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Genesis G70 2019 review

EXPERT RATING
7.9
The G70 marks Hyundai's first proper push into Australia's ultra-competitive premium market with its Genesis brand. But does it have the polish - and the power - to mix it with the big three of Germany?

The Genesis G70 has finally arrived in Australia, carrying the hopes and dreams of a broader Hyundai group desperate to crack the premium market on its shapely metal shoulders.

Now, first things first; just what the hell is a Genesis? Think of it as Hyundai's answer to Toyota and Lexus, with Genesis the Korean brand’s premium arm.

The Genesis G70 has finally arrived in Australia. The Genesis G70 has finally arrived in Australia.

But you won't hear the “H” word mentioned often, with Genesis very keen to be viewed as a standalone brand, and the cars will be sold from special concept stores, rather than from Hyundai dealerships.

There will also be a bigger G80 on sale here, and the brand's true flagship is the G90 sedan, will eventually be offered in Australia, too. But this G70 is the best product the brand currently offers, and so any success Genesis finds in Australia will be largely down this car's popularity here.

The G70 is the best product Genesis currently offers. The G70 is the best product Genesis currently offers.

We've talked about the brand's credentials before, but let’s cover them off quickly again. The brains behind the performance side of things come from the former head of BMW's M division, Albert Biermann. The looks? That's former Audi and Bentley designer Luc Donckerwolke. The Genesis brand itself? Headed-up by former Lamborghini heavyweight Manfred Fitzgerald. 

As far as car resumes go, few come stronger than that.  

Have I heaped enough pressure on it yet? Good. Then let's go see if it can live up to the hype. 

Genesis G70 2018: 3.3t
Safety rating
Engine Type0.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded
Fuel Efficiency9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price fromNo recent listings

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I for one am a fan of the the G70's styling. It doesn't exactly push the boundaries of premium design, but neither does it do anything noticeably wrong. Safe and sensible design that's unlikely to age. 

  • The G70 doesn't exactly push the boundaries of premium design. The G70 doesn't exactly push the boundaries of premium design.
  • The G70 has safe and sensible design that's unlikely to age. The G70 has safe and sensible design that's unlikely to age.
  • There is little to complain about in the looks department. There is little to complain about in the looks department.
  • The rear and rear three-quarter views are the easiest on the eye. The rear and rear three-quarter views are the easiest on the eye.
  • Genesis are keen to be viewed as a standalone brand. Genesis are keen to be viewed as a standalone brand.

The rear and rear three-quarter views are the easiest on the eye, with the G70 seeming to flow outwards from the glasshouse, with muscular bulges above the rear tyres and dominate rear lights that stretch from the boot into the bodywork.

We're not as convinced by the straight-on view, with the bright work on the Ultimate models looking a bit chintzy, but overall, you'll find little to complain about in the looks department. 

Slip into the cabin and you are greeted by a really well-crafted and nicely designed space. No matter what you spend, the material selections are well thought out, and the way the layered dash blends with the door materials feels both premium, and sufficiently different from Genesis' mostly Euro competitors.

The material selections are well thought out. The material selections are well thought out.

There are some less-than-premium reminders, though, like the graphics on the infotainment screen which are taken straight from the Atari playbook (something Genesis says it will soon be improving), plastic switches that feel a bit cheap and seats that started to feel a little uncomfortable on longer drives.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

All G70's share the same dimensions; 4685mm in length, 1850mm in width and 1400mm in height, and all ride on a 2835mm wheelbase.

Up front feels plenty spacious, with enough room between front-seat riders to ensure you never feel cramped, with the wide centre console also home to two cupholders, with room for (small) bottles in each of the front doors.

The front seats are plenty spacious. The front seats are plenty spacious.

The backseat, though, is considerably tighter than the front. The G70 offers good knee and head room, but like we reported overseas, the tight toe room leaves you feeling like your feet are wedged under the seat in front.

There’s no way you're fitting three adults across the back, either - at least without breaking the Geneva Convention. Backseat riders get their own vents, but no temperature controls, and there is a pocket in each of the rear doors (that won't fit a bottle), along with two cupholders housed in the pull-down seat divider.

Up front the wide centre console has two cupholders. Up front the wide centre console has two cupholders.

There are two ISOFIX attachment points and three top-tether points across the back seat. Boot size, however, is a small-for-the-segment 330 litres (VDA), and is also home to a space-saver spare.

Boot size is a small at just 330 litres. Boot size is a small at just 330 litres.

On the tech front, you'll find a total three USB charge points, a wireless charge pad for your phone, and a 12-volt power source.

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

The G70 arrives with two petrol engine options, and with a price range that climbs from around $59,000 to around $80,000 for the top-spec models.

There are three trim levels offered across both engines, with the 2.0-litre engine cars arriving in an entry-level grade (2.0T - $59,300), a performance-focused Sport trim ($63,300) that brings extra go-fast goodies, and there’s a luxury-focused version called the 2.0T Ultimate that will set you back $69,300.

The V6 lineup is slightly different, with every model in the range getting the go-fast treatment, which includes a limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes. That car car arrives in Sport ($72,450), Ultimate ($79,950) and Ultimate Sport ($79,950) trim levels. 

Genesis is going for an "everything's included" approach here, too, so there is a refreshingly small option list that really only consists of a panoramic sunroof for $2500 on non-Ultimate cars. 

Entry-level cars get LED head- and tail-lights, an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, heated leather seats up front, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control and a 7.0-inch TFT screen in the driver's binnacle. 

Entry-level cars get an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped. Entry-level cars get an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped.

Stepping up to the Sport trims adds Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloys wrapped in better Michelin Pilot Sport rubber and a limited-slip differential. It's worth pointing out here that all the V6-powered cars get the performance kit as standard.

Finally, the Ultimate cars get Nappa leather trim, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear window seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive headlights, a sunroof and a much better 15-speaker Lexicon stereo. 

A final word here; Genesis is taking a pretty novel approach to sales in Australia, promising that the price is the price, and so no haggling will be required. There are plenty of studies that show that the fear of not getting the best deal is one of the things people hate the most about going to a dealership, and Genesis thinks having a simple advertised price that won't change will solve that problem.

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

There are two engine options on offer here; one is a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit that will deliver 179kW and 353Nm, sending that power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. But the headline act here is the twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 which will produce 272kW and 510Nm.

There are two engines on offer with the G70. There are two engines on offer with the G70.

That engine, along with its standard launch control, will produce a fast-feeling sprint to 100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds. The bigger-engined cars also get adaptive suspension as standard, and feel far and away the most performance-focused vehicles in the range.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Genesis says its 2.0-litre engine will sip between 8.7 and 9.0 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, while the V6 unit drinks 10.2L/100km under the same conditions.

The C02 emissions are pegged at 199-205g/km for the smaller engine, and 238g/km for the V6.

All G70's arrive with a 70-litre fuel tank, and require 95RON petrol.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

We spent several hours behind the wheel of the G70, covering all sorts of road conditions, and to be totally honest with you, we spent much of that time waiting for the cracks to appear, given this is Genesis' first real crack at a car like this.

But you know what? They didn't appear. The G70 felt composed and endlessly engaging, and really very good.

The G70 felt composed and endlessly engaging, and really very good. The G70 felt composed and endlessly engaging, and really very good.

Yes, it can feel heavy - especially with the V6 engine, which increases the weight over the 2.0-litre cars by 100kgs - but that kind of suits the character of the car, which always feels hunkered down and connected to the road below it. Remember, this isn’t a full-blown performance model like an M car or an AMG. Instead, it's a kind of sub-hardcore model. 

But that’s not to say it isn’t huge fun. While the smaller engine feels lively enough, the bigger 3.3-litre unit is an absolute cracker. The power - and there’s plenty of it - comes on in this thick and constant flow, and it truly paints a smile on your face when you pounce out of corners.

One of the complaints we had in Korea was that the ride felt a little soft, but that’s been addressed by a local suspension tune that has left this thing feeling seriously well sorted, helped along by super-direct steering that helps makes the car feel smaller than it actually is.

The steering is direct, confidence inspiring and has absolutely no slack. The steering is direct, confidence inspiring and has absolutely no slack.

Performance-focused cars usually have to walk (or drive) a razor-thin line between stiff suspension for better driving dynamics and a more comfortable ride that’s easier to live with (or at least won't rattle the fillings free from your teeth on the pockmarked roads that plague our cities). 

And to be honest, more often than not they end up falling off, trading suppleness for sportiness in a way that gets very old, very fast, unless you happen to live on racetrack or at the base of a mountain pass. 

Which is probably the biggest surprise around the way G70 drives. The brand's local engineering team has managed to strike an impressive balance between all-round comfort and road-holding dynamics, leaving the G70 feeling like it's got the best of both worlds.

The steering is fabulous: direct, confidence inspiring and with absolutely no slack. It allows you to accurately bite into corners, with the tail giving the slightest of wiggles when you give it too much poke on the exit. 

There's no snap and crackle on gear changes, or booming exhaust note when you plant your foot. There's no snap and crackle on gear changes, or booming exhaust note when you plant your foot.

It is missing some fanfare, though. There's no snap and crackle on gear changes, or booming exhaust note when you plant your foot. For mine, it feels a bit too sensible in that way.

We only managed a brief drive in the 2.0-litre version, and our first impressions were that it felt lively enough with out being earth-shattering. But the 3.3-litre V6 engine is a beast.

Drive one. You might be surprised.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

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

Happily, Genesis' "everything's included" approach extends to safety, with every model in the range arriving with with seven airbags, as well as blind-spot monitoring, AEB that works with cars and pedestrians, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and active cruise.

You also get a reversing camera, paring sensors front and rear, a driver fatigue monitor and a tyre-pressure monitor. More expensive models add a surround-view camera and dynamic torque vectoring. 

No matter which way you shake it, that's lots of stuff. And it adds up to a five-star ANCAP safety rating. 

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

Genesis is attempting to shake-up the premium ownership experience, offering a full five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, free servicing for that same five years, a valet service that will both pick up and drop off your car when its time for servicing, and even access to a concierge service that will help you make restaurant reservations, book hotels or secure flights.

That's the best ownership package in the premium space, people. And believe me, it's something you'll value long into your ownership experience.

Verdict

A first attempt that doesn't feel like one, the Genesis G70 is a convincing premium product, even in a segment filled with the automotive world's heaviest hitters.

Genesis has some way to go before it really establishes the brand in Australia, but if future product is as convincing as this one, it's a mountain it could well eventually climb. 

What do you think about the new Genesis? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

EXPERT RATING
7.9
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety9
Ownership9
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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