In the beginning, there was the Genesis, a large luxury sedan from Hyundai.
Hyundai launched the surprisingly good Genesis in 2008. It reigned as Hyundai’s flagship for seven years before the company spun off a new division called — what else?— Genesis.
Genesis is to Hyundai what Lexus is to Toyota, what Infiniti is to Nissan.
Genesis now campaigns three vehicles, all of them rear-drive sedans with available AWD. The latest to drop is the 2019 G70 compact luxury sedan.
Well-sorted rear-drive chassis
Like its stablemates, the G70 ($34,900) delivers a premium experience for thousand less than its prime competitors. Its well-sorted chassis and rear-drive orientation lend it proper sport-sedan proportions and dynamics.
It’s a great-looking car, too. Its profile is dictated by a long hood and short overhangs, a sweeping roofline and a high beltline.
The G70 is engaging and responsive. It’s nimble in traffic and surefooted when the road turns twisty. It rewards assertive driving while delivering a smooth and compliant ride. Its steering system is quick, accurate and communicative.
The G70’s driver-centric cabin is finished in high-end materials. Soft-touch surfaces dominate and the switchgear has a quality feel and heft. The cabin is tranquil at highway speeds, although certain road surfaces can kick up a racket.
User-friendly infotainment system
Genesis inherits Hyundai’s intuitive and user-friendly touchscreen-based infotainment system. Simple menus and well-labeled buttons — of both the virtual and analog varieties — help smooth the learning curve.
The 8-inch touchscreen tops the dash, where it’s easily scanned and accessed. Tall drivers may find it a touch too far away, however.
There are three USB ports (two up front, one in the rear), satellite radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
An optional 10-speaker Lexicon audio system produces crisp, clear sound.
In a pinch, the G70 accommodates four adults. Backseat legroom is cramped and ingress and egress requires a bit of ducking and bending.
The trunk is smaller than the class average.
A pair of engine choices
The G70 is available with a choice of two engines. The base engine is a turbocharged four that makes 252 horsepower; the up-level choice is a twin-turbo V-6 good for a rousing 365 hp.
Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that, aside from being reluctant to downshift, operated flawlessly in our six-cylinder tester. A six-speed manual is available with the four, but an over-light clutch feel and vague shift gates dampen its appeal.
Genesis markets the G70 in a single trim with the availability of three options packages; Elite, Prestige and Sport. All configurations are available with either engine and with the availability of AWD ($2,000).
Standard features include keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable front seats, simulated leather upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, dual-zone climate control and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, as is a hands-free trunk-lid opener.
Torque-vectoring rear differential
All-wheel-drive fetches a heated steering wheel and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential that allocates torque distribution along the rear axle, boosting handling in all types of conditions.
All G70s come standard with a driver-assist/safety suite that includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning and driver attention monitoring.
We tested a 3.3T AWD Advanced ($45,750) with the Sport ($1,500), Prestige ($2,500) and Elite $1,750) packages.
Heavy but quick
The Sport package adds stitched and quilted Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, electronically controlled adaptive shock dampers and sticky 19-inch Michelin PS4 summer tires. Big Brembo brakes provide sure, even stopping power. Powerful LED headlights point the way with sharply defined illumination.
Despite generous use of aluminum — the hood is aluminum, for example — the G70 is heavier than most of its competitors, which affects both efficiency and performance. With the smaller engine, the G70 runs the 0-60 sprint in a just-OK 7.8 seconds.
A rear-drive 3.3T needs just 4.7 seconds.
Five available drive modes allow the driver to personalize the experience with tweaks to powertrain responses, steering weight, engine sound, AWD torque distribution and suspension firmness.
Now that Genesis fields three strong sedans, the way is clear for more. Specifically, expect a flurry of crossovers, with three due over the next several months.
It seems Genesis is just getting started.
Questions or comments? Contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport
Vehicle base price: $34,900
Trim level base price: $45,750
As tested: $52,495 (includes destination and handling)
Options included panoramic sunroof; rain-sensing wipers; heads-up display; surround-view monitor; heated rear seats; stitched and quilted Nappa leather upholstery; adaptive shock dampers; 19-inch sport alloy wheels with Michelin PS4 summer tires; more
EPA ratings: 20 combined/18 city/25 highway
Premium unleaded fuel required