The South Korean Challenger
I had no idea what to expect of the new Genesis G70. I had not read a road test report, nor even seen any pictures. I knew from my time many years ago with what was then badged the Hyundai Genesis (now the G80 which you will read about soon) that there was a good chance this was going to be a very serious car.
To say I wasn’t prepared for the G70 would be an understatement. When it rolled out of the garage, I was gob-smacked. If nothing else, Genesis, Hyundai’s new standalone luxury brand, has built a car with breath taking beauty.
The nose pokes out the drive with the cross-hatched grille the first part of the car to make a statement, one friend thought it was a Maserati kind of statement. Sitting atop the nose is the winged logo that looks very European, not Korean. The daytime running lights are two strips of lights on either side of the car that appear to mimic the air flow over the nose, gently dividing where the headlights live, and then starting again the other side – Genesis say they are quad lamps. The quad lamp concept is also used on the rear.
But look inside the lights and you’ll see some stunning levels of detail, with some copper or bronze looking details that just add a little extra class. It is the little things that make the difference, an attention to detail that brings confidence about the engineering… well it does to me anyway.
The nose is beautifully shaped too, like it has visited a top notch plastic surgeon. It has a little tuck here and there, and is purposeful, elegant and sporty. In fact, sporty is the overtone of the whole car as the lines gently curve all the way along its flanks and through the rear end. Our test model was the Genesis G70 Sedan 2.0T Sport and that mean big and fat wheels with red brake callipers, and air vents behind the front wheels that continue the flowing design.
The rear end tucks in nicely, although the boot is a little small. When you open the door, the wow continues. Our test car was trimmed in black leather with red stitching, and the layout is driver focussed, and if it wasn’t for stupid trend of loading the infotainment screen into a panel that rises from the flowing dash line, you’d say it did it all.
The display is actually that same as in other Hyundai and Kia’s, which means it is OK but just lacking a little bit of class. There are dials to help with some of the climate control functions and the like, and that makes it simple and intuitive.
However, the first thing you notice is that it is a small car, and by the time the seat settings are right it is a little awkward to get in and out of, easy exit seats would do a world of good here (available on in Ultimate trim level). The seats are comfy though. The dash is simple, no gee-wiz graphics or flashing lights, just all the info you need in the way you need it delivered just without true pizazz. There’s no heads-up display on our car, and that is a little bit disappointing.
Let’s talk safety. Everything is there from radar cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane keeping, rear cross-traffic alert and the like, and it all works well with the great handling and big brakes making it a very safe car. The original Genesis has some amazing features in its Sat Nav around speed alerts and the like, and this model continues that trend. The speed warnings though are based on map data rather than sign detection from the many cameras used to keep you in your lane, which means it is not always on top when variable speeds are called into play. That said, at some point you have to use your brain while driving so it is not critical.
Engines are either the 2.0L turbo we had, or the stonking 3.3L turbo Hyundai shares with Kia, and that will be a seriously fast car. The gearbox, for me, is the only serious let-down in the whole car. It doesn’t change gears smoothly and is most certainly not sharp and drags away from the otherwise sporty nature of the car.
But take it out for a drive and you will love the way the G70 does its job. The chassis talks to you, which means the driving becomes fun. It is fast enough in 2.0L guise without the ability to scare. As a Point A to B car it is awesome and would have few peers in its class. The suspension has an element of Australian input, which is good because the quality of our roads suck compared with anywhere but the United States.
Let’s not leave this discussion without discussing Genesis Connected Services (acknowledging also that the car has wireless charging in my iPhone 8+ fits) and what that brings to the table. I love being able to start the car from inside my house, cooling or warming it before that pesky school run, and unlocking or locking the car (it doesn’t unlock with remote start, that waits until you walk up to it). Tucking inside the App is all sorts of data about how you drive as well, which is occasionally scary when you’ve been having fun.
The only thing I couldn’t find was the ability to set my SatNav before getting in the car, otherwise it did the business and is suitable one-upsmanship for mates with ‘low-tech’ German cars.
I’m telling you now, if you can get over the fact that the Genesis G70 is built by Hyundai, you can get yourself a serious car for a good price. It is luxurious with most of what you would expect and everything you need for safety. It looks stunning and makes you feel good, and by the time you pocket the difference between this and its European rivals, you’ve got a really nice holiday or an 8K TV set to improve your sport on TV experience.
Go and have a look before you stump up the money for a BMW, Mercedes or Audi, and you might find yourself walking away impressed. Then you’ll look at the price with a warranty the Germans would never offer, and servicing included for the first five years. Yes, you can match the price, but you won’t get as much gear.
So let’s treat the G70 as the first real Genesis, and from that point of view Hyundai has done an amazing job and the future is very bright. Even if there is no price negotiation just yet.
2.0T – $59,300 plus on-road costs
2.0T Sport – $63,300 plus on-road costs
2.0T Ultimate – $69,300 plus on-road costs
3.3T Sport – $72,450 plus on-road costs
3.3T Ultimate – $79,950 plus on-road costs
3.3T Ultimate Sport – $79,950 plus on-road costs
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