The burden of success is expectation. The better you do, the more you have to push the envelope the next time out.
“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards,” to steal a few words from actress Lauren Bacall. So, after early and progressive successes with its G90 and G80 sedans, the nascent Genesis brand found an improbable conquest when its G70 sedan was named Motor Trend’s 2019 car of the year.
But in this epoch of SUVs, a car company can’t make just cars. Makers need to crank out full-sized family haulers and crossovers to compete in the most popular segments. So, last year the brand debuted the GV80 to acclaim and now with the Genesis GV70 Sport, there’s lots to look forward to.
Genesis has time and time again proven itself adept at straddling the line between performance and luxury, and is quite masterful in its plot to peel off luxury buyers from venerable German makers. We got behind the wheel of Genesis’ first crossover and spent a day driving around New York City and the Westchester suburbs to put the Genesis GV70 Sport through its paces. Here’s what we found.
Genesis GV70 Sport: Built to drive
The folks at Genesis baked a ton of spice into its first crossover effort. The GV70 Sport’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 cranks out a reported 375 hp, which is plenty enough power to fling it from a full stop to the 55mph speed limit on the Sawmill Parkway in a hurry (Genesis hasn’t released an official 0 to 60mph time, but we’d guess a scant five seconds.) The 8-speed transmission is a good match—smooth in most settings and frisky with RPMs in Sport Plus. You also get paddle shifters for when you want to go manual.
All wheel drive is standard and rear-biased as is the four-wheel independent suspension, but an option we’d tick off for performance and driving in the Northeast’s snowy and icy winters is the electric-limited slip differential that can send 100 percent of the rear power to a single wheel.
When the road starts to twist and turn, the GV70 Sport is nimble and precise. And while it’s built on the same platform as the G70, compared to the sedan, you feel the higher center of gravity and steering feedback is a few ticks less informative. It’s not a sports car, but rather a grocery-getting CUV, after all.
If looks could kill
Aesthetically, the GV70 is a standout and one of the bes- looking vehicles in the segment. Overall the look of the GV70 is assertive yet elegant. It’s a parking lot Adonis, easy to spot from several rows away. While the signature grille, as well as the bifurcated headlamps and brake lights, on the recent Genesis models can be a bit polarizing, we are unabashed fans. Those elements give the current Genesis line in general, and the GV70 in particular, undeniable visual impact.
On the inside
The cabin of the Genesis is a serene place to spend time. The minimalist, aeronautically inspired interior is refined with a focus on fit and finish.
The front seats are firm yet supple. They help you feel the road a bit, but won’t wear your butt out an hour or two into a drive. An automatic posture improvement feature that kicks in after a while behind the wheel is a nice touch, and a massaging driver’s seat makes longer hauls and sitting in traffic noticeably more pleasurable.
In the back, leg room is ample for adults on short- to medium-length drives, though we wouldn’t enjoy spending much more than an hour or two in the rear seats. But if your typical passengers are still in boosters, they won’t notice. The massive 28.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind is, however, large enough to haul a substantial amount of luggage or a hefty splurge from the local Costco.
The GV70 comes loaded with a host of smart tech designed to enhance the driving experience. The brand’s adaptive cruise control uses cloud-based machine learning to better simulate a human driver’s style behind the wheel. The adaptive suspension with road preview uses the car’s cameras to detect bumps and potholes to soften impacts, making it a great daily commuter.
The extra-large, touchscreen infotainment display is easy to use and does a good job mirroring Apple CarPlay. The person behind the wheel gets a 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster, and a 12-inch head-up display that offers speed, blind-spot info, and turn-by-turn navigation.
In a first for the auto industry, Genesis has also outfitted the GV70 with a fingerprint reader on the dashboard that can be used to start it. So, coupled with a digital key, owners can leave the FOB behind if they choose and still go for a drive.
A compelling price
Honestly, the price point is hard to argue with. A base model GV70 with a 300hp 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine costs $42,045, and the V6 Sport starts at $53,645 which is a bit less than the German competition and its respective performance models. Fully loaded, our test model’s sticker clocked in around $63K, which presents a real value in segment. We won’t be shocked to see quite a few of these on the road by year’s end.
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