For 2016, Hyundai spun off its luxury line creating another GM: Genesis Motor. The newly minted automotive brand received a winged badge, donned a Durante-approved schnoz and sported Teutonic-like model names: G80 and G90. Unlike its German competition, however, Genesis didn’t have three important letters: SUV.
That’s changed. Genesis added the letter V. In the process, it adopted a chapter from, say, the VW Group’s playbook called Audi Q5/Porsche Macan. To wit: Under the GV70’s hood, you’ll find a longitudinally mounted 300-hp turbocharged four-pot mill. You get all-wheel drive and a sudsy eight-speed automatic transmission. The front section, supporting the suspension, is an Audi-style aluminum casting. Lightweight hood and aluminum body panels cut weight.
Thus, this GV isn’t a Hyundai Palisade in drag. It has a different chassis, unit body and mission. My Cardiff Green $52,500 tester—Genesis says the base price for Advanced starts at $49,150 plus destination—is nicely equipped. Its features, performance and interior trimmings ape a bespoke machine; at Costco pricing.
Let’s start with the hardware. There’s a Kia Stinger-like platform. As such, it has the building blocks of a German-inspired sports sedan. The GV70, furthermore, delivers luxury with a sporting accent. Even the accents—Waveline Backlit interior trim—are smartly conceived.
The GV70’s mammoth grille has a presence and shutters. It’s crowned by a slick clamshell hood. This forms side creases, which extend from the front fenders rearward to the flared rear quarter panels. At its rump, lattice work is merely gingerbread but the bright trim surrounding it highlights exhaust pipes.
Styling (twin-slit headlamps, say) borrows tropes from other luxury cars. Nonetheless, the look is integrated. Open the forge-hinged doors; you’ll discover a sybarite’s delight: an interior trimmed and highlighted as though it escaped from “Miami Vice’s” stylebook. Moreover, numerous elliptically framed panels echo early 1960s TV sets with their surfboard shapes. These panels, surrounded in pink/magenta LED lighting, scream Sonny Crockett sits here.
Genesis layers on the soft stuff. The door cards right down to their lower pockets are trimmed in pliable materials. There’s even an elegant phone shrine. Just tap the lid just ahead of the infotainment system controller. It opens access to a phone alcove with USB ports and wireless charging. Place your phone in it—vertically.
Controls have faceted/knurled surfaces, some in metal. This camera/watch theme seems overdone, but everything you grab or twist feels expensive. And there’s the bauble of a transmission mode selector, near the infotainment dial. It’s a tad confusing at times as your hand finds the infotainment controller handier than the transmission dial but the latter is illuminated inside with a jewel-like motif straight off a vintage Zenith TV. As Rick Althans, a former Zenith designer told me, knurled knobs and gemlike orbs express precision and luxury.
The finery extends to the rear of the vehicle with a hemmed headliner, cloth trimmed A, B and C pillars. Heck, there’s even carpeting under the spare tire. And the cargo bay lighting is landing-craft worthy. Designers continue the dashboard’s vent scheme—a hidden noir band into the doors—enveloping you in contiguous fashion.
This vehicle has gimmickry galore. For example, there’s an automatic seat adjustment feature. Just open the 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen’s menu—too far away to touch but nicely placed for mature eyes. Enter your weight, height and inseam and Genesis’ concierge does the rest. I, however, didn’t rest. My skinny guy info summoned a plump school bus driver array with a nearly horizontal steering hoop.
The motorized ingress/egress seating feature sometimes found another driver’s settings, as did the climate control, which chose temps I didn’t set. I suspect these bad moments were due to a previous user’s memorized settings, rather than glitches. Nevertheless, they stood out in their conspicuousness, as the Genesis seemed to have a mind of its own. The puddle light, which employs a Batman-like shadow is tres chic.
The infotainment controller, while pleasant to twirl, sometimes caught the system’s software sluggishness— I had to press rather firmly in order to get my selection noticed. And the touchscreen touch points vanished before I found them—I’m talking to you navigation voice volume level. This Genesis seemed capable of sorting out misadventures in control poking/twirling. For example, the transmission automatically reverted to park, should you shut off the engine and forget to press P.
Voice entry for destinations worked well. While the Genesis has some knobs and buttons, the dashboard’s center stack’s piano-key array is, as with some other controls, an array of touch sensors. They’re well lit at night. During the day, their silvery surfaces lacked contrast.
Genesis throws in parlor tricks. You can move the GV using the key fob. Just lock the doors, enable the remote start and then press back or forward. Your chariot glides. You can top this with a self-parking feature. Just press the button on the center console and the car prompts you to drive by your selected parking slot. If you continuously press this button, the car will parallel park or perpendicularly park for you—it does the shifting, steering and braking. Plus, you can select a parking mode, exit the vehicle and then complete the task with the key fob.
Press the start button and a 2.5-liter turbocharged mill lights. Genesis incorporates an engine sound enhancer (Active Sound Design), which I turned off. Regardless the engine snarls properly but there’s a gritty spot around 1,500 rpm. Paddle shifters let you perk the engine speed a tad higher which eliminates this trait. Power is more than adequate. Fuel economy is modest. I observed 22 mpg feeding it its RDA of premium. The EPA numbers are 22 city and 28 highway. If you use the auto hold brakes and engine idle stop, the combination of releasing the brakes, waking the somnambulant engine and then dispatching forward is a rude surprise.
You can select from several drive modes. In Eco, there’s a coasting feature claimed to improve fuel economy. I found the GV’s steering nicely weighted. This doesn’t turn it into a sports car, as the 19-inch Michelin tires, which roll easily, quietly and comfortably don’t bite. Thus, asking it to take to the turns with brio results in moments of doubt and body roll. Moderation is the best policy.
Brakes seemed as though Genesis put a Q-Tip between the foot pedal and the master cylinder.
Ride quality rates plush with an underlying firmness. It’s resilient enough to take the chop out of Wisconsin’s lumpy expressways, although some expansion joints evoked sudden thumps. Composure, in contrast, is quite good; directional stability is assured.
The aft seat is contoured for two adult passengers. I had to remove the head restraints in order to lower its seatbacks. There’s adequate headroom under the large panoramic sunroof with roll-back shade.
This Genesis earns its wings. It has the Teutonic mechanical prowess, premium interior trimmings, and trick tech. It compares favorably with compact crossovers from Audi or Porsche.