Hyundai cranks up the heat on Japanese and European luxury sport sedan makers with its new “entry level” Genesis G70. It’s long on performance and luxury, but modestly short on price.
OK, the tested pearly “Casablanca White” AWD 3.3T model with the Prestige and Elite packages, logs in at $50,995. A bit beyond many pocketbooks, but compare that with BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s C Class, Audi’s A4 or a Lexus IS and you’ll think you’ve stumbled on a bargain.
That’s because Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury make along the lines of Nissan’s Infiniti and Toyota’s Lexus, delivers roughly everything you’d want in a luxury sport sedan without dinging you for option after option (think paint colors, floor mats, etc.) like the others. That mostly European luxury car pricing scheme often pushes the other makes to near $60,000.
G70 is a new model and fits in the compact luxury sport sedan market with a 111.6-inch wheelbase, weighs a modest 3,887 pounds and measures 184.4 inches long. It comfortably seats four adults, but the back seat is a bit crowded. For instance, the Kia Optima driven a few weeks earlier is much roomier, but not as opulently festooned.
Genesis delivers a handsome and subtly distinctive sedan with a honeycomb grille that isn’t as in-your-face as a few of the other makes but offers styling flourishes, such as boomerang-shaped chrome accents behind the front wheels. Much classier than Buick Ventiports.
While not as racy handling as a BMW 3 Series, the G70 delivers strong performance, especially at blastoff. Genesis claims 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s due to a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that churns an amazing 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. The car jumps away from a standing start, and that’s in Comfort mode, one of five drive modes. Punch in Sport mode and prepare for launch, plus steering effort firms substantially. There’s also a Smart mode that learns (artificial intelligence) your driving style and adjusts shift points and power to match your norm. Custom and Eco are the other modes.
Handling is good to begin with, easy to push this AWD car into tight corners and feel good adhesion. But Sport mode adds weight to the steering effort and a bit more precision. It was fun, but Comfort was satisfactory for everyday city street driving.
The ride is excellent as you’d expect with this wheelbase, so, comfortable as a road car or to buzz around town. An 8-speed automatic smoothly delivers the power and the G70 touts 18-inch tires up front and 19-inches in back. It’s AWD system gave it solid grip in slippery conditions too.
There are rear-drive versions and an entry-level engine option, but more on that later.
Inside, the Genesis looks and feels every bit a luxury sedan. The test car featured a black over tan leather interior with black piping on tan seats. These were perforated leather with a quilting pattern, one that was repeated in the door panels. That quilting upgrade is part of the $2,500 Prestige package.
The black leather steering wheel (sadly not a sporty D-shaped model), features tan stitching and satin chrome trim is used on the air vents, doors and dash, plus around the black console.
Front seats are heated and cooled while the rear seats are simply heated. G70’s steering wheel also is heated. Best of all, these features are simply controlled via buttons on a well laid out dash and console.
Genesis’ 8-inch touchscreen also is simple to use and the radio easy to tune. A Lexicon 660-watt stereo is standard and with 15 speakers will thump your eardrums.
Genesis provides well-contoured seats too, although the rear seat is a bit deep and so contoured that it makes it difficult for a third adult to sit in the back. Front seats feature a power lower cushion that can extend to help give long-legged drivers more support plus there are two memory buttons to lock in a couple driving positions.
The tilt/telescope steering wheel is powered, and a button on the door will power the side mirrors flat to the body in case you’re parking in cramped quarters.
That Prestige package also adds a head-up display, a 360-degree camera that helps in tight parking spots, and a suede headliner in addition to the Nappa leather quilted seats and heated rear seat.
An Elite package adds rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, a wireless charging pad under the center stack, assisted headlights and a wider sunroof, although not the usual panoramic that many vehicles now feature.
The safety features are standard as you’d expect, such as blind-spot warning, lane departure assist (thankfully able to be turned off), forward collision avoidance and pedestrian detection, cross-traffic warning, high-beam light assist, and a Brembo braking system. The later features red Brembo calipers that dress up the wheels a bit.
A couple of concerns include that tight back seat that gets even tighter for a rear passenger behind the driver once the ignition is turned off. Then the driver’s seat automatically powers back, which can make it hard for the passenger to extract his or her feet when exiting the car.
One other oddity, the floor mats were extremely slick causing several passengers to comment as they climbed aboard during damp weather, including snow. Their feet slid forward on the mats, causing concern of a fall.
Cargo space also is a tad limited with just 10.5 cubic feet of trunk room. That’s plenty for two folks on a trip, but would be tight for four. Two full-size suitcases basically will fill the trunk.
Gas mileage is rated 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway by the EPA. I got 19.4 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving.
The test car was a mid-level G70 3.3T Advanced with AWD, starting at $46,745 including delivery. It added the Prestige and Elite packages to hit nearly $51 grand.
A base 2.0 Advanced with rear-drive and the entry-level 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that generates 252 horsepower lists at $35,895. A Sport model with the same engine and rear-drive, plus a 6-speed manual transmission, goes for $38,895. Rare that any luxury sedans offer a manual, so kudos to Genesis for the Sport. AWD adds $2 grand to every trim level.
Beyond the test model is the 3.3T Design Edition that starts at $51,745 with AWD and the 3.3T Dynamic Edition with AWD at $53,245.
Luxury sport sedan shoppers looking for good looks, racy performance and value pricing will do well snagging a G70.
Hits: Good looks, excellent power, ride and handling, plus AWD. Heated/cooled front seats, heated rear, heated wheel, wide sunroof, nice dash layout and buttons, easy to use touchscreen, 5 drive modes, 360-degree camera, full safety package, lane departure can be turned off.
Misses: a Tight back seat for anything more than 2 adults, needs D-shaped steering wheel, extremely slick floor mats, extremely tight foot space behind the driver when the car is off and driver’s seat powers back.
Made In: Ulsan, South Korea
Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, 365 horsepower
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Weight: 3,887 lbs.
Length: 184.4 in.
Wheelbase: 111.6 in.
Cargo: 10.5 cu.ft.
MPG: 18/25, 19.4 (tested)
Base Price: $46,745 (includes delivery)
Major Options: Prestige package (head-up display, surround-view monitor, Nappa leather seats w/luxury quilting, heated rear seats, suede headliner), $2,500
Elite package (low-beam assist headlights, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, wide sunroof, wireless charging pad), $1,750
Test Vehicle: $50,995
Sources: Genesis, Kelley Blue Book
Editor's note: Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.