A great car ages gracefully.
THE GOOD
  • Powerful engine
  • Excellent handling
  • Tremendous value
THE BAD
  • Styling showing its age
  • Small infotainment screen
  • Engine doesn’t sound premium
2021 Genesis G70 Review

In many respects, age is relative. Sure, the number of days, months, or years collected are finite measures; but just as a dog is said to gather seven trips around the sun for every human one, in the modern automotive world, it has to be a ratio something like 20:1.

It’s been a little over three years since I first drove the Genesis G70, making it a veritable senior citizen against its newer peers from BMW, Audi, and Lexus. But when a carmaker gets both the style and the performance right as Genesis did with its sport sedan, it helps the car become a little more timeless. Which brings us to the 2021 Genesis G70.

Styling: 8/10

The G70’s styling, both inside and out, is evidence of two factors: first, over the past decade or so the Hyundai Motor Group – parent company of Genesis – has plucked a series of star designers from key German premium car companies, and the efforts paid off. The Genesis G70 displays paradigm proportions in the small luxury sedan segment. With its long hood, relatively squat greenhouse, and stubby tail, the G70 is definitely dressed for the party.

The second consideration is that fashion is fleeting, even in the automotive realm. And while it’s still a handsome car, the G70 is a design we’ve seen for a few years now, and as some of its peers have shown, fender vents and chrome garnishes – yes, even dark chrome – are so 2018.

Inside, there’s very little to complain about. The G70’s cabin remains the picture of sensible design, with functional controls at the driver’s fingertips, and all the information needed is at an easy glance. These days, glass is the dominant material choice for dashboards, with enormous screens covering as much real estate as possible on premium cars, which makes the G70 appear somewhat old-school by comparison. However, the diamond-pattern stitching on the black leather seats does look premium and, with the red accents, properly sporting, too.

Features: 9.5/10

Cars in this segment are expected to have interiors finished in soft leather, luxurious accent materials, and enough technological features to keep Silicon Valley nerds happy, and the G70 delivers on each point. While my tester was an upper-crust 3.3T Sport model, even the base G70 is anything but basic. The audio system sounds great, and there’s a power sunroof, heated seats all around, and cooled ones up front. The steering wheel is heated, too, of course. There’s no extra option package required for the nicer wheels, sportier suspension, or onboard navigation – it’s all part of the Sport trim. There’s adaptive cruise control and a suite of driver aids as well.

Far more impressive is Genesis’ pricing that includes everything except taxes and licensing. There are no additional fees or delivery charges; it’s all built into the advertised price. Beyond that, for five years Genesis includes scheduled maintenance and at-home valet and courtesy vehicle service, plus five years of comprehensive warranty and roadside assistance. Where the competitors have made an art form of nickel-and-diming their customers for options and services, Genesis has taken the refreshingly opposite approach.

User Friendliness: 9/10

The ease of the Genesis purchase and maintenance process is reflected in the user-friendliness and driveability of the G70, too. The controls are laid out in a classic format, with the driver facing a pair of large, round dials; one for each the tachometer and speedometer. They’re not simply digital fabrications of gauges – they’re the real deal. There are knobs for volume and tuning, but also each of the primary climate control functions, and another to select drive modes. There are no frivolous haptic touch panels, nor are items like seat climate controls hidden several layers deep in the infotainment system; they’re right there on the dash. The steering wheel buttons make great sense, too, with thumb wheels complementing toggle switches.

While the infotainment display, at eight inches, is unfashionably small, the system is a dream to work, with lag-free responses and a simple touchscreen operation. It’s even positioned sensibly atop the dash to ensure it’s within easy sight of the driver. The keyless trunk opening function is simple, too: walk up to the rear of the car with the key in your pocket, pause for a few seconds, and voila – it opens without kicking or hokey-pokey dance moves required.

Unfortunately, the keyless entry system is a basic and old-fashioned design whereby only the front doors have buttons for lock and unlock functions, while competitors are including touch sensors on all door handles (some of them are even hidden inside the door handle pull for a cleaner look). Similarly archaic is the need to push an interior button to release the fuel filler door. Most manufacturers now have click-open filler doors, and many are doing away with screw-on filler caps, too.

Practicality: 6.5/10

Genesis at last has entered the SUV game, so those hell-bent on the large wagon space can shop one of those models, including the all-new GV80. Within the sport sedan class, however, the G70 fits a middle ground for most exterior and interior dimensions. Front-seat passengers will find the cabin cozy, but not confining. The same can’t be said for rear seat space that has seatbelts for three across, but comfort for only two. Even then, leg- and headroom aren’t abundant. Meanwhile, the G70’s trunk measures a meagre 297 L – substantially less than some of the other cars in its class, although the rear seats are split-folding for some extra space.

Comfort: 7.5/10

While well-equipped with features to help the G70’s occupants remain comfortable, the ride is more sporty and stiff than supple and luxurious. Road and wind noise are both sufficiently subdued, but the engine noise that Genesis says is enhanced for the driver isn’t particularly melodic, simply serving to remind occupants that there’s a relatively big, strong engine moving them along.

Power: 8.5/10

The 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6 found beneath the G70’s hood is a lively and energetic engine that, along with the tenacious grip provided by the all-wheel drive and a set of sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, can rocket the small-ish sedan from a standstill to licence-losing speed with urgency. The 376 lb-ft of torque between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm mean there is prodigious thrust available whether leaving a stop light or passing slower traffic at highway speeds. Motivation is always instant and abundant in this car.

Its 365 hp is noteworthy, too, but falls short of the snarling Mercedes-AMG C 43, or the BMW M340i’s silken inline-six.

The G70’s liveliness is reinforced in sport mode, where the throttle response borders on twitchy and gears are held longer in the eight-speed automatic transmission. Shifts are smooth most of the time in normal driving, but very quick when demanded by more aggressive driving.

Fuel Economy: 6/10

The downside to the turbocharged V6 in the G70 is its thirst for premium fuel. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) rates the G70’s consumption at a combined 12.0 L/100 km, with highway at 9.5 and city at an eyebrow-raising 14.1. I logged more than 1,000 km during my test week, with the majority being on the highway, and still couldn’t do better than 9.8 L/100 km.

The G70’s primary German competitors are notably more efficient, and even if the few hundred dollars a year it’s likely to mean doesn’t bother you, the increased frequency of fill-ups for the 60-L fuel tank just might.

Driving Feel: 8.5/10

Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate to drive the G70 enough that I’ve experienced it in city traffic, on the highway, carving up mountain roads, and even on the track in Korea, and its overall competence remains impressive. The steering is quick and offers considerable feedback in this digital age, but more impressive is how the handling inspires confidence with the G70 never seeming to place a tire wrong. Causing the car to become upset, even when driven hard, is really only brought about by being downright foolish behind the wheel. It’s a car that can be driven quite briskly very easily, which is a testament to how well the adaptive suspension manages road irregularities, and the way both the mechanical limited-slip differential and the all-wheel-drive system allocate the power.

In Sport trim like my test car, the big brake discs are clamped by Brembo four-piston calipers up front – two-piston in the rear – resulting in both immediate bite and strong braking power under a linear-feeling pedal.

Safety: 9.5/10

Regardless of trim level, all G70s receive the same extensive suite of safety features, netting the car a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). From excellent LED headlights (with automated high-beam control), to lane-change assist, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision mitigation, to rear cross-traffic collision warning and even a driver attention warning system, Genesis has packed it in for safety.

Value: 9/10

Strictly considering the G70’s list price, equipment list and performance relative to its key competitors from Germany and Japan, the Genesis represents a stellar value. Add in attractive looks and the level of coverage and convenience buyers get from Genesis, and it makes the G70 one of the best values on the road.

The Verdict

Remaining relevant and competitive in the fiercely fought premium sport sedan segment requires constantly evolving and improving features, performance, and style. While the G70 is only a few years old, competitors like Audi’s A4, BMW’s 3 Series, and the Lexus IS have undergone significant updates since this Genesis launched. In response, the brand has already announced updates to the 2022 models that will include freshened styling, improved exhaust note, and, of course, a larger, updated infotainment screen, all of which address the few complaints one could level against this current car.

Upon its launch, the G70 proved to the world that the premium Korean brand had the ability to take on the legendary sport sedans from around the globe. Now, after a few years of competing, the G70 remains a well-built, luxurious, and competent car that happens to be an impressive value to boot. That’s what I call aging gracefully.

A great car ages gracefully. 12/1/2020 6:28:00 AM

Competitors

Specifications

Engine Displacement 3.3L   Model Tested 2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport
Engine Cylinders V6, Twin-Turbocharged   Base Price $58,000
Peak Horsepower 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm   A/C Tax $100
Peak Torque 376 lb-ft @ 1,300–4,500 rpm   Destination Fee None
Fuel Economy 14.1 / 9.5 / 12.0 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb   Price as Tested $58,100
Cargo Space 297 L  
Optional Equipment
None