You’re going to need a smaller handbag.
That’s because you don’t actually need a key; all you need is your face and finger to unlock, start and drive this car. Just imagine: No keys to lose. No need to rummage through your bag to make sure you have it. That alone is worth the price of admission for the Genesis GV60 compact luxury electric SUV, which starts at about $59K and tops out at about $68K.
And that’s not the only innovative tech feature. The GV60 has a crystal ball on the center console that is more than just a beautiful, light-filled orb. Once the car is started it flips over to reveal a scalloped metal gear selector. Yes, it’s a fun novelty, but who doesn’t love to look at a beautiful glowing crystal orb, to set its colors to your own personal palette (you can do that!) and then, magically transform it into a dial gear selector. You have to see it for yourself.
The Story Behind the Genesis GV60
Genesis came into the car world not long ago as the more luxurious sibling in the Hyundai family and won raves for its timeless design and intuitive attention to details.
The brand also took the path of appealing to a younger, less tradition-entrenched luxury customers. And the GV60 fits that order perfectly with inventive features and sustainable materials used in its construction, including microsuede that is made from recycled ocean plastics, to the utter freedom that biometrics offers, to a completely modern and serene interior, including the new touch screen media system that uses muted gray scale tones and images rather than icons and tiles. It’s all quite beautiful and calming.
The Electric Story: Charging Time, Driving Range and Power
Genesis says the brand will be fully electric by 2030, and having the framework for an electric car from parent company Hyundai certainly helps. The GV60’s power plant is shared with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6, both of which are turning heads and winning awards (and, selling electric cars).
All this is a great thing for GV60 buyers: Like its siblings, the GV60 can replenish up to 80% of its battery charge in 18 minutes at a level 3 charger; it has a lot of power (up to 483 horsepower with boost mode… keep reading for more on that) and pretty good range (up to 248 miles on a single charge); and it has an impressive regenerative braking system: it can recoup battery power on downhill drives or in traffic using the iPedal setting.
Two Powertrains —So You Can Pick Your Power and Range
The GV 60 comes in two different models: Advanced and Performance. Both are all wheel drive, have leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and the biometrics technology. The Advanced model generates 314 horsepower, 446 torque and has a 248 mile range. It starts at $58,890.
The Performance model generates 429 horsepower, 446 torque and has 235 miles of driving range. Priced from $67,890, it also has Nappa leather, massaging seats, a microsuede ceiling liner, heated rear seats, 21” wheels and phone-as-key capability. Oh, and it has Boost Mode.
How It Drives — And, Yes: Boost mode
The Genesis GV60 drives as you might expect: quick acceleration, quiet on the road, fun and responsive. Even in the lower-powered model, 315 horsepower is more than enough power for wherever you might go.
It has plenty of range. A 235 mile range is fine for a day of busy driving. With fast charging at public charge stations, it can manage a road trip. And with regenerative braking, drivers can learn to extend the range of the battery.
But if you want to add a little extra giggle into your day, tap the yellow Boost Mode button and get ready for a belly laugh—after you pick your head up from the headrest, that is. When you tap the button a timer on the dashboard counts down 10 seconds during which you have an extra 54 horse power and extra 70 torque, enough to send you off like a shot (so be careful). This was a blast. I found myself slowing on a lonely stretch of highway, checking carefully around me and then tapping that tempting button for a quick giggle. It’s a delight.
iPedal for Realistic, and Rewarding, Driving
When not waiting to put boost mode to work, I mostly drove in iPedal mode, which is tapped by pulling the left paddle shifter back twice quickly (pull it shuttle through the other stages of regenerative braking, 1, 2 or 3). iPedal is the most aggressive regenerative braking mode, sending significant unused power back to the battery, instead using the car’s weight and gravity to slow or stop.
Going downhill I was able to add back quite a few miles to the battery range. And even in traffic I could add miles to the range by mostly driving only with the accelerator—easing off to slow, giving a bit more pressure to speed up. It’s addictive; once you learn to drive like this you’ll never want to go back to brake/accelerator/brake/accelerator. It just seems useless.
An Inventive and Luxurious Interior
While Genesis added a lot of traditional luxury touches to the interior of the GV60— quilted leather seats, microsuede ceiling headliners, noise cancelation— the car’s designers also included a lot of novel and intuitive touches that will appeal to younger, tech focused buyers.
It starts with the touch screen, which is a single pane of glass that spans the dashboard, which is simple but functional. Under the dash is a storage bin with USB ports; it’s perfect for plugging in your phone and tossing it into the bin.
Between the front seats is a floating console, cantilevered out over the floor (which is flat), giving an open, airy feeling to the cabin. The console holds the crystal ball/gear selector, media dial and cup holders. There is also an arm rest that covers the center cargo space and also holds a slanted wireless phone charge pad (this is a very clever placement).
The glove box is actually a drawer; what looks like a speaker on the passenger’s side door is actually a fragrance diffuser. Under the center console between the seats is a passthrough and storage space. There is a household outlet under the rear seats. There are USB-C ports on the back of the center console rear seat passengers, as well as a household outlet under the seat.
The Tech is the Star, But It Has Everything Else, Too
There are so many inventive cool features that it’s almost hard to think about the bells and whistles that most buyers focus on.
Yes it has free charging: 3 years of free 30-minute sessions at Electrify America stations.
Yes, it has the full suite of driver assist and safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure assistance and pre-emergency braking.
Yes, it has vehicle-to-load charge capability so the GV60 can power things an outdoor kitchen or an air compressor.
Yes, heated seats are standard.
Yes, it has a panoramic sunroof. A huge, tinted, gorgeous roof.
Yes, it has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You’d be forgiven for focusing simply on the innovative features and the obvious luxuries in this cloud of a car. All that technology will no doubt be a big part of the ownership journey. A luxurious, tech-filled all electric journey.
Disclosure: I was Genesis’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.