by Ian Wright
While the Genesis G90 pokes large German luxury sedans with a stick, the G70 takes aim at the 3 Series and C-Class. The G90 is a large luxury sedan that owns the competition in price and then competes in quality, while the G70 is the entry-level to Hyundai's luxury brand, and packs a different punch. It's a luxury sport sedan in a competitive package that's fun to drive and offers more for less. A surprisingly potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes under the hood at the entry point, while at the top of the range is a beast of a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 model. While it has things to say about the Mercedes C-Class, the Genesis G90 is most akin to the BMW 3 Series in dynamics and fires a massive shot across its bow.
After a successful first year on sale, Genesis' 3 Series rival, the G70 gets a few small updates for the 2020 model year. The Sport trim gets stronger brakes, while 19-inch wheels with all-season tires are an available option. The 3.3T Prestige package includes a power-operated trunk lid, while on the base model, the 18-inch alloy wheels have a new glossy finish and the leather can be ordered in brown.
See trim levels and configurations:
A sharp front end blends in effortlessly with the rest of the car, which takes on a more traditional form along the lines of its European rivals. The G70's sleek headlamps and sizable grille give the impression that the G70 means business in the literal sense. If the G70 were a person, it would be a forty-something-year-old corporate who hits the gym three times a week before hitting the office. Standard exterior features include 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in Continental tires. A chrome front grille, LED integrated turning signals with integrated Genesis puddle lamps that broadcast the Genesis logo - so that people understand that entering a G70 is a special occasion - and an auto-open trunk lid are standard features. Optional extras include LED headlamps, a sunroof, and sound-proof glass. The Sports package gives the G70 a sportier look thanks to a blacked-out grille, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a number of black exterior and interior touches such as dark chrome-tinted bumper garnish and darkened LED rear tail lights.
The 2020 Genesis G70 competes in the compact executive sedan market, so it's comparable in size to the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but for this comparison, we'll be sizing it up against its bigger brother, the G80 and Kia's popular Kia Stinger. The G70 is 184.4 inches long, which makes it the shortest car in this comparison - the Stinger comes in at 190.2, and the G80 shows off its stature with a total length of 196.5 inches. Total height for the G70 is 55.1 inches, matching the Stinger and sitting much lower than the G80. A wheelbase of 111.6 inches is standard for a compact executive sedan. Its smaller size is conveyed in its curb weight of 3,673 pounds; 522 pounds less than the G80, and on par with segment rivals.
Genesis carefully planned their exterior color offering for their new baby exec: the sporty yet professional G70 is offered in a total of eight exterior colors ranging from the flamboyant Havana Red and Mallorca Blue to the conservative Casablanca White. The range continues with three shades of silver, namely Himalayan Gray, Siberian Ice, and Santiago Silver, while the darker colors include Adriatic Blue and Victoria Black. It must be said that the Mallorca Blue complements the G70's sporty front end looks and shapely physique without looking too garish, while Havana Red with the blacked-out elements of the Sport package looks a treat.
Compact executive sedans have traditionally been strong performers, and nothing has changed in 2020: the offerings from Germany are better than ever, as are the cars from Japan, and even America's Cadillac is putting up a good fight, so Genesis had big shoes to fill when planning the G70. We are happy to report that it has not disappointed, and offers athletic performance in any configuration - but it is the big twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that impresses the most. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four is no slouch, reaching sixty in 6.2 seconds, but the bigger engine car sees that number drop down into the low fours. Around town the G70 in any configuration offers smooth acceleration, enough torque to overtake with confidence and urges the driver to push a little harder: the G70 has a distinctly sporty feel that can at times feel muted by all the sound deadening and quiet exhaust note, but nevertheless offers an engaging drive that is missed in some modern-day executive sedans. Genesis should be lauded for the decision to pursue rear-wheel-drive, aligning with rivals like BMW and Alfa Romeo for the sake of sportiness, but those looking for extra control can opt for all-wheel-drive with either engine.
You won't find any traditional naturally aspirated engines in the G70 lineup; instead, you get a pair of turbocharged engines that deliver lively performance and are always eager to give a little bit more than what you're asking for, adding to the sporty feel of the new Genesis baby exec. The entry-level engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, which the Genesis G70 shares with the Kia Stinger. In the G70, it produces 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and feels spritely, even with the weight of 3,673 pounds to lug around. The main attraction, however, is the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, which is shared with the Kia Stinger. This V6 produces a mighty 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, which is more than what the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C43 or Audi S4 can muster. Both engines come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the 2.0-liter engine is offered with a six-speed manual when in rear-wheel-drive configuration.
The G70 is a slick freeway cruiser as well as an around-town hustler. Even in our test car's Dynamic Edition trim, the first thing you don't notice is noise. Piloting around town is a quiet affair and on a nicely cushioned suspension setup. Sitting in the cabin in traffic is no hardship either with a punchy sound system and comfortable seats.
Punching the drive mode button to find the sport setting changes things up dramatically. That already potent 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine sharpens up, and the suspension settings change to add even more cut to the thrust. Plenty of grip from an agile, well-balanced chassis featuring neutral handling makes the G90 a lively but easy car to have fun with. Even without the adaptive dampers, there's a level of ability and enthusiasm to the G90 that rivals an equivalent BMW.
In an age where efficiency is paramount, the Genesis G70 falls short of the competition, which is to be expected when your focus leans more towards performance and a fun driving experience. Genesis states EPA estimates of 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined for the 2.0-liter engine mated to the eight-speed auto 'box in RWD configuration, dropping to 18/28/22 mpg when fitted with the six-speed manual. In AWD mode, the 2.0-liter car gets 21/28/23 mpg. The twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 will return 17/26/20 mpg in RWD configuration, dropping down to 17/25/20 mpg in AWD guise. The Genesis G70 is fitted with a 15.8-gallon fuel tank, giving you approximately 395 miles of cruising range, but be aware, premium gasoline is the requirement if you want to unlock every ounce of potential from the turbocharged motors.
Genesis has managed to craft an interior which is as good to look at as it is easy to use: the dash layout is elegantly simplified, and while it might seem a bit rudimentary at first glance, you soon realize that Genesis has thought long and hard about the ergonomics of the interior as a whole. Simplicity and ease of use is the outcome when you infuse a bit of Hyundai's DNA into the interior. Getting in and out of the G70 is easy enough, although it sits slightly lower than an ordinary sedan, thanks to its sporty nature. Visibility is good all-round, but the sloping hood can make it challenging to place the wheels with precision. Standard interior features include dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel with power telescopic and tilt adjustment, a wireless charging pad, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. The Genesis G70 impresses with its long list of standard features, even in base trim, while the 3.3-liter V6 version is simply packed with features that will embarrass cars in higher price brackets.
As with the G90, although it's playing in a different league, the G70 delivers on the luxury experience inside. The G90 knows what it is, and the seats show that in their balance of sportiness and comfort. Room up front os plentiful, but passengers in the back suffer from a more cramped experience when it comes to legroom. Storage, like the door pockets and center console cubbies, are also lacking in space and compartmentalzation. However, the trunk is roomy and the load-height is practical.
We appreciated the crisp quality of brightwork and decorative stitching throughout the inside. We also appreciate that Genesis has reigned in any urges to add fake carbon-fiber everywhere and, instead, keep things as classy as possible. Our test car's black interior with red stitching is a classic, but grey trimming is also available through the range and brown trim is available higher up the range.
Trunk and cargo space in this segment of the market is always a significant consideration when buying a new car. Not only do these compact executive sedans get used to drive to meetings and golf courses, but they double up as practical family transport and holiday companions, so it comes as a disappointment that the Genesis G70 offers a small trunk and limited interior cargo space. The auto liftgate opens up to a deep and wide trunk space but falls short height-wise. A total area of only 10.5 cubic feet means that you'll have to plan carefully what you're going to pack for that real estate conference in Atlanta. The new BMW 3 Series, for comparison, leads the class with 17 cubic feet.
It goes without saying that competition in the automotive industry is fiercer than ever, and that is especially true in the sedan market, which has suffered a drop in popularity in recent years. Other than building physically better cars, the other tactic that many car manufacturers are making use of, especially Genesis, is to throw a bucket load of features on their vehicles at no extra cost. The G70, therefore, comes packed with no-cost features, which makes it that more attractive to potential buyers, and the list gets more impressive as you make your way up the trims. Standard features across the range include heated power side mirrors, LED taillights, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, as well as a seven-inch info display and a hands-free auto liftgate, not to mention several seating, safety, and infotainment features. More premium features such as a head-up display system, wireless phone charging, and heated rear seats are available on higher-spec cars.
One unfortunate downfall of the G70 is that it packs an infotainment system from a Hyundai rather than the slick hardware from the G90. The interface's cartoony icons are jarring in the grown-up G70, and the system itself isn't slick enough for a car of this caliber. A more intuitive and sharper system would cap the G70 experience off properly, although Android Auto and Apple Carplay as standard a more than welcome additions.
Since the Genesis G70 is a brand new model, no recalls have been issued by the NHTSA, and the highly regarded J.D. Power group ranks the Genesis brand at the top of their list, which is saying something considering the competition they face. Given a reliability score of 86 out of 100 from J.D. Power, Genesis also provides a class-leading warranty, which is difficult to ignore when shopping in this segment: you get a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty which includes a seven-year corrosion warranty, ten-years or 100,000 miles of powertrain cover, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance plan and a five-year road assistance plan.
Hyundai and Genesis share a lot of things; engines, certain trim pieces, and even infotainment systems, but most importantly, they share the same focus and drive to build the safest cars on the road. The G70 rolls off the line with a bag full of safety features as standard, with even more available as optional extras, and for that, the IIHS has awarded it with their most prestigious award, the Top Safety Pick+. Despite the fact that the G70 hasn't undergone a safety test by the NHTSA, you can rest assured that the baby exec from Genesis will keep you fit as a fiddle in case of a serious accident.
In base trim, the G70 offers some seriously impressive safety tech, usually reserved as optional extras, or for models much higher up in the model range. First off, you get forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as intelligent cruise control, high beam assistance, and a driver attention system. Stepping up in the range, park-distance warning, rain-sensing window wipers, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system become standard features. A standard seven-airbag system and hill start assist are some of the more traditional safety systems that are in place.
When the term 'value for money' is used, it often implies taking less of a product for less money. However, the G70 stands on its own as a great car. We wish the infotainment were the quality of the G70's rivals, and rear occupants would have an inch or two extra legroom, but as a package, we would absolutely cross-shop the Genesis G70 sedan with a BMW 3 Series. For the same money you could spend on a BMW 3 Series, the G70 can offer more of a driving thrill and the same level of luxury and ride comfort.
Pricing is spread out over a number of trim, powertrain, and drivetrain configurations, giving potential buyers a wide selection of options to suit their specific wants and needs. The 2020 G70 range starts off with the 2.0T with the eight-speed manual in RWD, which goes for an MSRP of $36,445, followed by the same model but with AWD at $38,445. The sporty 2.0T with a six-speed manual will set you back $39,445. The 3.3T starts off at $45,645, climbing to $47,645 for the AWD version.
Genesis offers two models; the 2.0T and 3.3T. Both can be extensively configured, and both have the option of RWD or AWD layouts. The 2.0T gets the additional option of a six-speed manual transmission while the 3.3T has to make do with the standard eight-speed auto.
Genesis has moved away from the more traditional model lineup, instead offering optional packages that act as trim levels by adding certain features according to price. However, standard features from the base model include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with simulated leather, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, six speakers, adaptive cruise control on automatic models, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an array of collision avoidance measures like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and driver attention warning.
The wide range of optional packages acts as trim differentiators on the G70. The standard 2.0T car can be optioned with the $5,000 Elite package, which adds full LED headlights, navigation, parking assist, a sunroof, and more. The dynamic package costs $1,000 and adds 19-inch alloy wheels with Michelin summer tires and a limited-slip differential. Also available is a Sport package for $1,000, which sees the 2.0T gaining Nappa leather seats with sports quilting, copper headlight accents, dark tinted taillight covers, and a dark chrome grille. The same concept applies for the 3.3T: package options include the $1,750 Elite package, which sees the addition of a wireless charging pad, rain-sensing window wipers, high-beam assist, park-distance warning, and a wide sunroof. The Prestige Package will get you a head-up display, surround-view cameras, Nappa-leather seats, a power trunk lid, and heated rear perches, all for $2,500. The final package for the 3.3T is the Sport Package, which will set you back $1,100 and gets you unique alloy wheels, exterior appearance updates such as dark-tint tail lights, and sport seats with unique quilting and red or gray stitching. It also tweaks the suspension electronically.
We got to drive the manual version of the G70 and weren't too impressed with the shifting. However, the 8-speed automatic is smooth and fast. The G70's all-wheel-drive system is also solid but, unless you need it, we would save our money and opt for the fun and purity of the dynamism the rear-wheel-drive version offers. The four-cylinder engine is sharp and an over-performer, but the 3.3-liter turbo is the engine to go for. Enthusiasts should go for the Dynamic package, but for more normal daily driving duties, we can understand someone swapping it out or adding it to the $1,750 Elite package. When it comes to options to your own taste, it should be easy enough to justify after pricing out an equivalent BMW.
The mechanical similarities between these cars are numerous. Both are offered with the same 2.0-liter and 3.3-liter forced-induction motors, and mpg figures are also closely matched, but the difference in dimensions is clear to spot. The Stinger is the larger car, measuring over five inches longer and riding on a 114.4-inch wheelbase as opposed to the G70's 111.6-inch wheelbase. The G70 offers more standard features such as frontal collision avoidance and a more extended corrosion warranty, but the Stinger is visibly a more sporty looking car. Making a choice between the two will boil down to styling preference, although on GT trims, the Stinger evolves to be a more enjoyable drive despite its size.
The G80 is the mid-sized executive sedan offering from Genesis, slotting in above the G70 and below the full-sized G90. Whereas the G70 is available with the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, the G80 in base trim opts for a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. The G80 is also available with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 hp and 383 lb-ft, while the 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged engine from the G70 also features. A heavier curb weight and large capacity naturally aspirated engines mean the G80 is heavier on gas but shares the G70's figures when specced with the 3.3-liter engine. The G80 is a larger car in every way inside and out, offering superior legroom and headroom, but the G70's interior build quality, comfort levels, and features list feel on par. The G70's smaller platform mated to the powerful 3.3-liter turbocharged motor gives it the sporting edge, but for outright comfort, the G80 takes the cake. A price gap of over $11,000 might sway some to get the smaller G70 with added options, and we can't say we'd fault them.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Genesis G70:
Check out some informative Genesis G70 video reviews below.