Let’s be honest – verbiage and adjectives such as futuristic, forward-thinking, and spaceship-like get thrown around far too often when it comes to describing cars, especially the ever-growing crowd of EVs to choose from. So trust me when I say that I’m not calling the 2023 Genesis GV60 the most futuristic, forward-thinking, spaceship-like car I’ve ever driven in my life. Actually, forget simply driving, just seeing it is enough to have you wondering what planet this four-wheeled highlighter came from.
Yes, Genesis – the Lexus to Hyundai’s Toyota – has seemingly taken leave of its Earthly senses to create what can only be described as the strangest car on the market. Up until this point, the brand has made a name for itself with sleekly-styled luxury sedans and SUVs that genuinely give the Germans a run for their money. Where the GV60 fits into that picture is… well, it doesn’t really, does it?
Two versions of the GV60 are available in Australia, and neither are cheap – with no plans to bring the RWD model offered overseas Down Under, the cheapest AWD model will set you back $103,700 before on-road costs. Go for the Performance AWD tested here and you’re looking at $110,700 – the better part of 10-grand more than a Tesla Model Y Performance and upcoming Kia EV6 GT, both of which are faster than it. In terms of standard equipment, both GV60 variants are practically the same, and it’s really only in performance (see why this model bears that nomenclature?) that they differ, but more on that later.
If you want to break necks in traffic, forget a Lamborghini and get yourself one of these. Certainly, the Stabilo paint job (officially Sau Paulo Lime) will attract a few extra glances than a subtler shade would, but the alien proportions of the GV60 with its SUV size, relatively low ride height, sloping roofline, and bold snout help it stand out regardless. Go for the Performance model and it comes rolling on a set of stylish 21-inch alloy wheels as well; these and black brake calipers are the only real visual differences between its two available grades.
Of course, with an EV, aerodynamics are the name of the game, and the GV60’s 0.29Cd is pretty impressive for an SUV. Of course, the bulbous roofline plays a big part in this, as do the retractable door handles and wing mirrors that have been replaced by much smaller cameras.
The digital mirrors are one of the first things you’ll be struck by as you hop inside the cabin, with it not actually a stretch to compare this cockpit to that of the Starship Enterprise. With five screens across the dashboard, it almost looks more like a Harvey Norman showroom than the interior of a car, with one screen on either side getting a live camera feed in lieu of normal mirrors, two conjoined 12.3-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment system, and another small screen in the middle of the dashboard for operating the climate controls, although there are physical rocker switches for the actual temperature adjustment.
What I do like about the technology is that there is some clever use of augmented reality (AR) for the satellite navigation system which can be brought up in the instrument cluster. Using a live feed from the forward facing camera, it overlays guidance information such as animated barriers at turns (like those you’d see in a video game) and blue road markings over the lane you’re in to show when your next turn is coming up. Lines are also overlaid on the digital mirrors when merging to show where the back of the vehicle is, and what a safe distance between you and the vehicle should be.
While I did end up getting used to the digital mirrors after spending enough time with them, and I was left surprisingly impressed by their nighttime performance as well, I don’t actually think they’re worth any potential range gains they offer as a traditional mirror is more ergonomically positioned, and will be far less expensive to replace if someone clips one of those cameras while you’re parked as well.
I also don’t love that controlling the instrument cluster’s information read-outs is done using a small touch-sensitive panel on the steering wheel that’s needlessly fussy. Fortunately, the central infotainment system is far more straightforward and offers both touchscreen control and a rotary dial on the centre console.
There’s no doubt that the quirks of this cabin layout don’t end there, either, with even the shifter made funky by being an illuminated crystal ball when the car is turned off, although the only future prediction you’ll get from it is that it rolls over to reveal the gear selector when the car is turned on.
The entire centre console itself is a floating design that doesn’t connect with the dashboard, and thanks to being an EV and therefore nor requiring a transmission, the flat floor allows for acres of storage space as there’s a big cubby at the base of the dashboard, and another one running under the entire centre console itself. Even the glovebox isn’t a normal glovebox, but instead a drawer. Disappointingly, the boot isn’t actually the biggest at 432 litres due to its high floor, although at least there is a small 20-litre frunk for storing charging cables.
But at least being a top-spec Genesis, there’s no lack of standard equipment in the GV60. Along with the aforementioned range of screens there’s dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats with electric adjustment and ‘Ergo Motion’ massage function for the driver, heated rear seats, a heated and electrically-adjustable steering wheel, quilted Nappa leather upholstery that claims to be sustainably-sourced, a panoramic sunroof, a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, a hands-free powered tailgate, ambient interior lighting, and even fingerprint recognition for keyless vehicle operation.
On the topic of the audio system, it also has active road noise cancelling as well as Active Sound Design which can emit the sounds of a burly petrol engine, whizzing electric motor, or something like that of a spaceship as you press the throttle. Did I mention this car is a bit quirky? Because yeah, it’s a bit quirky.
So there’s no deny that while it is a bit weird, it’s very well equipped as you’d expect from a Genesis, but it’s the performance figures that really headline this thing – in fact, quite literally in the case of the GV60 Performance AWD.
Go for the base GV60 and you get 234kW and 605Nm courtesy of 74kW front and 160kW rear electric motors. However, the GV60 Performance tested here steps it up to 320kW with the same 605Nm. But wait, there’s more – while that’s what it develops in normal driving, hit the bright green ‘Boost’ button on the steering wheel and its dual 180kW electric motors deliver their full 360kW and 700Nm in 10-second intervals.
Fortunately, that’s more than enough time to hit triple digits – ordinarily, it will get from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, but Boost mode cuts that to just 4.0 seconds. Not bad for a car weighing a portly 2210kg. It’s also worth noting that both variants come with the same 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the range of which will be significantly decreased the more you hit that ever-tempting button.
The thing is, while the numbers might appear on paper as though this thing is going to pin you to the back of your seat with the instantaneous acceleration you’d expect from an EV, that’s not actually the case in the real world. Rather than deliver all its power at once, Genesis has tuned the GV60 to feel as though it’s somewhat of a mix between an internal combustion engine-powered car and a spaceship.
Like a vehicle with an ICE, the throttle feel is progressive with it making you work a bit for the power rather than just doling it all out with the finesse of a dump truck unloading. When planting the throttle from a standstill, however, and whether in Boost mode or not, you also notice that the power swells and is delivered in stages, with it feeling like more and more is unlocked as you get past 50km/h and then 80km/h, by which point the speedo becomes a blur as it teleports from 80-120km/h in just 2.5 seconds. Rather than taper off the faster you get, it feels more like you’re hitting the rocket thrusters – cue the spaceship analogies. It feels utterly unlike any other EV in a straight line.
So the power is absolutely intoxicating, but straight line performance is only one part of what makes a good drive. Unlike in 1970s America, not all roads are dead-straight and smooth; corners and potholes exist. That’s where some of the GV60 Performance’s other hidden goodies should help out, as this model exclusively scores adaptive suspension which uses cameras to read the road ahead and adjust for surface changes, along with an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. Given the latter, there’s also a hidden Drift mode function that’s unlocked after holding down various buttons and performing secret handshakes.
The trouble is that these systems don’t exactly work as ideally as you’d like them to when you hit the sort of roads enthusiasts like – not that this is normally a dealbreaker in an SUV, but this is one being billed as the Performance model with almost everything about it screaming fun. That’s not to diminish the adaptive suspension’s ability to iron out the sort of bumps you find on city streets – it does that well even with it rolling on 21s – but when you hit something like a larger speed bump, you get a preview of what’s to come when you throw it at some bends.
It’s the GV60’s poor body control that stands out most, with it handling corners like a whisk through lumpy batter. Mid-corner bumps – a hallmark of Australian backroads – cause it to wobble gelatinously, and while the steering itself feels nicely tuned like in all other Genesis models, the elephantish weight is something you’re constantly reminded of when you turn it in.
What’s surprising, though, is just how much the GV60 wants to get sideways. It’s in tighter corners that you notice the rear end wanting to come around with the eagerness of a dog’s wagged tail, and while the body roll it displays only makes it easier to engage it in a slide, it does make it feel a bit less pleasant. Oddly, I noticed it wanted to get sideways more easily in Sport mode than in Drift mode; perhaps a larger, more open space would be better for testing that but I didn’t have one at my disposal, nor did I feel like paying for a new set of Michelins.
At least the range is one of the GV60’s stronger points, as Genesis claims it has an ‘All Electric Range’ (AER) of 466km and will consume energy at a rate of 19.1kWh/100km. Over the course of my 960km behind the wheel, I actually managed to match the 19.1kWh/100km claim exactly with a mix of city, highway, and backroad driving. However, that AER figure isn’t really representative of how far it can actually go on a single charge; do the maths and 405km is the realistic range figure you’ll see. The numbers aren’t drastically different for the base GV60, which isn’t as efficient as the brilliant Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD with which it shares its running gear.
As for charging, the emergency charger I was provided with the car was useless and claimed it would take around three days to fully charge it at a rate of just 1.3kW, which meant I was a regular at my nearest fast charging station where the 50kW CCS charger could get it from 10-80 percent in 75 minutes. While it can charge at up to 350kW which would do the same in 18 minutes, I was unable to locate any chargers that fast in Adelaide.
Fortunately, Genesis also offers GV60 buyers the choice of a free home charger (capable of charging it at 10.5kW which will fully charge it in just under eight hours) or a free five-year Chargefox subscription. That’s offered on top of a five-year unlimited kilometre bumper-to-bumper warranty, an eight-year battery warranty, five years of complimentary servicing with a valet and loan car service, and 10 years of complimentary roadside assistance and map updates.
As you’ve probably figured by this point, there’s no easy way of summarising the Genesis GV60. Certainly, it silences the argument of people who show off their cars saying anything about it being like some spacecraft from the year 2050, because unless it’s one of these, it really isn’t. Everything about this is out there, and there’s no denying that the novelty of that is something that will keep it feeling fresh for some time to come.
The fact it still manages to be utterly practical, comfortable, and luxuriously-equipped while also being an absolute quirkfest is impressive – and that’s not to mention the power it’s capable of delivering. The trouble is that once you get past those surface-level factors, the GV60 is no true performance car when you pitch it at a winding backroad.
If you’re after an attention-grabbing city car that offers a host of excellent ownership benefits, then the GV60 offers a compelling package, but admittedly at a hefty price. If you’re after an SUV that’s fabulous to drive, look at its twin-under-the-skin, the Kia EV6, or elsewhere in the Genesis lineup. But if what you want is something that would put anything in Star Wars or Star Trek to shame, then look no further.
2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD List Price: $110,700
- Performance - 8.5/108.5/10
- Ride & Handling - 7/107/10
- Tech & Features - 8.5/108.5/10
- Practicality - 8.5/108.5/10
- Value for Money - 7/107/10
Pros: Will feel futuristic for years to come, goes like the clappers in a straight line, clever interior that’s incredibly well equipped, strong ownership benefits
Cons: Poor body control and mixed-bag ride quality, digital mirrors aren’t worth the minor range increase they offer, Tesla Model Y Performance and Kia EV6 GT are both cheaper and faster
In a nutshell: The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD may be the closest thing to a road-going spaceship in more ways than one, but its poor road manners leave you desiring for more substance behind the funky looks and pages-long list of features. Consider that its Tesla and Kia-badged rivals are around $10k cheaper and both faster than it, and the GV60 is unfortunately off the pace in the battle of the fast electric SUVs.
Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Genesis Motors Australia for nine days with a full charge upon collection.