2022 Genesis GV70 First Drive Review: Quiet Luxury Makes the Miles Fall Away
I wouldn’t personally go canyon-carving in the new GV70, but as an errand-runner and commuter? It’s tough to beat.
At this point, Genesis has built itself a reputation hinged upon well-designed, quality cars that drive nicely and are extraordinary places to sit. The new 2022 Genesis GV70 luxury SUV is no exception. For a new brand that launched just five years ago, this is a great standard being upheld.
Genesis started its journey with an all-sedan lineup and only launched its first SUV—the GV80—last year. The GV70 marks the brand's second, smaller, SUV offering and it's every bit as luxurious as you'd expect. While I am a big follower of The Sedan Way, I also understand how attractive SUVs are to buyers. There's a sea of luxury SUVs to choose from—and from far more established brands—which means Genesis has a bit of an uphill battle here to compete for buyer attention.
But if the passenger in a shiny new Mercedes-Benz GLE who twisted all the way around in her seat to get a good look at the Mauna Red GV70 test car I was driving last month is anything to go by, I'd say Genesis is on the right track.
2022 Genesis GV70: By the Numbers
- Base price (as tested): $42,045 ($64,045)
- Powertrain: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 375 @ 5,800 rpm
- Torque: 391 lb-ft @ 1,300 to 4,000 rpm
- Curb weight: 4,453 to 4,541 pounds
- Seating capacity: 5
- Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds (with trailer brakes)
- Cargo volume: 28.9 cubic feet
- EPA fuel economy: 19 mpg city | 25 highway | 21 combined
- Quick take: An extremely comfortable and stylish SUV that'll take the edge off commuting and running errands.
Two Engine Options
Riding on the C2 platform, a rear-drive architecture that underpins the G70 sedan, all GV70s sold in the United States will come standard with all-wheel drive. Two engine options include a 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, good for a claimed 300 horsepower, and a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6, good for a claimed 375 hp. Both engines are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
From the outside, just look at it. Umph. It's a head-turning SUV and I love it. There's no reason an SUV must look and be shaped like a shoe, an idea the GV70's designers took to heart.
While earlier Genesis models suffered a lack of memorable design, the GV70 wears the now-familiar strips of light that form its quad front- and rear lights, along with a large, triangular grille. As the smaller offering, its looks are just a bit sleeker and more streamlined than the GV80's and you cannot option it with an extra third row of seats. The only exterior gripe I have is with the textured wheels, themselves also an option. I think, in combination with the heavily spindled grille, there's a bit too much texture going on, like wearing a striped shirt with a patterned jacket. It works in some cases but not most of the time.
Inside, you'll find a 14.5-inch central infotainment screen as standard, as well as a rotary gear selector knob. The climate controls are part of a very cool, elliptical-shaped display that reminded me of the shape of an aircraft propeller. The driver information cluster comes as an eight-inch display as standard, though you can option it up for the 12.3-inch 3D digital cluster if you so choose.
As an added bonus, you can get your GV70 in a variety of matte-finish exterior paints that include green, white, gray, and purple. Interior leather colors include green (!), purple, and dark blue with red stitching. Life's too short for boring colors.
Likes to Cruise
The driving route Genesis put me on included quite a bit of tight and curvy canyon-carving. The GV70 performed just fine, but I could tell it wasn't in love with the terrain. The steering feel, regardless of whatever drive mode I put it in, was always on the numb side. It's a nice and lightweight setup that's great for relaxed driving but doesn't betray much information about what the front wheels are up to. There's also no hiding the SUV's higher center of gravity and weight.
Cruising around is where the GV70 really shines. The suspension rides over bumps with cloud-like assurance. Transmission shifts come smoothly. The brakes grab progressively. I have no insight into how the four-cylinder engine performs, but the twin-turbo V6 in the test car offered more than enough gumption for merging and passing. It's also a bit louder than it was in the G80 I tested a little while ago; I could hear the motor going more at higher revs here.
If the GV70 is blissful for running errands, it's a dream on the highway. It maintains speed well, it's quiet, and the extra leather package the test car came with made it an incredibly deluxe place to sit. The windows were double-paned (another option) so my passenger and I could talk to each other with normal speaking volume. To say it was recording-booth noiseless in the GV70's cabin would be an exaggeration, but it also wouldn't be the biggest stretch in the world.
There's also an impressive suite of driver-assistance tech that comes as standard: highway driving assist, lane-following assist, lane-keep assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, and blind-spot collision-avoidance assist. (BSCA is a step above your average blind-spot monitor, as it "automatically controls the vehicle" to stop you from merging into another car you can't see.) Genesis' Highway Driving Assist II feature is an option, but one I'd recommend shelling out a bit extra for because it helps the car stay centered in its lane even while going through a curve and monitors for other cars about to cut you off.
Like the GV80, G90, and G80, the GV70 definitely leans more heavily toward luxury than sportiness. You won't find Genesis announcing the GV70's Nürburging time in the coming weeks and honestly, that's refreshing. So many automakers prioritize making the sportiest SUV they can and it's nice when you find one that focuses on the far less-shouty job of merely being comfortable and great for commuting. It's how the overwhelming majority of SUV buyers use their cars anyway.
Similar to the G80, the only problem I had with the GV70 concerned its seats. There was plenty of back support but not as much butt support. After about an hour of sitting in the car, various parts of my butt kept going numb depending on how I shifted. My co-driver, who is six-two, also agreed. At first, I thought this had to do with how shorties like me are shaped. But now, I'm curious if everyone suffers from numb butts in those seats.
A Winning Formula
Standard GV70s come with all-wheel drive, the eight-speed automatic, the four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, the 14.5-inch infotainment screen, the eight-inch driver information cluster, leatherette seats, various driver-assistance systems, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The test car Genesis loaned me was the top-tier AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige trim that included a darker grille, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, the twin-turbo V6, the 12.3-inch 3D digital gauge cluster, a panoramic roof, 21-inch wheels, and a premium leather package. The final vehicle price came out to $64,045.
Competitively, the GV70 stacks up against the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, and Jaguar F-Pace. Among those, the base $42,045 Genesis is the more affordable option and definitely comes with a plusher interior. The whole thing just looks and feels newer. Plus, it's different; you don't see many Genesis models on the road yet so it's fun to stand out in a segment that, by virtue of its popularity, is now quite mundane.
Automakers surely spend millions of dollars each year conducting market research to figure out what customers want, but in reality, I think it's far simpler than that. People want a car that looks nice and is comfortable and easy to drive. The popularity of the Kia Telluride speaks volumes to this line of thinking. And now, so does the GV70.
It's still too early to say whether the GV70 will take off with buyers, but Genesis has been following in Hyundai and Kia's method of doing things for a few years now—which is diligently building good, stylish, reasonably priced cars with lovely interiors that are pleasant to spend time in. In other words, cars most people would want to buy without being bamboozled by an onslaught of various trims and options. It's a move that's certainly a departure from what the Germans are doing.
In fact, it feels more congruous to compare Genesis in 2021 to another automaker that's been absolutely killing it in the luxury space: Lincoln. Never thought you'd hear that about a Hyundai, did you?
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