IT’S A PERNICKETY PAINT FINISH, BUT IS IT ENOUGH TO TAKE THE GLOSS OFF?
BANG! The unidentified object slams onto the bonnet with such a resounding thud that it makes everyone in the Genesis jump. Cruising as we are down a typical suburban street, it takes me a moment to realise that the fleeting flash of brown and green that I caught just prior to impact was actually that of a medium-sized branch. Blown free of its perch in the gumtree canopy that skirted the edge of the road, the branch collided with such fury that it felt as though it came screaming in from low orbit rather than a few metres above us.
“What the...” I thought, before: “THE PAINT!”
Now there are all sorts of special paranoia that comes with car ownership. At the extreme end live a unique breed of enthusiasts who refuse to drive their cars at all (“Clouds look grey, it might rain” and “Lots of loose stones about, might get a stone chip” is the default logic here), but most of us tend to operate in a zone a few steps back from that. The degree of paranoia varies on the individual but will typically involve: happily parking further away to snag an isolated spot (or better yet, one between two cement poles), habitually scanning the sides of the car for door dings/trolley bumps, drifting to the left of your lane to avoid stone chips from oncoming trucks, and happily practising the ‘two bucket method’ when giving your car a tub.
I’ll admit to all of the above, though the special grey paint on this Genesis has sent my paranoia into overdrive. Hyundai calls it ‘Melbourne Grey’ and its matte finish is a $2000 option. I’m a big fan. Unlike other matte finishes, this one seems to include a fleck of metallic and the way it catches the light (especially in the golden hours of sunrise and sunset) is really something. You need to see it.
Less endearing are the care instructions. Hyundai has a special document specifically for this paint finish and they initially sound innocuous enough – don’t use any polishing agents or waxes, must hand wash with a soft cloth, and clean off any blemishes or bird dirt immediately, etc. However, then you reach this very ominous line: “Do NOT rub the finish vigorously, as this will burnish the paint finish causing a permanent shiny spot. These cannot be removed”.
Then it drives home the kicker: “Any problem that may arise from neglecting the instructions will not be covered by warranty. Any defects cannot be repaired as polishing, buffing, and small paint repairs are not possible... the vehicle will need to be repainted”.
Needing to keep it clean, but not too clean (easy with the sponge, Alex!) has seen me resort to carrying a bucket and cloth in the boot so I can spring into action whenever I see a dirty spot or well-aimed bird dropping. This has not made me popular with the missus who cringes with embarrassment whenever I pull out the bucket in a public space.
Seriously, though, the level of anxiety the paint has caused hasn’t been worth it (definitely go for the gloss if buying your own GV80), so you can appreciate my wide eyes when the branch hit.
Mercifully the paint was unbroken but the piece of wood had hit hard enough to cause a dent about the size of a five-cent piece. Hopefully a visit from a paintless dent removal specialist will rectify the ding.
Cursing my rotten luck and shaking my fist at the sky, I try to take solace in the knowledge that the rest of the GV80 experience has been smooth sailing. Three months and 4000km into our loan, the Genesis is fulfilling the role of sumptuous super-sized SUV admirably.
The cabin feels as tightly screwed together as it did on day one, there are no rattles or squeaks, and despite its initially confusing-looking infotainment interface (“It looks like a Lexus system” remarked a friend) I have encountered exactly zero ergonomic frustrations or moments of hesitation while looking for a function. All of this makes it an easy car, ahem, SUV to like. Or in my case, to inevitably worry about while washing and parking.