Back in 1989, Toyota Motors did something that would forever change the luxury car market: Not only did they introduce new cars to go head-to-head with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but they developed an entirely new brand. The Lexus marquee made its debut and within 2 short years, outsold every German maker in the US.
History has a habit of repeating itself. Korean automotive giant Hyundai–who entered the US market in 1986–is finally rubbing shoulders with the big boys under its own luxury brand named Genesis. Although the transition wasn’t nearly as smooth as it was for Toyota, today Genesis is a full-fledged, bona-fide luxury brand with five exceptional vehicles in its portfolio.
The newest vehicle from Genesis is this five-passenger GV70, the smaller of their two current SUV offerings. Approaching the GV70, you are immediately struck with a sense of sophisticated design and flair: The large crest grill and dual-lined quad taillamps are inspired by the Genesis wing emblem, which magically illuminates on the ground under each front door whenever you approach in the dark. The design motif carries over inside too–you might even think you’ve stepped into a rich, English-made Bentley interior. From the clean design lines to the carbon fiber accents, to the jeweled, backlit rotary shifter, nothing looks or feels remotely cheap. The extra-wide infotainment touch-screen and massaging seats just keep adding to the allure of luxury. If you like high tech, you are going to love what this Genesis provides. Experience a virtual 3D digital dashboard, as well as 360-degree surround view cameras that let you point and zoom-in to get a closer look of what’s around the vehicle. The Genesis’ safety tech includes everything from cross-traffic alerts to autobraking as well as near-autonomous driving. The GV70 will not only follow the road–it can execute a lane change with a press of the turn signal.
While upscale design and luxury abounds in the GV70, it is the way this sporty SUV drives that will smooth over any lingering doubts. With its powerful 3.5L turbo V6 making an impressive 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, the GV70 is a joy to drive. Responsive steering, sure-footedness and an on-demand connection between your right foot and the power–this SUV gets up and goes! The ride is buttery smooth thanks to something Genesis calls the “Preview Electronic Control System,” which utilizes the front camera and GPS to tell the suspension what to expect on the road ahead. Is that a pothole coming at you at 70mph? The suspension reacts in milliseconds to soften the impact and then goes back to firm once you’ve passed it. Coincidently, this is the same suspension technology you find in a Rolls Royce. The standard All-Wheel-Drive system, which Genesis calls HTRAC, is pretty fancy as well. It uses an electronic limited slip differential and a variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The result is an SUV that is absolutely amazing in the snow–without the need for hard-core, off-road features like locking differentials or low gearing. Just get in and drive, no matter what mother nature throws at you.
Alas, it’s not all perfection; there are a few things that could use some improvement. With all its advanced technology, it’s almost criminal that wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not an available option–especially given that wireless charging is. The back seat legroom is a bit cramped for taller adults, and, being a mid-size SUV with a sloping roofline, cargo space in the trunk isn’t the most plentiful. Additionally, while the lower ride height is great for getting in and out and at carving up a dry back road, the low ground clearance is barely adequate for clearing taller snow drifts.
The 2022 Genesis GV70 starts at $53,645 including destination–very reasonable for its class. Even with all the added options found on my press car, the price increased to a still-acceptable $64,045–money well spent as it includes all of the premium features that make the GV70 stand out from the competition.
In sum, the GV70 is a SUV that has great road feel, great snow traction and a great ride. It has everything from the safety features, to the advanced technology to the genuine opulence – it’s all there. Genesis is trying to do what Lexus did years ago – come out of nowhere and suddenly put all the established luxury brands on notice–and it has truly succeeded. It’s the brand new, new luxury!