Car Reviews

2019 Genesis G70 Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 Genesis G70 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In a nutshell: It’s been years in the making and now Genesis (the brand, not the model) has arrived with the G70, a great-driving mid-sized sports sedan with eyes on BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Ultimate Specifications

Price $79,950+ORCs Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 10,000km Safety 5-star ANCAP Engine 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo Power 272kW at 6000rpm Torque 510Nm at 1300-4500rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4685mm (L), 1850mm (W), 1400mm (H), 2835mm (WB) Ground Clearance 130mm Kerb Weight 1719-1762kg Towing 1500kg GVM 2225kg Boot Space 330L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 60L Thirst 10.2L/100km

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There’s no shortage of choices in the luxury car space, and newcomer Genesis is adding to that. Owned by Hyundai, Genesis has aspirations of muscling in on territory dominated by German brands Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. It’s a long road ahead, though, such are the loyalties in luxury land.

That road begins with two sizeable sedans, the G70 tested here and the G80 that is an update of the car formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis. The G70 holds high hopes of tempting some people out of a Lexus IS, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4. Underneath it uses the mechanicals of the Stinger from Hyundai’s sister brand Kia. That means a mid-sized rear-drive platform and choice of lusty petrol engines.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

The Genesis can be had with the choice of two engines: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo or a 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo (badged 2.0T and 3.3T respectively). The four-cylinder is available as a base model 2.0T ($59,300), 2.0T Sport ($63,300) or 2.0T Ultimate ($69,300), each stepping up in equipment. The V6 can be had as a 3.3T Sport ($72,450), 3.3T Ultimate ($79,950) or 3.3T Ultimate Sport (also $79,950).

2019 Genesis G70 Review

All come with an eight-speed automatic, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, electronic handbrake, tyre pressure monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, heated front seats, heated and folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, satellite-navigation, digital radio tuning, dual-zone climate control, radar cruise control and smart key entry with push button start.

There’s also telematics as part of the Genesis Connected Services. Using a smartphone app it allows owners to monitor things such as remaining fuel and tyre pressures remotely. It can also remote start and lock/unlock the car and even warn when it is being driven outside a particular area. The Connected Services function is active for five years but requires a subscription beyond that.

As well as seven airbags and a bonnet that can pop up on impact with a pedestrians, active safety is taken care of with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist and blind spot warning.

Step up to the 2.0T Sport and the 18-inch alloy wheels of the base car (with Continental tyres) step up to 19s wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, behind them larger four-piston Brembo brakes. A limited slip differential helps with dynamics while there are unique trim elements and design touches (many replacing chrome with darkened finishes) for a sportier look.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

The instrument cluster is also unique, fitting a (very ambitious) 300km/h speedo as well as additional gauges, such as a turbo boost gauge, G-force meter and lap timer, just in case your inner Ricciardo comes to life.

The 2.0T Ultimate ramps up the luxury, while peeling away some of the sporty features, such as the limited slip diff and Brembo brakes. It adds a head-up display, 15-speaker Lexicon sound system, electric driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, powered and heated steering column, 360-degree camera, panoramic sunroof and quilted Nappa leather seats.

The 3.3T models broadly align with the specifications of the equivalent 2.0T model, although there are some key differences. All 3.3T models get the Brembo brakes, for example. And with the 3.3T Sport, it picks up things such as dual exhausts, variable steering ratio, additional brake cooling ducts and adjustable suspension damping.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

The 3.3T Ultimate gets the limited slip differential back as well as the sports instrument cluster. Then there’s the top-of-the-range Ultimate Sport, which picks up various aesthetic tweaks and dark five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as some additional skirting around the front and lower bumpers.

A large part of the Genesis sales pitch revolves around customer service and little extras. As such, there’s a valet service included while the car is under its five-year warranty, allowing owners to have the car collected and dropped off for services. There’s also Genesis Lifestyle, a concierge service that assists with booking everything from restaurants and hotels to experiences and movies.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

What’s the interior and practicality like?

It’s all about impact when you first settle into the G70, our car kitted out with cream-coloured leather that was quilted on the doors and seats. It’s a classy look clearly trying to separate the G70 from the mainstream brands.

There are also some nice touches, such as the winged badge projected onto the ground from the puddle lights, for example, or the way the mirrors automatically unfold as you approach. Clearly plenty of thought has been put into the luxury side of Genesis.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

The centre console is ever so slightly titled to the driver, an indication of the car’s intent. Even the roof trim inside is a soft suede-like finish that ups the ambience, while the elegant coat hook behind each front seat has had some style added to it.

Elsewhere, while it looks the business, the tactility isn’t always there. The silver-look plastics, for example, occasionally have a cheap feel; the handbrake button is one example, creaking as it’s pulled upwards. The knurled finishes on everything from dials to cupholders surrounds also somehow lack authenticity. Plus, the head-up display that refuses to play ball with polarised sunglasses.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

Space up front is good, with a nicely cocooned driving position and decent vision. Front seats are plush and supportive, only the forward position of the headrest providing a minor annoyance if you want to relax at the traffic lights. Rear legroom is tight with a tall driver up front, helped slightly by Mercedes-like scallops out of the seat backs. Plus, there’s a prominent transmission tunnel to make life uncomfortable for the centre (fifth) occupant. But headroom respectable and there are air vents to keep things fresh.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

The boot is quite shallow but usefully wide, something limiting its capacity to 330 litres. With a 60/40 split-fold for the back seats of accommodate long items. A small netted area on one side is handy for keeping small items from rolling around.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

What are the controls and infotainment like?

The list of gadgets and gear bulges on the brochure, but it’s not always as convincing when it comes to using it. For example, rather than a grab-the-door-handle-and-go, the smart key entry requires you to push a button on the handle. Plus, it only works on the front doors, rather than all four.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen is also off the pace, slightly smaller than some rivals and without the clarity and crispness of newer systems. But there’s still plenty to like. Traditional gauges in the instrument cluster look the business and are split by a digital screen for trip computer and other details.

There’s a simplicity to the major controls, a trio of dials looking after ventilation functions and large menu buttons for the infotainment, only a quick-select button to get you to the home screen or smartphone app a minor oversight.

Roller wheels on the steering wheel take care of volume and the trip computer menu, the latter allowing a choice of the digital speed display or more detailed vehicle functions and information. There’s also a USB port for those in the rear to argue over (and another up front).

Our car had the 15-speaker Lexicon sound system. As one of the brands beneath the Harman banner (JBL, Mark Levinson and Harman Kardon three others), the emphasis is on quality sound. And it doesn’t disappoint, with punchy bass and a clear note.

What’s the performance like?

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo is the engine used in the more affordable models. With 179kW and 353Nm it’s well within reach of key rivals, such as the BMW 330i and Mercedes-Benz C300. Acceleration is hearty around town with some rortiness high in the rev range courtesy of sound pumped through the audio system.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

But it’s the more potent 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo that ramps up the excitement. It’s the engine that debuted in the Kia Stinger, a car that’s built something of a following in the post-V8 large car era. Power peaks at a more meaningful 272kW and there’s ample low rev pull, the full 510Nm on tap from as low as 1300rpm.

Performance is excellent, the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 delivering a fiery spray and pulling hard higher in the rev range. It’s claimed to hit 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, giving it genuine performance punch. The eight-speed auto is clean and decisive, making the call to drop down a gear or two early and sticking with it.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

However, that transmission doesn’t have the smarts to hold gears when you’re darting between corners, instead shifting up at any opportunity. Paddles shifters allow more control, although some additional shifting intelligence would be appreciated for those more exciting drives.

Less impressive is fuel use, which easily exceeds its 10.2 litres per 100km claim, typically using something north of 12L/100km. Like its luxury rivals, it also calls for premium unleaded. The four-cylinder is more frugal, with claimed consumption of 8.7L/100km of premium unleaded.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

While it’s no V8, there’s Active Sound Design, which beefs up the noise slightly using amplification through the speakers.

What’s it like on the road?

The G70 is an accomplished sports tourer, its rear-wheel drive architecture setting the scene for well sorted dynamics. It’s the same basic architecture used for the Kia Stinger, Hyundai engineers injecting their own unique flavour.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

Steering is responsive and direct, although it’s the 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres (225mm wide at the front and 255mm at the rear) that add plenty. There’s ample grip, only full throttle take offs when powering out of corners getting the broader rears squirming. Push on and there’s plenty to play with, the G70 thoroughly up for some excitement.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

It goes beyond the basics, too. There are five drive modes: Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom, the latter allowing you to stipulate drivetrain settings (Eco, Comfort and Sport), steering feedback (Comfort or Sport) and damper settings for the suspension (Comfort or Sport). For the most part Comfort settings seem to best suit the luxury character of the car, although the additional steering weighting adds some appreciated feel that works better on twisty roads.

Does it have a spare?

There’s a spare tyre but it’s a skinny space saver, which also limits the maximum speed to 80km/h.

Can you tow with it?

It’s hardly your classic tow machine, but for those with something lighter to shift the Genesis G70 is rated to lug up to 1500kg.

What about ownership?

Genesis was the first mainstream luxury brand to offer a five-year warranty outdoing all main rivals by at least a year – and most by two years. Impressively, it also includes a service schedule that covers all check-ups up to five years and 50,000km. Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000km, the latter figure likely to mean many owners will be scheduling a service sooner than the 12 month time limit.

None of which is particularly painful, at least if you live in a capital city. As part of the Genesis To You program you can have the car collected and returned to your home or work, taking one less hassle out of the servicing rigmarole. There’s also a concierge service as part of Genesis Lifestyle. Operators can assist with bookings and recommendations on all manner of services, from hotels and holidays to restaurants and hire cars.

2019 Genesis G70 Review

What safety features does it have?

The Genesis comes with a long list of safety gear, to both protect you when everything goes wrong and to try and avoid that point in the first place. Seven airbags (dual front, side curtain, front side and a driver’s knee airbag) provide additional protection on top of the structure that helped contribute to a maximum five-star ANCAP rating (it was tested in 2018 to the same criteria that applied in 2019).

There’s also an active bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians and cyclists in an impact. Active safety systems include blind spot warning, lane keeping assistance and rear cross traffic alert to warn of approaching cars when reversing. A forward-facing radar and camera provide autonomous emergency braking (AEB) up to 180km/h. The system was rated adequate for pedestrian protection and marginal for cyclist protection by ANCAP.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety features?
Practical Motoring Says While its grunty engines and thoroughly competent dynamics are a delight, there are areas the G70 lacks attention to detail, something that may not have been as noticeable two years ago but is more evident in light of a new BMW 3-Series and freshened rivals. That said, the G70 offers most of what the established luxury brands do for less money. But with the exception of its five-year servicing program it doesn’t do anything spectacularly differently in term of the core equipment, instead relying on that price tag to woo rusted-on luxury brand buyers.

Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.