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Genesis Electrified GV70 2023 prototype drive review

 

This is the beginning of the electrification of Genesis – a BMW iX3, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi E-tron competitor that’s shaping up to be quite a performer


Good points

  • Powerful electric motors
  • Composed chassis
  • Opulent cabin remains
  • Comfortable suspension tune

Needs work

  • Packaging not as good as a dedicated EV
  • ESC calibration finesse
  • No Sport pack

Ahead of the Genesis Electrified GV70’s Australian release in the third quarter of 2022, the Korean luxury brand invited Chasing Cars to have a first look at a late-stage prototype accompanied by a half-hour drive on a private test track designed to simulate the twists and turns of the Old Pacific Highway, north of Sydney.

But before we get into how this GV70 drives, what exactly is it? The Electrified GV70 takes a different approach to the GV60, which will be a pure electric small SUV built around the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s E-GMP underpinnings that is also set to be released in the third quarter of this year, alongside the Electrified G80 sedan. This will arm Genesis with a three-strong electric-vehicle range.

Much like the BMW iX3 ($114,900 before on-road costs) that will be the Genesis’s main rival, the Electrified GV70 sits at the top end of an existing range and rides on the same longitudinal architecture as the petrol variants – adapted to take a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack and pair of electric motors. The Electrified GV70 is expected to cost between $105-115K when pricing is finalised.

Genesis quotes a WLTP range of 450km-plus, though the final set of figures is yet to be officially locked in, and our brief test drive didn’t allow for a realistic range test. The physical architecture may be adapted from the regular GV70, but the electrical architecture is straight from the group’s E-GMP platform, meaning it supports 800-volt DC fast-charging at speeds up to 350kW.

From previous Chasing Cars testing of E-GMP products, hitting that 350kW number isn’t really possible. Charging instead happens at a consistent 200kW-plus rate, which is still enough to recuperate from 10-80 percent in under 20 minutes (for roughly 360km of range) and that’s impressive.

Genesis Electrified GV70 2023-4

The Electrified GV70 is difficult to pick next to its petrol stablemates as it utilises the same metalwork. Only the blanked-off ‘Crest’ grille with its hidden charging port, different lower valances and unique aero 19-inch alloy wheels giveaway that this GV70 runs on electrons.

Inside it’s a similar story – though our example is still in prototype phase and lacked some final detailing including some ungrained interior plastics and the full-fat 3D 12.3-inch digital driver’s display.

When the GV70 launches it will only be available in a single Luxury specification (an $11,000 option on other drivetrains) with no base or Sport trims as found in the ICE-powered GV70 line-up. That means lashings of tan, black, or cream leather appointing the dash and electric seats (with heating and ventilation), plus a powerful 16-speaker Lexicon stereo and generous 14.3-inch touchscreen.

The rear seat also feels a little tighter than the petrol GV70 – the floor seems to sit a little higher – though Genesis says there is no change in headroom. It’s not uncomfortable, though, seeing the back seat is arguably the most comfortable place to be. As for storage, it’s been maximised with the addition of a small front compartment under the bonnet.

Into the real meat though – how does this Electrified GV70 drive? Well the control weights and interface feel familiar and the car is easy to interact with. The paddles behind the three-spoke wheel adjust the efficacy of the regenerative braking all the way up to full-on ‘i-Pedal’ driving, which worked well during our brief test.

But the star of the show is the way the Electrified GV70 boogies in a straight line with a pair of 160kW motors that can produce up to 360kW of power and 700Nm of torque when Sport and Boost mode are selected. The resulting 0-100k/h sprint time is 4.2 seconds, or 0.9sec faster than the AWD GV70 3.5T.

The Electrified GV70 still manages to deliver its power in a smooth and serene way (though perhaps its 2310kg mass dulls the delivery a little). There’s none of the unpleasant head-snap of a high-power Tesla Model 3 or mid-spec Porsche Taycan 4S, but rather a firm movement of your head back into a generously padded headrest.

Navigating the test facilities’ tight turns unearthed the Electrified GV70’s pretty stellar roadholding. Having all of that weight down low certainly affects the midsize SUV’s roll characteristics, with far less body sway than you might expect for a 2.3-tonne vehicle. The adaptive dampers help here, with a welcome firmness in Sport mode but a relaxed, wafty feeling in Comfort.

Playing with the drive modes also suggested that the front-rear electric-motor bias changes depending on the setting – not unlike a Toyota GR Yaris. Punching the throttle in Comfort would result in understeer from mid-corner, but in Sport with ESC in its middle setting the Electrified GV70 used its rear motor for a dab of corner-exit oversteer.

Several times during power-on corner exit the front inside wheel did lose traction and spin up. Some further tuning of the car’s power delivery and ESC programming before it hits dealerships will likely sort this small gremlin out.

Speaking of tuning, each of the new Electrified Genesis products has received extensive evaluation for our market. Exact chassis settings are yet to be finalised, but the brand’s Australian arm has been able to select from a variety of global parts to best tailor the GV70’s ride and handling character to our tastes.

From our brief preview drive, the Electrified GV70 has retained many of the ICE car’s best aspects: that stunning cabin aesthetic and level of plushness certainly has appeal. The claimed range, strong performance and ultra-rapid charging capability only add to the GV70’s appeal.

If it’s priced right and Genesis continues to hone the ESC and suspension a little further, then this could very well be a winner.

Key specs (as tested)

Engine
Power
360kW
Torque
700Nm
Fuel
Fuel type
Electric
Fuel capacity
77.4kWh
Average Range
450km
Drivetrain
Drivetrain
AWD
Dimensions
Unoccupied weight
2310kg

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