What’s that Aston Martin you’re in? Is that a new Bentley? Who makes Genesis?
Judging by the three most popular questions (seemingly on rotation) I was asked every time I parked our Genesis GV70 tester, the majority of punters in Sydney have no clue as the identity or origins of this fledgling brand.
As carmakers go it’s still incredibly young, having kicked off in 2008 under the Hyundai Genesis banner before the powers that be at Hyundai Motor Company eventually realised luxury buyers demand something a bit more bespoke.
Even then it was 2015 before Genesis emerged from the shadow of the Hyundai badge to become a luxury brand with sales commencing in the all-important US market in 2016, followed by Australia in 2019.
It still largely flies under the radar of most buyers, who are more likely to cross-shop the usual and considerably more expensive German-built suspects without looking at alternatives.
That would be entirely at their expense if we’re talking about the GV70 3.5T AWD Sport – and frankly, any model in the Genesis range of sedans, wagons, and SUVs. That covers both petrol and electric powertrains, although diesel is gone.
From any angle the GV70 demands attention. Our tester’s matte finish helps, for it’s one of the best I’ve seen – but it’s the front end that seems to take styling cues from Bentley (grille) and Porsche (light signature), while managing to look unique at the same time.
The rear design is just as captivating thanks to the dual light strips, clean bodywork, and two of the largest exhaust outlets in the business and perfectly integrated into the lower bumper.
I remain undecided about the new 21-inch wheels on this top-spec petrol variant. I’m just not sold on those dimple-like embellishments, though I can vouch for their ease of cleaning.
The 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 GV70 ($85,100 before on-roads) was once the range topper, but it’s since been dethroned by all the electric GV70 ($127,800 before on-roads) on price and power. Our 3.5T AWD Sport tester had the optional Luxury Pack ($7100).
The entry point into GV70 ownership kicks off with the 2.5T RWD from $70,500 before on-roads, before jumping to the 2.5T AWD version from $72,900 before on-roads.
Rival makes and models are plenty, but I’d argue few offer the combination of performance, luxury, and design, for anywhere near such its price point.
And there’s the Porsche Macan S that kicks off from $119,000 before on-roads.
Given its elevated hierarchy in the GV70 range the 3.5T AWD Sport is all the more special inside.
I’d choose Sevilla Red Nappa leather rather than dark hues, but either way there’s a genuine look and feel of luxury inside even before you realise how refined the fit and finish is.
Dials and roller switches are all beautifully knurled, while the polished metal brightwork looks top shelf and is far more appropriate than the piano black still used by some rivals. It’s here Genesis seems to have taken a leaf or two out of Bentley’s book on craftsmanship.
All three screens offer ultra-sharp clarity and quick response rates for infotainment and climate control.
There’s a second rotary dial ahead of the transmission controller which can be used instead of the touchscreen, much like BMW’s iDrive system, given the screen itself can be a stretch for shorter drivers.
The bottom touchscreen is devoted to HVAC functions including front seat heating and cooling. Aft of that are several storage bins including a wireless phone charging cradle, cupholders, and a large centre console bin.
While you get both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, they’re wired instead of wireless.
There’s a bit of an elliptical theme going on, encompassing the climate control display, door handle and speaker, and backlit trim on the door cards. All of this really does lift the ambience inside the Genesis.
Those quilted seats are sublime for their capacity to provide outstanding comfort and support thanks to bolsters that seem perfectly positioned. The driving position too, can be deep set into the vehicle. This is where the GV70 feels every bit as sporty as it looks.
There’s an exhaustive array of luxury features from remote start to the electrically-reclining rear seats and electric steering wheel adjustment – and that’s just tip of the iceberg.
And never mind the wellbeing of rear-seat passengers, as they also get extra levels of comfort and bolstering beyond what is generally the norm in this space, along with climate controls, heated seats, dual USB charging ports, and a centre armrest with cupholders.
If inconsiderate front passengers haven’t left quite enough rear leg space, there are electric seat controls mounted conveniently on the side of the seats themselves.
The boot has little in the way of obstacles for loading wider boxes or awkward items. There’s 542 litres of space behind the second row, which expands to 1678 litres with those seats folded pretty much flat.
Powering the Genesis GV70 3.5T AWD Sport is a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine producing peak power of 279kW from 5800rpm, and maximum torque of 530Nm between 1300rpm and 4500rpm.
It’s mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic, and sends torque to all four wheels using a variable all-wheel drive system that’s predominantly rear biased.
It’ll sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 250km/h.
Genesis claims a combined fuel economy of 11.3 litres per 100km.
On test, we ended up achieving an average of 14.9L/100km with mostly city driving and the odd trip to Costco.
Petrol versions of the GV70 demand 95 RON premium unleaded as a minimum, with fuel capacity quoted at 66 litres.
First off, this twin-turbo V6 is easily one of the smoothest revving and refined engines in the business, and perfectly matches its eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Creeping along in Sydney traffic is a breeze in the more comfortable drive modes, especially if you’ve got the 16-speaker sound system synced to your favourite playlist.
Even in Sport, quicker take offs are still silky thanks to its all-wheel drive footprint with rear-wheel drive bias. There’s minimal turbo lag, but with strong mid-range boost for quite effortless overtakes.
Drivers can change the GV70’s demeanour simply by selecting Sport +, but that also stiffens up the adaptive dampers for a significantly firmer ride but not unexpected given its excellent chassis.
That’s the thing with this more potent GV70. It’s blessed with genuine duality by providing luxury one moment and seriously rapid transport in another, all at the touch of a button.
At 2038kg it’s clearly no lightweight, but composure when asked to perform on twisty stretches of B-roads is simply outstanding.
It sits bolt upright through the bends and feels beautifully balanced. It’s just not what you might expect of your luxury family chariot, but believe me it’s more than capable than you might have envisaged, with high degrees of agility.
On the softer settings the GV70 is wonderfully compliant thanks to its predictive suspension system which effectively preps the dampers before larger bumps or broken road through a raft of sensors, to better cushion for such obstacles. It works a treat too, even on 21-inch wheels.
Even with its raked roofline visibility is excellent, even out of what is a relatively shallow tailgate glass.
Nevertheless, there’s a raft of cameras and active driver assist features to help with parking and manoeuvrability in the GV70.
All Genesis GV70 variants come with the following standard equipment:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Automatic high-beam
- LED headlights
- Panoramic sunroof
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Acoustic laminated windshield and front door glass
- Power-folding exterior mirrors
- Puddle lights with Genesis logo
- 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Satellite navigation with augmented reality
- DAB+ digital radio
- 8.0-inch instrument cluster screen
- Nine-speaker sound system
- Wireless phone charger
- Dual-zone climate control with second-row temperature control and vents
- Colour-adjustable ambient lighting
- Leather upholstery
- Leather-appointed dashboard, centre console and door trims
- 12-way power front seats with memory
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Power-adjustable steering column
- Reclining rear seats
- Remote start
- Keyless entry and start
- Fingerprint authentication system
- Power-adjustable steering column adjustment
- 60:40 split/fold rear seats
- Hands-free power tailgate
- Manual rear door sunshades
- 2 x 12V outlets (centre console, boot)
- 3 x USB-A outlets (1 x front, 2 x rear)
The Sport Line package adds:
- Sport brake package
- Larger dual exhaust outlets
- Sport+ drive mode
- Sport Line exterior package with gloss black grille, front skid plate and roof grilles plus dark chrome trim
- Nappa leather and suede upholstery
- Suede headliner and pillars
- Sport three-spoke steering wheel
- Aluminium pedals
- Aluminium trim
- Sport gauges for oil temperature, torque and turbo boost
- 19-inch Sport Line alloy wheels
The 3.5T AWD Sport adds the features of the Sport Line package plus:
- 21-inch alloy wheels
- Limited-slip differential
- Road-Preview adaptive suspension
The Luxury Package adds:
- Adaptive LED headlights
- Nappa leather upholstery
- Rear privacy glass
- 21-inch alloy wheels
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with 3D function
- 12.0-inch head-up display
- 16-speaker Lexicon by Harman sound system
- Remote Smart Parking Assist
- 18-way power driver’s seat
- Massaging front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Heated rear seats (base, backrest and bolsters for outboard seats, base for centre seat)
- Three-zone climate control
- Memory for the cushion support, side bolster and head-up display
Colours for Genesis GV70
- Uyuni White
- Savile Silver
- Makalu Grey (3.5T only)
- Vik Black
- Capri Blue
- Barossa Burgundy (2.5T only)
- Mauna Red (3.5T only)
The following matte finishes are available for an extra $2000 on the 3.5T Sport Line with the Luxury Package:
- Makalu Grey (as tested)
- Matterhorn White
There’s a wide range of interior colourways available, depending on the variant and exterior colour. These comprise:
- Obsidian Black
- Vanilla Beige
- Havana Brown
- Velvet Burgundy
- Ultramarine Blue
- Sevilla Red
While the Genesis GV70 has a five-star rating from ANCAP, it only applies to four-cylinder and all-electric variants – meaning both the petrol 3.5T AWD.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Junction turning, crossing support
- Evasive steering assist
- Lane-change oncoming, side support
- Blind-spot assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Following Assist (lane centring)
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Parking Collision Avoidance Assist – Reverse
- Safe Exit Assist
- Driver attention warning
- Leading vehicle departure alert
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Surround-view camera with 3D view
The Luxury Pack fitted to our GV70 3.5T AWD Sport adds:
- Forward attention warning
- Parking collision-avoidance assist – reverse
- Intelligent front-lighting system
Genesis owners are covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Genesis also provides free scheduled servicing for the first five years or 75,000km (whichever comes first).
Genesis also offers the GV70 with five years of free 24/7 roadside assistance and the Genesis to You valet service, where the brand picks up your car when it’s due for a service and leaves you with a courtesy vehicle… within 70km of the Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane CBD.
The only downside to Genesis is that it’s still a relatively unknown brand, as distinct from the more traditional prestige marques like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
But with a rock solid after sales program, including guaranteed future value, Genesis is working hard to ensure those concerns don’t hold people back.
The GV70 3.5T AWD Sport ticks all the boxes, and then some. It’s considerably more luxurious than its rivals at the same price.
It has more equipment than some luxury models costing twice as much, and offers seriously rapid family transport no matter what the conditions.
Ride comfort is superb, but it’s also dynamically sharp and rewarding when conditions permit, thanks to a truly exceptional chassis.
All this in a great looking design that your neighbours will think is either an Aston Martin or a Bentley.
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