What is it?
If you’ve not heard of the Genesis brand before, you’re not alone… but the easiest way to regard one of Australia’s newest – and smallest – brands is by comparing Genesis and Hyundai as you would Lexus and Toyota.
Relaunched in Australia in 2019, the mid-sized G70 sedan is one of just two models in the Genesis line-up, with the other being the large G80 saloon.
The G70 has set its targets on some formidable and well-established foes from all corners of the planet, including Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, so its entry-level 2.0T has some big targets to chase… and it’s doing it in a pretty unique way.
What is the Genesis G70 2.0T Ultimate like to live with?
Let’s face it… the luxury mid-sized sedan is an endangered species, as young – and not-so-young – upwardly mobile types storm towards premium brand crossovers like Merc’s GLC and BMW’s X4 in droves.
Don’t let that trend swing sway you, though, because the G70 is a genuinely lovely car to live with on a day-to-day basis. It’s sold as a five-seater, but it’s best for four, and the all-leather interior is superbly rendered.
It’s not the last word in contemporary – there’s no digital dash, for example, and some of the graphics are a bit i30-esque – but the Genesis G70 marks a high-water mark for affordable opulence. Quilted leather seating is complemented by subtle but stylish metal finishes and well-weighted switchgear that’s a delight to use.
The G70’s front seats are fulsome and comfortable, and there’s sufficient head room despite the presence of the sunroof. There’s good visibility all round, and the round, thick-rim steering wheel is really nicely executed.
I’m not a massive fan of trigger-style fly-by-wire gearshifters, though the sturdy feel and distinct detents on the Genesis shifter are nicer than others I’ve tried recently.
Rear accommodation is affected by the presence of a transmission tunnel hump on the floor, and headroom is compromised for larger passengers.
There are vents for rear seaters, as well as a single USB point. Two ISOFIX baby seat mounts are standard, and there’s a pull-down armrest for the rear seaters.
Things like smartphone mirroring and inductive phone charging are handy day-to-day niceties, and it’s worth noting that the stock sound system is pretty amazing.
Headlight brightness is excellent, too, which isn’t always the case for LED headlights. About the only mark on its copybook is its relatively diminutive 330-litre boot, though the seats can be dropped to provide more room when required.
What is the Genesis G70 2.0T Ultimate like to drive?
The Genesis offers 179kW and 353Nm from its turbocharged two-litre engine, backed by a traditional eight-speed auto that sends power to the rear wheels, a la the Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series.
Its multi-link rear/strut front suspension system has been massaged by Hyundai’s accomplished Australian tuning team, who’ve turned in a sedan that offers a quiet, compliant and comfortable ride that doesn’t fall into the trap of being too stiffly sprung for its own good.
The G70’s benign, refined ride and handling is a perfect foil to the understated yet high-quality interior. It rides urban bumps with a quality and assurance that shames some of its rivals, though its decently feelsome steering feel is a little too light for my tastes in normal mode.
On the open road, too, it’s an accomplished package that really belies its price point. The engine and transmission are well-matched, and there’s more on tap than its on-paper specs suggest.
Is it worth the money?
The G70 Ultimate packs a similarly sized 2.0-litre engine and rear-wheel drivetrain under its skin, and comes packed with good gear like bi-LED headlights, more leather than a field full of cows, big sunroof, powered everything (including the steering column) and wireless phone charging.
WHEELS REVIEW: 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T
There’s sat-nav, digital radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone mirroring, LED lighting throughout, beautifully rendered switchgear and loads of active safety functionality, as well.
About the only clanger is the multimedia screen, which is still skinned with a Hyundai-spec interface that detracts from the luxury bent.
While there are only two dealers – sorry, high-end shopfronts – at present, Genesis says it’ll pick up the tab with free servicing for five years or 50,000km, and it’ll even come grab the car for you (within 70km).
Pros: Terrific interior treatment, excellent ride/handling compromise, decent performance, well equipped for the money
Cons: Small traces of Hyundai DNA in cabin are distracting, small boot, squashy rear middle seat