Hyundai’s luxury brand is getting its SUV fix on

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Anytime a start-up luxury brand offers a new model in a segment that’s already teeming with quality rivals, the expectations for that model are sky-high. In many ways, Genesis created that expectation — and the pressure of meeting or exceeding it — on itself. It’s one thing to offer a model with an existing fan base and have it compete against segment stalwarts like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes Benz GLC Class. It’s another thing to come to the fight with literally an all-new model. But Genesis did it with the G70.; it entered its all-new compact luxury crossover in what is, without question, one of the car market’s hottest segments. It’ll take a few years if Genesis’ gamble on the GV70 pays off, but initial results are promising. The GV70 isn’t just a boldly styled premium compact crossover that looks and feels more luxurious than we thought; more importantly, it’s Genesis throwing a chicken’s foot in the direction of the BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes-Benzs of the world. Genesis isn’t entering the luxury compact crossover market with a “happy-to-be-there” GV70; it’s entering that market to compete with the best. And from what we’ve seen, the GV70 has all the tools to be a bonafide challenger to the establishment.

Exterior

  • Gorgeous design
  • Useful character lines
  • Large pentagonal grille
  • Two-bar headlamps and taillamps
  • Large sport intakes
  • Large dual exhaust
left right

Here’s the good news. The Genesis GV70 looks stunning. Line it up alongside the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes GLC Class, and the GV70 doesn’t just belong; it actually stands out. That’s how taken we are with its design. It combines a bold styling language with an elegant profile that comes together naturally in one pleasing package. That’s a hard thing to do since most designers often have to choose one over the other. But that’s not the case here; Genesis’ definitive language is ever-so present in the GV70 — from the two-bar headlights and taillights to the massive pentagonal grille to the aggressive intakes and the carefully placed body lines — and, unlike in the G90 sedan where a lot of the design elements look larger than life, a lot of the design details fit into the profile and size of the GV70.

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 958977

Take the pentagonal grille, for example. It’s big but not too big to the point that it swallows up the entire front fascia of the GV70. It occupies just the right amount of space that the two-bar headlight setup flanking the grille have enough of their own space to stand out on their own. It’s the same story with the two intakes underneath. None of the designs are fighting for attention; they all mesh well, creation a fascia that’s unmistakably gorgeous.

The rear section doesn’t capture your imagination, as well as the front section, does, but that’s not a bad thing. There’s a gentleness on this area of the GV70 that underscores its premium identity. It’s cleaner to look at, presumably because there’s more blank space. The Genesis badge in the middle of the taillight strips is big enough to be easily identified, but not big enough that it’s screaming for attention. Arguably the most underrated design traits of the GV70 are the character lines that shape the crossover’s profile. The upper line starts all the way at the headlights, curving upwards towards the side mirrors before tapering down to the taillights. The lower one isn’t as prominent — it arcs up to toward the rear wheel — but it’s no less important in giving the GV70 the aggressive design depth that ties its styling DNA in one stunning visual package.

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 958978

Two trim versions of the GV70 are expected to hit the global market. The red-painted GV70 that stars in Genesis’ press photos is the GV70 Sport trim whereas the silver model is the Luxury model. The U.S. market will receive similar trim treatments, though the GV70 Sport will likely take the form of a package. The GV70 Luxury, on the other hand, will probably be referred to simply by its GV70 model name. Chrome finishes could be a notable feature of the base GV70, though upgrades should also be available in the form of blacked-out trim in the event that such a setup suits your fancy.

Interior

  • Upscale look and feel
  • Premium materials include leather and Alcantara
  • State-of-the-art technology
  • Completely digital
  • Massive infotainment displa
  • Fancy in all the right ways
2022 Genesis GV70 Interior
- image 944658

When you see a compact luxury crossover debut with an exterior design that blows you away, one of the first things you think of is what the interior of that crossover looks like. Does it match the exterior’s aesthetics? Does it go beyond expectations? Is it a letdown?

In the case of the Genesis GV70, the answer arrives quickly and emphatically. The crossover’s interior will leave your jaws on the floor and make you question whether Genesis really is an offspring of Hyundai. At the very least, you have to give the automaker a lot of credit for stepping up its game. This isn’t an interior that you associate with the German elite. Heck, this interior is better than what we’ve come to expect from the BMWs and Audis of the world.

The first thing you’ll notice is how well-proportioned the GV70’s cabin is. The two-tier look of the dashboard creates a nice visual separation, especially with the upper-tier mostly coming in black and the lower trim coming in a variety of colors. The latter, in particular, is one of the stars of the show. The clean oval look is accentuated by a classy leather surface. The smaller oval cutaway houses all the important controls. Even better, everything’s digital, except for what looks to be seven buttons at the bottom. The digital setup makes for a super clean and super classy visual. There are still some knobs and switches on the center tunnel, but all of it is neatly arranged. They’re presented in a polished silver finish, too, so it looks classy when you put all these pieces together.

2022 Genesis GV70 Interior
- image 944659

There’s no wasted space in the GV70’s interior, in part because Genesis intended it that way. Not one area is too busy; everything’s evenly laid out, including what looks like speaker grilles situated under each front-door armrest. Even the full-width recess that separates the upper and lower sections of the dashboard comes with a purpose: look closely enough and you’ll see the air-conditioning vents. Ambient lighting is also part of the G70’s interior menu. Hardly a surprise knowing what we’re looking at with the overall presentation of the cabin.

Two steering wheel options are also available, though the choice is entirely dependent on the trim you’re getting. Opt for the entry-level GV70 (possible the Luxury trim) and you’re getting a two-sole steering wheel. Go for the Sport trim and the steering wheel comes in a different three-spoke design.

2022 Genesis GV70
- image 958981

Then there’s the 14-inch horizontal digital display that admittedly looks a lot longer than what we expected. It sits on the upper section of the dashboard, looking more like a digital billboard than anything else. Still, it’s long enough to house all sorts of features and information, but not high enough that it starts obstructing your view of the road. We like it.

It’s hard to put into words our surprise when we saw the GV70’s interior. We didn’t expect it to look as good as it did, though, with the clarity of hindsight, perhaps we should’ve. Either way, this is a cabin that isn’t just here to compete with the big boys. This is a cabin that wants to put its more established rivals to shame. It’s hard to argue that it hasn’t done that.

Drivetrain

  • Three engine choices
  • Four-cylinder gas/diesel and V-6 gas
  • All turbocharged
  • Entry-level 300 horsepower
  • Top-levl 375 horsepower
  • Eight-speed automatic comes standard
  • Avaialble in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive (option)
  • up to 5,000 pounds towing
  • possible adaptive suspension
2019 Genesis G70
- image 837464

Genesis, for reasons that are unclear, took its time revealing the engine options that will be offered in the Genesis GV70. It’s a moot point now, though, because the automaker finally disclosed what we’ve been waiting a few months for. The Genesis GV70 will come with three different engines: a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, a 2.2-liter turbodiesel inline-four, and the always intriguing 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine. Not surprisingly, the GV70 shares its engines with the GV80.

The 2.5-liter turbocharged four-pot will be the standard engine, producing 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same output you’ll get from the GV80. The 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-banger produces 207 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, but don’t expect this engine to find its way to the U.S. Fortunately, we are slated to receive the top-spec GV70 that’s powered by a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 unit. This engine delivers 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Genesis GV70 specifications
Engine 2.5L Turbocharged GDI 3.5L Twin Turbocharged GDI 2.2-liter turbodiesel inline-four
Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 300 @ 5,800 375 @ 5,800 207
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 311 @ 1,650-4,000 391 @ 1,300-4,500 325
2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 944656

Make a note of the output figures of each engine because a revelation is about to drop. Genesis prepared the GV70 with engines that produce competitive amounts of power relative to its rivals. The rear-wheel-drive BMW X3 sDrive30i and all-wheel-drive xDrive30i both come with a smaller and less powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot that produces “only” 248 horsepower. The story’s the same with the Mercedes GLC 300 that’s powered by a similarly sized — to the X3 — 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 255 horsepower. Line these numbers side-by-side and you come out with one inescapable conclusion: the entry-level Genesis GV70 is more powerful than its rivals. Now, it’s unclear if these numbers translate to performance times — Genesis hasn’t revealed the GV70’s acceleration and top speed figures — but even without those numbers, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Genesis GV70 isn’t entering the compact luxury crossover market with a “happy to be there” mindset. The GV70 wants to beat the X3 and the GLC-Class, and to the automaker’s credit, it developed the crossover to do just that.

It’s a lot more competitive in the land of high-spec models, but, again, the GV70 doesn’t just hold its own; it’s a challenger off the bat. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that Genesis has used with liberty on its other models, including the bigger GV80. Well, guess what? It should be more impressive as an engine in the smaller and lighter GV70. The unit’s output — 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque — is no less impressive even if rival models like the 382-horsepower X3 M40i that derives its power from a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. Move to the Mercedes-AMG’s entry — the AMG GLC 43 — and the output of 385 horsepower from its twin-turbo V-6 isn’t a huge leap from the high-spec GV70.

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 944657

Now, it is understood that power numbers in brochures don’t paint the entire picture on a model’s capability on the road. But they’re still useful when it comes to comparing one model from another or, in this case, two or three models. The GV70 is competitive in those aspects, and it also holds on its own on other parts of its drivetrain. Each version of the GV70 is expected to come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive comes standard across the entire range, though there is an option to avail all-wheel-drive if that suits you better.

Technology

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 958980

Knowing what we know now about the Genesis GV70, it seems academic that for a compact luxury crossover that was developed to be a top challenger in its segment, the GV70 should be tricked out in all sorts of safety and technological features. There’s no other way around that.

Happily, the Genesis GV70 doesn’t disappoint. It’s loaded with enough driver safety features to make you at ease when you’re driving it on the road. Forward collision warning and prevention? Check. Blind Spot Monitoring? Check on that, too. Lane-Keeping Assist? No question about it. The crossover also comes with Highway Driving Assist II, a suite of safety technologies that should make your time on the road a lot safer, even if you’re not aware of it.

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 958979

Genesis is even deploying the GV70 with a litany of advanced safety and security technologies. There’s a fingerprint scanner that allows you to start the crossover. You can also use that same scanner to pay for cloud-based services. Literally, paying for tolls and fuel is now as easy as a fingerprint scan, provided that the architecture that allows those to happen is already in place. Genesis also developed a rear occupant alert system that can detect breathing, making you aware of any potential dangers before they actually happen.

Pricing

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 944660

Genesis has yet to reveal pricing details on any of its GV70 models, and that’s not at all surprising. Since the luxury crossover is scheduled to hit the market sometime in early 2021, pricing information should become available sooner than later.

In the meantime, we can peg the GV70 to undercut the prices of its German rivals. The BMW X3, for example, starts at $44,000 for the entry-level sDrive30i trim. The all-wheel-drive xDrive30i is a bit more expensive at $46,000 while the hybrid xDrive30e ($50,600) and M40i ($57,600) are priced like the high-spec trim versions that they are.

Move to the Mercedes side, and the GLC-Class 300 will wow your pockets to the tune of $43,200 Opt for the all-wheel-drive GLC 300 4Matic and you’lnl have to add another $2,000 to bring the total up to $45,200. From there, you’ll have to venture to the land of AMG where the GLC 43 awaits with a $59,900 price tag. The range-topping AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 S are priced at $73,900 and $84,500, respectively. Let’s face it, though. If you’re in the market for an AMG GLC 63 or 63 S, you’re probably not thinking of the Genesis GV70 Sport as a proper alternative.

Knowing how BMW and Mercedes priced their models will give us an idea of Genesis’ pricing strategy. It’s unlikely that Hyundai’s luxury brand will go over the top with its pricing — it’s still, after all, the start-up in the segment — so a starting price for the entry-level GV70 of around $38,000 to $40,000 is very reasonable. Likewise, we’re not begrudging Genesis if it priced the GV70 Sport 3.5 somewhere in the vicinity of $42,000 to $44,000.

Competition

BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 721465

As promising as the GV70 looks, reality isn’t as kind to Genesis’ entry in the compact luxury crossover segment. It’s not just that the segment is one of the hottest markets in the entire industry today. That’s just one thing. The other thing is the inhabitants of that segment. In so many words, the Genesis GV70 will have its hands full against established rivals, one of which happens to be the BMW X3. Now in its third generation, the BMW X3 isn’t just a pioneer in the world of compact luxury crossovers; you can argue that it’s one of the segment’s foundational models. The third-gen G01 model is now two years into its life and it’s established a reputation as one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers in its class. That’s a hallmark BMW trait, but driving experience isn’t the X3’s only calling card. It’s also one of the most well-dressed cabins in its class. Space isn’t an issue, either, and Bimmer’s litany of driving and safety features creates a driving experience that justifies its status as one of the best compact luxury crossovers in the market. It’s not the most powerful nor is it the fastest crossover, but where the X3 lacks in performance relative to its rivals, it handily makes up for everywhere else. Pricing starts at $44,000 for the entry-level sDrive30i and goes all the up to $57,595 for the top-spec, non-M M40i.

Read our full review on the BMW X3

Porsche Macan

2019 Porsche Macan Exterior
- image 788368

The Genesis GV70 will have no shortage of competitors. That’s the challenge for Genesis. Even more challenging, the scope of rivals covers a broad spectrum of automakers, ranging from the German trio of Mercedes (the GLC-Class), BMW (the X1 and X2), and Audi (the Q3), as well as another German automaker that has proven itself to be one of the best SUV makers in the business. The Porsche Macan is, for all intents and purposes, one of the best luxury compact SUVs in the market. It combines Porsche’s impeccable engineering qualities with premium refinement, powerful engine options, and driving and handling qualities that are considered some of the best in the business. The Macan comes with several engine choices ranging from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque to a power-packed 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine that churns out 348 ponies and 354 pound-feet of twist. Porsche is also offering the Macan Turbo with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 that produces 434 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. This version, admittedly, is well out of the reach of the Genesis GV70. All this is to say that the Macan is a tough rival for the G70. It has everything you want in a luxury compact SUV, and it also happens to wear Porsche’s badge. About the only thing that could prevent you from buying the Macan is its $50,900 base price, but if you’re splitting hairs between a few thousand dollars, you might as well just buy the Porsche.

Conclusion

2022 Genesis GV70 Exterior
- image 958978

If first impressions are any indication of a model’s success, we might as well present the Genesis GV70 with a bouquet of long-stem roses. There’s been a lot of intrigue surrounding the GV70, and it’s not just because it’s coming from a brand that still has a lot to prove in the premium market. The intrigue mostly revolves around how the new luxury crossover can compete with rivals that are not only entrenched in the segment, but are also considered some of the best vehicles — across all segments. The GV70 has a lot to prove, and while a lot of what’ll make or break the crossover will be determined once it’s out in the market, the early returns are promising. Check that. The early returns look more than just promising; there are signs that point to the GV70 becoming a major player in the segment. All shall be revealed as far as how it drives on the road, but we’re bullish on Genesis’ first foray into one of the most competitive segments in the entire automotive industry. The Genesis GV70 has the makings of a rising star.

  • Leave it
    • Has plenty of competition
    • Will have to prove itself
    • Won’t come out until 2021
Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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