Do we detect a pattern here? Last year, Genesis was busy attending to the middle of its portfolio as it redesigned its G80 midsize sedan and launched an all-new GV80 midsize SUV sister vehicle. Now the G70 compact sedan (2019 North American Car of the Year and a gearhead favourite) gets a mild do-over for 2022 and gains an all-new GV70 compact SUV sibling.
The 70-series pair represent mixed news for the type of closet-racer drivers who were drawn to the G70. Previously, you could get a built-for-drivers version of the sedan with manual-gearbox and rear-wheel drive. But that combo was culled during the do-over process. Genesis says the 6MT/RWD take rate was only 5 per cent, so all G70s are now 8AT/AWD – automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
On the plus side, the all-new GV70 SUV is built on the same athletic architecture as the sedan, which promises – no guarantees, though, as we haven’t driven it yet – an engaging drive. And straight-line performance shouldn’t be an issue in the heavier GV70, as its engines are larger than the sedan’s. The base turbo four-cylinder is a 2.5-litre versus the sedan’s 2.0-litre; and the uplevel twin-turbo V6 is a 3.5-litre instead of a 3.3-litre.
Changes to the sedan are mostly cosmetic, with the grilles now more in line with the family “look,” and the exterior lighting treatments now following the twin-lines theme. An interesting detail was to replace the Genesis winged badge on the trunk lid with the name GENESIS writ large across the rear. When you’re a new name in the game, Genesis says, it helps if other drivers know what it was that just passed them.
Inside, the touch screen is enlarged to 10.25 inches, and the main gauge cluster is bigger too. Expressive drivers can up the ante with a new Sport+ drive mode and, available on the V6, dynamic AWD with a drift mode.
Genesis is calling the GV70 an athletic urban SUV, though that’s based as much on its looks as its purported dynamic talents. The GV70 is supposed to have its own character, says Genesis Canada brand director Richard Trevisan: “We didn’t want one vehicle in a bunch of different sizes. It’s not just a smaller GV80. The GV70 is more athletic, while the GV80 is more retro.”
At 4.7 metres in length, the GV70 fits squarely into the compact segment of luxury SUVs. It’s closest in size to the BMW X3, among a populous peer group that also includes the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC, Acura RDX, Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Macan, Volvo XC60 and many more.
The design does embrace the family grille treatment and the two-line lighting accents, but the GV70′s rear-pillars treatment is all its own. An available Sport package adds unique wheels and black instead of bright exterior accents. Wheel sizes range from 18-inches on the base 2.5T through 19s on three other 2.5T grades to whopping 21s on the Sport and Sport+, which share the 3.5T engine.
A drift mode wouldn’t be appropriate for an SUV, I suppose, but the Sport Plus does have an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential and a launch-control mode for optimized wheel-spinning getaways (Genesis claims 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds).
Which is all very well for the hot-shoe minority, but product planner Antara Chhabra says that top of the wish list in customer feedback was more technology. And Genesis certainly seems to have obliged. How about being able to unlock your GV70 with a smartphone app and then start the engine by touching a fingerprint reader? Your key fob doesn’t even need to be there. As well, the GV70′s version of those rear-seat monitors that are sweeping the industry is so sensitive that it can detect a child or a dog in the back even if they are fast asleep.
When engaged appropriately, the driver-assist systems can, among other things, automatically adjust speed for curves or for changing speed limits, and automatically change lanes (if safe to do so) in response to the driver’s use of the turn signal.
We’ll let Genesis’s own words describe the interior décor, which “draws out simple shapes and emotional volume to its fullest in order to harmonize the characteristics of the elegant Korean architectural philosophy, the ‘Beauty of White Space,’ and a sporty image.” Elliptical elements that dominate the interior were inspired by cross-sections of aircraft wings. Multiple interior colours are available.
Coming back down to earth, it’s easy to get comfortable in the front or the rear of the GV70. The touch-screen controller is a user-friendly twist/toggle/tap knob, and there remain enough tactile buttons and knobs to satisfy the Luddites among us. The Sport Plus has a fully digital gauge cluster, while all others have a combination of an analogue speedometer and digital everything else.
Prospective customers for the GV70 can place a $1,000 deposit now, and display units will be available to the public starting in late April, with deliveries in the second half of the year.