Henry Payne Blog

Cartoon: California No Electricity Amish

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 28, 2022

Cartoon: FBI Seizes Hillary Clinton’s phone at Hardee’s

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 28, 2022

Cartoon: NY Times back in the office

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 28, 2022

Cartoon: Tlaib Divest Fossil Fuels

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 23, 2022

Payne: New Honda HR-V is stylish, roomy and fun. Until you put your foot into it

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 23, 2022

Summit Point, W.Va. — Powered by a 1.5-liter Honda Fit engine, the F1600 class is one of my favorite open-wheel, so-called “Formula” racing classes. It’s a showcase for relentless wheel-to-wheel driving, some of the country’s best up-and-coming teenage drivers on the Road to Indy — and for Honda’s reliable engine technology.

Honda also makes a stylish small SUV that will get you to the track.

The 2023 Honda HR-V is all-new with improved looks and an eager Civic-based chassis.

I picked up the Japanese brand’s newest entry-level, Mexican-built HR-V sport ute at Dulles Airport this summer to take my family to an F1600 race at Summit Point Raceway, one of the country’s most challenging regional racing circuits. I would also be racing my own Lola sports racer (powered by a Ford, not Honda, engine) in the Sports2000 series, which shared box office billing with the F1600s.

Ford was once synonymous with entry-level racing with its iconic Formula Ford series. But Honda recently replaced Ford engines in the F1600 series. The Dearborn maker is more focused on off-road and electrified vehicles these days with its dirt-kicking Bronco and a full pickup lineup that includes the entry-level, hybrid-powered Maverick.

Needless to say, pickups and open-wheel racing are opposite ends of auto culture — but not for Honda, whose entry-level Civic sedan and CR-V ute are whip-quick compacts that appeal to the young folks hanging around F1600 races and Summit Point.

So my family was surprised to find the 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine in my HR-V was the least interesting part of the vehicle. RRRRRRRRRR! Mated to a droning CVT transmission, the HR-V huffed and puffed up the hills of winding West Virginia roads leading to Summit Point.

The 2023 Honda HR-V's weak link is a weak 158-horse 4-banger mated to a droning CVT transmission.

The F1600’s 1.5-liter Honda engine only makes 130 horses. But since the cars weigh just 1,110 pounds, that’s enough ponies for the job. The 2.0-liter, 158-horse unit in my HR-V, on the other hand, has to push around 3,350 pounds. Oof.

No doubt, the HR-V is as bulletproof as the F1600 mills, which have to endure constant punishment from their drivers. Still, the HR-V’s engine puts it at a comparative disadvantage in its ferociously competitive segment that includes the 186-horse Mazda CX-30 (my favorite driver’s SUV in the subcompact class) or the 184-torque (compared to the HR-V’s 138) turbocharged, 4-cylinder-powered Volkswagen Taos.

At least the HR-V upgraded its engine from the 141-horse hamster wheel in the first-generation model — part of an overhaul for the entry-level ute. As readers of this column know, I’ve got the need for speed, but for most customers in this class, it’s the HR-V’s other upgrades that will really turn heads.

Begin with the fact that the new HR-V is built on the same bones as the excellent Civic sedan.

The 2023 Honda HR-V adopts the Civic's acclaimed horizontal, honeycomb grille with tablet screen on top of the dash.

That means one of the best interiors in class surrounded me as I jumped into the HR-V’s driver’s seat. A cool honeycomb dash stretched from A-pillar to A-pillar, featuring a high-mounted touchscreen for good driver visibility complemented by meaty climate-control dials. The interior fit like a glove. That utility extended throughout the roomy cabin.

I loaded three suitcases, a computer bag and a backpack into the rear hatch with ease, then climbed into the roomy backseat with leg and headroom to spare. My 6’3” son Sam sat comfortably in front of me. The current owner of a 2012 VW Golf GTI, he is the HR-V’s target audience should he and his wife, say, want to buy a second car.

Go on, stuff the 2023 Honda HR-V with cargo.

After a weekend in the Honda, he said it would be on his shopping list along with the Taos, since Volkswagen has impressed him with the GTI. The Honda and V-dub are very similar, with bold, roomy interiors and distinctive looks — another big improvement for this HR-V over last year’s appliance.

I mean, it actually looked more like a kitchen appliance than a car. For this gen, the HR-V has adopted a more anthropomorphic face with bright eyes (headlights) and a cute mouth. Think the 2020 Kia Sportage or Ford Focus.

My other son, Henry, was a tougher sell. The owner of a 250-horse, all-wheel-drive hatchback Mazda3, he has understandably high expectations for modern subcompact SUVs.

On a long journey, the 2023 Honda HR-V's seats were comfy - and the sunroof a welcome option. As is the 9-inch screen offering wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Charging along between corn fields on Route 632 south of Summit, he gripped the fat leather steering wheel and seemed to enjoy the HR-Vs’s nimble Civic chassis. The engine, not so much. He reached for the DRIVE mode selector and got only ECO, SNOW and NORMAL. No SPORT mode. “Pretty boring,” he said. How about the interior? “Compared to the red interior in my Mazda3? Pretty boring.”

Like I said, tough class.

Mazda CX-30 has set a ridiculously high bar in this class in features, too, with standard adaptive cruise control, blind-spot assist, automatic braking, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and coffee machine (kidding about the latter). Honda keeps up with standard adaptive cruise and auto braking, but load the two vehicles to the teeth and the Mazda wins on price.

Honda’s strengths are in its boxy utility and ergonomic excellence. The Mazda has its quirks — like a cramped, coupe-like roof and remote-dial controlled information screen. Typically, Honda has obsessively tested its SUV to make sure everything is easy. For example:—Tab on top of the rear seats to help them collapse? Check.—Console storage? Check.—Sub-rear cargo storage for small items? Check.—Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto? Check (on models like my tester with 9-inch screens).—Front warning lights to let me know that I’m within inches of a stack of race tires in the crowded Summit paddock? Check.

Still, there are reminders this is an entry-level vehicle, even in my loaded $31K EX-L model. There are no ceiling grab handles (for passengers to seize when we motorheads choose to throw the Civic chassis around a bit) or climate controls in the rear (honey, could you please turn up the AC in front?).

But on the whole, this is a stylish, roomy vehicle that punches above its price point. Sitting in Summit’s paddock next to the Honda, a friend pointed at the HR-V’s clay-blue wardrobe.

“I like that color,” he said. “Very fashionable.”

In the middle of a sea of race cars sporting all kinds of entertaining paint jobs, it’s no small feat for a small SUV to get noticed. Just a few yards away, a trio of red, yellow and blue F1600s flashed by — nose to tail — down the pit straight.

If a little more of that sportiness rubs off on the HR-V’s engine bay, the Honda will be complete.

2023 Honda HR-V

Vehicle type: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger subcompact SUV

Price: $24,895, including $1,245 destination fee ($30,590 as tested)

Powerplant: 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder

Power: 158 horsepower, 138 pound-feet of torque

Transmission: Continuously variable automatic (CVT)

Performance: 0-60 mph, 7.0 seconds (Car and Driver). Top speed, 135 mph

Weight: 3,350 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA, 25 mpg city/30 highway/27 combined

Report card

Highs: Excellent, roomy interior; fun Civic platform

Lows: Engine lacks punch; oh, that CVT

Overall: 3 stars

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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Posted by Talbot Payne on September 21, 2022

Cartoon: Martha’s Vineyard Retaliation DeSantis

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 21, 2022

Detroit News Readers’ Choice awards: Z06, V-8s and EVs take prizes

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 21, 2022

Detroit — The Detroit auto show floor is awash in whispery-quiet new electric vehicles, but show-goers still covet American heavy metal.

Muscle cars dominated the annual Detroit News Readers’ Choice awards at Huntington Place this year. The high-revving, 670-horsepower, V8-powered Chevy Corvette Z06 took home Best in Show, while the rowdy Ford Bronco Raptor — inspired by King of the Hammers racing trucks — won best Off-Road Warrior.

Ford’s focus on its iconic vehicles — Mustang, Bronco, F-150 — has received a lot of buzz, and that was reflected in jurors’ selections as the Blue Oval took home the most prizes, winning four of the nine categories. Ford’s luxury division, Lincoln, also took home Top Concept for good measure.

The Readers’ Choice Awards are prized by automakers for their status as the Detroit show’s only awards judged by car buyers themselves. Nearly 100 jurors were let loose on the show floor during the Sept. 14 media day to make their selections.

The 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 was President Joe Biden's favorite vehicle at the Detroit auto show and also found favor among judges of The Detroit News Readers' Choice awards.

The 2023 Corvette Z06 had already caught the eye of President Joe Biden when he toured the show, and News’ readers found the orange supercar irresistible as well. The eighth-generation, $65,895 Corvette C8 is the iconic nameplate’s first mid-engine model — and much more affordable than comparable mid-engine exotics from Ferrari and McLaren. The Z06 is the C8’s first performance version featuring the most-powerful normally-aspirated V-8 production engine ever made.

That performance will cost customers another 40 grand over the base car — and for that, The News’ jurors awarded the Z06 the prize for If Money Were No Object.

The Lincoln L100 was the Readers' Choice winner as Top Concept.

The North American International Auto Show has traditionally showcased head-turning concepts, and 2022 was no different. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the Readers’ Choice Awards, the Lincoln L100 Concept edged out the much-hyped Dodge Charger Daytona Banshee — a peek at the brand’s first EVs — and Buick Wildcat as best concept.

The sci-fi L100 is Lincoln’s vision of an autonomous vehicle future with no steering wheel or pedals (a “chess piece” is provided on an electronic pad to override the car’s self-driving if needed) and front seats that can swivel to face rear passengers. The chariot boasts other exotic features like a glass canopy roof, glass “frunk” and hub-mounted electric motors.

Mustang’s most powerful model — the Shelby GT500 — took home the trophy for Muscle Machine. The track-focused, 760-horse hellion can hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. You can’t miss its giant cow-catcher front grille.

Best Electric Vehicle awards went to the Ford Mustang Mach-E — inspired by the Mustang coupe — and Cadillac Lyriq. While Mach-E replicates the sports-car’s looks and speed in an updated EV package, Lyriq shows the way to an entirely electric Cadillac future with new fascia and bling-tastic interior.

In addition to winning best Off-Road Warrior, the ballistic Bronco Raptor also inspired the more affordable Bronco Sport, which jurors judged best Bargain Buggy. Based on the Ford Escape’s unibody chassis, the all-wheel-drive Bronco Sport Badlands trim offers surprising off-road capability for half the price of the ladder-frame-based Raptor.

The Detroit News Readers' Choice winner for best Family Hauler is the 2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

If you want to bring the entire family to Huntington Place for the show, jurors recommend the Jeep Grand Wagoneer as best Family Hauler with its spacious three-row interior. The Grand is a step above the Wagoneer (which competes against the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition) and sets its sights on truck-based luxury models like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator.

Riding on a smooth air suspension, the Grand Wagoneer boasts an interior studded with luxury touches including four screens up front — even one for the passenger. Second-row passengers get their own infotainment screens, and third-row passengers their own sunroof.

Under the hood? A 471-horspower, 6.4-liter V-8, of course. Even family haulers are best served with American muscle.

The winners

HOTTEST TECH: Ford Mustang Mach-E


BARGAIN BUGGY: Ford Bronco Sport

OFF-ROAD WARRIOR: Ford Bronco Raptor

FAMILY HAULER: Jeep Grand Wagoneer

MUSCLE MACHINE: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

TOP CONCEPT: Lincoln L100

IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT: Chevrolet Corvette Z06

BEST IN SHOW: Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

Cartoon: Martha’s Vineyard Immigrants

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 18, 2022

Cartoon: Biden Corvette Buttigieg

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 18, 2022

Cartoon: Buttigieg Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 18, 2022

Cartoon: Czar Whitmer Reelect Abortion

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 8, 2022

Cartoon: California No gas Cars No Charging

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 8, 2022

Payne: Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. OMG Speedwagon.

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 8, 2022

Charlevoix — On a vacant country road south of this small north Michigan burg, I initiated launch control in my all-electric, Mamba Green, 2022 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo wagon by simultaneously flattening the brake and accelerator pedals. Just like a Porsche 911 sports car.

I released the brake, and the all-wheel-drive GTS exploded forward like a Cedar Point amusement ride, crushing my rib cage into the seatback. “GEE-SUS!” was the universal reaction of everyone I took for a ride. Just like a Porsche 911. Sixty mph went by in just 3.5 seconds before I entered an ess turn, Taycan hugging the road courtesy of a battery powertrain mounted low in the chassis. Just like the flat-six engine in a 911.

Coveted by Porsche-philes, Taycan sold over 9,000 units in the 2021 sales year. Just like a Porsche 911.

In a luxury EV market dominated by King Tesla, Porsche is the only brand to have made a significant dent. The Tesla Model 3, for example, outsold the #2 sedan in class, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, 128,600 units to (ahem) 1,766 last year. The compact Model Y SUV outsold the Ford Mustang Mach-E: 172,700 to 27,140.

Taycan was the only vehicle to outsell Tesla in class: besting the Model S sedan by 9,419 units to 9,100.

The electric rocket also outsold Porsche’s gas-powered sedan, the Panamera, by 3:1. No doubt that’s because Taycan is the latest “It” thing from a fashionable brand. But I sense Taycan also has sex appeal that (the plenty capable) Panamera has struggled to achieve.

I’ve raced Porsches, owned Porsches, put the 911 on a pedestal as the best sports car on the planet. But I haven’t bonded with Panamera, the brand’s first sedan/wagon. Maybe because it looks like an overstuffed 911. Maybe because it’s powered by front-mounted, V-shaped engines (heresy!), not rear, horizontally-opposed, flat-cylinder engines. Maybe because of its cluttered center console.

The 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo can hit 155 mph, and go 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Staying charged is more of a challenge, with just 233 miles of range.

By contrast, I’m smitten by Porsche’s second sedan/wagon entry because of its aforementioned attributes. Ask anyone who’s driven one. It’s the best handling EV on the market, period. My 911 pal Jon had to be pried out by 10 men.

Where Panamera always felt like it was trying (like the ungainly Cayenne SUV) to force sports car looks into a sedan wrapper, Taycan has its own design signature — while retaining Porsche’s crucial brand DNA.

The styling is stunning. The front end is more sportscar-ish (no front engine) than Panamera, and framed by unique horizontal headlights. They make Taycan look lean, menacing. Out back, the wagon’s hatch tapers elegantly between Simba-like muscular hips, punctuated by a 911-inspired horizontal taillight spanning the rear deck. This vision sits on Porsche J1 skateboard chassis, making for a low center of gravity and thrilling cornering capabilities despite the car’s 5,200-pound girth — 500 pounds more than the comparable Panamera GTS Sport Turismo.

Necks swiveled wherever I went. At a Charlevoix cross walk, a family walked by before the dad finally stopped in his tracks, staring. GTS OMG.

The 590-horse GTS Sport Turismo is the sweet spot of Taycan beauty, performance and utility. Slotted between the Taycan sedan and insane 2.4-second-zero-60, 750-horse Turbo S, the GTS (like a 911 GTS) brings a more handling-focused package with sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires, tightened suspension and SPORT PLUS mode that makes a futuristic flat-6 sound (I could do without it. I love the 911’s glorious, flat-6 wail, but if you’re going electric, give me an electric motor shriek).

The clean, spare interior of the 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo includes two dash screens - one for driver, one for passenger.

The wagon then adopts the hatchback from the Cross Turismo Taycan crossover — sans fender cladding for a sleek, simple aesthetic.

The spare elegance continues inside. Under a panoramic roof is a TV store of screens — not a button in sight. The dominate piece is the hoodless, curved boomerang-shaped instrument display. It’s as lovely as the first day I saw it at the Taycan’s 2019 Niagara Falls unveiling — though its novelty has worn off as other curved displays from Cadillac and Mercedes have come to market.

Draped over 21-inch RS Spyder wheels, the Mamba Green 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo looks ready to rock.

In Porsche tradition, the ignition is a button on the left dash (so you can fire up the beast as you jump into the driver’s seat like Le Mans racers of old). In fact, you only use the button to turn the car off with a loooong hold like a smartphone. Taycan comes to life automatically (with key in my pocket) as I step on the brake pedal.

Everything is simple. The electronic shifter has been reduced to a chicklet-sized toggle on the dash, freeing up the center console for a haptic touchscreen. Climate controls and charging info are accessed here — freeing the infotainment screens (there are two — one for driver, one for passenger) to do infotainment stuff like Sirius XM and Android Auto navigation.

Speaking of navigation, Taycan’s biggest shortcoming compared to Panamera is road trips.

Given its sales numbers, most Porsche sedan buyers apparently drive local. But hit the road to Charlevoix from my Oakland County domicile and Taycan is notably thin on self-driving tech. Herr Payne, zis ist ein Porsche. I am meant to be driven!

And then there’s the EV range issue. Panamera’s 400 miles of gas-powered range (enough to make the 500-mile round trip in a single stop) is a clear advantage (buy a Panamera E-Hybrid and that range extends to 464 miles).

On the trip north to Charlevoix, Payne stopped twice at Electrify America chargers to fill up on electrons. Each stop added about 120 miles in 30 minutes compared to, say, a gas Porsche Panamera that can add that in 2 minutes.

After years of taking my Tesla Model 3 and other EVs north, I’ve settled on a two-stop strategy at Bay City and Gaylord fast chargers. Featuring a 800-volt platform (superior to a 400-volt Model 3 or Mach-E), Taycan should be able to charge at over 250 kilowatts at a 350 kW EA charger.

But I-75 EA chargers on this trip only let me charge at 115 kW, negating the $160K Porsche’s advantage. I sat at Bay City and Gaylord Meijer parking lots for 25 minutes each filling GTS to 80% of charge. Go joy riding in Charlevoix (guilty as charged) and you’ll need to go to, say, the local Ford dealer to charge on a 240-volt unit for a few hours. I like to pack a bicycle in the back of EV SUVs for the trip back to the charger — but the narrow (hey, you want those sexy Simba hips, dontcha?) Sport Turismo hatch requires I take off the bike’s front wheel.

Such are the compromises one makes for EVs.

So you can keep your Taycan caged in Metro Detroit for local commutes. Or you can explore this state’s glorious country roads testing the limits of this low slung, 626-torque rocket ship and its laugh-out-loud launch control capability.

Just like a 911.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Vehicle type: Battery-powered, all-wheel-drive four-passenger SUV

Price: $137,450, including $1,450 destination fee ($161,470 as tested)

Powerplant: 83.7 kWh lithium-ion battery with twin, electric-motor drive

Power: 590 horsepower, 626 pound-feet torque

Transmission: Single-speed direct drive/front axle and two-speed/rear axle

Performance: 0-60 mph, 3.5 seconds (mfr.); top speed, 155 mph

Weight: 5,152 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA MPGe 80 combined: range, 233 miles

Report card

Highs: Head-turning looks; electrifying performance

Lows: Lacks self-driving tech; road-trip charger blues

Overall: 4 stars

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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Posted by Talbot Payne on September 5, 2022

Cartoon: El Presidente Biden Calls GOP Fascist

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 5, 2022

Cartoon: FBI Banana Republic

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 2, 2022

Cartoon: US Open Williams versus Djokovic

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 2, 2022

Payne: Genesis GV60 is stylish, sci-fi Tesla challenger — charging excepted

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 1, 2022

Bay City — I’m a car columnist, but you may find my electric car reviews sound increasingly like electronics reviews.

Payne, you write a lot about high-tech and charging.

The 2023 Genesis GV60 is quick in a straight line - but less athletic in corners.

I know, I know. When I reviewed the Tesla Model 3 back in 2018, I marveled at its acceleration and crisp handling. But the more EVs I drove, the more they all felt the same. The Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Volkswagen ID.4. Torrid acceleration, smooth ride, low center of gravity in corners. Rinse, dry, repeat.

What continued to separate Tesla from the pack was technology and charging. Over-the-air updates, Autopilot driving, seamless charging stops, look-at-me-remote-driving-the-car-out-of-parking-space-with-my-smart-phone-for-goodness-sake.

I called the Model 3/Y smartphones on wheels. Everyone is playing catch up. Well, the 2023 Genesis GV60 has gotten darn close.

The 2023 Genesis GV60 is dominated by big dials.

The top of the line in Hyundai Motor Group’s skateboard-chassis-based trilogy of Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, the premium GV60 EV wows in style, speed, technology — even surpassing the Tesla in build quality and the ability to remote parallel-park itself. No kidding.

But Genesis still badly lags in Tesla’s secret sauce: road-trip charging.

I took the GV60 on my favorite long loop test — a weekend with family in Charlevoix, 250 miles up north. Like my short-loop test to Hell and back it is Pure Michigan: unique towns for photography, great twisty roads for performance, interstate chill time to test infotainment and driver-assist features. The big add of the Charlevoix loop is I get to test electric-vehicle range and charging availability, and show off the car to the public and friends along the way.

Like a luxury car (or electronics device) the GV60 passed the style test with flying colors. Though I find all three Hyundai Group siblings to be uniquely premium in their looks, passersby definitely preferred the Genesis. The Hyundai Ioniq 5? Nice, but too boxy. The Kia EV6? Nice but too bulbous. The GV60? Just right.

“The Porsche Macan-like rear hatchback caught my eye,” said a middle-aged pal.

“I’ve got to ask, what kind of car is that? A new Audi? It’s really beautiful,” said a 20-something employee at a Taco Bell carryout window.

As those comments suggest, the Korean-assembled GV60 rejects Tesla’s Apple-simple design (there’s not even a proper frunk), for an elegant European-styled SUV with plenty of curves, signature split-headlights, and even a big grille. The grille is hardly necessary as EVs have no gas engine to cool, but Genesis apparently feels the need to link the car to gas-engine siblings like the GV70. An anthropomorphic face also makes a human connection.

To my cartoonist’s eye, the face looks like Stitch in Disney’s Lili & Stitch movie. Whatever your thoughts, it’s unique.

The design detail continues inside with a big, Mercedes-like digital screen stretching across the dash, crisp pages to flip through on the infotainment screen and floating console below like a Cadillac Lyriq. Unlike Tesla, there are upscale flourishes everywhere, with fat dials controlling everything from the screen to the side mirrors to the transmission.

But in operation, GV60 is one of the most Tesla-like vehicles I’ve tested. It wants to show off.

The 2023 Genesis GV60 can self-drive for miles.

Roll up to a parallel parking space and my Genesis Sport not only would self-park, but it also gave me the option to step out of the car, stand on the curb and let the car park itself via key fob. The process is laborious as the car inches back and forth into a tight space — but it’s cool to witness.

It will also park in a perpendicular space and move out of a tight spot, all with remote operation. Tesla pioneered this drop-the-mike tech and Genesis has embraced it.

That autonomous habit extends to self-driving. It’s a feature available on other Hyundai products from the gas-powered Kia Sportage to the EV6 and Ioniq 5 — and I regret that Genesis doesn’t offer more capability. Think auto lane change that would put it on par with top-drawer luxury systems like Cadillac’s SmartCruise, Mercedes’ Intelligent Drive and Tesla’s Autopilot. Still, I came to rely on it as I drove long stretches of I-75 hands-free, the GV60 rarely nannying me to keep my hands on the wheel like my Model 3.

Self-driving at 80 mph is relaxing — but GV60’s charging issues filled the anxiety gap. The Hyundai Group says that it is developing a charger navigation system like Tesla, but for now drivers are on their own for navigating via an unreliable third-party charge network.

I’ve made this trip enough to know to ignore charge apps like ABRP and Chargeway that tell me to do a one-stopper via a West Branch charger. With a single charger, the West Branch unit could be out of order — or backed up with other vehicles. Better to use Electrify America chargers in Bay City and Gaylord — not just because they have multiple chargers, but also because weather can drain your battery.

Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne charged twice in the 2023 Genesis GV60 on a 250-mile trip north to Charlevoix.

Despite filing up to the recommended 80% of range (188 miles) to go 166 miles from Bay City to Charlevoix, I wouldn’t make it on a 90-degree day when battery range is just 70% (131 miles) of predicted range. So I stop twice — in Bay City and Gaylord — to be sure.

On my return trip, EA’s multiple charger options were crucial to getting home.

I entered Bay City with 50% of range. A quick, 7-minute fill-up on a 350 kW charger (a benefit of the Genesis’s fast, 800-volt platform) to 80% should have been enough to get me home with enough cushion to prepare for a 2 p.m. meeting.

Not much frunk in the funky 2023 Genesis GV60.

But the Electrify America station had a surprise in store.

When I arrived, a Mustang Mach-E was on the 350 kW unit — its passengers asleep inside. I plugged into the second 350 kW unit. It was out of order.

Two, slower, 150 kW chargers left. I plugged into a 150. Also AWOL. Down to my last charger.

Fortunately, it worked. At 150 kW the charge to 80% took 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes wasted on out-of-order chargers), and then I was on my way. But not before I warned an arriving Mach-E owner that two chargers were out of order.

Awright, Payne, enough about high-tech and charging.

With high tech and high style, the 2023 Genesis GV60 challenges the Tesla Model 3 - though its third-party charging options lag the Tesla network.

Leaving the Bay City charger with plenty of battery to get home, I put the Genesis in SPORT mode, nailed the accelerator and merged on the interstate with authority. EV60 will hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds — on par with a Tesla Model Y Performance, despite the Genesis weighing 400 pounds more.

Much of that added weight appears the result of better engineering for a quieter driving experience. Tesla still has the lead thanks to its charging network, but Genesis is a player to watch.

2023 Genesis GV60

Vehicle type: Battery-powered, all-wheel-drive five-passenger SUV

Price: $59,985, including $1,090 destination fee ($69,560 Performance AWD model as tested)

Powerplant: 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery with dual electric-motors

Power: 429 horsepower, 516 pound-feet torque

Transmission: Single-speed direct drive

Performance: 0-60 mph, 3.7 seconds (mfr., AWD); towing, 2,300 pounds

Weight: 4,890 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA 90 MPGe; range, 235 miles

Report card

Highs: Standout looks, lotsa cool features to play with

Lows: Floaty handling; 800-volt platform not much benefit

Overall: 3 stars

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

Cartoon: Mar-a-Lago Trump Affidavit Redacted

Posted by Talbot Payne on August 29, 2022