Genesis has come a long way since it was spun off to its own brand back in 2015. We have heaped praise on the G80 and G90 sedans, but it needs to be noted that these were badged as Hyundais before becoming Genesis models. The real test would be seeing how an original model stacked up. Our chance came in the fall when a 2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport was dropped off for a week. This new entrant into the compact sport luxury sedan appears on paper to have the goods, but how would fare in the real world?
The Heart & Bones
Power in this G70 is the optional twin-turbo 3.3L V6 engine providing 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. This is mated with an eight-speed automatic which routes power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is an option. Having some experience with this engine in the Genesis G80 Sport and Kia Stinger GT, I knew this engine would pack quite the punch. Step on the accelerator and the V6 provides a massive wallop of power for any situation needed. The eight-speed automatic delivers rapid and smooth gear changes.
Where the V6 falls apart is in fuel economy. EPA figures for the G70 3.3T RWD are 17 City/26 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week landed at a disappointing 19.2 mpg. The standard turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder is better at 22/25/30 with the automatic.
Handling is where the G70 shines. My 3.3T Sport comes with a couple of extra goodies - an electronically controlled suspension and a set of Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires. On the test route I use to evaluate handling, the G70 felt nicely balanced and provides the driver a big grin when going into a corner. The steering provides the right amount of weight and feels needed for enthusiastic driving.
When it comes time to do the daily commute, the G70 surprises here. Turn the drive mode knob into either Comfort or Smart, and the suspension softens up to provide a mostly smooth ride. I do wish the Pilot Sports had a slightly taller sidewall as some bumps do make their way inside. Also, barely any outside noise comes inside.
While it may share the same bones as the Kia Stinger, I find the G70 a little bit easier on the eyes. Some of this comes down to the G70 being shorter in overall length (about a foot), and wheelbase (around three inches). Details that will catch your eye are gloss black wheels which come as part of the Sport package; the large front grille, and slim headlights.
The G70's interior is very well done. Genesis' designers were able to craft an interior that not only looks nice but is also very functional. Many of the materials used are some of the best in the class with leather, aluminum, and soft-touch plastics. I also appreciate that the center stack is angled slightly towards the driver, allowing for easier access to the various controls. Speaking of that, there are a fair number of them for the audio, climate control, and other systems - primarily made up of large knobs and buttons. It may lack the minimalist look many are trending towards, but the ease of use cannot be beaten.
For those sitting up front, Genesis provides a set of supportive sport seats with adjustable bolsters. I found the seats to do an excellent job of holding you in place while driving aggressively, but also providing the support and comfort needed on long trips. The back seat is a different story as there is barely any head and legroom available. The limited legroom also makes entry and exit difficult.
Another issue with the G70 is the infotainment system. It's the same eight-inch system you'll find in several Hyundai vehicles such as the Kona and Venue, not the one seen in the G80 and G90 sedans. While the system is very easy to use and snappy, it doesn't fit the luxury image that the G70 is portraying. The good news is that the G70 will get a new infotainment system more fitting of its image as part of a refresh for 2022.
For a first attempt at the highly competitive luxury sport sedan class, Genesis knocked it out of the park. The G70 provides a triple threat of excellent performance, sharp handling, and a design that stands out. But now comes the big challenge for Genesis; luring buyers from the old guard. If they can do that, then the G70 can lay its mark.
Potent Twin-Turbo V6
Infotainment System Hampers Luxury Ideal
Cramped Rear Seats
Fuel Economy Trailing the Pack
How I Would Order a G70: Basically I would order the vehicle seen here, but in blue. That brings the as-tested price to $51,245.
- Kia Stinger GT: The sister model to the G70, the Stinger is more daring in its design with a hatchback shape. This also makes it slightly more practical than the Genesis. Where the G70 clobbers it is in the interior as the Stinger lacks the design and quality of materials. Performance and handling is a dead heat.
- Alfa Romeo Giulia: The G70's closest competitor when it comes to driving fun. No matter which version you choose, the handling is sublime and the steering is slightly better. I also find the Giulia's looks to be towards the top of the class with an elegant shape. But being an Alfa Romeo, the Giulia's reliability is very questionable.
Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G70, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Trim: 3.3T Sport
Engine: 3.3L Twin-Turbo GDI V6
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 365 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 376 @ 1,300
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/26/20
Curb Weight: 3,774 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
Base Price: $44,650.00
As Tested Price: $51,245.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
Prestige Package: $2,850.00
Elite Package: $1,450.00
Sport Package: $1,300.00