MM Full-Review: 2019 Genesis G70

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by mmcartalk, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. mmcartalk
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    MM Full-Review: 2019 Genesis G70

    A Review of the all-new 2019 Genesis G70.

    IN A NUTSHELL: Winner of several 2019 Car of the Year awards.....and I cannot say I disagree.









    CLOSEST AMERICAN-MARKET COMPETITORS: While there are a number of sedans that could be considered competitors, IMO probably the closest, in the American market, are the BMW 3-Series, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS, and Mercedes C-Class. The ATS will probably soon be discontinued.


    Hyundai's premium Genesis division is relative newcomer to the auto industry, having been in business only a couple of years, and essentially basing their products on upmarket versions of RWD/AWD Hyundai and Kia sedans (there are officially no Genesis SUVs/CUVs yet in the American market, but they are on the way). The large flagship G90 sedan is the successor-generation to Hyundai's former Equus flagship. The G80 (my favorite Genesis product) is virtually the same vehicle as the former Second-Generation Hyundai Genesis sedan, simply renamed and given some trim-variations for the Genesis nameplate. And the all-new G70 sport-sedan (the subject of this review) is a compact-sized version of the same platform and drivetrains used for the recent (and highly-regarded) Kia Stinger sport-sedan, though slightly smaller than the Stinger itself.

    For this class of sport-sedan, of course, the obvious target/benchmark is the long-running BMW 3-series, which has been the King of this class for many years, though not quite so much in the last several years as before, since the loss of the traditional BMW Magic-Touch hydraulic power steering, substitution of the electric steering, and somewhat more mass-market approach to the chassis/suspension/handling. BMWs have also been somewhat iffy in the reliability department, particularly in electronics and hardware. Recently, Mercedes has upgraded the interiors of their competing C-class, and been even more competition. The Lexus IS, of course, has always been the reliability-standard in this class, but, IMO, the second and third-generation versions were not particularly impressive in their interior and trim materials....and the first-generation was essentially a rebadged Toyota Altezza, though extremely well-built. The Infiniti Q50 is a nice car overall, but the Direct-Adaptive Steering option is quirky, and the car has suffered from some build-quality issues. The Cadillac ATS has Formula-One handling, but suffers from a stiff ride, an unrefined turbo four, indifferent build-quality, and GM management that considers sedans to be disposable probably won't be around much longer.

    So, the all-new G70 debuts right smack in the middle of some quite nice, but still-less-than-perfect competition. But, even before officially going on public sale, it has already made quite a name for itself with the auto journalists. Several automotive organizations have given it Car of the Year or similar awards. I, myself, have thought quite highly of every Genesis product I have static-reviewed and/or test-driven. All have seemed very well-built, with solid, durable materials, and the new G70 is no exception.....I'll get into the details later, of course.

    The G70 comes in two basic versions...the bread-and-butter 2.0T with the 2.0L Turbo inline four of 252 HP and 260 Ft-lbs. of torque, and the 3.3L Turbo V-6 of 365 HP and 376 ft-lbs. of torque. Both versions come with a choice of RWD or AWD.....FWD, of course, is generally ruled out if you are going to do a true, traditional sport-sedan. For traditionalists, RWD versions of the base 2.0T can be equipped with a true three-pedal manual transmission (they probably will have to be special-ordered, as most dealerships probably won't have many in stock). The other versions all come with an 8-speed Shift-Tronic automatic transmission, an electronic shift-lever on the console, and shift-paddles on the steering column. Base prices run from $34,900 to $45,750, depending on drivetrain and options, though the Advanced, Sport, Elite, and Prestige Packages can add significantly to those prices.

    I've been waiting for some time to check out a G70, and, of course, there has been a delay in the shipping of all of the 2019 Genesis models due to legal issues among which formerly Hyundai and Genesis dealerships were actually going to be allowed to market and sell the 2019 models. It was a complex issue, and I'm not enough of a lawyer to explain it in detail, though Alex Dykes (who I consider the best auto reviewer in the business) explains it in a special video he did on the subject.

    As usual, I static-reviewed several G70s sitting on the lot and in the showroom. There was only one 3.3L version in the showroom, where it would have been impractical to try and remove it for a test-drive, especially on this COLD, windy day (the dealership said the 3.3Ls are currently hard to get). So, that pretty much limited my choice to the 2.0Ts outside....all of them AWD models. I thought that the ones with the Prestige package (which includes the quilted Nappa-leather seats and door-panels), particularly in two-tone, were easily the most attractive inside (and probably worth the price of the package) so I chose one of those for the test drive. While this type of car, in general, does not have quite the type of softer seating or road-manners I am looking for, I cannot say I was disappointed......this is one impressively-built compact sedan.

    MODEL REVIEWED: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T AWD Prestige

    BASE PRICE: $36,900


    Elite Package: $5000

    Prestige Package: $3000


    Cargo Tray: $115

    First Aid Kit: $45

    Illuminated Door Scuffs: $395

    Rear Bumper Applique: $70



    DRIVETRAIN: AWD 252 HP @ 6200 RPM, Torque 260 Ft-lbs. @ 1400 RPM, 8-speed automatic with Manual-mode shift-paddles.

    EPA MILEAGE RATING: 21 City, 28 Highway, 21 Combined

    EXTERIOR COLOR: Victoria Black

    INTERIOR: Gray Napa Leather with Luxury-Quilt

    PLUSSES: :thumbsup:

    Superb fit-and-finish inside and out.

    Rock-solid construction.

    Responsive turbo four.

    Smooth-shfting 8-speed automatic.

    Ultra-quick, Go-cart steering response in SPORT mode.

    Well-done brakes and brake pedal.

    Wind noise well-sealed.

    Generally imressive interior materials.

    Well-designed gauges.

    Strong underhood double-bracing for added unibody rigidity.

    Firm but comfortably-shaped front seats.

    Temporary spare tire (no Run-Flats or compressed-air bottles).

    Rear seats fold down for added cargo room (some sport-sedans omit that feature).

    Some nice paint colors.

    Excellent paint job.

    Valet pick-up/delivery service at your home for service or warranty repairs.

    3-Year Complementary Scheduled Maintenance.

    MINUSES: :thumbsdown:

    Very few dealerships currently may have to travel some to find one.

    "What's a Genesis?" public attitude.

    Tacky-looking center-dash pod for the video screen (that is a problem in many new vehicles).

    Rear seats in this class of sedan not particularly roomy.

    Cargo area not particularly well-finished for the price.

    Long-term depreciation somewhat risky.


    The basic exterior styling is not unlike tat of its two larger's easy to tell the G70 as a member of the Genesis sedan family. All three have generally similar grilles and front ends. The G70 and G80 generally share the same silhouette...the larger G90 has a somewhat different, and more conventional roofline and D-pillars. All three have rock-solid construction on the exterior and doors that thunk-shut (by today's standards) like bank vaults). I say by today's standards, because the tendency has been towards lighter and lighter sheet metal and glass. Most of the G70 samples I looked at came with Michelin 45-series tires....a little lower-profile than I'd like, but par for the course on many sedans today, particularly sport-sedans. The paint job is virtually Lexus-quality, and some nice paint colors are available (though I'd prefer to see a little wider choice).


    Open the solid hood, and a nice pair of gas struts holds it up for fumbling with a cheap manual prop-rod. The usual sound-insulation pad is on the underside of the hood. The engine compartment is generally well-laid out. Both engines fit in longitudinally, which gives a little more room to reach engine components for repair or maintenance. Both engines are also set back a little for optimal weight-distribution and handling, which is common in sport-sedans. The dipsticks, fluid-reservoirs, and filler-caps, as usual, are generally easy to find and access. Two large, solid, V-braces anchor the front and sides of the engine compartment for added unibody strength underhood.


    Easily one of the car's best features, along with the overall solid construction. I was especially impressed with the Prestige-package Quilted Nappa-Leather, particularly in the two-tone interiors....though the cows won't like it, yes, this is true leather, not the more typical leatherette. I had adequate room, with the seats-cushion adjusted down, for my big 6' 2" frame (and baseball cap) without hitting the sunroof housing. The rear seat is not particularly roomy for tall persons, but that is to be expected in this class of is not buying a Chevy Suburban. Though there are a few light-feeling plastic switches and buttons here and there, most of the interior, including the trim, appears to be made of quite-good materials, definitely better than average for many automakers today. The primary gauges are well-designed and legible, though the video-screen and driver-information panel was a little on the complex side, and will probably take some time (and the Owners' Manual) to get used to. The seat cushion itself was a little firm for my tastes (I like cushiness), but, unlike the seats in many sport-oriented vehicles, were well-shaped for my big frame, and the side-bolsters were not uncomfortable. The only thing inside that I really didn't like was the tacky-looking rectangle-frame for the video screen sticking straight up out of the center-dash....IMO the screens look much better when they are integrated into the dash, like on my Lacrosse. I would have preferred to see some wood or wood-tone trim (as in the G80 and G90)....but, Genesis did an A-1 job on the interior, even without the wood-tone. The stereo sound quality was good, but not to the standards of, say, a Lexus Mark Levinson unit (which, IMO, is the industry benchmark).


    Open the rear hatch, and the cargo compartment is not particularly roomy, but keeping in mind that this size of sedan is not intended to carry large or bulky items. The cargo area itself is not quite as well-finished as I expected for the price (thin black-fabric carpet on the floor, and hard-plastic on the walls), though I figure that, considering the high quality of materials in much of the rest of this car, the bean-counters had to save some costs somewhere. And why not save costs where the luggage, not the passengers, has to ride?.....that, to me, makes sense, as long as it does not impact on the rear sound-insulation too much. The $45 First-Aid kit in the trunk is a nice touch, though I can remember these were standard in upmarket vehicles....and the First-aid kit, of course, is for passengers, not luggage. Under the floor is a temporary full-size spare tire. I used to complain about temporary spares (as opposed to a real spare tire and wheel), but, today, it's nice to see even a temporary in these days of run-flats and compressed-air-bottles.


    Start up the turbo four, and it idles with a decent amount of refinement, though probably not as much refinement as the turbo V6 (as explained above, I didn't sample the V6). On the road, it is similarly well-refined by four-cylinder standards. The turbo gives it a little kick, though, of course, the added weight and drag of AWD (which my test-car had) takes out some of the punch (and MPG). The eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly, and the electronic T-joystick shifter is more intuitive than, say, the E-shifters in GM and BMW products. Still, given the choice, I prefer a traditional fore-aft PRNDL, just like the industry gave us for the last 50 years. Some E-shifters open up room under the console for a carry-compartment, but Genesis did not put one in the G70. One cannot use the E-shifter for the Select-Shift manual-mode (there is no separate position), but there are nicely-mounted shift-paddles on the steering column. ECO/COMFORT/SPORT driving-modes adjust the engine tuning and shift points.

    The chassis is quite well-done from a handling standpoint, and the level of steering response, particularly in the SPORT mode, can be measured in Go-Kart's that quick. In fact, it's so quick, at times (almost darty), that care is sometimes needed to keep it tracking straight, as the slightest nudge on the wheel will elicit a response from the front wheels. While it is still an electronic steering unit, of course, lacking the superb tactile road-feel of older BMWs, in terms of quickness, this is one of the quickest-responding units I've seen. I'd recommend keeping the Vehicle Stability System turned on, to guard against oversteer....otherwise, the front end just might respond too quick for some drivers not used to it. Ride comfort (as I expected) was not quite to my liking, but, then, that is to be expected with a car like this, and that is why Genesis also sells the easier-riding G80 and G90. And, even so, I can't really complain about the G70's ride wasn't bad considering the natives of the wheelbase, tires, and suspension....I've sampled lots worse. Wind noise was quite well-controlled...probably a result of the solid construction of the doors and windows. Road noise, like with most vehicles, varies according to speed and road surface/condition, but, overall, was not or not, this is a luxury-nameplate vehicle, and its tires are not expected to assault your ears. The brake pedal was fairly well-located for my big Men's-size-15 clown-shoes, but was just a little further away from the gas pedal than I would have liked. Fortunately, my big shoe did not have any hang-ups on the pedal-edges, and the brakes themselves were quite smooth and effective. Some versions of the G70 get performance Brembo test vehicle did not have them.


    In one short sentence.....Darn, this is one nice small sports-sedan. If people will simply take the time to go look at one (though the sparse dealership network doesn't help) instead of the usual "That's a Hyundai?" or "Ha, Ha" attitude still so prevalent, I think it has the potential to give its competitors fits. Engineering-wise (and especially quality-wise) I think it is probably the most serious potential challenge to the King 3-series yet. Don't get me wrong.....the G70 is probably not going to sell in 3-series numbers anytime soon, but, as dealerships expand, if folks will just go look at it and drive it, the sales numbers will go up.

    And, of course, if you are like me, and prefer a sedan a little more subdued, simply walk down to the other end of the Genesis showroom and look at a G80 or G90.....and, of course, the Genesis SUVs that will be coming before very long. Since GM and Ford are essentially tossing their sedan customers to the wind (and make no mistake about it.....those customers aren't going to forget it), I think the Korean manufacturers, including Genesis, are going to be among the big gainers.

    And, as always......Happy car-shopping. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. F1 Silver Arrows
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    The G70 is the only acceptable, and honest-to-good Genesis product. The G80 and to a greater extent the G90 are very poor at distinguishing themselves from Hyundai/Kia. Despite being so cheap they offer nothing compared to competitors, and most of all they lack substance. The GS/E/5/CTS/A6 murders the G80 and the LS/7/S blows the G90 out of the water. However I genuinely believe the G70 will be the model that brings Genesis to the spotlight and right now it is a hoot not going to lie. I would love to sit in one as well.
  3. mmcartalk
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    No offense, but why do you call the G80 and G90 cheap? This is not the 1990s any more. Every recent Korean-badged vehicle I have sampled has felt, quality-wise, like it was carved out a block of granite. It is quite noticeable from most American-badged vehicles, and even from some European ones.
  4. F1 Silver Arrows
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    Heh, I knew we would have another discussion. First off, none taken. Second, what you described right there was subjective (in your reply). However, the general consensus from the public that has sampled these cars (and me as well), is that these cars aren't as high quality as the LS/7/S (which fair enough, is subjective as well, but when you look at the facts, it's true). It is simply a "cheap" way of getting into a "luxury" product and are not anywhere close to their competitors. It is a waste of a purchase because there are way better cars, that offer much more in terms of features, amenities, engineering design, are more reliable, have WAY more cachet. This is very important for me as well. Others. Make. You. Feel. Special. If you buy a luxury car, you don't want a half-assed attempt at them, which the G80 and G90 are.

    Like I said, the G70 is an order of magnitude the best, and damn, its actually quite likeable. As someone like me (and so many others) who think Genesis are irrelevant and would have been for a long time if they didn't produce anything as good as the G70. I am a massive Lexus/Mercedes-Benz/Porsche/etc. guy but holy sh*t the G70 blows me away in styling, powertrain design (now I do know its the same powertrain in the G80 and G90, however it is mated way better to the G70 and suits its character much more), interior design (like oh my god), and from what I have heard, it is soooooooooo good in terms of dynamics.

    So in close, and with provided reasoning, the G70 will be the car that will save the brand. This thing will be the next ES.
  5. Joaquin Ruhi
    Joaquin Ruhi Staff Member Moderator
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    Excellent review, I'm definitely very intrigued to try one out, especially the niche 2-liter manual and the V6 turbo. And, speaking of niche, there are 2 other marginal competitors that are, nonetheless, worth mentioning: the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
    mmcartalk and F1 Silver Arrows like this.