It’s still not a household name, certainly in motoring circles, but Genesis is the luxury sub-brand of Hyundai in the same way as Lexus is to Toyota.
Like Lexus before it, Genesis marketers see the brand as a competitor for the upmarket German marques.
Despite the major impact Korean cars have had in recent years, that’s unlikely to happen to Genesis any time in the immediate future.
Then again, Hyundai has surprised us before — so who knows?
The current Genesis range comprises two sedans (G70 and G80) and three SUVs (GV60, GV70 and GV80) and includes petrol, diesel and electric powertrains as well as two- and all-wheel drive for SUVs.
GV70, the subject of this test, covers all bases with the choice of 2.5- and 3.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines, 2.2-litre turbo diesel and pure electric.
The entry-level 2.5T comes with either rear or all-wheel drive. All other variants are AWD only.
We’re checking out what is likely to be the volume seller: 2.5T AWD, together with the optional Luxury Sport Line package and eye-catching Brunswick Green matte paint.
What’s it cost?
Prices for the GV70 start from $68,500.
GV70 is one of the most attractive vehicles that we’ve ever driven; one that drew positive comments wherever we went.
The lines are SUV but without the boxiness or semi-coupe look that many competitors have adopted.
The large mesh-filled front grille follows the Genesis family pattern, with the number plate attached inside the grille.
The Genesis badge, which bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Aston Martin, sits at the front of the bonnet.
The split horizontal front and tail lights are another Genesis feature and broaden the vehicle’s front appearance.
A panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide panel and powered blind is standard across the range.
The Sport Line Package adds 21-inch five-spoke G-matrix alloy wheels, sporty front and rear bumpers, gloss black sport radiator grille, front skid plate, roof rails, with dark chrome for the grille surround and window frame trims.
Others will no doubt love the G-matrix wheels but we found them a bit gaudy for the otherwise elegant looks of the car.
Genesis GV70 offers 10 exterior colours, including three matte lines that add $2000, seven interior colours and four trim inserts – to let buyers express individual preferences.
The standout feature at the front of the GV70’s cabin is the 14.5-inch touchscreen.
It certainly looks spectacular, although the combination of extra width and low height mean that functions on the left of the screen are too much of a stretch even for tall drivers.
Also, the shape of the screen compresses the satellite navigation view more than is practical.
There’s a 12.3-inch colour screen in front of the driver with a digital instrument cluster.
A camera is activated either side of the screen each time the turn indicator is used.
Bluetooth provides two connections, one phone/audio, the other just for audio, with USB ports on the front and rear centre consoles.
There’s wireless (Qi standard) smartphone charging, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – both wired.
If you need to relax, there’s a Sounds of Nature feature with a choice of six preset sounds.
Our favourites were twittering birds and ocean waves. Not sure about the soothing effect of the roaring fire though.
Audio comes from a nine-speaker Genesis sound system with an external digital amplifier.
The 3.5T gets a premium 16-speaker Lexicon by Harmon unit.
Every GV70 model comes with a comprehensive list of safety equipment, starting with eight airbags, including one between the front seats to prevent serious injury due to potential driver and passenger contact.
Among other features are blind spot monitoring and collision avoidance, forward collision avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross-traffic alert and collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, smart cruise control, 360-degree surround view monitor, front and rear parking sensors and safe exit assist.
What’s it go like?
There’s a real premium look and feel to the interior of the GV70 Luxury Sport Line tested with Nappa leather and suede appointed quilted sport seats, suede headlining and pillars, a sports steering wheel, alloy pedals and aluminium trim.
There are sport gauges for oil temperature, torque and turbo boost to let the driver extract the best from the engine.
Rear seat space is pretty good, with buttons that allow occupants to adjust the front seats as well as air conditioning controls.
Rear storage space is 542 litres with the rear seatbacks in place, expanding to 1678 litres when they are folded.
A space saver spare wheel is located under the boot floor and there’s also a clever roadside safety kit with a range of items to help in an emergency – such as gloves, hi-viz vest, towel etc.
Genesis GV70 comes with a choice of four drivetrain, starting with the 2.5T with a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder with 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque, paired with an eight-speed torque converter automatic that drives either the rear wheels or an electronically controlled AWD system.
Flagship GV70 3.5T has a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 with 279kW and 530Nm mated with the same transmission and AWD.
GV70 2.2D has a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that produces 154kW of power and 440Nm of torque.
It uses an electronically controlled AWD system.
The most recent addition is the GV70 EV, the first-ever fully electric vehicle from Genesis.
Our Queensland team is currently testing it and we’ll bring you the review soon.
GV70 is quite a large and heavy vehicle, but doesn’t feel like it when cruising on the motorway where it’s smooth, comfortable and quiet thanks to extra insulation.
When pushed along the feeling and sound from the turbo engine is akin to that of a decent-sized six-cylinder unit.
Out on the open road GV70 is well-balanced and corners better than expected for an SUV.
It’s not a sports machine but comes closer than many others in the class that we have tested.
There are five drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Custom), and three Terrain modes (Snow, Mud and Sand). So, plenty to play with here.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is reasonably quick to respond with shift paddles on hand if needed.
Fuel consumption on short trips was well above the listed figure of 10.3L/100km but dropped noticeably, to around 8.5L on the motorway.
What we like?
Comprehensive list of safety equipment
What we don’t like?
Shape of touchscreen compresses navigation
Heavy fuel consumption around town
The bottom line?
This is the first time that we’ve driven a Genesis SUV and we could not have been more surprised and impressed by the GV70.
It’s beautifully crafted, both inside and out, well-equipped, enjoyable to drive and, with prices starting from just under $70K — excellent value compared with more-established competitors.
Dedicated owners of vehicles from the three big-name German brands will no doubt scoff at the arrival of Genesis nee Hyundai, much as they did when Lexus emerged from the shadow of Toyota nearly 30 years ago.
However, for anyone willing to think outside the square, we’d suggest the Genesis GV70 is well worth checking out.