2022 Best Compact Luxury Car: Genesis G70

For the third year in a row since the award was introduced, the Genesis G70 has once again clinched the title of AutoTrader’s Best Compact Luxury Car. The Korean sport sedan was victorious after our jury of more than 20 automotive experts across Canada considered every single vehicle available in this segment and voted it as the best one, a car we’d confidently recommend to family, friends, and AutoTrader readers.

Competing in what is arguably one of the most competitive segments in the industry, the G70 beat out a very strong roster of mainly German and Swedish runners up, which included the BMW 3 and 4 Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Audi A4, the Volvo S60, and the all-electric Polestar 2. For 2022, the G70 increases its lead over those other cars with a mid-cycle refresh featuring new front and rear-end styling as well as a bigger 10.25-inch infotainment screen as standard.

There are quite a few reasons the G70 stands out from the pack and the biggest would probably be the way it drives. Winners for the AutoTrader Awards are voted for based on a long list of criteria including but not limited to quality, safety, design, innovation, user-friendliness, performance, and driver satisfaction, and when it comes to compact luxury cars, which, more often than not, identify as sport sedans, that last criterion is of utmost importance.

“The chassis balance, the feedback and sharpness of the steering, the suspension’s ability to provide both stability and comfort, and the ease of quick directional changes all add up to deliver a driving experience that’s world-class,” wrote AutoTrader Editor in Chief Jodi Lai.

Not only is the compact Genesis both fun and comfy, but it also feels less synthesized compared to the competing BMW. “[The M340i] perhaps responds more urgently and with more ferocity, but the G70 might feel less artificial, which, to me, is more important,” Lai continued.

“With a distinctly German feel, the G70 blends nimbleness and firm athleticism to perfection. Even without the adaptive dampers that are exclusive to the top 3.3T Sport trim, the sedan is an agile performer that’s light enough on its toes to be playful while feeling adequately anchored to the road beneath it,” AutoTrader Road Test Editor Dan Ilika wrote of the 2020 model.

Using the same, very strong tech found in other modern Hyundai/Kia/Genesis products, the G70 also excels when it comes to safety and semi-autonomous highway driving. It got full marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for crashworthiness, its adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping capabilities are world-class, and, what’s more, all of its assisted-driving tech is standard equipment.

When it comes to user-friendliness, the G70’s humble Hyundai roots have been leveraged to good effect while fancier switchgear and a Genesis-specific theme in the screens keep any unfounded “Elantra with leather” accusations at bay.

“Everything is easy to find in the Genesis G70: buttons are labelled well, all the menus make sense, the layout and controls are straightforward, and everything is where you expect it to be. Luckily, the brand has leaned on Hyundai’s expertise in creating user-friendly and intuitive layouts but has changed the design and look of the system so that the experience feels more upscale,” wrote Lai.

As a final twist of the knife, the G70 also costs quite a bit less money than most of its competitors. Prices start at $45,000 for a 2.0T Select that, as its designation suggests, comes with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder base engine making 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The most expensive trim, meanwhile, happens to be the $59,000 3.3T Sport that uses a more potent 3.3L twin-turbo V6 good for 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque and comes with a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, Nappa leather, a suede headliner, 19-inch wheels on summer tires, variable exhaust valves, and acoustic laminated glass. In Canada, all G70s come exclusively with all-wheel drive.

In contrast, a no-options 2022 Audi S4 starts at $61,100 while providing slightly less power and torque than the top G70 while the aforementioned and more artificial-feeling 2021 BMW M340i commands at least $66,000. Sure, those cars may boast badges that may or may not garner more widespread recognition and respect (for now) but, on the other hand, those cars also cannot claim to be AutoTrader’s Best Compact Luxury Car three years running. The Genesis G70 can.

Oh, and while we fully recognize that styling is subjective and mostly superficial, the fact that the refreshed Genesis G70 is one of the most original and sleek-looking cars in its class doesn’t hurt either.