Luxury has a new Genesis

The word ‘luxury’ is overused these days. One day in the not-too-distant past, an ad man (or ad man-woman) must have woken up and had an epiphany. Realising they could charge more for an item if they simply placed the ‘L Word’ in the description, they went mad; it’s now everywhere you look. It’s often used to describe those new-build junior-executive homes on housing estates that keep cropping up on disused RAF sites. Yes, they might be the size of a shoebox but because the master bedroom has an en-suite they’re now ‘luxury homes’. Really? I mean sure, having a commode just off your bedroom is handy but it doesn’t make it the Palace of Versailles.

There are more ridiculous examples too. Funnily enough, the chocolate digestive I’m dipping into my cup of tea as I write this has been described as ‘luxury’ on its packaging. I’m certain I saw some hand wash in the supermarket just yesterday which was also guilty of trying to cash in on this. Luxury Liquid Soap. Luxury? Right…

Not only is the word massively overused, but it’s also a relative term. Something that’s considered a luxury to one person isn’t necessarily to someone else. A cold running tap would be a luxury item to a member of the Maasai tribe in East Africa. However, show the same feature to Camilla Parker-Bowles for example and I don’t suppose she would be nearly half as excited. Combine its subjectivity with its overuse and the word ‘luxury’ is almost completely meaningless.

This is a bit of an issue for the manufacturers of ‘luxury’ cars. For many years the Mercedes S Class was the gold standard by which other luxury cars were judged. It was always loaded full to the gunnels of mind-blowing features. The trouble is, nowadays everyone else has caught up. Heated seats? The new Vauxhall Corsa has those. Ok, what about a heated steering wheel? The Corsa has that too. Adaptive cruise control? Yup. You guessed it. You see, it’s quite difficult to stand out when most cars have such upmarket features. This has forced car makers back to the drawing board to figure out what a luxury car should be. Most are struggling.

There is one brand though who have taken the idea of luxury and run with it. Chances are you’ll have never heard of them either: Genesis. I’m not sure if they’re named after the band that made Phil Collins a household name or the Old Testament; either way, they hail from the Korean Peninsula – south of the 38th parallel I should point out (although I’d love to see what somebody north of the border would deem a luxury – freedom to choose their own haircut perhaps? Something to eat other than rice?). See what I mean about it being relative.

Genesis Motors is the luxury division of Hyundai & Kia. They’ve been around as a stand alone brand since 2015 and started selling luxury saloons in the USA a year later. Interestingly, Stateside, their ‘luggz-shuree sedans’ are very popular. The G90 is a genuine threat to the mighty S Class. And even though Genesis has only been in Europe for about ten minutes you can tell they mean business. You might dismiss them immediately as I did. You might think nobody will pay a premium for a posh Kia but I’m happy to report I was wrong; the GV70 I’ve been using for the last fortnight is without doubt the most luxurious car I’ve driven this year.

From every angle, the GV70 looks class. Its imposing, get-out-of-my-way-peasant grille looks the business. The badge bears a striking resemblance to that of a Bentley. Indeed, driving this through Cheshires’ golden triangle caused heads to turn; presumably, people assumed it was the latest offering from the craftsmen in nearby Crewe and cost a million pounds. It does not.

Inside is even better. It’s opulent. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in an actual Bentley, such is the quality. If you buy one, you must opt for the pale leather; it’s stunning. When you open the door for the first time, it’s almost ethereal. The model I’ve been driving is fully electric with a range of 240 miles – I’m not sold on EVs but that’s a subject for another day. In the case of the GV70, the silence makes it even more luxurious.

There’s an electric motor on each axle making this all-wheel-drive. There’s a Boost button on the steering wheel which gives you ten seconds of out-of-this-world speed. With almost 500BHP and a 0-62 time of just 4.2 seconds It’s quicker than most Bentleys I’ve driven. In addition to that it rides beautifully. It is a joy to drive.

It’s also packed with features to make your life more comfortable. It has such extras as heated seats and a steering wheel – just like a Corsa – but there’s really clever technology present too. It’ll steer for you and brake for you too. If you opt for the ‘Innovation Pack’ it’s equipped with what is essentially a noise cancelling system that produces a sound frequency that cuts out ambient noise. I mean, that’s not just clever, that’s Oppenheimer’s clever. Wait, there’s more; massaging seats where the upright part of your chair pokes and prods your back isn’t a new concept, My twenty-year-old SL has those but the Genesis goes one further. This also does the base… and my oh my. Meg Ryan would love it.

I’m fortunate enough that I get lots of cars dropped off for me to test out and when they’re collected I usually feel totally indifferent. Not the Genesis though. I felt bereft. I miss it.

What we have here ladies and gents is the new Gold Standard for the luxury car. At £78,000 it isn’t cheap but just know that this is one of the few products available that’s worthy of the L word.