It’s more than just an attractive price that makes the Genesis GV70 an attractive alternative to the usual luxury SUVs buyers look at.

The road to success for luxury car brands outside the European establishment is not a straightforward one in Australia, particularly premium arms of mainstream brands. Toyota’s Lexus might be holding ground but Nissan’s Infiniti would rather not bring up the past and Mazda’s Eunos is a distant memory. Will it be different for Hyundai’s Genesis? This SUV is the litmus test of success.

Sitting in the popular mid-size luxury SUV segment the GV70 could certainly establish the sales baseline Genesis needs. It is a popular set full of rivals from the stalwart Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, to the lesser prominent Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jaguar F-Pace.

What GV70 has going for it at the outset are numbers, with a low price and promising performance. Starting at $68,786 plus on-road costs, the entry-level GV70 G2.5T with rear-wheel drive has an attractive price tag when many rivals ask circa-$80,000. Upgrading to all-wheel drive adds $2500; a 2.2-diesel turbo AWD is $71,676 and a power-topping 3.5T AWD $83,276.

Winding it back to the base 2.5T we’re testing, this is expected to be the volume seller. The numbers tell all as it has a 2.5-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder developing 224kW and 422Nm through an eight-speed automatic. Those figures are plentiful when rivals with smaller 2.0L engines are producing outputs nearer 130-150kW and 300Nm. But the GV70 weighs the most at 1973kg which hinders real-world performance and fuel economy, becoming a bit of a drinker at a claimed 10.3L/100km – you’ll get lower numbers from the Germans but if you’re not a total greeny the savings on the showroom floor more than make up for a couple of litres consumption.

Where we think it is more telling is in acceleration, with a claimed 6.1sec 0-100kph perhaps a bit optimistic though the engine revs up quickly and has loads of torque to match a bit of a gruff top end near 6,000rpm; all models have a workable 2200kg braked towing capacity too. Performance buffs will no doubt opt for the 3.5T that pushes out 279kW and 530Nm from a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, keenly matching sportier luxe rivals but this 2.5T is a lively unit. The eight-speed auto is refined in operation as well.

The hunting ground for luxury SUVs is in the suburbs and GV70 buyers can expect a smooth drivetrain with a very refined ride and NVH. At idle the engine rumbles lightly but it is otherwise smooth sailing. The steering feel is very light and a bit vague when pushing on into corners but the chassis holds up well with well-controlled weight transition considering the heavy upper body. When cruising, the passively sprung suspension has been well-tuned for soaking up imperfections from the road despite large 19-inch alloys. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are hushed from the cabin and it is a pleasant cruiser – the 3.5T brings adaptive dampers we’re yet to test, but the passive arrangement is quite good.

All of that hushed, well-controlled NVH is thanks to acoustic shielding and plenty of sound deadening between the road and a leather-lined interior that oozes quality. Sure, the Germans might be synonymous with premium cabin fit-outs, but you can’t discount South Korea once you sit in the GV70. There is full leather upholstery on the seats, double-stitched leather lining over the dash and soft touchpoints just about everywhere that you can see. All feels solid and well made, plus the leather is not hard and stony like some cheaper hides offer.

Add to the list of comforts heating and ventilation, keyless entry and go, full-length sunroof, 12-way electric adjustment, climate control front and rear plus an electric-opening tailgate and this more affordable alternative comes equipped with much more than comparative rivals. The infotainment screen is a monster too, stretching 14.5-inches and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Charging is wireless or via USB ports. It’s a long screen though so while it is touch-sensitive the rotary controller is simpler and less distracting to use.

If you want to step up the game further there are two option packs: Sport Line ($4500) and Luxury ($6600), adding new alloys, body parts and four-piston front stoppers in the Sport Line pack, and driver-side massaging, remote control parking and – yes, really – a leather airbag inside the leather steering wheel in the Luxury pack.

Another stand-out is aftersales care, with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and servicing included for five years with valet pick up and drop off plus a loan car over that time period.

Given the standard suite is so comprehensive, and packed with a full suite of driving aids – adaptive cruise, AEB, lane-keeping assist and more monitors and cameras than you can poke a stick at – the attractively priced entry-level GV70 offers a compelling alternative to the establishment that buyers should look at.


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Practical Motoring

The team of journalists at Practical Motoring bring decades of automotive and machinery industry experience. From car and motorbike journalists to mechanical expertise, we like to use tools of the trade both behind the computer and in the workshop.

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