Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis, certainly seems to have finally hit its stride over the past two years. After a slow start hampered by a lack of SUVs in its lineup and an early commitment to sedans, the tables have quickly turned, with two SUVs now on sale and a third, the all-electric GV60, not far off launching as well.
Until that arrives, though, the 2022 Genesis GV70 you see here is the newest and arguably most important model in the marque’s lineup. Mid-size luxury SUVs like this are all the rage, so it’s the perfect segment for Genesis to really gain a foothold in to establish a brand presence and identity through, and the best way it can do that is by continuing to offer more for less.
Priced from $66,400 in base form, the 3.5T AWD Sport model on test here sits at the top of the range at $83,400 – already a significant price hike over other models, and that’s before getting to the as-tested price here of $92,000 – but that still puts it at a definite price advantage over the Audi SQ5, BMW X3/X4 M40i, Jaguar F-Pace P400, and Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 that it competes with.
Certainly, it’s quite the looker, with easily the most modern design in the class. Its crisp lines, sporty stance, and neat proportions are all highlighted perfectly by the Melbourne Grey matte paint of my tester, which is actually a steal at $2000, especially given how stunning it looks. This Sport model’s dark chrome grille and door trims offset it perfectly as well, and give it a real touch of class. It might be the cheapest car in the class, but it sure doesn’t look it.
Inside, you’re still left wondering how this isn’t more expensive, as the attention to detail is incredibly thorough. Although a few interior finishes are on offer, I love the Ultramarine Blue quilted Nappa leather fitted to this car – part of the $6600 Luxury package. Although being blue-top to bottom may sound a bit full-on – it’s everywhere from the suede headliner down to the plastics – this softer shade of it I find very palatable. It’s also nicely offset by the illuminated geometric trim patterns and the vibrant red stitching, piping, and seatbelts as well.
Every single material you feel in this cabin is of the highest quality, though, with even the minimally-used plastics feeling a step above. Most surfaces you feel are leather-wrapped, however, and the build quality is solid as well, giving it a real air of quality.
The Luxury package certainly justifies the extra spend with just how much else it brings to the table beyond the leather. A 12.3-inch 3D instrument cluster, 12-inch head-up display, 16-speaker Lexicon sound system, 18-way powered Ergo Motion driver’s seat (which aims to reduce fatigue through subtle adjustments and stretches), heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, Remote Smart Parking Assist (which allows you to instruct the car to move forwards and backwards with the key fob), and extra safety tech in the form of Forward Attention Warning and rear autonomous emergency braking.
It’s already a pretty well-fleshed-out package even in standard form, though, with a truly massive 14.5-inch infotainment display, a separate touchscreen climate control interface, 12-way powered front seats with heating and ventilation, wireless phone charging, fingerprint authentication system, remote start, and a hands-free powered tailgate. Try getting that much kit as standard from any of its European rivals.
It even feels more spacious than some rivals as well, with plenty of headroom and legroom, along with a sizeable 542 litre boot that expands to 1678 litres with the rear seats folded down. It’s easy to get comfortable inside it as well thanks to how supportive its seating is thanks to a degree of bolstering that’s just right. Yet again, Genesis show that it really knows how to put together one incredible interior.
It’s got a pretty incredible engine as well. Although four-cylinder petrol and diesel options are also available, this is really the engine you want – a petrol-powered 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that makes a hefty 279kW at 5800rpm and 530Nm from 1300-4500rpm. Like all models, it comes paired with an in-house eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard on the 3.5T, and is a rear-biased on-demand system with an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear differential.
The first thing you notice with this engine is just how utterly refined it is. Unless you’re really pedalling it, you honestly forget you have such a brawny power plant under the bonnet, and you’ll never feel a single unwanted vibration from it thanks to its hydro-dynamic engine mounts. Fuel consumption is the one downside, guzzling through 13.3L/100km during 505km of testing against a claim of 11.3L/100km. For a luxury SUV, though, it’s the ideal heart to have.
Likewise, the eight-speed auto’s smooth shifts remain imperceptible, and the ride quality is truly excellent thanks to its adaptive suspension system that scans the road ahead to make adjustments for surface imperfections. It might lack an Australian-specific suspension tuning, but unlike the Ioniq 5 which similarly does, the damping here feels right on the mark. It also doesn’t feel as needlessly firm as its bigger sibling, the GV80.
The GV80’s suspension was stiffened up to benefit handling, but the same, fortunately, hasn’t required doing here. Throw the GV70 into Sport+ and it keeps it impressively level for a 2038kg SUV, but does so without feeling quite so brittle and busy.
That big V6 doesn’t feel any real need to shout, either, unless you want to dial in some fake noise. With peak torque available for so much of the rev range, it feels incredibly potent even at lower revs so you don’t really need to rev it out all the way to have some fun with it. It’s still perfectly happy to oblige if you want to, though, as a 0-100km/h time of 5.1 seconds attests to.
Even though it’s a seriously competent performer, it’s still a luxury car first and foremost though. The steering, for instance, might be nicely weighted in Sport+ but there’s not terribly much road feel through the wheel. And, of course, the suspension is designed more to cosset than to transfer every road surface detail through to you via the seat of your pants.
That’s something I’m totally okay with, though. Sure, the SQ5 and X3/X4 M40i in particular feel more focused when it comes to performance driving, but it’s to the detriment of daily liveability. In a luxuriously-trimmed SUV, a supple yet controlled ride and subdued yet brawny engine is what makes far more sense to me than suspension that would me more at home in a hot hatch.
And keep in mind, the GV70 is still faster than the SQ5 or the F-Pace P400 while being cheaper and better equipped in standard form than any of its rivals. If buyers were more familiar with the Genesis brand – which if they aren’t already, they no doubt will be before long – there ought to be far more of these lining the streets than there are.
The GV70, then, is easily the stand-out in this class for me. From its looks, to its interior, to the way it drives – this is truly the perfect embodiment of a luxury SUV. It’s the vehicle Genesis had to get right above all else – luckily, it has absolutely nailed it.
2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T AWD Sport List Price: $83,400 | As Tested: $92,000
- Performance - 8.5/108.5/10
- Ride & Handling - 9/109/10
- Tech & Features - 9/109/10
- Practicality - 8.5/108.5/10
- Value for Money - 8.5/108.5/10
Pros: Incredibly refined yet powerful twin-turbo V6, supple yet controlled ride, interior materials are top-notch, cheaper and better-equipped than its rivals in standard form
Cons: Not quite as dynamically-pleasing as a BMW or Audi, the V6 is very thirsty, brand value is currently lower than that of rivals
In a nutshell: As a luxury SUV, the 2022 Genesis GV70 ticks all the right boxes. It might not be the most dynamic of its rivals, but it’s nonetheless incredibly potent in a straight line and remains competent no matter what road you throw it at. For those after the last word in luxury and refinement in this segment, the word you’ve been looking for is “Genesis”.
Photography by Marcus Cardone.
Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Genesis Motors Australia for one week. All fuel costs were covered by the author.