Day 1: With great power comes great responsibility
I just broke my dad.
“It’s not particularly quick,” I assured him before I floored the Genesis Electrified GV70’s accelerator and sent us into hyperdrive.
It’s hard to accurately describe the sensation of pedal-to-the-metal acceleration in the GV70 Electrified, though my old man put it poetically when he exclaimed, “Shit, shit, shit.”
The Electrified GV70 boasts a dual-motor all-wheel drive electric powertrain that, in normal driving, produces a healthy 320kW (435PS) and 605Nm (446lb-ft). That said, if you press the ‘BOOST’ button on the steering wheel, a genie hidden deep in the Electrified GV70’s chassis grants you an extra dose of power and torque so that the car makes 360kW (489PS) of power and 700Nm (517lb-ft) of torque for ten seconds. In this mode, the Electrified GV70 can tear a hole in the space-time continuum –such is the power on offer. From a standstill, it can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.2 seconds. It took half that time before my old man was kneeling over begging God for mercy.
Day 2: Hey, good lookin’
Unlike most SUVs which look like nondescript bars of soap, the Electrified GV70– particularly in this matte Brunswick green colour–is a properly sexy bit of kit (bar the awkwardly placed rearmost side windows). If Megatron shagged a Bentley Bentayga, then the GV70 would be the lovechild. The Taste Police approve.
It’s a lovely place to spend time in, too. Sure, there are some cheap-feeling materials if you go searching for them and the touchscreen software is a little too similar to Hyundai’s for my liking, however, for the most part, it positively reeks of luxury. Eighteen-way power-adjustable, Nappa leather seats; ‘Panorama’ glass sunroof; metallic, cool-to-touch switches and dials… the Electrified GV70 is more than a match for the Germans.
Do I miss the engagement of a petrol engine? Not at all. The future is quiet and I’m all for it.
Day 3: Range anxiety
It turns out the future is also about crippling range anxiety.
Genesis claims the Electrified GV70 can manage 445km on a single charge (WTLP). This is bollocks. Unless you're a masochist and drive with the air-con off in Summer, then you will be chuffed to travel 330km on a charge. Thankfully, Genesis offers all owners either a complimentary home charger or a 5-year Chargefox subscription. I’d choose the former.
Day 4: Losing the will to live
The charging network in South-East Victoria is pitiful. I tracked down the two (yes, only two) 50kW public chargers within a 10km radius of my house. Both were full. It was lunchtime. I had not eaten in what felt like days. I was hungry but I couldn’t risk putting off charging the Electrified GV70 another day because I risked stranding myself on the side of the freeway. So I waited, or at least, tried to.
After thirty minutes my starving mind started playing tricks on me. The Electrified GV70’s blue interior mood lights morphed into streams of water and the sun visors transformed into oblong suede crackers. Before I knawed on the Genesis’ lavish interior, I took action. It turned out there was a 350kW charger not ten minutes from where I was situated nor, according to the app, was it being used. This was nothing short of an early Christmas miracle.
I rushed to the said charger, plugged in, and… it worked. Seamlessly. Sure, it maxed out at 250kW but it took just 10 minutes for the Electric GV70 to charge from 45-80% and then an additional 30 minutes to get to 100%. Impressive. Total cost? $30. For just over half a ‘tank’, it was cheaper than a petrol fill-up, sure, but it wasn’t the saving I expected.
I also didn’t receive as much charge as I had expected. The Genesis insisted its battery was completely charged but only quoted me 394km of range. Cue more range anxiety.
Day 5: Chasing the dragon
This is going to sound perverse but I am completely desensitised to the Electrified G70’s prodigious power.
After my stint with Kia’s 270kW Stinger, I swore that there was such a thing as too much power for the road. I would like to formally rescind that claim. I floor the accelerator in the Electrified GV70. Everywhere. Thank goodness the massive ventilated rotors (360mm fr / 345mm rr) are up to the task of halting the Electrified GV70’s substantial weight.
Day 6: It’s not big-boned. It’s just fat.
Genesis has done their best to disguise the Electrified GV70’s literally mammoth weight (2.3 TONNES) but at the end of the day, it simply cannot beat physics. When pushed, the Electrified GV70 struggles to contain itself and flops around like a walrus on a roller-coaster and defaults to understeer. Not that it really matters. It’s not a Caterham.
What it is, though, is a cocoon of luxurious calm, and to this end, it delivers in spades. The Electrified GV70’s trick preview controlled suspension is particularly impressive. It uses information from the front camera and navigation system to recognise potential impacts such as speed bumps and adjusts the suspension accordingly. It’s so good, that I actively sought out potholes to drive through just to see how the car would cope, and each time, without fuss, it shrugged off the challenge as if to ask “Is that it?”
As with every Kia/Hyundai product, ‘Sport’ mode should be avoided. It sharpens the Electrified GV70’s throttle response but also ruins the steering (unnecessarily heavy, aggressive centring). That said, if you leave the steering in ‘Comfort,’ it is well-weighted and provides a surprising amount of delicious feedback –nothing like a Mazda MX-5, mind you, but more than enough to keep you informed as to what the tyres are up to.
Day 7: Worth the money?
The Electrified GV70 is a sickeningly expensive car, costing AU$127,800 before on-road costs are taken into account. That’s around $36,000 more than the next most expensive (albeit petrol-powered) GV70. Sure, the Electrified GV70 model boasts superior straight-line performance and doesn’t kill penguins every time it accelerates, however, there is no denying that a 30% price increase is A LOT.
Tesla's quality control is so poor that you’d think they were hiring blind children to align the body panels on their cars...
And yet… if you look at the competition, then the Electrified GV70 begins to make more sense. Sure, a Tesla Model Y ($72,300 - $96,700) would be cheaper, but it doesn’t come with an interior and their quality control is so poor that you’d think Tesla was hiring blind children to align the body panels on their cars. A Mercedes EQC is also similar money ($124,300 - $141,300) but it looks like someone threw a handful of Play-Doh on a table and added wheels to it. So If you’re in the market for a circa $120,000 luxury electric SUV, then the GV70 is your best bet.
But would I buy one? No, I wouldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed by the Electrified GV70. I relished the quietness of its cabin, I was amused by its sprinting ability, and I never got sick of looking at it… but if I had $120,000 to spend on a five-seat family runabout then it wouldn’t be on an electric lard bucket SUV, no matter how good-looking it was. It simply isn’t my sort of car. If it were my money, then I’d probably find myself in a lightly-used Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG Estate complete with a thundering twin-turbocharged V8.
Yes, I realise I’m at risk of contradicting what I said earlier about not missing the engagement of a petrol engine but hear me out. Most internal combustion engines are crap. They are. Many produce barely enough power to overcome a headwind and almost all of them make unpleasant noises, so I stand by what I said. I would rather my car have an electric motor than the average internal combustion engine. However, the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 found in the last generation C63 is not an average engine – it’s epic and sounds like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse waging war against Asgard.
Forget science and objectivity, for me, the best test of a car’s brilliance is whether I miss it when it’s gone. And truth be told, I don’t miss the Electrified GV70.