Hyundai's luxury brand Genesis started with an exclusively sedan model range, but SUVs have been added to the lineup recently. Starting with the full-size GV80 flagship, followed by the midsize GV70, and the upcoming compact GV60 EV, Genesis now has entries in the most popular luxury SUV segments. The GV70 is intended to be the volume leader, taking on the Lexus RX, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLE and BMW X3.
Current 2023 GV70 pricing starts at $42,900 for the 2.5T AWD and $55,000 for the 3.5T AWD. Genesis has reconfigured option packages and adjusted pricing for 2023 GV70 models. We tested a 2022 GV70 3.5T ($52,600) equipped with the Sport Advanced package ($5,000), Sport Prestige package ($4,900), Matterhorn white matte paint ($1,500). The total including the $1,095 freight charge added up to $65,045. Significant standard equipment includes panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather & suede seats, power driver and passenger seats, heated/vented front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, 16-speaker Lexicon audio system, 14.5-in infotainment display, surround view monitor, head-up display, Android Auto(TM) and Apple CarPlay(TM).
A 2.5L turbo inline-4 rated at 300-hp/311 lb.-ft. powers the base GV70 2.5T. Opt for the GV70 3.5T and Genesis substitutes a twin-turbo 3.5L V-6 rated at 375-hp @ 5,800 RPM and 391 lb.-ft. from 1650-4,000 RPM. The aluminum V-6 features dual overhead cams, variable valve-timing, direct and port fuel injection. Both engines are coupled to an 8-speed automatic driving all four wheels. The V-6 GV70 achieves a 19/24 MPG (city/hwy.) fuel consumption rating. We averaged 23-24 MPG in highway driving and 18-19 MPG in urban driving, similar to the EPA numbers.
Genesis uses the typical MacPherson struts, control arms and a stabilizer bar in the front suspension. At the rear is a multi-link rear suspension of coil springs, dampers, and stabilizer bar. An electronically-controlled mechanical limited-slip differential is optional on GV70 3.5T. Steering is via a motor-assisted rack-and-pinion system geared for 2.61 turns lock-to-lock. Brakes are vented discs at all four wheels: 14.2 in. dia. rotors in front, and 13.6 in. dia. rotors in the rear. Standard 19-in. alloy wheels and 235/55R19 tires can be replaced with the optional 21-in. wheels and 255/40R21 Michelin Primacy Tour tires, as our test vehicle was equipped. Curb weight for the tested GV70 3.5T was 4,431 lbs. A GV70 with the standard 19-in. wheel/tire package is slightly lighter at 4,354 lbs.
Genesis designers created an exceptionally uncluttered interior dominated by recurring oval shapes. Polished matte aluminum and glossy black surfaces convey understated elegance. Dark gray and deep red hues dominate the interior color palette. Interior materials and build quality are exceptional. Usually we don't comment on vehicle exteriors, but we noticed some unimpressive wheel arch molding fits, and an unusual overlapping hood fit over the front fascia.
A full electronic gauge cluster consists of a speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant gauges, along with a configurable center display. The tachometer needle rotates counterclockwise, which may appear confusing initially. Switching between the vehicle powertrain mode (Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport+) changes the cluster color scheme. A high-resolution 14.5-in. touchscreen infotainment display sits atop the dashboard. Direct access to infotainment settings is available via a multi-function knob and buttons on the center console. Rotary knobs and touch sensitive pictographs adjust the dual-zone climate control system. Instead of a transmission shift lever, the GV70 uses a translucent rotary knob to change transmission modes. Dual front USB ports and a wireless charging pad on the center console enable mobile device recharging.
The GV70's optional Nappa leather and perforated suede fabric seats offer superb comfort and lateral support. We appreciated the 16-way power adjustability for the driver's seat, and the available massage function. The front passenger also gets 12-way power adjustments. Rear seat comfort is also above average with decent legroom, but the center rear position is only acceptable for short trips. Headroom front and rear will accommodate occupants at least 6 ft. tall, even with the panoramic roof. Rear passengers benefit from dedicated climate controls, dual USB ports and a 120V AC outlet.
Of the two available powertrains, the 3.5L twin-turbo is aimed at driving enthusiasts. The V-6 delivers excellent midrange throttle response, but low-RPM torque is unimpressive when the turbos are idling. Manually downshifting using the steering wheel paddles makes up the acceleration deficit, until the turbos start to spin up to speed. The 8-speed automatic shifts rapidly on demand, and the programming will hold seventh gear in Sport and Sport+ modes, but we could manually select eighth gear. We usually selected the Custom drive mode, which balances throttle response and relaxed highway cruising.
As with most of its luxury SUV competition, the GV70 has limited off-road capability; the focus is paved-road driving dynamics. Genesis engineers tuned the suspension for a compliant ride, but the optional 21-in. wheel/tire combination cannot effectively absorb impacts from potholes and other road imperfections. Consider the standard 19-in. wheels and the higher profile tires as better suited for regions suffering from poorly maintained road surfaces. In highway cruising the GV70 exhibits minimal wind and tire noise. Despite the standard electronically-controlled suspension, above 80 MPH the suspension tuning is too underdamped for acceptable body control. The electrically-assisted steering delivers decent feel and moderate effort, but grooved pavement requires constant steering corrections. Mild body roll and understeer ensure that the GV70 stays planted on sweeping bends; push harder and increased understeer signals that the fun is over. Considering the 2+ ton curb weight, the vented discs deliver excellent stopping power and firm, progressive pedal actuation.
As the first premium midsize SUV from Genesis, the GV70 is an impressive effort, but with a few flaws. The base GV70 2.5T is an excellent value, priced comparably to mainstream SUVs from other brands. Unfortunately, the 3.5T plays in a much tougher arena against competition from BMW, Lexus, Audi and Mercedes. If you are considering the GV70, the 2.5T offers nearly same standard and optional equipment, but at a considerable discount relative to its V-6 sibling.