I recently had the chance to drive the Genesis G70, which is a sporty sedan that’s designed to compete with the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It joins the G80 and the G90 sedans in Genesis’s lineup, making it the third sedan released into a world where people are obsessed with SUVs.
Naturally, Genesis dealers are bitter about this, and Genesis is having trouble finding dealerships in some metro areas to commit to the brand — there’s only one Genesis dealer in the entire Los Angeles area, for instance. But things are slowly improving: dealers are signing on, and Genesis says an SUV is coming. The good news is that the G70 is the best sedan yet.
Here are the particulars: the G70 shares its platform with the Kia Stinger, which makes sense as Kia and Hyundai (Genesis’s parent company) are essentially one big car conglomerate family. The G70 also shares its powertrains with the Stinger — and that means a 255-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder in the base model or a muscular 365-hp turbocharged V6 if you want more grunt. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available — and while you can get a manual transmission, it’s only offered with the 4-cylinder engine.
In terms of styling and design, I like the G70 — but I don’t love it. I think Genesis was trying to be very cautious when entering this storied segment, and their fear of upsetting anyone led them to a very conservative design — both inside and out. The exterior looks like any sedan from Asia, and the interior isn’t much better. Both are nice, both are well-executed, but both are a bit of a snooze. It’s surprising to me, in fact, how "un-quirky" this car is, considering the Stinger is full of interesting traits and attributes.
With that said, the driving experience is the opposite. The V6 engine makes the G70 feel fast at just about all speeds, short of all-out highway passing, and sport mode tightens up throttle response to the point where just a tap is satisfying in the way it delivers power. The G70 also handles sublimely well, with steering that’s more precise and connected than the latest BMW 3 Series — a crazy statement to make, but one I absolutely mean. The G70 really is a driver’s car, and it’s hard to be disappointed when spending time in one.
The technology, however, is a bit of a disappointment. I like the infotainment system just fine, but it could be better — and, in fact, it is better in the Kia Stinger, which has a larger screen that feels more responsive to the touch. The gauge cluster, with fixed gauges instead of a configurable screen, just feels old-school compared to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. With Genesis being an upstart luxury brand, there are already a lot of reasons not to choose it against established competition — and I fear the automaker has provided even more with a lack of personalization features inside. There is an Intelligent Assistant app for your phone that helps you keep tabs on yourself and includes a remote start feature as well as a monthly vehicle condition report. Genesis owners also get a concierge service that picks up and drops off your car when you need maintenance or service. Plus, they leave you a loaner car in the meantime.
The biggest reason to choose it, however, will be the price. The G70 I drove had a sticker price of just shy of $50,000, which is the kind of money you’d spend to get just 255 horses in the BMW 330i. And the G70 comes with the Genesis brand’s impressive warranty, which matches Hyundai’s warranty at 5 years or 60,000 miles for comprehensive coverage, and 10 years or 100,000 miles for powertrain coverage. Value-minded shoppers will have a hard time turning down the attractive pricing and the attractive warranty.
In the end, I think the G70 is a good car — especially in terms of driving experience, where it’s near-class leading. It falls a bit short on styling and even shorter on technology, but it makes up for it with pricing and the warranty. Still, this is the best Genesis yet, and it’ll give the brand solid credibility with car enthusiasts. But the next one simply must be an SUV. Find a Genesis G70 for sale