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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.

2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 AWD Prestige review

2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 AWD Prestige right side
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 AWD Prestige right side

Hold on for just a minute; I thought I’d driven the finest luxury compact SUV about 18 months ago when I gushed over the twin-turbo 375-horseV6 Genesis GV70. But now they’ve gone and electrified it, boosting the power.

I know, I know, some of you feel electrification is the devil’s work. But brother, I’m telling you, it’s the future. In fact, the GV70 may just prove that the future has arrived.

This SUV is fast, quiet, sophisticated and luxurious to the max. It looks great, its interior is stellar in form, function, and materials, and it rides like a few other trucks, no matter their size or price.

Just look at it.

One can see the beauty. The trademark Genesis has twin horizontal front and rear lights, with a mate silver diamond-shaped grille facing the hidden charger plug tucked inside said grille and sculpted muscular yet sweeping lines from its roof to its fenders. Inside the silver tester was a cream and black leathery dream with a perfect dash layout and function.

Yet all that comes in the gas-powered GV70 3.5T Sport Prestige I’d tested previously. But this one is electric baby, so there’s a slight whine at times from the twin 160kW front and rear electric motors, but otherwise, the law library is quiet.

Those motors deliver 429 horsepower and a whopping 516 pound-feet of torque with instantaneous throttle response. There is no turbo lag as there are no turbos here.

Quick as it is, and it’s a slick rocket ship, to be sure, there’s still a Boost button at the bottom of the power tilt/telescope steering wheel that bumps the grunt to 483 horses for 10 seconds at a tap. It’s like hyper speed in an old video game and perfect for leaving a left-lane dawdler quickly in the rearview.

Power is delivered to all four wheels, when needed, so winter grip will be fine.

Plus, there’s a choice of four drive modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and MY, with Eco extending the battery range a bit. Still, Comfort delivers more power and Sport while also firming the steering feel considerably. MY is for customizing the feel and performance. I mainly ran in Eco and got roughly 4 miles per kWh, about what other electrics deliver.

Charging can be quick if you have access to a rapid charging system. I only know of one with multiple chargers and that’s at a Walmart at 44th Street and Greenfield Ave. Quick chargers can boost the GV70 from a 10% to 80% battery charge in 18 minutes. A 240-volt charger in your garage would give a full charge in seven hours, so overnight. As it were, my garage’s 120-volt outlet netted about 20 miles of range in an overnight charge. That certainly is sufficient for running errands or to work daily for many drivers. Range on a full battery is 236 miles.

Regenerative braking helps charge the batteries here too, as with any hybrid. But there’s a one-pedal driving option (i-Pedal) that allows a driver to just use the accelerator to start and stop the SUV. Just tap the left shift paddle to engage i_Pedal after the GV70 is started and it engages. Let off the throttle and the Genesis slows more quickly in this mode, so braking is rarely needed. This also charges the batteries. One learns how to modulate the accelerator to coast more efficiently approaching a stoplight or stop sign. I like this function, which mildly extends battery range.

Note too that there’s a V2L system option that will allow you to power your fridge, or other appliances during a power outage, if so desired. Ford pickups offer something similar.

Handling is nimble to go with the smooth well-controlled ride and zippy power. The brakes are big discs too, with white calipers that blend well with this Savile Silver exterior ($575 extra). Savile as in Savile Row, the upscale tailoring district of London.

Well, the seats and interior look like a tailor or other skilled craftsman has sewn it and assembled it with precision.

The seats were a creamy white perforated leather, as was the steering wheel. Top of dash and doors is a soft black material while the dash and doors feature a brushed chrome trim as does the console and all buttons. A nice muted green neon glow exudes from the console trim at night to augment the luxury look.

Everything feels soft and supple while a giant 14.5-inch info screen sits atop the dash’s midsection. Functionality is primo and the buttons below the center air ducts (beautifully housed in an oval pod similar to those on the doors) are large. Use those to adjust the map, radio, etc. Genesis/Hyundai/Kia have interior designs nailed.

Check out the door handle release, stereo speaker oval on the doors and another for the seat memory buttons. This is a style theme throughout the GV70.

There’s also a digital 3D instrument cluster for the driver, a panoramic sunroof overhead, manual sunshades for the rear doors and a wireless charger in a cozy closeable compartment at the console’s front. The seats are extremely comfy and power-adjustable, plus they feature heating and cooling up front. The rear seats are heated, as is the steering wheel, part of a $6,800 Prestige package. That includes the Nappa leather seats and soft top dash, head-up display, active noise cancellation system, a Lexicon premium sound system, and a black suede headliner -- a pricy option, but all the features are desirable in a luxury SUV.

The driver’s seat has a power lumbar, of course, but also a power bottom cushion extender to help comfort drivers with long legs. Plus, there’s an ErgoMotion driver’s seat that automatically knows when to turn on to massage the bottom and back to keep the driver comfy and awake on a longer drive.

Safety equipment is primo here too with smart cruise, lane departure, blind spot warning and park sensors, plus a remote Smart Parking system that allows a driver to step out of the vehicle and parallel park it by using the fob. I’m still not comfy using that feature yet.

Are there some tweaks I’d make? Sure, I’m still not fond of the rotary gear selector on the console just behind a larger round dial that adjusts info screen functions, like scrolling through radio stations. Both work fine, but the round knobs are too similar and too close together, making them easy to confuse when in a hurry to slip the car into gear.

Some folks feel the rear seat is a bit tight on legroom. Our family, which skews short, had no difficulty, but NBA types might want to sit up front.

Otherwise, the cargo room is good behind the second row seats which will fold down to carry longer items. A release on each seat back folds the seats flat. Some competitors offer power seat buttons, but these work just fine.

Genesis delivers some other real good news for buyers hoping for a tax rebate but finding it hard to garner from most foreign makes. The GV70 is built in Montgomery, Alabama, the first electric Genesis has made in the US. So, it’s eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. Oh, and Genesis offers 3 years of free charging at Electrify America outlets.

In addition, Genesis, like its entry-level brands Kia and Hyundai, offers a generous warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles for the batteries and powertrain and five years or 60,000 miles for the rest of the vehicle.

Price remains surprisingly competitive, yet much higher than the gas-powered model. The electric version starts $13,300 higher than the V6-equipped model and this one was $9,000 more than the loaded luxury Prestige model I’d driven previously.

Out the door pricing is $74,350 here with the base checking in at $66,975, including delivery.

Electric competitors include the new Cadillac Lyriq (hope to drive it yet this year), the Lexus RX 450e, Jaguar I-Pace, and the smaller Genesis GV60.

It’s hard to imagine anything any nicer, more luxurious, stylish or faster than the GV70, but I’m willing to give any comers a shot.

FAST STATS: 2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 AWD Prestige

Hits: Stellar looks, excellent power, nimble handling, 4 drive modes, and AWD. Stylish luxury look and quiet interior, with heated/cooled seats, heated wheel, panoramic sunroof, wireless charger, full load of safety equipment, massaging driver’s seat, 3D instrument cluster, power tilt/telescope wheel, giant info screen and great warranty.

Misses: Rear seat a bit short of legroom, round shifter dial same shape as info screen adjustment dial and too close to it.

Made in: Montgomery, Ala.

Power: 160kW front and rear electric motors, 77.4kWh battery, 429 hp/516 torque

Transmission: single-speed reduction gear

Weight: 4,982 lbs.

Wheelbase: 113.2 in.

Length: 185.6 in.

Cargo: 28.7-56 cu.ft.

Tow: 3,500 lbs.

MPGe: 98/83

Range: 236 mi.

Base Price: $66,975 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $50,777

Major Options: Savile silver paint, $575

Prestige package (Nappa leather seats, leatherette wrapped wheel, microfiber suede headliner, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, manual rear side sunshades, 12.3-inch 3D digital cluster, heads up display, Lexicon premium audio, active road noise control), $6,800

Test vehicle: $74,350

Sources: Genesis, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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