We get behind the wheel of the latest entrant in the compact luxury saloon class – the Genesis G70…
Genesis, the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group (think Lexus/Toyota), only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021 and it already has an impressive stable of cars, ranging from saloons to SUVs, plus the G70 Shooting Brake.
So far, the range only includes traditional petrol and diesel powered vehicles, though plug-in hybrid versions of some models are on the way.
The big breakthrough will come later in 2022 when the 100% electric Genesis GV60 is launched. Developed alongside the acclaimed Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, it should be a cracker. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to driving the GV60 this summer.
Meanwhile, we’ve been road-testing the G70 saloon, which has the tough task of stealing sales from the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60 and Alfa Romeo Giulia, to name but a few.
We’ve already driven the elegant estate version (marketed as a Shooting Brake) and we were impressed.
Competitively priced from £33,400, the four-door G70 is available with two turbocharged engines – either a 2.0-litre petrol (194bhp or 241bhp) or a 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
Our test car was diesel-powered, offering a top speed of 143mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy is 42.7-44.5mpg, while CO2 emissions are 166-173g/km.
The more powerful petrol engine is faster, with a top speed of 149mph and a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds, but fuel economy is 31.9-35.4mpg and CO2 emissions are 181-201g/km.
First impressions of the G70 are good. It’s a good looking sports saloon with an athletic stance and there’s no mistaking that bold ‘G-Matrix’ grille design.
Inside, there’s no shortage of kit, including a 10.25in landscape-oriented touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Unlike some manufacturers, it also offers a healthy mix of the modern and traditional with dials, buttons and proper air vents.
The G70 is packed with the latest safety kit too, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot collision avoidance tech.
The interior oozes quality and has been well put together. There’s ample space up front, but it’s slightly cosier in the back, especially for an adult passenger sitting behind a taller driver.
Overall, the cabin is a comfortable, plush place to be and the low-slung driving position is perfect. For the record, boot capacity is a reasonable 330 litres.
The Genesis G70 handles well and offers a composed, luxurious ride, even if it’s not as sporty as you might expect (you can experiment with the drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+). More spirited drivers can still have fun on more challenging roads because it’s nicely balanced and there’s plenty of grip, but it’s no BMW.
Ultimately, it’s not a class-leading drive, nor will the engine set your pulse racing. It does the job and there’s plenty of torque on tap, but it’s vocal when pushed and real world fuel economy is short of 40mpg.
On the plus side, the steering is sharp and direct, and light when driving around town or manoeuvring into parking spaces.
So, the G70 is a mixed bag, but then Genesis is no ordinary brand and a completely different VIP ownership experience is on offer.
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, the 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.
Verdict: The Genesis G70 should definitely be on your sports saloon shortlist, especially if you’d like to experience a VIP ownership experience. Luxurious, well equipped and delivering a smooth, composed drive, it stands out from the crowd and would probably come into its own as a plug-in hybrid.