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May 8, 2023
2023 Genesis GV70 Electrified.Genesis Motor North America
The 2023 Genesis GV70 Electrified demonstrates that the Genesis brand’s knack for providing the tricky combination of value and prestige is gaining momentum.
The G80 Electrified sedan tested previously showed that Hyundai’s premium label is on the right track, but with the GV70 they deliver a less expensive alternative in the more popular SUV segment.
It should be no surprise that the GV70 Electrified exhibits many of the same characteristics as the G80, considering that they share many components of Hyundai’s E-GMP electric drive platform. Significantly, the G80’s silence carries over into the SUV.
This is more challenging than it sounds, but the solid bulkhead between the passenger compartment and the cargo bay in a sedan is a crucial contributor to hushing booming noises from the back of the car. The GV70 addresses this with a three-piece rear floor insulator and an interesting dynamic damper installed in the rear hatch. The hatch door also carries guide bumpers on each side to snug the closed hatch into its opening.
The tested top-of-the-line Prestige trim package includes active noise cancellation, which also contributes to the silence. But it isn’t a system that can be switched off, so there’s no way to know whether it is a worthwhile component of the $6,600 package that also includes the Lexicon audio system, heated second-row seats, and manual window sun shades for the rear doors.
Alas, they also included the steering wheel heater in the package to ensure that anyone living someplace where it gets cold in the winter has to spring for the Prestige package, because we are long past the time when people are prepared to tolerate winter without a heated steering wheel in a new car. This not only shouldn’t require the upgrade package, it should be standard in any car with a base price of $67,000. The fully loaded Prestige-equipped test car’s as-tested price was $74,350.
The GV70’s front seats are comfortable, thanks to plush quilted upholstery and multi-way seat adjustments. The HVAC control is handled by large left- and ride-side rotary temperature knobs for the driver and passenger and the controls for the seat heaters and steering wheel heat are continuously available so there’s no need to navigate infotainment screen menu layers in search of them.
Audio system volume is controlled by a roller wheel on the steering wheel and another on the console, providing the tactile volume control that drivers want without employing a dashboard-mounted rotary knob so hated by car designers. The shifter is also a large rotary knob on the console that is easy to use.
However, it sits directly behind another knob of the same diameter that controls the infotainment system, so it is easy to grasp the wrong one when reaching for a shift without looking. Additionally, the knob doesn’t rotate into place for Drive and Reverse and stays that to confirm the shift. Instead, it is spring-loaded and returns to the center position after the driver requests the change, potentially leading to uncertainty about the status of the shifter.
There is no shifter position for a high-regeneration driving mode for one-pedal driving. Instead, the steering wheel-mounted paddles, relieved of the duty of shifting gears in this EV, are used to select the high-regen mode. You have to do it every time you drive the car, even if you prefer to drive in that mode all the time, which is annoying.
The panoramic skylight combines with the test car’s gorgeous Glacier White interior to provide an airy cabin environment. The rear seats provide ample space, and they do not suffer the common EV shortcoming of having low bottom cushions and a high floor that leaves the occupants without thigh support in some EVs. However, the door openings to the rear seat are narrow, with substantial intrusion by the rear wheel wells, making ingress and egress challenging for people with big feet.
50 Shades of Gray
The test car’s Savile Silver paint is handsome, but it comes at a $575 surcharge. The entire available palette for the GV70 is monochromatic shades of gray, so charging extra for this shade is puzzling. I’d happily pay more from some pigmentation, but not for a slightly different shade of gray. It is easy to imagine how spectacular this car would look in a gemstone hue like the ruby color of Mazda’s Soul Red for example. A similar sapphire or emerald color would be equally striking, unlike the anonymous available colors.
The EPA says that the GV70’s 77.4-kilowatt-hour 800-volt battery pack is good for 236 miles of driving range. We had better luck, with a drive that projected to 248 miles of total range in optimum conditions of a low-speed rural highway and temperate weather. The company claims an 18-minute charging time from 10 percent to 80 percent state of charge on a 250-kW DC fast charging station, but I didn’t have the chance to put that claim to the test because I just used my home ChargePoint Level 2 AC charger.
Driving range benefits from the Disconnect Actuator System that disconnects the front axle and motor from the wheels during highway driving to reduce parasitic losses from turning these parts when they aren’t needed.
The GV70 has no racetrack pretentions, with a cushy, comfortable ride on its 20-inch wheels that are a welcome alternative to the show-off 22-inch wheels on some competitors with their resultingly shorter driving range and substantially degraded ride quality in exchange for the exaggerated show car stance.
Silence, not performance, is the GV70’s calling card, but that doesn’t mean it is slow. The front and rear electric produce a combined 429 horsepower and 516-lb.-ft. of torque. A peak power of 483 hp is available for a 10-second burst by pressing the “Boost Mode” button on the steering wheel. This trick exploits the fact that the limiting factor of EV power output is typically their ability to dissipate heat, so they are rated at less than their maximum output for continuous power delivery. In this case, Genesis is comfortable cranking up the power for at least ten seconds without worrying about too much heat building up.
The GV70 Electrified provides the kind of capable, comfortable driving experience that will convert drivers to accept EV ownership. The sub-250-mile driving range will be an obstacle, but as the public charging network improves, consumers will see the value in paying less for a smaller battery that is more than sufficient in 95 percent of their driving. The GV70 Electrified’s serene cabin will remind them daily of the value of making stops to recharge during long trips.
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