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car review

The 2021 Genesis GV70 is comfortable and stylish.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

I have a 2018 Audi S5 with 33,000 kilometres on it. This is my fifth consecutive Audi, after an A8, S4, S6, and SQ5, but I would like to try something else.

The S5 is a fine car, but I’m getting fed up looking at the door handles of other vehicles around me. The SQ5 lasted only 6 weeks – I didn’t like the high centre of gravity and bumpy, truck-like drive. The dealer was very pleased to take it back and sell me the S5.

I was hoping to buy an electric car, but the range I need is not there now or in the next three years, so I am considering the Genesis G80/GV80 or maybe the new Porsche Macan T.

What would you recommend?Frank

Petrina Gentile: Frank has great taste in vehicles. And he doesn’t appear to drive much with only 33,000 kilometres on a nearly five-year-old vehicle.

Mark Richardson: Well, he has a taste in Audis, anyway. They’re very sporty cars and rewarding to drive, but no less expensive than BMWs and Mercedes.

Gentile: Before we get to the other German brands let’s talk about the Genesis, from South Korean automaker Hyundai Auto Group.

Richardson: Genesis has pulled out all the stops with its new vehicles. It has to – it’s a five-year-old company and it needs to make a good impression against hard-hitting competition. I would absolutely recommend either the G80 sedan or GV80 SUV, but Frank needs to make up his mind. He doesn’t want to sit lower and look at door handles, but he doesn’t want to sit taller and have a higher centre of gravity, either. He doesn’t want an electric car, with its lower centre of gravity, so which is it to be?

Gentile: We don’t know Frank’s age, but if he’s over 50, I say go for the GV80 SUV or even the GV70, the smaller SUV, from Genesis. It’s comfortable, stylish and has excellent ride and handling.

Richardson: I’d suggest the smaller GV70 too, because it feels sportier in its handling. I’m not sure why Frank thinks the Audi SQ5 drives like a truck, but I’m guessing he’s a fussy driver and hard to please. Still – it’s his money.

Gentile: The GV70 is fun to drive; I think he’ll like it better than the SQ5. And I like Genesis’ business model – fixed car prices and some maintenance, like oil changes, is included in the cost. But we don’t know where Frank lives. That might be an issue for servicing, right?

Richardson: If he’s close to an Audi dealership, then he’s probably close to a Genesis dealership. He gets complimentary service and maintenance for five years, with free collection and delivery if he lives within about 50 kilometres of a dealership. That’s one of the nice perks of the brand. He won’t get that with Porsche.

Gentile: No, he won’t. But what happens if he doesn’t live within 50 kilometres of a Genesis store?

Richardson: He still gets the free maintenance and everything else – he just doesn’t get free collection and delivery, so he has to drive to the store himself, like all the other brands. This started because Genesis was originally serviced by Hyundai dealerships and the premium brand didn’t want its customers to ever visit a Hyundai dealership. It’s been popular, so it’s still in place with the new, dedicated Genesis stores.

Gentile: And more Genesis stores are popping up across the country. Hopefully, he lives near one to take advantage of the red-carpet service. Porsche doesn’t offer that service. But we should talk about the Macan T, which is also on Frank’s list.

Richardson: The Macan is Porsche’s least expensive new car, and the T is a nicely executed variant that starts at $70,800, which is about $5,000 above the base price. Have you driven it yet?

Gentile: I haven’t driven the T version, which is new for 2023. But I have driven the Macan base, S and GTS models. And the GTS, especially, is one impressive ride. It has true Porsche driving dynamics – it’s fast, spirited and one of the sportiest SUVs on the market. Frank would love it. It’s comparable to his Audi SQ5.

Richardson: The GTS has a much larger and more powerful engine, and starts at $92,900. The T is about 60 kilograms lighter though, so it doesn’t need all the horsepower of the GTS for a satisfying drive. I can recommend it as a good vehicle, but Frank needs to test drive one for himself to decide which Macan variant he prefers, and which he can afford.

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio has great performance and handling.Handout

Gentile: Is there any other vehicle Frank might not have thought of?

Richardson: Well, I’m sure he’s looked at the BMW and the Mercedes-Benz, but here’s one out of left field – how about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio? It’s quick, it’s not overpriced, it’s lovely to drive, and it’s kind of quirky. I drove the Veloce edition, which starts at about $65,000, and it just might hit all of Frank’s fussy buttons.

Gentile: The Stelvio is often overlooked in the category, but it’s a blast to drive with great performance and handling. I drove it on northern Italy’s famed Stelvio pass and when cornering, the steering was precise and the SUV nimble and well balanced.

Richardson: Its closest competitor is the Porsche Macan, so it really should be considered as an alternative. I prefer the Macan because I thought the Stelvio’s cabin was dull, but Frank might like it. It gives some Italian flair to a segment dominated by the German makers.

Gentile: I like the exterior styling on the Stelvio and you don’t see many on the road compared to the Macan. But I prefer the cabin in the Macan. The Stelvio’s technology and infotainment system is outdated compared to the competition.

Richardson: It’s definitely quirky. The starter button on the left side of the steering wheel caught me out every time I reached for it in the wrong place.

Gentile: So what’s your top suggestion for Frank?

Richardson: He’ll probably like all three, but the Genesis GV70 is the best value, the Porsche Macan T is the popular choice, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the one to choose if Frank wants to stand out from the crowd.

Gentile: Frank, go for the Genesis GV70 – that’s my top pick for its performance, styling and value.

The 2023 Porsche Macan T has a four-cylinder turbo engine that makes 261 horsepower.Jeremy Sinek /The Globe and Mail

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com and use ‘What car’ as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.

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