Genesis GV60 Sport Plus (2023) review
A tech update for the Genesis GV60 makes us like it even more.
James Fossdyke
James Fossdyke

Published on May 30, 2023

Though not yet officially on sale in Ireland, we're keeping a close eye on the Genesis GV60 as it is likely to reach these shores in the not-too-distant future. It's based on the same core underpinnings as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 and could lead the Genesis brand into the Irish market in time. Anyway, a year on from our first test drive of the GV60 it has come in for a technology upgrade. Here's what it's all about.

In the metal

Yes, it looks just the same as before. We know. But if you look really, really closely, you might spot a few differences. Chief among these is the colour, because while you could once get the GV60 in a rather lurid shade of green, the new colour palette is a little more restrained. There's a nice coppery shade and a very smart blue, though.

Those with the eyes of a hawk might also notice a small panel in the driver's-side B-pillar, just behind the front door. It's probably only two or three centimetres long, so don't worry if you didn't spot it immediately. We didn't, either.

But while that little square of glossy black plastic looks unremarkable, it's actually a world first in the car industry. Because it isn't just a panel, it's a camera, and this is the first mass production car you can open with your face (without taking a run-up, as we had to clarify to a comedian on social media...).

Yep, the GV60 has a facial recognition system, which is, apparently, useful for people who are either forgetful or active. Once you've programmed the car and set it up, you won't even need to have the key on your person to use facial recognition, as simply pressing the door handle and staring into the camera for a moment will allow the car to open. And you'll know it has worked because the red circle around the camera will go green.

Naturally, onlookers will think you're the world's best car thief, staring at a door until it opens like some sort of criminal Yuri Geller, but that might come in handy if you like windsurfing or cat burgling or any other pastime that makes it inconvenient to carry bulky, jangly and not especially waterproof keys. And speaking of thieves, we put the system to the test by programming the car to accept our correspondent's face (it's the only thing that does), then getting another motoring journalist to try and open the car (they all look the same, right?). Impressively, the Genesis remained steadfastly locked.

But while all this is very clever, it's a fairly minor upgrade to the GV60's design. Not that we're complaining. The GV60 isn't that old, and it still looks great, complete with its lightning bolt chrome behind the windows and its rounded nose. And anyway, facial recognition is only one of the car's tech tweaks.

Just to make sure you really, really don't need the key, Genesis has added fingerprint recognition to the centre console, allowing you to start the car with your digits. The sensor is found just near the clever rotating gear selector, and it's integrated really neatly with the other switchgear on the console. As with the facial recognition tech, it works quickly and smoothly, and if it senses a fingerprint it doesn't recognise, it'll ask for the key to be present before it starts.

Clever keyless tech aside, Genesis has made a few other tweaks of note, including some substantial improvements to the standard specification. There's an air purification system, electric steering wheel adjustment and an 18-way adjustable massaging driver's seat with memory function. Rear door blinds have been fitted, too, as well as an acoustically insulated windscreen, but perhaps more importantly there are heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel, all fitted to every model as standard.

All this is integrated into the already impressive GV60 interior. It's a clean and minimalist place to be, with aluminium-style trim everywhere and some neat details, including the flash gear selector. But it doesn't just look good. It feels good, too, with great materials and impressive fit and finish, which ensures it feels every bit as premium as a Volvo or a Jaguar.

It also gets a solid touchscreen infotainment system with a wide, clear display with crisp graphics and logical menus. And because Genesis knows touchscreens can be distracting when you're driving, there's a control wheel on the centre console that allows you to navigate the system that way, reducing the time you spend with your eyes on the screen. Just don't confuse the control wheel with the gear selector next door because that could get embarrassing quite quickly.

Better still, Genesis has managed to bestow its smallest SUV with a sensible amount of space, with ample headroom despite the car's shape. Naturally, those in the front are well catered for, and there's enough space in the back, too, although the very tallest rear passengers might find their hair brushing the roof lining. Boot space is competitive, too, with more room than you'll find in the back of a Volvo C40 for example. Basic rear-wheel-drive models also get a 53-litre 'frunk' under the bonnet, but the twin-motor, all-wheel-drive examples only accommodate 20 litres.

Driving it

Although Genesis has amended the technology and interior, there are no mechanical tweaks to the GV60 whatsoever. Not that it really needed them, because it was already a competitive electric SUV.

As before, there's a three-tier range, with each model getting its own powertrain. All three use the same 77.4kWh battery pack but come with different motor layouts and power outputs. Yet all three have plenty of power, and the 'basic', rear-wheel-drive Premium version will likely be the best choice for most buyers.

With 229hp from its single, rear-mounted motor, the Premium version has an offical range of more than 500km, although something in the region of 400km is probably more realistic during everyday use. Still, that's a useful range, and the power output is more than sufficient for most people's needs.

However, those who want all-wheel-drive traction will need to upgrade to one of the more powerful two-motor cars. The Sport model comes with 318hp, while the Sport Plus gets 490hp and a boost button, which gives you maximum acceleration for 10 seconds. Use that and you get near-supercar performance from the family SUV. Of course, the power hikes come at the cost of range, with the Sport promising 470km on a single charge while the Sport Plus manages 465km, despite its huge power output.

It was the range-topping Sport Plus we tested, and though it sounds like the most exciting option in the line-up on paper, it doesn't quite work out that way on the road. Yes, the straight-line speed is impressive, particularly if you push the tempting 'boost' button on the steering wheel, but the handling is no sharper than that of a less upmarket Premium version.

That's no criticism, because every GV60 drives smartly thanks to the low-slung battery pack that lowers the centre of gravity and prevents the body from leaning too much in the bends. The steering is generally good, too, although it lacks a little feedback at times, and the traction afforded by the all-wheel-drive system is plentiful.

Less impressive, however, was the drift mode, which we assessed in the controlled environment of a skid pan. With the reduced grip provided by a layer of water over the surface, the drift mode should have been in its element, but instead it proved snappy and difficult to control. With all the torque arriving all at once, it's difficult to modulate the throttle correctly, while on some occasions the car will simply kill the power to the rear wheels when it senses a loss of traction, giving you yards of depressing understeer. Still, we suspect few customers will ever really want to drift their luxury SUV, so that won't be a great issue.

The real reason for choosing a basic GV60 Premium over the top-end Sport Plus, therefore, is the ride. The Sport Plus comes with larger alloy wheels and the extra weight of a second electric motor, and the result is a noticeable deterioration in ride quality. The Premium isn't perfect - the weight of the battery compromises the way it deals with potholes and the like - but the Sport Plus really thumps into the bumps and feels a little more brittle over less severe imperfections.

What you get for your money

As before, the GV60 is not yet available in Ireland. Elsewhere, it's priced at about the same level as the BMW iX1.

The entry-level Premium model gets bags of standard equipment, including 19-inch alloy wheels and the 12.3-inch infotainment screen and similarly sized instrument display. And thanks to the upgrades for 2023, there are heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as a massaging driver's seat.

And although every version comes with its own powertrain, it must be acknowledged that even the cheapest Premium version has all the kit you really need.


The updates to the Genesis GV60 might be minor, but they only serve to make the EV feel more high-tech and more upmarket. And while we wouldn't want to panic anyone who has just taken delivery of a 2022 car - the face recognition tech isn't exactly a must-have - there is clear appeal to the new technology. Quite aside from the practical application, it's a sign of Genesis' intention to be more user-friendly and more high-tech than so-called 'legacy' car brands, and it's fitted to a car that's truly competitive. The GV60 was already a great electric SUV, and updates such as this are only going to increase its appeal. Irish buyers should keep an eye on it and hope it arrives here soon.


Tech Specs

Model testedGenesis GV60 Sport Plus
Electric systemtwo electric motors, 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmissionsingle-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120
Max charging350kW; 18 mins for 10-80 per cent battery or 181km of range every 10 minutes at max DC speed
Energy consumption19.1kWh/100km
Charging port typeCCS Combo on offside rear wing
Top speed235km/h
0-100km/h4.0 seconds
Max power490hp
Max torque700Nm
Boot space432 litres rear plus 20-litre 'frunk'
Rivals to the GV60 Sport Plus (2023)