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Genesis GV70 Review

Introduction

Premium SUVs are big business, but some manufacturers have stolen a march on their rivals. In particular, German brands Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW have built strong contenders in their respective GLC, Q5 and X3 models, while Porsche’s Macan remains the most impressive car in the segment despite its advancing years. 

Add in competition from Volvo, Lexus, Land Rover and Jaguar, and customers are clearly spoilt for choice.

Nevertheless, South Korean brand Genesis is hoping to upset the apple cart with its new GV70 SUV, which is here to give the established brands a bloody nose. It’s undoubtedly a very good car, but will Hyundai engineering, a luxurious cabin and appealing driving dynamics be enough to make up for the relatively unknown badge on the front? 

And can it really compete with German SUV royalty?

Select's rating score* - 3.6 / 5

At a Glance

Genesis is trying to barge into the luxury car market with the GV70, and it’s ticking all the right boxes as it does so. Not only does the car look premium from the outside, with its split headlights and bold grille, but it has a stunning interior with plush leather and a massive infotainment screen.

Maybe quilted leather and cutting-edge tech is a bit cliché, but Genesis has managed to do it really well and in such a way that it doesn’t feel as though it’s fake or it’s trying too hard.


It’s a properly pleasant place to sit, and because it’s based on Hyundai’s engineering, it’s all very well built – there’s no sign of anything flimsy or fragile, which is more than can be said for some supposedly luxury brands.

In the UK, customers can choose between two engines: a 2.5-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel. The lack of hybrid or electric options might put some off, but the two conventional engines are both pretty good, and the petrol in particular offers impressive performance. 

Both versions, though, are comfortable and refined, and that’s exactly how Genesis is trying to position its models in this competitive market.

Key Features

Genesis is aiming to compete with established premium brands, and to help ensure its products are competitive, it has made sure the cabin quality and design is up to snuff. The GV70’s interior is very clean and minimalist, but the soft leather and real wood trim give it an air of quality that’s more than a match for the likes of Jaguar and DS

Perhaps it doesn’t have the instagrammable style of the Range Rover Velar or the Mercedes-Benz GLC, but quality-wise it’s up there.


Tech is a key pillar of the GV70 experience, too, and key to that is the massive infotainment screen atop the dashboard. It can be controlled by touch, or using the rotary control on the centre console. Either works reasonably well, but the screen’s a bit big to be reaching across too much, and the controller is a bit less distracting. 

Whichever way you operate it, though, the system is slick and classy, easily matching the touchscreens of most big-name premium models.

There’s also a touchscreen heater control panel in the dash, which would normally be something of a red flag. But the way in which Genesis has integrated the physical and virtual controls gives it a really pleasant, premium and surprisingly ergonomic way of interacting with the car.

Performance & Drive

GV70 customers are faced with a simple choice of two different engines. There’s a 2.2-litre diesel that produces 210hp and a 2.5-litre petrol engine that churns out 304hp. Both come with eight-speed automatic gearboxes and both engines drive all four wheels for a little off-road capability.

Clearly, the 304hp petrol engine is the performance option, sprinting from 0-62mph in a hot hatch-rivalling 6.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 149mph. But the diesel is no slouch either, loping from a standstill to 62mph in 7.9 seconds and topping out at 133mph. Not sure which engine to go for? Why not take a look through our guide on which fuel type best suite you.

Both engines are very refined most of the time, although they will create a bit of a racket when they’re worked hard. The petrol motor is a more pleasant assault on your eardrums, however, making a passable impression of a V6 engine despite only having four cylinders. That said, the chunkiness of the 2.2-litre diesel and its 440Nm of torque suits a high-riding SUV.


Whichever you choose, the GV70 is a very pleasant car to drive. Yes, the petrol engine adds an extra layer of sportiness, but the car feels agile in either guise. There’s a fair bit of body roll, but the car doesn’t lurch around on its springs and there’s a decent response from the front end. Of course, it isn’t as sharp as the BMW X3 or the Porsche Macan, but it’s a match for the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5.

Despite that, it’s also very comfortable, with a nicely damped ride that flattens out all but the worst bumps in the road. Mixed with the impressive soundproofing, it makes for a very relaxing drive on long journeys, although an Audi Q5 on air suspension is probably a marginally more comfortable thing. If you stick with more conventional set-ups, however, the GV70 is a match for pretty much anything in its class.


Running Costs & Emissions

With just two engine choices available, it’s a fairly easy choice for those in search of lower running costs. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is the more efficient of the two, returning almost 40mpg on the official economy test. Although 192g/km CO2 emissions aren’t really low enough for company car drivers.

Those seeking company-funded wheels will be better served by either the BMW X3 30e plug-in hybrid, or the forthcoming electrified GV70. Expected to come with two electric motors and more than 310 miles of range, the car will be a rival to the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the Audi e-tron.


Interior & Technology

The GV70’s cabin is a thing of beauty, with a serene style that oozes class and doesn’t seem to chase sportiness, despite the unquestionable performance of that 2.5-litre petrol engine. With plenty of smooth shapes and minimalist design, it’s one of the best-looking interiors of any car in its class.

And it feels like one of the best, too. Sure, it isn’t quite as solid as the Audi Q5’s interior, but quality is certainly up there with the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. Anyone in any doubt about Genesis’ standing as a premium brand clearly hasn’t been in one of these. The materials are soft and tactile, the switchgear feels well engineered and there’s very little evidence of cheap cost-cutting plastics in there.

But for all the lovely leather and the real wood trim, the technology dominates proceedings. There’s a massive central infotainment screen with crisp, modern graphics and a reasonably intuitive interface, as well as a choice of control options. If you want, you can prod the screen with your finger, or you can use the rotary control on the centre console, which proves a little less distracting once you know your way around the system.


That screen is joined by a kind of hybrid control for the air conditioning system, which combines touchscreen displays with rotary controls. Normally we’d be set against touchscreen interfaces for climate control, but this mixed approach works well, with the convenience of physical controls and the minimalist feel of a touchscreen. Full marks.

Then there’s the digital instrument cluster, which feels like a knock-off Bentley system with slightly less functionality, although it does its job impeccably. It also comes with a clever blind spot camera that shows you a view down the car’s flanks every time you indicate. Not only does that help you avoid kerbing the wheels, but it means you can see whether you’re about to take out an unsuspecting cyclist or sideswipe someone else’s pride and joy.


Practicality & Boot Space

The GV70’s cabin is not just stylish, but also spacious. There’s plenty of room in the front, as you’d expect, but the rear seats are roomier than the sweeping roofline might have you believe. There’s just as much space back there as you’d get from a Porsche Macan, which means even the tallest passengers will be perfectly comfortable.

Boot space is similarly competitive, with 542 litres of capacity putting it roughly on a par with the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. That’s more than enough for most people’s needs, and it’ll easily take enough for a family holiday or the school run. And if you need to swap passenger space for luggage capacity, you can fold down the back seats to free up a 1,678-litre space.


Safety

The GV70 scored well on the Euro NCAP crash test, which bodes well for its safety credentials. Solid scores across the board took it to a top-marks overall score, but it was particularly impressive in the safety assistance and adult occupant protection categories. Only in the vulnerable road user protection did it score less than 85%, and that was mainly down to the sharp edge across the front of the bonnet.

In a bid to ensure you never need to test the NCAP store, the GV70 comes with a plethora of driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance to the car in front and lane-keeping assistance. There’s also blind-spot monitoring that alerts the driver when there’s something lurking over their shoulders, and of course there’s collision avoidance tech that brakes automatically when the driver fails to respond to a hazard ahead.


Options

The GV70 range is pretty simple, with just three different trim levels to choose from. Things kick off with the Premium Line, which comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black interior trim and leatherette upholstery. 

Electric seats, satellite navigation and rear parking sensors are included, too, along with a reversing camera and keyless entry. The only things really missing are heated seats, but you can always specify those as part of the optional Convenience Pack.

If you want to move up to the Sport Line, you get heated seats, real leather and a heated steering wheel, plus heater controls for the rear seats, in addition to the driver and passenger controls. Or there’s the Luxury Line, which more or less matches the Sport Line, but it comes with bigger 21-inch alloy wheels.


The options available depend largely on which trim you choose, but the sunroof and Innovation Pack would be our choices, the latter providing a head-up display and clever front lights. Beyond choices such as those, there’s the usual selection of paint colours and alloy wheels. 

It isn’t an especially bright palette, but there’s a glorious green and a rich blue, as well as the usual white, grey, silver and black options.

Rival Cars

You can’t talk about a luxury SUV of this size without mentioning the three big German brands. The BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5 are the class leaders, with each car offering its own speciality. If you want a comfy, stylish option, pick the GLC. 

If tech and build quality are key attributes, go for the Q5. And if you want an SUV that’s fun to drive, go for the X3. Actually, don’t. Go for the Porsche Macan, which is an absolutely stunning car to drive and is cheaper to lease than you might think, thanks to the tenacious way in which it holds its value.


In truth, the GV70 isn’t really competing with those brands. This is a car for those who’ve already ruled out the predictable German options and wants something a bit different. Which means the GV70’s biggest rivals are the Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Velar and Volvo XC60, as well as the Lexus NX and DS 7 Crossback.

In that company, the GV70 manages to hold its own. It’s more luxurious than the F-Pace and the NX, and it’s as enjoyable to drive as the XC60. Only the F-Pace manages to outclass the Genesis in terms of handling, and although the other cars have their strengths and weaknesses, they’re on a par with the South Korean newcomer. It’s a strong showing for a brand that only launched in the UK a year ago.

Verdict & Next Steps

Until the all-electric GV60 SUV arrived this year, the GV70 was the best car Genesis made, and if you want petrol or diesel power, it still is. Not only that, but it’s a genuine alternative to the likes of the Volvo XC60 and Jaguar F-Pace – particularly for those who want something a little different to the norm. In petrol or diesel form, it’s a really good luxury SUV, and one that deserves a place on your shortlist.

Where to next?

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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Genesis GV70

**Correct as of 31/05/2022. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £4,285.35 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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