Genesis: is this car a touch of genius?
On the one hand, we have a near recession, rocketing fuel prices and a country still reeling from the pandemic.
But to give the counter argument, if the business can survive this, then it will survive anything.
Genesis arrived in the UK in mid-2021 at a time when even established brands were finding it tough. Most new car companies typically launch with a single model and then gradually add more to the mix.
But this premium South Korean brand, owned by Hyundai, did the opposite, quickly introducing four new models. All were of the saloon and SUV variety and all have a certain je ne sais quoi.
It has since expanded the line-up with the stylish G70 Shooting Brake, its first European-specific model.
And while Genesis didn’t have a single electrified model at first, it’s ramping this up now – there are EV versions of the G80 saloon and GV70 SUV, but here is its first bespoke electric car, the GV60.
Now, this is an interesting car but it’s not the best of the brand. I prefer its limousine saloons, which seem to be going out of fashion. Even Volvo, a one time stalwart of the saloon style, is now focusing solely on SUVs. Times are certainly changing.
This is the GV60, which I must add comes in more subtle hues than this. Actually it’s Sao Paulo Lime and for what it’s worth its better in the flesh. Do I like it? Yes. Would I choose it? Never.
The GV60 is built around a bespoke electric car platform, and one shared with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. The advantages of this are that Genesis can be much bolder with its design, while the interior doesn’t have to be limited by the packaging drawbacks of using a petrol or diesel platform.
While the GV60 might be its ‘cheapest’ EV, it is a car packed full of gadgets and technology. Cars these days have too few “surprise and delight” features but this car has one. There’s a “crystal ball” gear selector that rotates, along with a widescreen digital display that gives it an especially futuristic look.
There are three powertrains available on the GV60 – a single-motor 226bhp model, a dual-motor with 314bhp and a mighty ‘Sport Plus’ car that packs a significant 483bhp.
Our test car uses the lesser of the powertrains, though we reckon it’s the pick of the range. Accelerating to 60mph takes 7.6 seconds, with the GV60 carrying on to a top speed of 115mph.
It’s also one of the quickest-charging EVs on the market, taking as little as 18 minutes to go from 10 to 80 per cent if you find a quick enough 350kW charger.
With a particular focus on comfort and refinement, even by EV standards, this is a remarkably hushed machine. A real-world range of around 250 miles is good too and means this is an EV that longer trips can be completed in a relaxing way.
But should you find yourself on a windier stretch of road, GV60 has a sporty character too. You can just about feel that it’s rear-wheel-drive, meaning it’s a bit more enjoyable than front-wheel-drive EVs. It gets up to speed without fuss, and will suit drivers that don’t want or care about headline-grabbing figures.
It is an eye-catching choice and is a car that turns plenty of heads. There’s the allure that comes with a new brand and people not knowing what it is. Some thought it was a Bentley. Well, the symbol is similar.
The quad lights at both the front and rear look great, and we particularly like the flush door handles and sloping roofline, even if the latter does limit visibility.
The best thing about the GV60 is its interior. Thanks to the use of the EV platform, Genesis has been able to free up plenty of interior space. There’s a ‘floating’ centre console which houses the gear selector and the crystal ball, while there’s a completely flat floor in the rear that means adults will be able to sit comfortably.
The entry-level Premium model is very well equipped. From the off, you get 19-inch alloy wheels, and a heated and electric steering wheel, while the driver even has a massage function on their seat. There’s also a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital dial display, both of which are especially clear. The touchscreen is perhaps overburdened with menus, though.
Prices kick off from £53,905 for the GV60, which means this is by no means a cheap car.
Genesis has had a good start to proceedings with its range of petrol and diesel models, but the GV60 feels like the car that will get people talking about this South Korean premium brand.
Meanwhile, I’ve been trying a new toy recently. An alcohol detector called Alcosense (www.alcosense.co.uk), which is a £99 bit of kit.
It is an easy-to-use personal breathalyser that can be set up for use in different countries with different drink-drive limits. It is neat and easy to use with a 0.15 per cent margin for error.
Would I use one? To be honest if you feel you need to check your reading then you probably shouldn’t drive anyway.
But as a morning after check, I can see some merit in it.
Compared to basic, disposable breathalysers the £99 price of the Excel might seem steep, but its accuracy and reliability make it a good choice for professionals who need to really know for sure that they’re safe to drive, particularly the morning after drinking.
I had fun trying it out. It’s not often drinking a bottle of wine can be termed work, and it does seem accurate and responsive.
Price: £53,905. Model as tested: Genesis GV60 Premium RWD. Price as tested: £60,755
Engine: Electric motor with 77kWh usable battery generating 226bhp and torque of 350Nm
Performance: Top speed 115mph and 0-60mph 7.6 seconds
Range: 321 miles
Warranty: Five years’ unlimited mileage