Category Archives: Electrics

2023 Genesis GV60 Performance

Electric crossover delivers power, luxury and looks …

Each new electric vehicle that hums sweetly into my driveway seems closer to what consumers ultimately will want and demand, some even exceed those desires in clever ways.

The smartly future-forward styled Genesis GV60 Performance, a top-end luxury electric crossover, is a prime exceeder. Two examples being the first-ever facial recognition system on a consumer vehicle, and further setting the pace for gadgetry supremacy is its rotating crystal sphere shifter. More on both in a sec.

But, and not to be a Debbie Downer here, range and price remain the biggest hurdles all electrics must overcome and here the GV60 gets close, but with its lower-cost Advanced model that features more range.

The tested Uyuni White ($575 extra) Performance version features just a 235-mile range, while its Advanced model touts a more substantial 280-mile range. Simple science, performance and power suck up range.

Let’s get at the specifics for the GV60, which I consider one of the best looking EVs to date. Its cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq5 and Kia EV6, are the others, each with a distinct style.

With the Performance moniker you expect rocket-like thrust, ego-stroking horsepower and miniscule 0 to 60 mph times. The GV60 Performance delivers.

Its twin 215-horsepower electric motors, one for the front wheels, one for the back, deliver 429 hp. (Not sure why it’s not 430!) But that is Not enough my friend. No, there’s a Boost button on the steering wheel to compete with Tesla’s Insane setting. The booster rocket button delivers another 54 hp for a total of 483 and a torque rating of 516.

Boost lasts for 10 seconds and trust me (see video) will push the AWD GV60 to 100+ mph in the short distance of an average highway entry ramp. Boost is a literal blast that can make even the most jaded auto writer laugh out loud.

Car and Driver reports a 3.7-second 0 to 60 time and a top speed of 151 mph, in case you’re late for a board meeting.

Watch Mark’s review video: Mark Savage review of the All Electric GV 60 Genesis – YouTube

Watch another on GV60 tech: Genesis GV60 EV tech – YouTube

While there are three drive modes, Eco, Comfort, and Sport, the Boost button overrides and will allow you to thumb your nose at the exotic or muscle car/truck at the stoplight next to you. Eco, by the way, does considerably help extend battery range as it puts more charge back in the pack under coasting and braking action.

Comfort softens the ride and is perfect for city driving as steering is easy and the long wheelbase and electronically controlled suspension here soften pot holes and create a lovely luxury ride. Sport naturally firms up the suspension and steering effort.

Those batteries add heft (GV weighs nearly 4,800 pounds) and lower the vehicle’s center of gravity to make it handle like a sport sedan and eliminate body roll in turns. Whether cruising the highway or rocking along our lunaresque city streets the GV60 feels calm and comforting.

Standard AWD provides strong traction and the 21-inch Michelin tires offer solid footing, including after a rain. Yet I must note that I did spin the tires a couple times after hitting the Boost button.

Getting into the GV60 is easy with a fob in your pocket, or you can use the Genesis smart key app, OR you can use its facial recognition system. Say what?

Yep, the driver’s side B-pillar has a facial recognition system built in. Once programmed you just stand by the car’s side and peer into the spot you can see on the pillar and it will unlock the car in a Jetson-like few seconds. So far, the crossover does not fold up into a briefcase.

Once inside the high-tech hijinks continue once you press the Start button. The fancy crystal sphere on the console that glows a light red will rotate the crystal side down and up pops the dimpled shifter knob to rotate to the appropriate gear setting. Press the button at its center and the GV60 returns to Park. That also happens if you simply turn off the vehicle. .

The crystal sphere rotates into a shifter ball!

The look inside is as clean and futuristic as most of us want, while still offering some familiar buttons.

That starts with the dash’s dual 1-piece screen that houses 12.3 inches of driver digital instrument panel and 12.3 inches of infotainment screen. Easy to see, certainly. Plus easy to use after just a day of driving. Below that is the climate control unit with toggles for temperature selection and buttons for directing the airflow from the wide air ducts just above and along the dash.

A wide dual screen makes viewing gauges and info easy and simple.

The usual cruise and computer control buttons are on the steering wheel hub and there’s a wireless charger in the console, just vertically insert the phone in front of the armrest. Simple, and if you forget the phone a friendly semi-human sounding voice will remind you it’s charging as you open the door to exit.

Seats are wonderful. The test unit featured a navy blue leather interior and dash with yellow stitching to create a sophisticated, yet youthful, look. Both front seats also are powered and the driver gets a four-way power lumbar adjustment along with power side bolsters for more lateral support. Long-legged drivers will appreciate that the lower cushion also will extend to support those daddy long legs.

This Navy Blue leather interior with yellow piping looks ritzy.

The front seats are heated and cooled and the rear seats heated. Genesis also adds a heated steering wheel, a must in our northern clime.

GV60 comes standard with nearly everything else you’d ever want, and some of which you might not care about. There’s a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, giant sunroof and power shade (but the roof, like in a Tesla, does not open), a Head-Up Display, and a fine Bang and Olufsen stereo. One misplaced roller button control, the volume for that stereo is at the center of the console between a couple other buttons. Generally these are on the steering wheel hub, an easier spot to find it while driving.

Need big power for 10 seconds, press this Boost button!

Safety features? Oh my, everything but mind controls for other drivers.

Standard are forward collision avoidance and assist, lane keeping assist and lane follow assist, blind-spot collision avoidance assist (including cameras that show your right- and left-side blind spots when the turn signals are engaged), a surround view monitor, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance and assist, smart cruise, Stop & Go, driver attention warning, high-beam assist, parking distance warning, parking collision avoidance and remote smart parking, if you trust your car to just pushing a button to park. I’m sure I’ve missed something, but you get it, as in you get everything currently known to mankind.

The electric plug-in charging is like all other electrics in that using your garage charger at the standard 120 volts is nearly useless. I plugged in overnight and got a 3% boost. You’ll want to install a 240-volt charger if you purchase an electric vehicle, including this one.

The hatch opens wide to swallow luggage or lumber, just fold down the rear seats.

The good news is that at a fast 800-volt charger the GV60 will go from 10 to 80% power in 18 minutes, says Genesis. It reports a 400-volt charger will take 73 minutes to do the same and with a 240 at your home it’ll go from 10% to fully charged in 7 hours.

Genesis also wants to encourage you to travel in the GV60, so it provides 3 years of free charging at Electrify America chargers spread across the country. Over time, and thanks to the federal infrastructure bill approved by Congress, there will be more chargers in place making longer distance travel easier to plan.

My minor complaint on charging is that the GV60’s plug is on the passenger’s side rear quarter panel. I’d prefer it on the driver’s side so it’s nearer a wall plug in a garage.

For the record, the test GV60 was made in South Korea, but future models are to be built at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama, plant.

Pricing is the last bugaboo that electric must overcome and the GV60 gets it half right, sort of. Realizing this is a luxury vehicle with a quiet high-end interior loaded with features and a comfy ride befitting its luxury nature, the tested Performance model lists at $68,985, including delivery. Only the paint job was extra, for a suggested price of $69,560, and demand is high enough you’ll probably have to pay at least that.

Going with the Advanced model that includes a few less features and less power at “just” 314 horsepower yet still an amazing 416 pound-feet of torque, saves you $10 grand. It lists at $59,985, still not pocket change, but for a luxury make it’s in the ballpark.

Note that the Kia and Hyundai electrics mentioned earlier and riding on the same platform start at considerably less. Note too that none of these makes currently meet the new U.S. qualifications for a $7,500 tax break, although future models made in the U.S. may. Be sure to know before you buy.

FAST STATS: 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance

Hits: Future forward styling inside and out, good power + Boost button, easy handling, luxury ride and AWD. Clean stylish dash, big dual 1-piece screen, crystal sphere shifter, face recognition entry, heated/cooled and supportive front seats w/power side bolsters, heated rear seats, HUD, multiple drive mode, sunroof w/shade, solid safety systems, B&O stereo, power tilt/telescope and heated wheel. Wireless phone charger w/left behind alert.

Misses: Range limited to 235 miles, sunroof doesn’t open, plug-in is on passenger’s side rear quarter panel, radio volume roller is on console instead of steering wheel hub, costly.

Genesis headlight styling is clean and elegant!

Made in: So. Korea (future builds in Alabama)

Power: 2 160kW electric motors w/77/4 kWh battery, 429-483 hp/516 max. torque

Transmission: 1-speed reduction gear

Weight: 4,769 lbs.

Wheelbase: 114.2 in.

Length: 177.8 in.

Cargo: 29-54.7 cu.ft.

MPGe: 97/82

Base Price: $68,985 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $68,985

Major Option: Uyuni White paint, $575

Test vehicle: $69,560

Sources: Genesis, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Nimble, powerful XC40 Recharge a bit shy on range …

Electric power is coming, and quickly, to some car makes, Volvo being a prime example.

Its compact SUV, the XC40, debuted just a couple years back, but now is available with full electric power from twin electric motors, one front, one rear. This version is known as the XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate, one up from the base Plus model.

Price is appropriately luxury-based and today’s auto buyer must be prepared for some sticker shock for most electrics, but more on that in a few nanos.

From the performance standpoint, the nimble XC40 Recharge is packed with electrons and rated at 402 horsepower with a torque rating of 486. Like most electrics the acceleration is both smooth and instantaneous, easily capable of triple digit speeds within the confines of a highway entry ramp.

Also, like its gas-powered version, this XC40 handles well with a sporty flair. Steering is quick and precise, but with a heavier feel than the gas-only model. Ride, as in the earlier test drive is fairly well controlled, but still a bit chattery over crumbling Midwest roads. A longer wheelbase would help smooth that some as witnessed in some competing models.

Those are the basics, so let’s charge right into the electrics of this Volvo.

There are twin electric motors driving the front and rear wheels as the XC40 has full-time AWD. That’s great for Wisconsin and upper Midwest winters. But … the range is just 223 miles on a full charge. Laudably that’s up 15 miles from last year’s model, but still well short of some competitors. Think Tesla, VW’s ID.4, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, some of which even cost less.

The plug-in here is on the driver’s side rear quarter panel, much like a gas filler cap. Many electrics have the power in the nose or front driver’s side quarter panel. Wish the industry could agree where this should go. In my garage the front plug-ins are easier.

As with other electrics there’s a frunk, a small trunk up front that allows Volvo to put the charging cable up there. That’s fine, but with the outlet in the rear, storing it under the cargo floor might be preferable.

Watch Mark’s video: 22 Volvo Recharge Review – YouTube

Note too that charging is slow for most of us with 120-volt outlets. I got about 1% of charge per hour of charge, the equivalent of 2 miles of power. So, a 12-hour overnight charge netted about a 13 percentage point increase or 26 miles. I stopped at a ChargePoint (240-volt) charger (first ones I visited at the website’s suggestion were for a company’s employees, not the public), and it netted a 2% charge every 15 minutes, so 8% an hour, or 16 miles. Cost is roughly $1 an hour.

Still, unless you’re leaving the vehicle to charge overnight you’re not filling it up.

For the record, the EPA rates the Volvo at 92 mpge city and 79 highway as you use the charge faster at higher speeds and when the vehicle is under more stress, such as going up hills.

My experience is you’d be wise to top-off every night or two if commuting around town. I blew through about 25% of the charge running to the other side of town and to a friend’s house in a nearby suburb. Oh, and most electrics, including this Volvo, suggest only a 90% charge to preserve battery life, but cutting daily range.

Volvo’s shift-by-wire single-speed automatic tranny is fine and uses the power effectively. Plus there’s one-pedal driving as with other electrics, meaning you simply use the accelerator, rarely the brake.

Thor’s Hammer headlights are still a Volvo thing!

That’s because the electric motors brake the car quite quickly once you let off the go-pedal. In fact, it can feel rather sudden, so you quickly learn to feather off accelerator pressure to slowly coast to a stop. The upside is any coasting or braking helps recharge the batteries some, so in stop-and-go city driving you use less power as you’re constantly regenerating power, and there’s a gauge on the dash to show you that.

Beyond the power source, the XC40 is a fine luxury SUV with crisp good looks and an attractive interior.

This medium gray model, with a hint of sparkle, runs $695 extra. Gray is hot right now and most colors, even gray, cost extra on luxury makes.

Meanwhile, the interior is a soft gunmetal gray leather known as NuBuck. I thought it was fake leather originally, but a little research tells me it’s made from the top grain of the cowhide, said to be tougher so it’ll wear longer. Its surface is sanded to give it a consistent appearance that also feels a lot like suede.

That gave the XC40 interior a luxury feel and the leather seats and shifter both feature white stitching that add depth and definition. A silver and black patterned metal trim on the dash and doors adds a jeweled look, while the console top is mostly gloss piano black, which reflects some on sunny days. Then there’s an odd bit of gunmetal gray felt-like material that lines the console’s sides and inside door panels. It felt and looked more downscale than the rest of the interior.

Mid dash is a 9-inch touchscreen. This is the same as Volvo has been offering for several years that requires touching one of four menu choices to find the radio, navigation, etc. Then there are various screens beyond that, obtained by sliding the others. All that is too squirrely to deal with while driving once beyond the main screen.

There’s also a screen that tells you the current charge level and estimated miles of range you have. A button there will allow a driver to maximize the charge as it slightly decreases the SUV’s climate system (fan speed and temp). You’ll barely notice, but it did extend my range on one drive.

Volvo includes a fine Harmon Kardon stereo and a wireless phone charger in the console. Overhead is the requisite giant sunroof, but it can be a bit tricky to operate as you can tap or barely touch the overhead button or use a slide action that will either open, tilt or slide the sunshield back. Getting that right took several tries each time as it often wanted to open the entire roof when I just wanted the inner shield retracted.

Unsure of your range? Check the big info screen.

Seats are relatively comfy up front and roomy in back. The front seats are heated as was the steering wheel here, a $150 option that’s worth it for our clime. Oddly the seats weren’t cooled, something I’d expect at this price point. There also was no power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The XC40 easily carries four adults and five can sneak in on a short ride. Plus there is generous cargo space under the power hatch. Volvo claims you could tow 2,000 pounds of trailer, but remember that will suck down your battery power more quickly and reduce range.

Pricing is at the upper end of this segment, especially considering range.

The base XC40 Recharge Plus starts at $56,495 with delivery while the tested Ultimate lists at $59,245. With just two options this one costs $60,090.

Competitors include the Mach-E, id.4, Tesla Y and the new Genesis GV60 that I hope to review this summer.

Here’s the frunk with the Volvo charging cord neatly wrapped inside.

If you prefer gas power, the XC40 touts a 2.0-liter I4 turbo with 248 horsepower that goes rocket fast in Dynamic mode and runs about $46,000 well equipped.

FAST STATS: 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Hits: Good looks, excellent electric power, precise handling and full-time AWD. Big sunroof, heated wheel and front seats, big touchscreen, quality stereo, a stylish luxury interior, plus a full bevy of safety equipment.

Misses: Touchscreen (beyond main screen) is distracting to use while driving and no power tilt/telescope steering wheel or cooled seats in front. Chattery ride on rough roads and the electric charge range is limited to 223 miles.

A stylish tail on Volvos features vertical lights.

Made in: Ghent, Belgium

Engine: Twin electric motors w 78 kWh-lithium ion battery, 402 hp/486 torque

Transmission: Shift-by-wire single-speed automatic

Weight: 4,763 lbs.

Wheelbase: 106.4 in.

Length: 174.8 in.

Cargo: 57.5 cu.ft. (rear seats down)

Tow: 2,000 lbs.

MPGe: 92/79

Base Price: $59,245 (includes delivery)

Invoice: N.A.

Major Options:

Metallic gray paint, $695

Heated steering wheel, $150

Test vehicle: $60,090

Sources: Volvo, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage