Occasionally I get to test drive a new model twice within a year or 18 months because the car makers fill their fleets with their newest models. The hope, of course, is that us auto writers will drive, and write about, said new wheels, and sales will blossom.
Hard for much to blossom in Wisconsin in winter, but the Genesis G70, launched early last year, is a rose among thorns when it comes to pricing and value in the luxury sport sedan market. As I said in my earlier review, Japanese and European luxury sport sedan makers better beware.
While the likes of BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s C Class, and Audi’s A4 can run upward of $60 grand, the tested Havana Red (dark metallic red) G70 AWD 3.3T Sport hit “just” $53,245. I know that’s a lot, but you get a lot and Genesis doesn’t even ding you for its luxurious paint job, which European makes will do, even for black, white and gray. One wonders if any colors are standard on those makes sometimes.
Not much you’d need to add to this top-level Genesis either. It already comes with AWD and includes three option packages that add $6,600 to the starting price of $47,645, which includes delivery.
Those include things like a heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, a wireless charging pad under the dash’s center stack in the Elite package and a head-up display, 360-degree monitor, power trunk, heated rear seats and snazzy leather and quilted seats in the Prestige package.
A lower cost Sport package also would include the fancy seats, but adds electronically tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, and some glitzy dark chrome grille, window and headlight trim.
But as I said last year, Genesis delivers a handsome and subtly distinctive sedan with a honeycomb grille that isn’t as in-your-face as some of the other makes. And with that it offers strong performance with 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 serious “launchatude,” plus steering effort firms substantially to feel more Germanic.
For the record, Genesis claims 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. This my friends is what muscle cars look like today. No V8s, just turbos!
And if Comfort or Sport mode aren’t your thing, well, Genesis offers 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 excellent adhesion. And I tested this one during a snowfall and other than a little wiggle from time to time while accelerating, the AWD kept all four wheels connected to the slippery pavement.
Ride is good too as you’d expect with this wheelbase, but I noticed the ride in this test car could feel a little too stiff on some of the rougher area roads. I hadn’t noticed that in the previous test, but that was in spring, not winter when roads crumble. An 8-speed automatic smoothly delivers the power. There are rear-drive G70s too, plus an entry-level engine option, but more on that in a bit.
Inside, the Genesis looks and feels every bit a luxury sedan. The test car featured a black leather interior with red stitching and piping. These were perforated leather with a quilted pattern, one that was repeated in the door panels. Again, these seats are part of the Prestige and Sport packages.
The black leather steering wheel (sadly not a sporty D-shaped model), features red 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 heated. G70’s steering wheel also is heated, again part of an option package. Best of all, these features are simply controlled via buttons on a well laid out dash and console, no silly screens that must be fiddled with.
Speaking of which, Genesis’ 8-inch touchscreen also is simple to use and the radio easy to tune. A Lexicon 15-speaker, 660-watt stereo is standard too. Such an upgrade is usually a couple grand option on other luxury makes. Overhead there’s also a wide power sunroof.
Genesis provides well-contoured seats up front and there are two memory settings for the driver’s power seat. In back the seats are a bit deep and so contoured that it makes it difficult for a third adult to sit in the middle. Plus legroom is tight in back, especially behind the driver if he or she is of average size. Front seats do though feature a power lower cushion that can extend to help give long-legged drivers more support.
Genesis adds a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, a nice upgrade, and a button on the door will power the side mirrors flat to the body in case you’re parking in cramped quarters.
Standard are the safety features you’d expect, such as blind-spot warning, lane departure assist (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.
My main concerns here were that tight back seat and snug feel to the front seats, plus the tiny trunk. I found that even two large suitcases barely fit side-by-side in the 10.5 cubic foot trunk. Most such sedans offer about 14 cubic feet.
Gas mileage also was so-so at 19.4 mpg (exactly what I’d gotten last spring). The car is rated 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway by the EPA.
If you want better mileage, or a lower price tag, consider a base 2.0T model with rear-drive and the entry-level 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that generates 252 horsepower, roughly the same as an entry-level BMW 3 Series. The 2.0T lists at $36,445, with delivery. Add AWD and the cost goes up $2,000. A Sport model with the same engine and rear-drive, plus a 6-speed manual transmission, goes for $39,450, including destination charges. BMW, ironically, no longer offers a manual tranny on its like model.
Prefer the hot rod twin-turbo V6 power, but don’t need AWD? Then go with the 3.3T Sport, which lists at $45,645.
Want power, handling and value, not a fancy luxury nameplate with a history? The G70 should be atop your sport sedan list for a test drive.
Hits: Power, handling, 5 drive modes, plus AWD. Heat/cool seats front, heated rear, heated wheel, wireless charger, big sunroof, good dash control layout and info screen, two-memory driver’s seat and quiet interior.
Misses: Small trunk and tight feel to the cockpit. Limited rear seat legroom.
Made in: Ulsan, So. Korea
Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, 365 hp
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Weight: 3,887 lbs.
Wheelbase: 111.6 in.
Length: 184 in.
Cargo: 10.5 cu.ft.
MPG: 19.4 (tested)
Base Price: $47,645 (includes delivery)
Elite package (low beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, parking distance warning, heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, wireless charging pad), $1,450
Prestige package (head-up display, surround view monitor, Nappa leather seats w/quilting, heated rear seats, power trunk, suede headliner), $2,850
Sport package (electronically controlled suspension, 19-inch sport alloy wheels and all-season tires, copper headlight bezel accents, dark tint taillight covers, dark chrome grille & window trim, $1,300
Test vehicle: $53,245
Sources: Genesis, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage