For the throng of satisfied Hyundai vehicle owners seeking on-road pampering provided via upward mobility, look no further than the in-house Genesis luxury brand.
The Genesis name first surfaced within the Hyundai family in 2009 in the form of an aspirational rear-drive sedan. Building upon name recognition, Hyundai chose Genesis as the moniker representing the upstart South Korean luxury brand born seven years later.
For now, Genesis counts approximately 320 franchises nationwide (and about 15 within Chicagoland) working out of shared floor space within select Hyundai showrooms. Stand-alone dealerships remain a future priority, helping crystalize in the general public's consciousness that Genesis is INDEED its own separate entity worthy of its own spacious abode.
Strangely, no crossovers dot the lineup (Genesis remains a lone wolf in this regard), but expect one exceedingly soon. At the 2017 New York Auto Show, Genesis teased showgoers with a GV80 mid-sized crossover concept with actual production versions anticipated for later this year as a 2021 badged product. A compact crossover also remains in the works.
Our tester this week, the G70, signifies the third sedan offering from the Genesis brand trailing G90 and G80 sedan debuts, but the first Genesis never associated with a once-badged Hyundai product. In essence, G70 reflects the Genesis brand's first legitimate offspring. Both the full-size G90 and mid-positioned G80 were previously badged as the Hyundai Equus and Hyundai Genesis respectively.
Genesis introduced G70 in the 2019 model year with 2020 models building upon first-year successes with minimal changes. Expect top-notch fit and finish inside and out mated with a long string of standard equipment.
As with parent company Hyundai, the Genesis Brand delivers a tempting value proposition. When compared to rivals, G70's competitive pricing stands tall as a notable definer. Genesis and Hyundai products enjoy a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for original owners, one of the longest-durations engine coverage provided by any manufacturer.
A huge accolade in January of 2019 paved the way for G70's entry. The G70 earned 'Car of the Year' honors at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While scores of auto awards dot cyberspace and publishing domains, the NAIAS recognition ranks as most coveted by the industry at large.
The compact G70 quickly established itself as the company's sales leader. During the just competed 2019 calendar year, G70 represented the first Genesis model to surpass the 10,000 unit barrier, reaching 11,901within the 12-month period. The G70 sold more units than both the G80 (7,094) and G90 (2,238) combined.
Three G70 trim levels include 2.0t, 2.0t with manual transmission and 3.3t, with 't' designating 'turbo engine.' Option packages include Elite, Sport and Prestige.
An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard with 2.2t and 3.3t. Both offer the choice of standard rear drive or all-wheel drive with advanced torque vectoring control, keeping G70 planted during spirited turns and quicker responses on slippery surfaces.
A six-speed manual transmission delighting performance enthusiasts is standard fare in the 2.0t with manual transmission and is mated exclusively with rear-wheel drive. No electric vehicle (EV), plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) or gas-electric non-plug hybrid Genesis vehicles exist for the foreseeable future.
Our tester, a 3.3t with all-wheel drive started at $46,650, representing the most posh G70 available. With three option packages (Elite, Prestige and Sport) a $53,245 total price was reached when factoring in a relatively pedestrian $995 destination charge. A front drive 2.0t starts at $35,450.
The $1,400 Elite Package adds heated steering wheel, ventilated front seat and parking distance warning alert. Unlocking the $2,850 Prestige Package, one finds a heads-up display, quilted Nappa leather seating, heated rear seats and multi-camera in-dash view monitor. Checking under hood of the $1,300 Sport Package reveals an electronically controlled suspension, dark chrome grille and window trim, 19-inch alloy wheels and copper headlight bezel accents.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder serves to pump out 252 horses with the 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V-6 generating 365, providing more-than ample get-up-and-go. It's also available in the mid-size G80. Drivers may also program one of three engine exhaust sounds via a multi-panel display displayed inside the instrument panel. Both engines prioritize performance, not necessarily fuel economy.
Turbochargers run off of recycled exhaust gases spinning a pinwheel-inspired turbine pumping a higher air concentration into the engine. Twin turbos, employing two smaller, yet faster spooling turbochargers, ensures quicker air pressure build-up, goosing up performance, while taming 'turbo lag,' a pause sometimes encountered when aggressively summoning accelerator pedals.
The G70 welcomes a zero-to-60 time in a scant 4.5 seconds. Helping achieve such quick results, Launch Control, optimizing torque and minimizing slip potential.
Upon entering, drivers can't help but note G70's close-to-the-ground status. With the segment's lowest overall height and widest stance, expect exceptional performance derived from its low center of gravity. Generous use of light-weight aluminum in the hood and strut tower reduces weight.
Measuring lengthwise at 184.4 inches, it's one of the shortest in its class, felt most prominently in row two, where sparse leg room leaves patrons desiring more. Two adults ride in optimal comfort with a vertical floor hump making three-person occupancy a tightsqueeze.
The G70 borrows a familiar large, square rear window design contrasting with a short trunk lid and long hood. Two inboard circular exhausts situate below the trunk when opting for the V-6 engine. The front end showcases a huge hexagonal-shaped grille with crosshatch diamond-like filling. From a distance, a hint of an industrial chain link fence creates a bold, urban sensitivity.
The diminutive winged Genesis logo appears at the hood's end rather than housed inside the grille with an outline resembling a forward facing in-flight bat (the mammal not the baseball tool). A race-inspired Brembo braking system augments stopping performance and visual resplendency with a bright red casing cover.
Side view mirrors feature secondary illuminating turn bands, a low-tech but highly effective nuance signaling other road warriors to your intents. Puddle lamps underside of the mirror housing project an image of the bat signal to the ground below after dark.
Genesis nicely simplifies ventilation functions with three large, easy grab in-row dials monitoring fan speed and dual temperature settings. Fan direction takes direction from a push of the center fan-speed button which cycles through options. Outboard temperature circles include a bottom tail activating the front (left orb) and rear (right orb) defrosters. Between the circles are heated seat/steering wheel and air conditioning buttons.
Electric start comes standard with the push-button located high enough on the dash as not to interfere with the steering column or wheel. Five drive modes select via a chrome dial just aft of the stout transmission T-bar vertical shifter between bucket seats, with a separate rectangular push button to summon Park.
The familiar-looking eight-inch multi-information touch screen gets lifted from Hyundai. Not a bad borrow as the protruding flat screen atop the center stack includes an intuitive design with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto Smartphone interplays standard. Unlike some luxury options (we're looking at you Acura) the audio system includes two tactile dials, tackling volume and station selection.
Below HVAC dials, a flat-bottom alcove includes a wireless charge pad assisting newer-generation Smartphone; also nearby; old-school USB and auxiliary ports.
The well-designed trunk features a low-lift over design easing the moving process; plus the lid offers an open-close power option. Interior curved goose-neck hinges slide back-and-forth through protective carpeted sleeves, protecting inside cargo. It's deep, wide but not very tall. Total volume measures in at 10.5 cubic feet, below the segment's norm.
As an added upmarket tweak, a valet service picks up the G70 during scheduled maintenance appointments and provides a replacement Genesis during pre-arranged services during the first three years/36,000 miles of ownership. Scheduled maintenance including oil changes also remains complimentary during the same three-year time frame. 2020 Genesis G70
Price as tested: $ 53,245
Engine: 3.3-liter twin turbo V-6
Wheelbase: 111.6 inches
Overall Length: 184.4 inches
Overall Width: 72.8 inches
Overall Height: 55.1 inches
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Powertrain Warranty: 10 years/100,000 miles
Assembly: Ulsan, South Korea