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Genesis G70 2020 review: 2.0T Sport

The Genesis G70 is a product of the Hyundai·Genesis Design Centre in Namyang, South Korea.
EXPERT RATING
7.9
Before following the conventional luxury car path, you might want to consider the new kid on the block. Genesis is serious about cracking the Aussie premium market, and the G70 2.0T Sport is close to the most affordable way into the brand. Does it have what it takes to give the established players a scare?

Just as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda (and nearly Mazda) did in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Hyundai created a luxury nameplate in the late noughties, knowing its mainstream brand wasn’t elastic enough to stretch up to the top shelf luxury level, occupied by well established players.

Initially paired with the Hyundai badge, Genesis launched globally as a stand-alone sub-brand in 2016, and the G70 compact sedan we’re looking at here, launched locally in mid-2019.

It sits next to the limo-length G80 in the current Australian line-up. A full-size GV80 SUV is coming soon, followed by the mega-primo G90 sedan, with a series of GT models likely to follow that.

So, how does the entry-point to South Korea’s first genuine tilt at the luxury market measure up?  Read on to find out.

Genesis G70 2020: 2.0T Sport
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$63,300

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

Priced at $63,300, before on-road costs, the 2.0T Sport sits on the second rung of the Genesis G70 ladder, and drops into a hornet’s nest of highly regarded and well established competitors, all sitting within striking distance across the $60K bracket.

Cars like the Audi A4 40 TFSI Sport ($61,400), BMW 320i M Sport ($68,900), Jaguar XE P300 R-Dynamic SE ($65,670), Lexus IS 300 F Sport ($66,707), Mercedes-Benz C200 ($65,800), VW Arteon 206 TSI R-Line ($67,490), and Volvo S60 T5 R-Design ($64,990).

Quite a roll call, and you’d expect a competitive list of standard features to help this premium newcomer stand apart. And the first impression is solid with beautifully trimmed ‘leather-appointed’ seats featuring heating and 12-way power adjustment (and a four-way lumbar function) for the driver and front passenger. There’s also leather on the centre console, centre dash area, and steering wheel, as well as stainless steel scuff plates and sports pedals.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen display supports MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as sat nav (with live traffic updates), controllable via voice recognition.

According to Genesis, the centre stack, including the 8.0-inch media touchscreen and climate control system, are oriented by 6.2 degrees towards the driver. According to Genesis, the centre stack, including the 8.0-inch media touchscreen and climate control system, are oriented by 6.2 degrees towards the driver.

Real aluminium door handles, and alloy trim elements on the centre console lift the mood, as do a 7.0-inch digital central instrument display, and a ‘Qi’ (chi) wireless charging pad.

Dual-zone climate control is on the list, along with nine-speaker audio (including a pair of under-seat subwoofers and digital radio), keyless entry and start, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and the ‘Genesis Connected Services’ smartphone app that allows you to connect to various on-board functions  remotely.

Things like remote engine on/off, door lock/unlock, hazard light control, horn control, and climate control (including the demister). It will also plug you in to everything from the car’s location (via GPS) and parking time (with alert), to a fuel finder function.

The auto headlights are LED, as are the DRLs and tail-lights, the ‘Smart boot’ offers hands-free operation , and this Sport variant is fitted with 19-inch alloy rims shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 high-performance rubber.

The auto headlights are LED. The auto headlights are LED.

A mechanical limited-slip differential, Sport exterior and interior styling elements, and sport instrumentation, as well as a Brembo brake package that would stop a bull elephant (details in the Driving section) are also strandard 

There’s a swag of active and passive safety tech (detailed in the Safety section), and ownership brings access to the Genesis Lifestyle program’, including benefits like a ‘Lifestyle Concierge’ and ‘Global Privileges’, which includes travel and emergency medical assistance. A ‘Panorama’ glass sunroof (as fitted to our car) is a $2500 option.

That’s a pretty handsome basket of fruit, that stands up well in the content of the segment and the 2.0T Sport’s cost-of-entry.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The Genesis G70 is a product of the Hyundai·Genesis Design Centre in Namyang, South Korea, until recently (April, 2020) led by Belgian design guru, Luc Donckerwolke.

With time at Peugeot, VW Group (Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini, Seat, and Bentley), and moving to Hyundai and Genesis in 2015, Donckerwolke pushed his team in a distinctly European direction with this car.

Always a subjective call, but I see elements of BMW 3 Series around the front flanks and hints of Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the rear, in a contemporary, neatly proportioned, and relatively conservative look.

A dark chrome mesh grille lifts the raciness factor on this Sport model, with the same finish applied to all the bright metal surfaces and trim elements around the car.

Huge gills either side of the nose form part of an ‘air curtain’ system that reduces turbulence over the front wheels, with lower diffuser vents further smoothing aero performance by venting air trapped behind the rear bumper. The drag coefficient (Cd) is a super slippery 0.29.

 I can see elements of Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the rear. I can see elements of Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the rear.

Black, 19-inch, five-spoke alloy rims enhance the air of intent, with strong character lines along the car's sides enhancing the G70’s lithe stance. The car thickens appreciably toward the rear, with chunky haunches drawn into a sharply tapering roof profile (in plan and side elevation views), and a cheeky kicked up spoiler on the boot lid.  

Our test car’s vibrant ‘Mallorca Blue’ metallic paint finish is the result of a new method which Genesis says, “separates small, evenly distributed aluminium particles and high luminosity colours, maximising brilliance.” It works. 

Inside, quality is the overriding impression, with materials and attention to detail more than matching class standards.

Carefully sculpted leather sports front seats feature white contrast stitching and piping on their faces, as well as a sporty ribbed treatment on the centre panels.

A multi-level dash treatment accentuates the car's width, with a broad centre stack flowing seamlessly into a simple console between the seats.

Real alloy pieces, including the door handles and console trim elements lift the premium feel, and twin tube-style instrument binnacle, with a sleek 7.0-inch digital display between the main dials a nice touch.

Inside, quality is the overriding impression, with materials and attention to detail more than matching class standards. Inside, quality is the overriding impression, with materials and attention to detail more than matching class standards.

According to Genesis, the centre stack, including the 8.0-inch media touchscreen and climate control system, are oriented by 6.2 degrees (not 6.1, or 6.3) towards the driver.

Only glitch is that central media screen, which stands out, but not necessarily in a good way. Perfectly fine from a functional point-of-view, it sits proud of the dash and looks like a design afterthought.

Genesis isn’t alone in taking what is surely an easier and more cost-effective path here (Mazda, I’m looking at you) but it does upset the balance of an otherwise expertly composed interior layout.

How practical is the space inside?   6/10

At close to 4.7m long, over 1.8m wide, and exactly 1.4m tall, the G70 is in the same dimensional ballpark as its key compact luxury competitors. But within that footprint a 2835mm wheelbase is generous, so you’d expect a roomy cabin.

And up front, access is easy, there’s plenty of space, and storage is well thought through, with a pair of jumbo size cupholders in the centre console, sitting just in front of a large lidded bin (doubling as an armrest) between the seats. The glove box is a good size (and includes a pen holder), and there are large door bins with room for bottles.

The beautifully trimmed ‘leather-appointed’ front seats feature heating and 12-way power adjustment. The beautifully trimmed ‘leather-appointed’ front seats feature heating and 12-way power adjustment.

Connectivity/power options run to a cluster of 12V (180W) power, ‘aux-in’ jack and a USB-A input next to the ‘Qi’ wireless charging pad in a lidded compartment under the main heating and ventilation controls. There’a also a USB-A charge socket in the centre bin.

But things get cosier in the back. Sitting behind the driver’s seat, set for my 183cm (6.0ft) position, legroom is okay, but my head hits the roofliner and toe room is tight.

Shoulder room is passable for adults on a short journey, but the centre seat is definitely the short straw position. If rear space is a priority, you're better off in the G80.  

Space gets a bit cosy in the back. Space gets a bit cosy in the back.

The fold down centre armrest houses two cupholders, there are netted pockets on the front seatbacks and small door bins. Big tick for adjustable air vents, and an additional USB-A outlet.  

Boot space isn’t great, with just 330 litres (VDA) available, though the 60/40 split-folding rear seat liberates more space when required. There are tie-down hooks, and the hands-free ‘smart boot’ is handy (or not?), though.

  • Boot space is rated at 330 litres (VDA). Boot space is rated at 330 litres (VDA).
  • There are tie-down hooks, and the hands-free ‘smart boot’ is handy. There are tie-down hooks, and the hands-free ‘smart boot’ is handy.

Towing capacity is 1200kg for a braked trailer (750kg unbraked), and the spare is an alloy space-saver.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

The G70’s ‘Theta-II’ four-cylinder petrol engine is an all-alloy, 2.0-litre unit featuring direct injection, ‘D-CVVT’ variable valve timing (intake and inlet side), and a single, twin-scroll turbo.

It also incorporates a ‘Variable intake-Charge Motion’ VCM system to enhance the tumble of air flows inside the cylinder, with the aim of improving low- and mid-range torque as well as combustion and fuel efficiency. 

The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 179kW/353Nm. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 179kW/353Nm.

It produces 179kW at 6200rpm and 353Nm from 1400-4000rpm, with drive going to the rear wheels via an eight-speed electronic ‘shift-by-wire’ automatic transmission and (mechanical) limited-slip differential.

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 8.7 litres/100km, the G70 emitting 205g/km of CO2 in the process.

In our week with the car, over a combination of city, suburban and freeway conditions (including some enthusiastic B-road running) we recorded an average of 11.8L/100km, which, despite some brief but enthusiastic backroad runs, is less than stellar. 

Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded, and you’ll need 60 litres of it to fill the tank.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

The Genesis G70 received a maximum five-star ANCAP assessment in 2019, and there’s an impressive suite of active and passive safety tech on-board.

To help avoid a crash, expected features like ABS, EBD, BA, and stability and traction controls are included, as well as more recent innovations bundled under the heading of ‘Genesis Active Safety Control.’

‘Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist’ is Genesis-speak for AEB, using the front radar sensor and windscreen camera to track vehicles and pedestrians, warning the driver, and if necessary, applying the brakes between 10-180km/h. 

Above 60km/h the system is also able to detect an oncoming vehicle when you have  driven over the centre line, towards it.

Other features include, blind-spot monitoring, ‘Driver Attention Warning’, auto high-beam, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise control (with ‘Stop & Go’), an emergency stop signal, and tyre pressure monitoring.

At parking speeds there’s also forward and reverse distance warning, and a reversing camera (with guidance lines).

But if despite all that, an impact is unavoidable, there are seven airbags included (driver and front passenger, driver and front passenger side [thorax & pelvis], driver’s knee, and full length side curtain).

An ‘active hood’ function automatically tilts the bonnet from its trailing edge on impact with a pedestrian to minimise injuries, and there are three top tether anchors for baby capsules/child restraints across the back seat, with ISOFIX anchors in the two outer positions.

The ‘Roadside assistance kit’ contains a rechargeable torch, hi-vis safety vest, gloves, a rain poncho, tyre changing mat, hand cleaner, and a hand towel. Not to mention a first aid kit and hazard warning triangle.

The ‘Genesis Connected Services’ smartphone app also provides access to ‘Emergency assist’ (sends alert messages to Genesis Customer Care or family/friends), and ‘Accident assist’ (keeps a data log during a crash for insurance claims).

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   10/10

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and Genesis isn’t leaving a single stone unturned in its after-sales pitch.

It’s not easy to prise owners away from established premium brands, and this ownership package is hard to top. 

All G70s come with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is on the pace for the segment, but that’s just the beginning.

Now add five-year/50,000 kilometre complimentary scheduled servicing (including  ‘Genesis To You’ pick-up and delivery) with a complimentary courtesy car (service intervals are 12 months/10,000km, by the way), five year 24/7 roadside assist, and a five-year subscription to ‘Genesis Connected Services.’

On top of that, you’ll score a sat nav plan, where five years’ worth of map updates is complimentary, rising to up to 10 years, provided the vehicle is serviced at an authorised Genesis ‘studio’ outlet.

And you receive a two year complimentary subscription to the ‘Genesis Lifestyle program’, including benefits like a ‘Lifestyle Concierge’ and ‘Global Privileges’, which includes travel and medical assistance.

Even before you’ve bought the car the brand offers a test-drive home-delivery service. Then, when you decide to go ahead an online build and order process goes hand-in-hand with ‘haggle-free, fixed pricing.’ and after you’ve signed on the dotted line there’s a hand over delivery service. Wow! 

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Slip ‘Sport’ into a car’s title and you’re clearly setting an expectation that the drive will be engaging and enjoyable, and this G70 delivers.

But, hold on. We’re not talking super-sedan, mega-performance. Rather, tweaks to the G70 2.0T Sport’s suspension, the willingness of its turbo four-cylinder engine, and slick-shifting nature of its eight-speed auto transmission give it a satisfying, sporting edge, without going OTT.

For example, using the launch control function delivers a 5.9-second 0-100km/h sprint, which is not hanging around, but 1.5sec (and about $100K) off the ballistic pace of the Merc-AMG C 63 S sedan.

Peak torque of 353Nm is solid, and that maximum number is available from just 1400rpm all the way to 4000rpm. So mid-range performance is punchy when you want it, but the single, twin-scroll turbo does a great job of smoothing out power delivery in a less aggressive mode.

And the accompanying soundtrack is suitably gruff, but some will be disappointed to learn the G70’s ‘Active Sound Design’ system is building on the actual engine induction and exhaust noise with synthesised sound from the audio system. Boo, hiss...

The ‘shift-by-wire’ eight-speed auto swaps ratios quickly, yet smoothly, particularly in manual mode using the wheel-mounted shift paddles. Rev-matching on downshifts is a smile-inducing extra. 

Suspension is by MacPherson struts at the front, with a five-link set-up at the rear, and the G70 benefits from local chassis tuning, including suspension settings and steering calibration, developed over thousands of kilometres across multiple surfaces in the city, country, and everything in between.

The Sport version brings high-performance dampers into the mix, as well as 19-inch alloy rims shod with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber (225/40 fr - 255/35 rr), but the ride handling balance is excellent.

The Sport variant is fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels. The Sport variant is fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels.

Weighing in at just over 1.6 tonnes, the G70 2.0T Sport isn’t a heavyweight, but it’s not exactly a featherweight either, yet it feels well balanced and responsive on a quick B-road run. Under the heading of random niggles, the lane keep assist is quite aggressive, 

The electric rack and pinion steering points nicely, delivering a good connection with the front wheels. The leather-trimmed sports wheel itself feels great, too.  

Brakes are Brembo all the way with monobloc calipers (four-piston front, two-piston rear) sitting on big ventilated discs (350mm fr - 340mm rr). The pedal’s reassuringly progressive, the system consistently washing off speed without raising a sweat.

Knowing the quality of the G70’s competition, Genesis says it set minimising noise, vibration and harshness as a high priority, and despite its firmer dampers and low-profile tyres, the G70 remains quiet and comfortable, with only sharp city bumps and dips upsetting its composure (but never to an alarming degree).

The carefully sculpted driver’s seat feels firm initially, but locates you well and remains comfy on longer trips. All the controls are beautifully laid out, and the media interface is straight-forward and intuitive to use,

And once you’ve reached your destination, the ‘Genesis Connected Services’ smartphone app is ready to debrief you with a range of data available, including driving analysis (driving habits, scores), eco driving (fuel efficiency), safe driving (rapid acceleration/hard braking), driving history (trip distance, travel time), a vehicle health check (faults detected by type, time, date), as well as tyre pressure and battery status.

Verdict

Prising rusted on premium brand devotees away from their preferred marque is a tough task, but Hyundai’s commitment to Genesis is substantial and long term. And rather than bowling up with a timid ‘first attempt’ at cracking the small to medium luxury sedan segment, Genesis has given it a red hot go. The G70 2.0T Sport is competitive in terms of value, dynamics, quality, safety, and the ownership package is amazing. The Sport is a fun drive, but while the powertrain is finely tuned, it misses the mark on fuel efficiency, and practicality is not a strong suit. Has it done enough to leap ahead of the field? No, but it’s an excellent package that can confidently mix it with the best of them.   

Pricing guides

$69,625
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$59,300
Highest Price
$79,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0T 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP $59,300 2020 GENESIS G70 2020 2.0T Pricing and Specs
2.0T S.roof 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP $61,800 2020 GENESIS G70 2020 2.0T S.roof Pricing and Specs
2.0T Sport 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP $63,300 2020 GENESIS G70 2020 2.0T Sport Pricing and Specs
2.0T Sport S.roof 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP $65,800 2020 GENESIS G70 2020 2.0T Sport S.roof Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.9
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality6
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption6
Safety9
Ownership10
Driving8
James Cleary
Deputy Editor

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Pricing Guide

$63,300

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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