new Genesis G70

A strong first impression

Hyundai made the right call a few years ago when it spun Genesis off into its own brand. Freed of the limits of the proletariat lineup, Genesis engineers and designers have been able to craft a unique identity for the upstart. The G70 makes a strong first impression: it looks long and low, with the proper long-hood, short-deck proportions and a clipped front overhang. The aggressive, squinty headlamps and giant grille announce the G70’s intents nice and early, while the spindly wheels spokes and tasteful exterior chrome trim give it just the right amount of luxury feel.

It looks expensive and handsome, albeit slightly anonymous. That’s not a knock: I really enjoy the new Genesis design language exemplified in the upcoming GV80 for its daring and unique brand identity. The brand’s smallest sedan will no doubt adopt a similar look in a year or two, and while it will set it further apart amidst the crowd, I think the current car’s more traditional styling will age better.

Room for improvement

I’ve thoroughly showered it with praise, but the G70 is not without fault.

Despite its compact executive title, it’s quite a large car, but the interior packaging doesn’t take advantage of that. Front row space is fine—though I consistently hit my head getting out—but the back seat is tight. Drivers over six feet will pretty much guarantee those behind them have their knees permanently in the seat backs. Trunk space is similarly sparse: at just 10.5 cubic feet, it lags behind every other member of the class. The G70 is essentially the coupe of the Genesis range, such are its spatial sacrifices.

The big-hearted drivetrain is addictive, but it has a drinking problem. Resist its charms and you shouldn’t have trouble hitting the EPA’s 20 mpg average (17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway), but that’s substantially lower than the BMW M340i, Audi S4, or Mercedes-AMG C43. All three feature all-wheel drive as well, but that doesn’t stop the 382-horsepower Bimmer from posting a 25 mpg average, and a full 30 mpg on the highway. I managed a healthy 21.5 mpg, though I chalk that up to substantially less traffic than is typical, for obvious reasons.

A value proposition

The Prestige 3.3T AWD comes with nearly every conceivable bell and whistle, including a head-up display, heated seats all around (and vented up front), a bird’s eye view camera, and more. V6 models come with leather as standard, instead of an added-cost option elsewhere in the class. It also comes with a 15-speaker audio system that is impressively crisp and powerful.

Every G70 comes with a full suite of passive and active safety features. The lineup of assists include emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, auto high-beams and lane-keep assist. It all works as expected, though the lane-keep assist is more prone to light back-and-forth on the highway than other comparable setups.

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