When I first glimpsed the Genesis G70, I thought I was approaching a sleek and sensuous two-door coupe. No, it wasn’t a low little two-seat runner. The G70 is more substantial than that. But its appearance and attitude made me expect a personally expressive coupe more than an expansive sedan.
And it had luster. The Genesis G70 gleamed and shined and showed the curvaceously shaped surfaces of a car that’s a showpiece.
But the G70 is a four-door sedan. At the same time, its shows all those qualities that grabbed me when I first saw the car.
That makes it a tempting option for style-setters who drive luxury sport sedans. Those are the higher priced, smaller sized four-door sedans like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Both the BMW and Mercedes model are promoted as classy and athletically engaging cars. They’re styled to look sophisticated and expressive, to bring distinction to their drivers. They’re engineered to zip, to react quickly so drivers feel some excitement and road command.
The Genesis G70 earns high grades for those qualities. And it has a distinct advantage in price.
Cars of this ilk are called entry-level luxury models. The smaller size of sport sedans makes their prices more approachable than the rates for larger, lumbering four-door luxury cruisers. The BMW 3 Series starts at $41,745 for a rear-wheel-drive version, with all-wheel drive adding $2,000 to that. The Mercedes C-Class opens at $41,400, and also adds $2,000 for four-wheel traction.
By comparison, the rear-drive Genesis G70 starts at $38,745. If you want all-wheel drive, add the same $2,000. Either way, the model comes in about $3,000 less than the C-Class and 3 Series, its main competitors.
Genesis is the luxury-car brand of Korea-based Hyundai Motors. The G70 is a new model, now cruising through its second year. Genesis introduced the sinuous, spunky sport sedan late in 2018 as a 2019 model. Last year, during its first full year on the market, it was the top seller among the Genesis lineup of three sedans. It led the brand to double its 2019 sales in the United States over the previous year.
Maybe that’s because entry-level luxury shoppers are reading the motor news. The G70 has picked up a lot of awards from the media and consumer research outfits. By late February, Genesis counted 19 G70 awards and accolades from independent vehicle evaluators. The new sedan was the 2019 North American Car of the Year, selected by a panel of automotive journalists and so-called “influencers.” The G70 was last year’s Best Winter Sedan chosen by the New England Motor Press Association. Recently, it landed on the list of Best Car Interiors by the online publication Autotrader. The research outfit AutoPacific named it the top Aspirational Luxury Car in its Ideal Vehicle Awards.
The G70 and sport sedans like it rate as “aspirational” because they’re often the first luxury model people buy, due to their more reachable prices and the appeal of their more sporty character to younger drivers. That starting-level status makes them important to their brands. The companies want to please the premium sport-sedan drivers so they’ll buy larger, more expensive models from the brand as they aspire to greater luxury.
The G70 stands a good chance of keeping people in the Genesis family because it gives them a lot.
Sure, it draws some criticism because its back-seat leg space is tight. But I disregard that gripe because luxury sport sedans are primarily personal-use autos. Their two front seats matter most. Their rear seats and four doors are more in-a-pinch conveniences.
Otherwise, the sporty new Genesis pulls in a lot of praise for its spirited road command, its solid construction, its emotionally appealing style and its high grade of luxury.
I noticed all of those qualities during my own week-long stint in the sedan. My evaluation model came with a 365-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is the larger of the G70’s two motors. Its standard engine is a smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 252 horsepower.
The G70 was energetic during takeoffs. It was quick, stable and encouraging in maneuvers. Even at aggressive speeds I noticed how flat its body stayed – resisting energy-stealing tilts and lifts – and how accurately it tracked during curves and turns. In good measure that’s due to efforts Genesis made to engineer a road-holding suspension, and to make the G70’s body particularly stiff to prevent twists and flexes that throw a car off balance during dynamic driving.
The model’s lower height and wider stance also contribute to its expert road handling, by keeping more of its weight closer to the road. Genesis claims the G70 has the lowest center of gravity among luxury sport sedans.
For luxury, my test car stood out with unique cabin details like the diamond-pattern quilting on its perforated leather seats, the raised, colored stitching on its dashboard and console coverings, and the bright metal trim accents that outlined panels, screens and structures.
The G70 was comfortable, while its automatic driving aids and safety systems were comforting. All levels of the Genesis sedan include distance-keeping cruise control that automatically stops and starts with traffic, lane monitoring and correction, and blind spot and rear-crossing traffic monitoring.
Of course, luxury drivers look at more than just the car. Prestige is a large part of what drives people to particular models. They want to be associated with a brand that their neighbors recognize as upper crust, a brand that has a top-shelf image.
The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class have distinct advantages in image. Both are well established models from top-tier car companies. The G70 is just a year old. And Hyundai Motors’ Genesis division itself is new. Hyundai experimented with selling high-level Genesis models under its own Hyundai brand beginning in 2007. But it created a free-standing Genesis luxury-car brand only in 2017.
So the Genesis G70 has some catching up to do. As a stand-out luxury sport sedan, it has everything it needs to do just that.
Jeffrey Zygmont is an author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books, and a long-time auto writer. Contact him at www.jeffreyzygmont.com.
2020 Genesis G70
Vehicle type: 4-door, 5-passenger, rear- and all-wheel-drive luxury sport sedan
Price range: $38,475 to $46,650 (plus options)
Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles basic warranty; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain warranty; 7 years/unlimited miles corrosion warranty; 3 years/36,000 miles free maintenance
Base engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Power: 252 horsepower at 6,200 rpm; 260 lb.-ft. torque at 1,400 rpm
Base transmission: 8-speed geared automatic
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city; 30 mpg highway
Wheelbase: 112 inches
Length: 184 inches
Width: 73 inches
Height: 55 inches
Weight: 3,516 pounds
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gallons