Skip to main content
car review

The 2023 Genesis GV60 has a much different look than its sablemates, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

There are a few party tricks with the all-new, all-electric Genesis GV60 that you won’t find on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the Kia EV6, with which it shares its platform – suggesting this is much more than badge engineering.

The first, and most obvious? This is the first car I’ve ever driven that did not require me to carry the key or its encrypted details in my smartphone. Once you’ve set your information in the car’s secure computer, the doors will open with three-dimensional face recognition from a camera in the outside door pillar. The motor will start with fingerprint recognition from a sensor on the console. There are two key fobs, but you can leave them in a drawer at home.

(You can expect to find this technology on most cars within a few years. It’s already on most smartphones, after all. The camera recognizes dimensions, so it doesn’t matter whether you grow a beard or wear sunglasses or makeup, and you can’t fool it with a photograph.)

The second is the elegant crystal sphere in the console that flips over when the motor is active to become a large transmission dial, for setting Drive or Reverse or Park. More important, it flips back to become just a sphere, lit with an interior laser beam, when the motor is shut down. It’s hard to tell whether an electric car is turned on or off – there’s no vibration or noise either way – so the sphere is a graceful confirmation.

And then a third, once you’re actually moving down the road, is the boost button on the steering wheel. This only comes on the more expensive Performance model, but it’s the electric equivalent of the booster buttons on Porsches. Press it and you get 10 seconds of maximum power.

The Genesis GV60 has a sleek profile, clamshell hood and signature two lines for its lighting at front and back.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Basically, it sends gobs of extra battery power to the motors that would be unsustainable for too long, but works just fine for those 10 seconds when overtaking or trying to impress friends. Genesis says the boost button allows for 360 kilowatts, or around 483 horsepower; I ran two standing starts in opposite directions and accelerated to 100 kilometres an hour in less than four seconds each way. It’ll push your eyeballs back and keep on going like a spaceship in hyperdrive.

But these features on this impressive car come at a cost. There are just two versions – the Advanced, which costs $71,000, and the Performance, which costs $79,000. There won’t be any rebates from any level of government at those prices, but they’re inclusive of everything except taxes – even five years of basic maintenance and concierge delivery is included in the price. And compared with its competition from Tesla and the German makers, it’s actually reasonable.

If you can afford one and are daunted by a two-year wait for an Ioniq 5 or EV6, which both start a hair less than $45,000, you can probably collect a GV60 within a year if you buy now. About 1,500 Canadians have so far put down refundable deposits, sight and price unseen, and that’s about a year’s supply, says the company.

I had expected the GV60 to be a gussied-up version of its Hyundai and Kia stablemates, but it’s distinct. It looks different, with a sleek profile, clamshell hood and signature double horizontal lines for its lighting at front and back. Some might call it a hatchback, though Genesis calls it a “coupe CUV,” despite its four doors.

Some might call the GV60 a hatchback, though Genesis calls it a 'coupe CUV,' despite its four doors.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

The platform itself is the same, with similar dimensions to those two all-electric SUVs, but the all-wheel-drive Genesis can be considerably more powerful. The Advanced version has a 74-kilowatt motor at the front axle and a 160-kilowatt motor at the rear, similar to the all-wheel-drive editions of the other South Korean cars, but the Performance version has 160-kilowatt motors on both axles.

Its range suffers for that extra power and weight, though not by much. The claimed maximum range, on a warm day, for the Advanced is 399 kilometres, and the Performance is 378. Some will consider those distances inadequate, especially compared to the 500-plus kilometres of most Teslas, but their practicality depends on your actual daily driving needs.

The GV60 has an 800-volt electrical system that allows ultrafast charging of about 100 kilometres in five minutes, but good luck finding any public stations in Canada that can deliver an appropriate charge. Most stations will deliver 50 kilowatts, which will take 73 minutes to charge the battery from 10 to 80 per cent.

The drive itself is both cosseting and comfortable, and the quality of the entire fit and finish cannot be faulted. The GV60 doesn’t overwhelm you with its technology, but it’s there all the same, available through the wide digital display screen that spreads across half the cabin. And unlike most EVs, it’s easy to forget this is an electric vehicle.

“The transition to electric, we see at industry level, has been quite a digital process,” said Lawrence Hamilton, executive director of Genesis Motors Canada. “We see lots of competition coming with lots of technology-laden vehicles, big iPads, very stark, very monochromatic, very neutral.

“But that’s not what Genesis is about. It’s not what we set ourselves out to be as a brand when we split [from Hyundai] and formed ourselves back in 2015. We always said we want to be a true luxury brand. The GV60 is an EV that is a true luxury EV.”

Tech specs

2023 Genesis GV60

Base price/as tested: $71,000/$79,000

Motor: 74-kilowatt or 160-kilowatt front; 160-kilowatt rear

Drive: All-wheel drive

Battery and capacity: Lithium-ion, 77.4 kilowatt-hours

Claimed range: 399 kilometres Advanced; 378 kilometres Performance

Alternatives: Mercedes EQS, Audi Q4 e-tron, Tesla Model Y, BMW iX, Ford Mustang Mach-E EV, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6

Looks

Sleek and low, the GV60 is no SUV. There are 12 exterior colours and three interior colour schemes, all of which cannot be faulted for their quality and application.

The Genesis GV60 features a wide digital display screen that spreads across half the cabin and a floating centre console.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Interior

There’s plenty of space, thanks to the flat floor and floating centre console. The drive can be totally silent, or you can program three different noises from the motor at three different volumes, one of which sounds like an engine. I switched them all off after a while.

Both editions come with quilted napa leather seats; Genesis says a vegan alternative is in the works. The Performance edition includes full-recline seats for both driver and passenger for snoozing while charging; for some reason, GV60s sold in the United States don’t offer this for the driver.

Performance

Like all EVs, the GV60 carries most of the weight of its batteries down low, so it takes curves with very little sway. There are electronic drive modes for Eco, Comfort, Sport and Snow, which change the response of the motor, steering and stability control. If you have the Performance model, they also control the suspension and the limited slip differential.

The levels of regenerative braking can be controlled through paddle shifters, and there’s a true one-pedal setting, which can feel like shifting down to slow through corners. And though it’s not mentioned in the owner’s manual, there’s even a Drift mode Easter egg: Put it in Sport, hold the paddles in for three seconds, then unleash hell. Very few Genesis owners will ever do this more than once.

Technology

You name it, it’s available, except for automatic lane changing on the highway. The surround-view monitor and blind-spot view monitor is only available with the Performance edition, but the GV60 will still beep at you if there’s something in the way.

The impressive technology is in the 800-volt electric system, still only shared with the Hyundai and Kia and much more expensive Porsche Taycan. It future-proofs the vehicle by allowing ultrafast charging that can rarely be found in Canada, yet.

Cargo

There’s 680 litres of luggage space behind the rear seats, and 1,550 litres when those seats are folded flat. There’s even a small frunk (front trunk), large enough for the mobile charging cable.

The trunk can hold 680 litres of luggage space and 1,550 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

The verdict

The Genesis GV60 is impressive in every way, including in its value compared with its competition.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.