2022 Genesis GV70 Test Drive Review

With the 2022 Genesis GV70, Hyundai’s offshoot luxury brand is turning standing out from the crowd into an art.

8.3 /10
Overall Score

Have you heard of Genesis, the luxury off-shoot brand created by Hyundai Motor Group a little more than five years ago? Those who follow the automotive industry may be aware of the brand’s intentionally disruptive character. But it’s not a surprise if the name is new to you: Genesis launched somewhat quietly with a line-up of sedans including the Genesis G70 and Genesis G80, initially lacking in the luxury SUV options Canadian buyers crave. Now, those are starting to arrive, first with the mid-size Genesis GV80 launched last year, and now the new GV70, a compact two-row SUV that casually drops into Canada’s most competitive luxury segment. Genesis says it expects this vehicle to double its Canadian sales—and it might achieve that goal, provided it can get the attention of Canadians in a segment already overflowing with stiff competition.

Look and Feel

8/ 10

Korean automotive brands currently hang their hats on styling that stands out in a crowd, and the 2022 Genesis GV70 certainly does that. But what’s especially interesting is how divergent this vehicle is from the rest of the brand’s line-up.

There are a few common elements that are starting to filter through into all Genesis vehicles, most notably the brand’s now-trademark two-line lighting signature, which starts at the standard LED headlights and continues around to the LED taillights to create the illusion of a contiguous circle around the vehicle. The circle isn’t quite as unbroken here as on the larger GV80 SUV since there are no turn signal repeaters on the front quarter panels, but the effect is nonetheless achieved.

From there, the GV70’s styling begins to diverge. Six grades are offered in Canada, four with the smaller 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and two with the upgraded 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, the latter two being dubbed the Sport and Sport Plus grades. These two grades receive a hood with sculpting that aligns with the wings on the Genesis crest-shaped logo. The GV70’s shoulder line traces in an arc that’s distinct from the brand’s other designs, and the undulating path the accent lines take around the side windows is unique to this vehicle as well.

Dark chrome finishes on the grille and other exterior elements speak to the GV70’s sportier intent. On the Sport grades, a cross-hatched matrix pattern is applied throughout the exterior, including on the standard 21-inch alloy wheels (2.5-litre grades receive 18- or 19-inch wheels).

Genesis customers order directly from the company as opposed to from a dealership, which the brand says gives them more latitude for creativity in exterior and interior colourways. Between its 12 exterior paint colour options and nine different interiors—including green, burgundy, and a navy treatment with red stitching and piping—more than 100 different colour combinations are available for the GV70, although some are trim-exclusive such as the matte paints that can only be applied on the Sport grades.

The GV70’s cabin receives inserts in an elliptical theme for which the brand says its designers took inspiration from the shape of airplane wings. Again, the Sport trims get special treatment here, where the inserts can be ordered in a genuine carbon fibre with a glossy finish. On some interiors, a backlit graphic design is available that makes use of the multicolour interior ambient lighting to project a unique appearance. Most grades have unique upholstery configurations, with quilted leather seats and door panels being the hallmark of the premium grades.

Interior surfaces are largely of peak quality, although there are a few places where plastic is used, particularly in spots that are intended to look like chrome or metal. For the most part, these are found only in places where GV70 occupants aren’t likely to encounter them frequently.

Performance

9/ 10

Two engines are available in the GV70. The smaller 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque peaking between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm, has not yet been launched in Canada.

Our test unit is equipped with the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which is rated at 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, peaking across the same band. This engine is meant to put the GV70 toe-to-toe with mid-level performance competitors such as the BMW X3 M40i, Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, and Audi SQ5, and on paper the GV70’s power figures are higher than what’s found in several of its German counterparts. Natural Resources Canada estimates fuel consumption for this engine at 11.6 L/100 km combined; despite a varied testing route including some testing under heavy throttle, our first drive fuel-use figures trended slightly lower.

Regardless of engine, every GV70 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and, in Canada, standard all-wheel drive. This system prioritizes the rear axle, keeping nearly all of the engine’s available torque going toward the back until traction is required at the front wheels. On demand, up to 50% of available torque will be transferred forward. The top Sport Plus grade includes an electronic limited-slip differential, which permits up to 100% of available torque can be sent to a single rear wheel on demand.

Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ drive modes are independently selectable, as are terrain mode selections for mud, sand, and snow. In keeping with its targeted competition, Sport+ mode is very German in style, delivering aggressive throttle response, tenaciously held gears, and partial disabling of traction control. Put it under pressure, and the GV70 can handle all of this ably. That said, no one is likely to take this SUV to the track, and given the limitations of Canadian driving conditions, it’s hard to picture many owners having much call for this level of performance. Sport mode is the sweet spot, delivering a clear improvement in responsiveness and responsiveness over Comfort mode.

On both grades sold with the V6, an electronically controlled suspension system is equipped. This system employs the forward camera to detect and respond to upcoming changes in road’s surface. These sorts of systems can sometimes take away road feel, but this one achieves a solid balance between evening out rough surfaces and suppressing pitch and roll without numbing feedback for the driver. The GV70’s turning radius is noticeably tighter than average, which is a helpful bonus in close urban environments.

Form and Function

8/ 10

The GV70 is designed around the driver first and foremost, and several aspects of the interior’s design and ergonomics give this away quickly.

The centre console sits tall between the front-row seats, physically cutting the driver off from the front passenger. To the right, a set of intuitive button and dial controls, including a dial-based gear selector, are set within the driver’s easy reach. The raised dial that’s used to control the infotainment system is much more pleasant than the flat panel style found in the GV80 because it’s easier to find, grab, and turn while driving.

Like other Genesis vehicles, climate controls in the GV70 are configured under a single pane, which is meant to get around the busy look created by a sea of buttons. This can make individual settings a little harder to find until you get used to locating your favourites, but the panel provides haptic feedback to confirm inputs, which helps.

Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are standard equipment, and it doesn’t take an upgrade into the more expensive powertrain to access ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats. Notably, ventilated rear outboard seats are available on higher-priced grades, which remains a rarity in this segment.

The right rear passenger has the ability move the front passenger seat forward or backward using buttons mounted on the side of forward seat, which allows for independent legroom adjustment. The rear space is made more pleasant with a large panoramic sunroof providing plenty of natural light, and manual rear window sunshades are available. However, apart from a pair of cupholders in the centre armrest, two relatively small door pockets, and some netting on the front-row seatbacks, second-row storage is scarce. The middle position in the second row is by far the least desirable in the vehicle with a high rise through the centre floor and a narrow shoulder space.

Cargo volume behind the second row is rated at 819 litres, a figure that’s higher than that found in most of the GV70’s competitors. The second-row seats can be folded from the cargo area with a pair of manual levers. With those seats folded, a total of 1,610 litres of cargo space is available behind the first row. The tonneau cover can be stowed underneath the rear load floor when it’s not in use.

Apart from the steering wheel’s functions being less intuitive than the rest of the GV70’s inputs—and this may simply be a matter of getting used to—overall, the ergonomics and functionality in this vehicle are above average.

Tech Level

9/ 10

The Genesis brand is knocking technology out of the park, and its most interesting offerings are all included in the GV70.

A 14.5-inch high-definition LCD infotainment screen is standard equipment. The graphics are high-resolution and impressive, though on initial testing the system appears slower than average to respond to inputs. The screen’s wide layout allows for a split screen layout to be applied in most situations, which lets real estate be shared between in-car functions and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both of which are included (though neither is in wireless form).

Though there’s not a lot functionally important about the Genesis 3D digital instrument cluster included in the premium Sport Plus grade, it’s cool enough to work as a status symbol of sorts. This 12.3-inch screen separates its display into layers of graphics to give the various functions a 3D look that follows the driver’s eyes as they look around. This feature enables Hyundai’s Blind View Monitor system, which projects a camera view onto the instrument cluster of the GV70’s blind spot on each side of the vehicle as the turn signals are activated. The GV70 also introduces a fingerprint recognition system, which allows the driver to start the vehicle without a key fob by pressing a small panel adjacent to the engine start button.

A nine-speaker audio system is standard equipment, while the premium 18-speaker Lexicon surround sound system is included on the top grades with both engines. Two USB ports for the front row and two for the rear are standard equipment.

Safety

8/ 10

Ten safety features and driver assist technologies are standard on the GV70, including blind spot collision avoidance assist and rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance assist, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor.

A new rear occupant alert system that uses radar to detect the movement of a forgotten occupant in the second row rather than relying on the door sensor. The vehicle will notify an exiting driver of said movement through escalating graphics and audible alerts.

The Genesis Highway Driving Assist system is also standard, which includes lane centring and automatic lane changing functions. This is not intended to be a hands-free system, which means that it will not operate unless the driver’s hands are positioned on the steering wheel. It’s interesting in operation, and it’s especially useful with the head-up display where graphics show the position of vehicles the GV70 detects in its proximity. However, this is currently more aptly considered a leveled-up blind spot warning system than a self-driving technology.

As of publication, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have not published safety ratings for the Genesis GV70. Since the vehicle is entirely new, our rating is therefore based solely on the quality and performance of the on-board systems.

Cost-Effectiveness

8/ 10

The 2022 Genesis GV70 will be sold in six grade levels. Four will be packaged with the smaller, 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). The entry-level Select grade starts at $49,000 in Canada, while the Advanced grade starts at $55,000 and the Advanced Plus grade at $59,000. The Prestige grade, which is the top of the line with this engine, is priced at $63,000. Genesis’s Canadian all-in pricing includes destination charges. Models with this engine are designed to be on par with the entry-level grades found in the German brands: the BMW X3 xDrive30i, Mercedes-Benz GLC 300, and the entry-level Audi Q5. These GV70 models are due to begin arriving in Canada in the late summer to early fall of 2021.

Two more grades are presently available equipped with the larger 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6. The 3.5T Sport grade is priced at $68,500, while the line’s premier Sport Plus grade costs $75,500. As mentioned previously, these grades are meant to go toe-to-toe with the mid-performance range offered by German brands, including the X3 M40i, AMG GLC 43, and SQ5.

The Genesis business model in Canada is based around all-in and no-haggle pricing, fully online purchasing, taking test drives and vehicle delivery or receiving vehicle pick-up for service appointments from your home, and having complimentary scheduled maintenance included for the first five years or 100,000 kilometres of ownership.

With the 2022 GV70, Genesis has launched its first luxury compact SUV right past its obvious competition from Japanese and American brands and put a crosshairs directly onto the market-leading German competition. Will it work? Potentially, if the brand can make the most of its reasonable pricing and top-notch service offerings to overcome its relative obscurity and get the attention of Canadians shopping in the premium space.

Updated by Stephanie Wallcraft

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