel more at home driving on roads with big, high-speed sweeping turns than a tighter, squigglier route. There is one cool trick that the GV60 can pull off that we’ve yet to see in other EVs- you can turn the stability and traction control fully off. We were skeptical that ‘fully off’ means just that, and we tried launching the car in an empty parking lot to see if that indeed was true. Folks, we’re here to tell you that smoky, lurid front-wheel burnouts are yours to enjoy should you act your shoe size and not your age as we usually do. We imagine that the GV60 would be a hoot to mess around with after a dumping of snow, making it a rare EV that promises to be truly fun to drive throughout all the four seasons.
As far as a first EV effort from Genesis goes, overall, the GV60 is a hit- but there are a few misses. As bristling with high tech baubles as it is, you will need to physically plug in your phone to mirror it when the vast majority of luxury sleds like this can do so wirelessly. The rear seats are not as palatial to passengers as they are in the Ioniq 5. Where driving is concerned, we are fully aware that Genesis engineers know their way around building cars with athletic chassis tuning and we hope that some of that knowhow is gifted upon a likely performance oriented version or until a refreshed model drops in a few years. Lastly, we didn’t much care for the sci-fi soundtrack that plays through the car’s speakers which you can customize, because it’s fun for about 5 minutes and then gives you headaches. Thankfully this can be turned off so you can relish in decadent silence instead.
At this point, you have likely cemented the main takeaways from this review- that the Genesis GV60 is a very well executed luxury car with an electric drivetrain. While that is undeniably correct, instead of ending on that note, we decided to mention the inevitable comparison to a Tesla Model Y which so many who we encountered asked about. We called up a close friend who drives just such a car and it happens to be very close to the GV60 we tested in terms of specifications and equipment. She regretted her decision to take part in our little at-a-glance experiment. The Genesis soundly beats the Tesla in every measurable way. The fit and finish is better, not to mention much nicer. The screens offer better design and actually work as advertised and won’t freeze up randomly. It’s also faster, and perhaps most importantly, it costs less. Perhaps most concerning is the fact that for all that inferiority, you are asked to pony up more of your hard earned dollars. After some time she licked her wounds and headed for home (passenger side door card askew in the process.) If an EV with all the trappings of luxury is on your shopping list, make arrangements for a test drive. You should act fast, however- we hear that these cars are very sought after and supply is limited.
2023 Genesis GV60 Performance
- Price as tested: $79,000
- Body Type: 5-door, 5 passenger sedan
- Powertrain Layout: Front and Rear Electric Motors/All-Wheel Drive
- Power Source: FRONT- permanent-magnet synchronous AC
- Power Source: REAR- permanent-magnet synchronous AC
- Battery Capacity/Type: 77.4-kWh lithium-ion
- Total Horsepower: 483 @ 0 rpm
- Total Torque (lb-ft.): 516 @ 0 rpm
- Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
- Curb weight: 2,205 kg (4,862 lbs)
- Observed Energy Economy: 17.5kWh/100km