Good things come in threes. Someone in the Hyundai boardroom in South Korea must have been thinking that when they greenlit the brand’s three-prong first step into EV crossovers. The first and second act – the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 – arrived to rave reviews. Now it’s time for the conclusion, with the 2023 Genesis GV60.
But while good things do come in threes, rounding out trios in a place like Hollywood, where I drove the GV60, is traditionally a fraught affair. Brilliant franchises have struggled to put a bow on their story or straight-up failed to match their predecessor’s excellence. But this is not Godfather Part III, Back To The Future III, or Alien 3. The GV60 is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – an ambitious, unique, and beautifully executed complement to what came before.
A vehicle's verdict is relative only to its own segment and not the new-vehicle market as a whole. For more on how Motor1.com rates cars, click here.
|2023 Genesis GV60 Performance
|Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
|429 Horsepower / 446 Pound-Feet
|Trim Base Price:
Gallery: 2023 Genesis GV60: First Drive Review
Lights, Camera, Action
Setting out on the famed Mulholland Drive, it was that uniqueness that made itself apparent first. The GV60 rides atop the same Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) as the Ioniq 5 and EV6, but it adds a few specific tricks. For a start, Genesis isn’t offering the smaller 58.0-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery – every GV60 will carry the 77.4-kWh pack as standard. And it has a higher output too, at 394 kilowatts to the 272-kW max in the Hyundai/Kia models.
From there, a new Performance trim (the only version available for me to test) sits atop the range with 429 horsepower, 109 more than the dual-motor Ioniq 5 or EV6, though torque remains the same at 446 pound-feet. But if you need a touch more go, a Boost function increases the output to 483 hp and 516 lb-ft for ten seconds. Genesis claims the GV60 can scoot to 62 miles per hour in 4.0 seconds, but it feels quicker than that.
Engaging Boost is a constantly tempting option, not so much because of the added performance, but because activating it means pressing a big, neon-yellow button attached to the steering wheel that says “BOOST.” As a nine-year-old trapped in a 37-year-old’s body, my thumb constantly hovered over the button looking for an excuse to push it.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Genesis GV80
In practice, though, Boost is overkill. The GV60 packs so much torque and deploys it so immediately that the twin motors make the Michelin Primacy all-season tires feel hopelessly outmatched. Baking all four tires is fun in small doses, but it does feel wasteful. You can engage Boost while already underway, but I can’t think of a realistic scenario where you’d actually need the extra oomph.
With 429 hp, the GV60 still feels like a match for more performance-focused EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. There’s simply so much torque and it arrives so suddenly that squeezing the accelerator pedal does more than enough without activating any kind of techno wizardry. Boost, then, feels like something of a party trick – I’d appreciate it on a gas-powered car, where the acceleration is less linear and where you’re reliant on the car being in the right gear or at the right engine speed, but EVs simply don’t need such a function.
On-demand extra output is not the only novelty in the GV60. Instead of one sound profile while accelerating, the GV60 has three (and they function independent of drive mode). Futuristic is typical of today’s EVs, with a lower pitch that would fit in as background noise on an episode of Star Trek. An E-Motor sound introduces a higher pitch and less volume, which was my preferred setting. Finally, G-Engine is there to mimic an internal combustion engine. But for reasons I can’t understand, Genesis seems to have modeled the sound profile after a poorly balanced and muffler-less three-cylinder. It sounds horrid.
Throw the GV60 into turns and the weight transfers to the side neatly, but with more roll than you’ll find in the aforementioned Mach-E.
If you can’t decide between those three modes, there’s a custom setting that allows the driver to select a profile and adjust the volume and sensitivity to accelerator inputs. Aside from the questionable G-Engine option, I appreciate that Genesis is giving GV60 owners such a fun feature, but there’s also no shame in switching the feature off completely and enjoying the silence. Standard active noise cancellation and the lack of a gas engine make this one of the quietest premium compacts on the market.
Fortunately, I figured out my chosen sound profile before hitting the best parts of Mulholland, where the GV60’s surprising agility demanded my attention. With the battery set low in the body, all GV60’s boast an impressively low center of gravity, but the Performance adds an electronically controlled suspension with road previewing and a rear electronic limited-slip differential.
Throw the GV60 into turns and the weight transfers to the side neatly, but with more roll than you’ll find in the aforementioned Mach-E. Relative to the related Ioniq 5, though, the GV60 feels far more agile and eager, thanks in large part to the direct, quick steering rack. There’s little play on center and a 12.6:1 ratio that’s tighter than the Ioniq 5/EV6’s 14.3:1. Still, I wouldn’t mind slightly firmer dampers in Sport mode to better control vertical motion while dealing with mid-corner bumps. And stickier tires would be a huge boon, as the GV60’s all-season rubber felt low on grip will flying along Mulholland.
Unlike the GV70 3.5T, which I thought was too focused on handling at the expense of ride quality, the GV60 is better balanced. Those up-and-down oscillations that grew tiresome while cornering meant the suspension had the capacity to soak up bumps and imperfections, aided no doubt by the suspension’s road previewing function that relies on camera and GPS info to prep the dampers for impending impacts. High-speed stability is good despite the Performance model’s quicker steering ratio, too.
Behind The Scenes
I’m not going to make a big stink about the GV60’s exterior design – to me, it’s Genesis’ first real miss. Where I’ll step up and defend the design team’s work is in the cabin.
The overall layout is familiar to anyone that’s driven an EV6 or Ioniq 5. A single glass slab houses both the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and below that is a small pill-shaped pod for the climate controls. A floating center console, housing the gear selector and scroll wheel for the infotainment, juts out into the open space provided by the totally flat floor. But the GV60’s similarities with its mainstream siblings end there.
The steering wheel, with its horizontal spokes extending from the center and increasing in thickness as they approach the rim, mimics the Genesis logo on the airbag cap. The gear selector itself is a work of art, showing a laser-etched and backlit glass orb when the car is off, but rolling over to reveal a shape that looks and feels like an old rotary phone. The action of moving from Park to Drive is delightfully tactile, despite the total lack of mechanical connection.
Material quality is, as expected, quite high. But Genesis also worked to source sustainable materials – the artificial leather comes from plants, while the fabric touches on the seats and doors rely on recycled plastic bottles. The eco-friendly upholstery feels indistinguishable from real hides, making both the front and rear seats quite comfy. The support of the front chairs is long-haul good, with adequate bolsters and plenty of padding, while the Performance includes standard heating and ventilation (a big plus on a steamy LA day).
The highlight, though, was the interior color scheme of my Sao Paulo Lime tester. The Torrent Navy upholstery – check our Instagram post to see what it looks like – wears matching neon piping and stitching. It’s all gorgeous, although sadly, you’ll need the Performance for the GV60’s best interior colorway.
The broader tech suite is familiar, with an operating system and digital cluster plucked from other Genesis models. That means a 12.3-inch touchscreen (with a redundant clickwheel controller) and a 12.3-inch cluster, with quick responsiveness from the former and beautiful graphics across the board. But the GV60 adds two unique touches that make getting in and going a bit more convenient, even without a key: a facial recognition camera and a fingerprint reader.
The camera sits on the driver’s B-pillar. Simply tap a button on the handle and a ring around the camera lights up in white – after a second, the ring turns green and the car unlocks. In my testing, it was accurate about 75 percent of the time (a red glowing ring meant I had to make a second attempt), although keeping the keyfob in your pocket and touching the door handle is still faster.
The fingerprint reader works far better than the facial recognition camera. It lives at the front of the center console and is about as responsive as any smartphone. Just place your finger on it and a message flashes on the digital cluster that the car is ready. Then hit the start button and drive. The only way I can see Genesis improving on the system is integrating the sensor and the start button, so one motion is all you need. Beyond that, you’ll find similarly innovative features to what’s available on the EV6 and Ioniq 5, including V2L charging.
(Not So) Big Budget Blockbuster
Prices for the 2023 GV60 start at $59,980, including the $1,090 destination charge and excluding any federal income-tax credits or state/local incentives. That base (for now) model, the Advanced AWD, is generously equipped with Genesis’ latest active safety system, heated and ventilated front seats, a Bang and Olufsen audio system, a head-up display, and 12.3-inch display pairing. The GV60 is more expensive than a loaded, dual-motor Ioniq 5 ($57,245) or EV6 ($57,155), but the difference is negligible, especially considering the available performance and hugely upgraded interior.
The GV60 Performance I tested, meanwhile, costs $68,980, or $9,000 more than the base. The nearest competitor in terms of EV performance is the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, which is more affordable at $63,095 (including destination) to start. You can add a hands-free driver aid and you’ll find a sportier ride in the Mach-E, but finding Ford’s all electric might be a bigger challenge than getting your hands on a GV60 (which is also inarguably more comfortable and premium feeling).
The GV60’s additional price doesn’t mean an improvement in charging performance or range, though. In fact, the most powerful of Hyundai’s three EVs has (unsurprisingly) the worst range, with just 235 miles to a charge. It does match its siblings at the charger, though, with a 240-kilowatt peak rate at a compatible DC fast charger. That’s speedy enough to take the battery from 10 to 80 percent in just 18 minutes. On a 50-kilowatt charger, the same deed takes 73 minutes, while a 240-volt home charger on a 48-amp circuit will juice the battery in seven hours.
So what you’re really paying for, then, is the extra performance, content, and fine trappings of the GV60’s cabin. It’s usually tough to justify upgrading to a premium product over its mainstream sibling, and while I love the Ioniq 5 in particular, the GV60 trim feels worth the added expense. It’s simply more refined and better equipped, and the balance of comfort and agility is a hard pairing to beat, too.
The GV60 trim feels worth the added expense.
But more than that, the GV60 occupies an interesting place in the market. Its closest premium competitors – the Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and BMW iX – are all considerably larger and more expensive. At the same time, it’s free of premium competitors in the same size class (until the Audi Q4 E-Tron arrives) while also outgunning similarly priced mainstream models. Genesis has a knack for exploiting the value proposition in each segment in which it competes, and this is no different.
Successful trilogies take what came before and wrap their stories up in a unique way. That’s just what Genesis has done, taking the best qualities from the Ioniq 5 and EV6 but telling a new, exciting story that gives the viewer (or in this case, the customer) a fitting conclusion to what came before.
GV60 Competitor Reviews:
2023 Genesis GV60 Performance