Get set for ‘Lovecars: On the Road’ Series 2

Lovecars On the Road Series 2 with Paul Woodman and Tiff Needell

Popular motoring show Lovecars: On the Road is with a second series, available on Prime Video from 16 February 2024.

It’s the first time the automotive adventure show has been available on the global streaming service. At the same time, both Series 1 and 2 will launch into new global territories, entertaining audiences in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Returning to host the show is TV personality and ex-racing driver Tiff Needell alongside co-presenter Paul Woodman, plus special guests and friends including Top Gear’s former Stig Ben Collins and Italian racer Vicky Piria.

Of course, the real stars are the cars and Series 2 includes a long list – including a priceless endurance racing Porsche, a six-wheeled monster truck, glittering supercars like the Lamborghini Huracan STO, an ultra-rare Pagani Huayra BC and a £1.6m hand-built homage to a very famous Ferrari. There are also tests of mainstream EVs, including the Genesis GV60 and Renault Megane E-Tech.

Click here to see a preview of ‘Lovecars: On the Road’ Series 2 

The team’s travels include adventures in over 50 different cars in nine countries – from an electric road trip through Switzerland’s winter wonderland, to the holy grail of hypercars on Ohio’s highways.

“We’re well and truly back with a bang,” said co-host Tiff Needell. “Series 2 is such a treat – I can’t wait for the Prime Video audience to join us on our wild motoring adventures.

“And we’ve got everything covered – from one of the world’s most incredible supercar collections, to the ultimate guide to charging an EV. There’s something for everyone.”

Lovecars founder and co-host Paul Woodman added: “The show is about putting viewers in the driving seat of as many different cars as we can, in some of the greatest driving destinations.

“There’s currently nowhere else on TV that can transport you from sub-zero Scandinavia to a summer’s afternoon in Tuscany with a V8 Maserati soundtrack – or from a fast blast on Britain’s B-roads to cruising in a Bugatti Chiron on an American highway.”

Lovecars: On the Road is produced by a small, mainly in-house content team, based in Clevedon near Bristol.

Alongside Series 2, Series 1 remains available on ITVX for UK viewers.

Getting up to speed with Genesis

Genesis GV60, Drift Mode

We discover the latest Genesis model updates – and take the GV60 and Electrified GV70 on some unusual manoeuvres…

Time flies. It’s just two years since Genesis (Hyundai’s upmarket brand) launched in the UK and Europe. Already, eight models have been launched – three of which are electric.

I was among a group of journalists invited to Berlin recently for the chance to have some fun in the GV60 and GV70 EVs at a proving ground, and to be given a demonstration of the enhanced technological features of the latest GV60.

Genesis Electrified G80

I opted to drive an Electrified G80 to the test facility about half an hour outside Berlin. Not just an opportunity to arrive in style, but a chance to reacquaint myself with this zero emissions luxury saloon. Elegant and effortless, and with a claimed range of up to 323 miles, it’s a hidden gem.

The GV60 and GV70 tend to grab most of the spotlight for good reason. They are both excellent electric vehicles in their own ways, and now it was time to see how they perform in challenging conditions in a controlled environment under the guidance of instructors.

Our first test was to pull an empty horsebox weighing 1,200kg in a GV70 SUV. This may not sound impressive (thought the Electrified GV70 can tow a maximum of 1,800kg braked), but one of the great myths is that electric vehicles can’t tow at all.

Genesis GV70 towing

Sure, EV towing capacities are currently not in the 3,500kg top league of big petrol/diesel SUVs and pick-ups, but 1,800kg braked means that trailers and smaller caravans can be towed.

We didn’t just pull a horsebox at regular speeds, we were given the chance to see how the combo copes in extreme conditions.

First we drove the GV70 at speed on a freshly soaked track – the kind of slippery surface that would worry a car driver without a horsebox hooked up.

Then we tested its acceleration and braking capabilities. No hanging about here – foot flat on the floor and full instant torque, followed by a stamp on the brake pedal from high speed.

Finally, a chance to tackle a slalom course – still with the horsebox in tow.

Genesis GV70 towing - slalom

These are extreme scenarios for drivers with anything in tow. And to say the GV70 performed admirably would be an understatement.

Despite the slippery conditions, the GV70’s driving assistance and safety technologies kicked in, keeping the wheels from spinning and the horsebox in check.

The acceleration and braking test was equally impressive. Once again, the car was composed and the horsebox remained remarkably ‘stable’ in a scenario where alarming snaking and pitching might be expected.

Again, no swaying on the slalom course, where car and horsebox seemed in perfect harmony.

Overall, at no time did the horsebox feel or look out of control, while the GV70 performed as if the horsebox wasn’t there.

Next it was on to another smaller, artificially-soaked section of track (circular this time) for a fun test in a GV60 crossover, complete with all-wheel drive and a combined 429bhp.

Genesis GV60 in Drift Mode

There’s also a Boost button on the steering wheel that increases power the GV60’s power to 483bhp for a 10-second period, delivering 700Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque and a 0-62mph time of four seconds.

Crucially for our activity, we could also activate Drift mode, which gives the GV60 the more playful feel of a rear-wheel drive model.

As you know, drifting is (quite simply!) putting a car into oversteer and holding it there.

First I had a go with all the electronic aids switched on. The result was a car being driven around in a tight circle with no drama.

Next, the various features such as traction control and ESC Electronic Stability Control (all designed to keep the car stable) were switched off.

Easier said than done, especially in a confined space, but I think I finally managed a ‘circuit’ of drifting before I lost it and spun round as my speed increased.

All good fun, but there is a serious side to it all. Not only did the ‘workshop’ demonstrate how very capable and safe the GV60 and Electrified GV70 are, it also showed that EVs can be engaging and dynamic.

Genesis GV60 - Face Connect

Finally, we got to test three clever pieces of security technology making their world debut in the Genesis GV60.

Using state-of-the-art facial recognition software and camera, Face Connect allows a driver to unlock the doors, prime the vehicle for starting and pre-load the user’s profile without using the key fob.

Setting the system up is a bit of a faff, but once it’s done you simply look into a camera on the B-pillar. It then scans your face, and hey presto!

As an extra layer of security, there’s Fingerprint Authentication via a touch sensor in the centre console. Not only will this allow you to start the car, it will automatically load your user profile, including settings for the multimedia, head-up display, seats and external mirrors.

This is a truly game-changing concept, but there’s more. Digital Key 2.0 allows owners to share access to their GV60 with up to three different smartphone users, each with their own individual profile.

Genesis is going places. Not just in terms of technology, but by 2025 all new Genesis models will be 100% electric. By 2030, it will be a completely zero emissions brand. And by 2035, it will be carbon neutral.

Lexus RZ review

Lexus RZ review

Luxury brand Lexus is a little late to the party with its first purpose-built electric vehicle. So, the question is – has the RZ been worth the wait?

Lexus is no stranger to electrification. After all, Toyota’s premium sister brand launched its first hybrid, the RX 400h, way back in 2005.

However, it’s taken until now for Lexus to introduce its debut pure electric car designed from the ground up – the RZ 450e – which sits between the mid-size NX and larger RX SUV models.

The RZ’s many EV rivals include the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQA, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Kia EV6, Genesis GV60, Polestar 2 and Jaguar I-Pace.

Lexus RZ review

Before I begin, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, because the RZ has been co-developed with the very similar Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra EVs.

In fact, the RZ 400h is being manufactured alongside its cousins in the same plant at Motomachi, Japan, and they all share the same e-TNGA platform.

It may bear more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota and Subaru, but the RZ differs in some key areas.

The exterior has some uniquely Lexus touches. Its sharper front end features the signature spindle grille (now sealed), while its derriere features a light bar running across the width of the car and softer lines than the BZ’s rump.

Lexus RZ review

Naturally, there’s also a more opulent, driver-focused interior with leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Lexus’s latest (and much improved) 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system, plus an optional double panoramic roof (which is dimmable and has a coating to reduce the heat it lets into the car) and 20-inch wheels.

So-called “radiant” heaters mounted at knee-level in front of the driver and passenger are another option. Unlike convection heating, they use infrared radiation to heat solid objects directly in front of them and Lexus claims they use around 8% less energy.

The RZ 450e has an all-wheel-drive layout as standard. Named Direct4, it features two electric motors mounted on each axle, and though it has the same 71.4kWh battery ((of which 64kWh is usable) used by its cousins, the front motor has been upgraded to deliver 201bhp while the rear remains unchanged at 107bhp, producing a combined 308bhp with a maximum torque of 321 lb-ft.

It’s swift, with a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.3 seconds, while driving range varies from around 245 miles (20-inch wheels) to 270 miles (18-inch).

Lexus RZ review

The RZ has a maximum 150kWh charging capability, meaning a boost from 10-80% can take as little as 30 minutes when connected to a fast public charger. Naturally, it will also charge overnight using a 7kW wallbox.

Sounds good, but some rivals have ranges of around 300 miles, while the Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 have a maximum charging capacity of up to 350kWh – that’s 10-80% in just 18 minutes.

On a more positive note, Lexus loves innovation and the RZ is a classic case. From 2024 there will be an option to ditch the traditional steering wheel and choose a butterfly-shaped ‘yoke’ instead.

Looking like something out of Top Gun, it also utilises Lexus’s new One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system. That means it has no mechanical link and no steering column between the steering wheel and driving wheels.

Lexus RZ review

The system requires just 150 degrees of steering wheel rotation between straight ahead and full lock, eliminating the need for any hand-over-hand movements, and allows a better view of the instrument binnacle ahead. However, you also have to keep your hands at the quarter to three position.

I tried the ‘yoke’ version, as well as a regular wheel with a conventional electric power steering rack.

Given a few weeks to adapt, I think the quirks of the new steering wheel would become second nature. For instance, at low speeds, little movement is required for a lot of steering to the front wheels, making it easier to manoeuvre.

Higher speeds require more movement to apply less steering to the wheels for better stability. In practice, that change in ratio meant that my cornering wasn’t as smooth at higher speeds because the steering is so sharp and fast.

Lexus RZ review

Frankly, I felt much more confident driving the RZ with a traditional steering wheel, though the yoke and steer-by-wire are not just a gimmick and many drivers will prefer the system.

My only other observation would be that the yoke’s diminutive stature means the stalks for indicators and lights are on the stubby side, while the regenerative braking paddles have been reduced to buttons.

When it’s available from 2024, a test drive in both versions would be highly recommended.

The steering is a talking point, but ultimately the RZ drives like a Lexus, which means it’s luxurious, smooth, refined and supremely comfortable.

Lexus RZ review

Compliant over poorer road surfaces, it felt nothing but composed over our varied test routes. Hustle it in Sport mode and it stays nicely flat in faster corners and there’s no shortage of grip. Given its agility, you’d never know it weighs more than two tonnes. That said, the RZ is best enjoyed wafting along in the default Normal setting.

Unlike many EVs, the RZ’s brakes seemed fairly responsive and I liked the use of paddles behind the steering wheel to adjust the level of regen on the move.

Ultimately, the Lexus RZ ticks Lexus’s three Cs of confidence, control and comfort in all driving situations. Job done.

The cabin is a mixed bag. The design up front means it’s not quite a spacious as some other EVs because the centre console is solid and fixed. Puzzlingly, there’s not even a glovebox on the passenger side.

Lexus RZ review

The good news is there’s plenty of head and legroom for three adults in the back and boot capacity is a healthy 522 litres, or 1,451 litres with the rear seats flipped. Note, there is no ‘frunk’ under the bonnet – the charging cables have to be stored in the boot.

There are three trim levels to choose from (Premium, Premium Plus and range-topping Takumi).

Priced from £62,600-£72,100, the entry-level Premium model comes with a generous amount of standard equipment including LED headlights, eight-way electrically adjustable front seats, a powered bootlid, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Lexus’s extensive safety and driver assistance systems.

Move up the grades and other goodies such as a head-up display, 360-degree camera system, radiant heated front seats, a two-tone paint job and a Mark Levinson sound system are offered.

Lexus RZ review

And a special mention for Safe Exit Assist (a Lexus exclusive) which prevents your door opening into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from the rear. Great idea.

Finally, if you choose an RZ you’re also buying into Lexus’s reputation for reliability and award-winning customer service.

Like all Lexus cars, it also benefits from an extended manufacturer warranty for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first (as long as you service your car with Lexus).

What’s more, Lexus guarantees the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity after 10 years. And given its long experience in battery technologies, the company believes the actual capacity at the point should be at least 90%.

Ultimately, the Lexus brand means a lot, which may trump the fact that some RZ rivals offer longer ranges, more power and engagement, plus quicker charging at a lower price.

Verdict: Striking, sumptuous, safe and sensible, the pure electric Lexus RZ 450e is a classy family-sized SUV delivering superb build quality and clever innovations. An impressive debut EV from a top-notch brand.

Lexus UK

Lexus RZ review

Genesis GV60 review

Genesis GV60

We road test the first pure electric car from the new, upmarket Genesis brand…

Before we begin, let’s start with a quick refresh. Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota and DS/Citroen. Only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021, its impressive stable of prestige cars includes saloons, SUVs and an estate.

Up until now, the range hasn’t quite matched up to the equivalents from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The good news for Genesis is that we think the fully electric GV60 will go down as the brand’s breakthrough model.

Genesis GV60

Developed alongside its award-winning cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 is arguably the most successful of the trio in the looks department.

Slightly shorter than the Ioniq 5 and EV6, it’s nicely proportioned with a curvaceously muscular stance and short overhangs. There are flush-fitting door handles along its flowing profile, plus the option of rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. Slim, stacked headlights and a broad black grille are highlights up front, while its sexy derrière is a candidate for Rear of the Year.

Priced from £47,005, the new Genesis GV60 is available in three trims (Premium, Sport and Sport Plus) and all versions come with a 77.4kWh battery, but different choices of electric motor.

Genesis GV60

It’s not worth listing the differences between the grades when it comes to goodies. Let’s just say, the GV60 is generously equipped, though obviously you should compare. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the technical differences that matter.

The GV60 Premium gets a single 225bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels, giving up to 321 miles of range.

Sport versions come with dual motors producing a total of 314hp. These cars are four-wheel drive, but range is down to 292 miles.

Genesis GV60

The top-spec GV60 Sport Plus we tested gets a more powerful dual-motor setup that produces an impressive 483bhp in total, though range is down again to a still decent 289 miles on a single charge.

It’s worth noting that there’s a boost button on the Sport Plus which unlocks a 10-second blast of gut-wrenching power. Oh, and those 0-62mph times range from 7.8 seconds for the Premium down to 4.0 seconds for the Sport Plus.

The Genesis GV60 also comes with a state-of-the-art 800-volt electrical system that lets you charge it using ultra rapid 350kw chargers from 10-80% full in just 18 minutes.

Genesis GV60

Alternatively, a 10-80% charge via a more common 50kW connection will take 73 minutes, while a 10-100% boost from an 11kw home wallbox takes seven hours 20 minutes.

The cabin is spacious and faultlessly finished, though it’s worth test-driving the GV60 is you regularly carry taller than average rear passengers because of the sloping roofline.

Two wide 12.3-inch digital screens take care of infotainment duties, but thankfully there’s also a good balance of traditional buttons and dials to easily access commonly used functions.

Genesis GV60

The interior’s party trick is the gorgeous crystal ball in the middle of the centre console (Genesis calls it a ‘Crystal Sphere’) which revolves to reveal a rotating dial with Drive, Reverse, Park etc when the GV60 is ready to go.

The boot has a useful 432-litre capacity to the parcel shelf, expanding to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s also space under the bonnet – the perfect spot to store your charging cables.

My only criticisms of the cabin are that the brushed metal effect used extensively has a plastic feel to it – not unlike a much cheaper Hyundai. Also, visibility through the small rear window isn’t the best, and there’s no wiper.

Genesis GV60

The GV60’s driving position is comfortable, if fairly high, and the car itself certainly feels substantial.

Obviously it’s quiet, refined and very fast. The Sport Plus we tested had adaptive predictive suspension, which uses information from the front camera and navigation system to adjust damping in advance, delivering an impressively comfortable ride.

There’s good body control in corners, but ultimately the GV60’s agility will always be compromised by its width and two-tonne weight. In other words, you’d need some track time to have the confidence to take it close to the limit.

Genesis GV60

That said there’s a serious amount of grip and traction from those epic 21-inch Michelin-shod wheels, so you can still have fun and a play with the various drive modes.

We found Comfort mode does just fine and the GV60 is at its best cruising effortlessly along at the legal limit. Oh, and a special mention for the steering wheel paddles which let you vary the amount of brake regeneration through five levels, from frictionless coasting to one-pedal driving.

Finally, the steering is light and accurate, but there’s not much in the way of feedback, while the brakes are progressive, unlike many EVs.

Genesis GV60

Before we sign off, it’s worth remembering that Genesis is no ordinary brand, offering a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV60 is a class act. Big, practical, comfortable, safe and a joy to drive, it’s one of the best electric crossovers on the market with serious kerb appeal. Add the unique sales and aftercare package and it’s sure to appeal to buyers who prefer the finer things in life.