It took a while for Genesis to hit its stride. It’s not that the luxury brand didn’t draw a fair share of attention when it was spun off by Hyundai a few years back. Its G70 sedan not only won favorable comparisons to the venerable BMW 3 Series but also took honors as the North American Car of the Year back in 2019.
But, in today’s SUV-crazed market, that generated far less attention — read: sales — than Genesis deserved. It’s taken the arrival of a pair of utility vehicles to really put Genesis on the map and draw buyers into the showroom. The newest of these entries is the GV70 which itself was one of three finalists for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
While it didn’t drive home with the trophy, the 2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T was certainly a worthy competitor. And, after giving the SUV a brief once-over earlier in the year, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a full week behind the wheel.
Like many of today’s new utility vehicles, the 2022 Genesis GV70 isn’t really designed for off-roading. Sure, it can handle some sand or gravel, but it’s more likely to deal with just urban and suburban roads. And, as I discovered during a chilly Michigan winter, it provided a welcome degree of confidence on snowy and icy roads.
Genesis took pains to make sure the GV70 doesn’t get lost in a sea of compact luxury SUVs. “Audacious” is the word that Genesis chief designer SangYup Lee used to describe the new GV70 when it made its virtual debut. And that’s more than just hype, as you’ll quickly realize checking out the distinctive quad head and taillights.
Spend time behind the wheel, meanwhile, and you’re certain to be impressed by driving dynamics that emphasize the “sport” in sport-utility vehicle. Credit the fact the GV70 shares the same basic underpinnings as the G70 sedan. But it also shares many of the same high-line features as the bigger, more expensive Genesis GV80. And it even introduces some intriguing new technologies, starting with the world’s first automotive fingerprint recognition system.
If all that doesn’t win you over, check out the price tag, with the base model coming in at $41,000 — plus $1,045 in delivery fees. The more powerful and more lavishly equipped GV70 3.5T that I drove for a week starts at $53,100.
There’s a fine line between “audacious” and “excessive,” and some might feel that the GV70’s oversized take on the Genesis “Crest” grille crosses that line. But, to my eye, the overall look is refined and quite well balanced. And the quad lamp is a definite conversation starter — as I discovered during my first drive along New York’s West Side Highway last summer. I had a number of folks roll up at a stoplight alongside me to ask about the new ute.
The GV70 3.5T features a fair amount of brightwork surrounding both the grille and the side windows. Twin creases, including what Genesis dubs a “Parabolic Line” counter the coupe-like roofline. Meanwhile, the new ute adds a distinctive, triangular third piece of glass on either side of the cargo compartment.
The back end is clearly GV70’s most controversial detail, touching off a lengthy debate when I posted a close-up on my Facebook timeline. To my own eyes, it might suggest what Porsche could have come up with had it revived the old 928 as an SUV, rather than a sports car.
The two different trim levels, incidentally, are visually distinctive. The Sport package gets a darkened grille surround, a more dynamic lower fascia and — for those who actually will try to spend a bit of time off-road, a front skid plate. It also substitutes two massive round tailpipes for the box-shaped exhaust pipes on the GV70 Standard.
The GV70’s cabin has “a lot of Korean influence,” Genesis designers suggest. What that translates into is subtle, but the cabin is a handsome affair that also picks up on elements from the GV80. That includes key design cues, such as an instrument panel divided in two separate zones — emphasized by a two-tone color scheme — and more details, like the knurled control knob operating infotainment functions.
Both versions of the new SUV will feature a 14.5-inch reprogrammable gauge cluster, along with a 12.3-inch display that can present a variety of apps simultaneously, such as a navi map and audio information.
The instrument cluster adopts a horizontal, wraparound layout, with slim air vents and elliptical accents that, Genesis officials suggest, are intended to look like a wing’s cross-section. Seats are attractive and, more importantly, comfortably supportive, as I learned during a wandering, all-day route from the urban jungle of Brooklyn to the lush fields of mid-Connecticut. Ambient lighting and leather seating is standard on all models, incidentally.
The compact Genesis GV70 comes to the U.S. with the same turbocharged engine options as the bigger GV80 which makes for some serious performance, whichever package you choose.
That starts with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes a solid 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That’s no slouch. But, as I quickly discovered, things get serious with the GV70 Sport model, with its twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 bringing on a spritely, 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque.
Both packages are paired with an 8-speed automatic offering steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. And all versions of the 2022 GV70 come to the U.S. market with a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Under normal conditions, 100% of the torque goes to the rear wheels. If needed, up to 50% of that power can be redirected up front.
My test vehicle has a feature I found especially useful on Michigan’s slick roads — an optional, electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It can push up to 100% of that torque to either of the rear wheels. It is not designed to provide torque vectoring, however, a system that can come into play during aggressive maneuvers to help push you through a tight corner. It’s something I would like to see Genesis add in a future update.
Safety and Technology
Like the brand’s bigger SUV the 2022 Genesis GV70 is loaded with useful technologies — starting with that fingerprint recognition system that allows you to start and operate the vehicle without bothering to bring along your keyfob. Alternatively, you can use the Genesis app to open or lock, as well as run the SUV — though the process is easier with an Android phone than one running on Apple’s iOS operating system.
Even the “Standard” model offers plenty of gear for techies, both trim levels outfitted with that 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Like so many manufacturers, Genesis has switched to a fully 3D digital gauge cluster which uses cameras to monitor the position of your eyes, projecting images that give the cluster a realistic sense of depth. It is a truly impressive system that is rivaled only by the 3D system offered on the new Mercedes S-Class.
Add to this, a 12-inch Head-up-Display that projects arrows onto the road to help you pick the right place to make a turn, something that proved especially useful trying to navigate my way along the crowded and complicated streets of Brooklyn.
The infotainment system can store a number of different profiles, should you have more than one regular driver. That means you’ll have unique display and climate control settings, among other things. There is, of course, the now requisite Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and wireless smartphone charging, as well as a wireless hot spot.
The system provides two-way communications that allows for “dynamic voice recognition,” a fancy way of saying it understands plain English commands — though it’s not an Alexa-level voice assistant. It does keep the navigation system updated, not only for changing traffic conditions but also for detours and new construction. And it permits Genesis to revise the onboard infotainment system — but not other vehicle systems — using over-the-air updates.
The list of smart safety technology is particularly impressive, starting with essentials like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. Options add evasive steering assist, and a semi-autonomous highway driving assistant to help keep you centered in your lane and keeping a safe distance from traffic. The GV70 also adds an airbag between front-row occupants to reduce the risk of head and torso injuries in a side impact.
My first drive of the 2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T came during a lovely summer’s day cruising up from New York into New England. While a lovely way to spend a day, I have been waiting for the opportunity to truly challenge the new SUV. And that’s exactly what I did during a week behind the wheel. That included my favorite route through the appropriately named Hell, Michigan. And, when Hell literally froze over, I pushed on through snow, sleet and ice.
While more and more products provide the opportunity to change driver modes, I found the GV70 delivered a truly distinctive ride difference. In the Comfort setting the suspension soaked up all but the worst bumps and potholes on the borough’s well-worn roads. Out in the country, with the system now in sport, the dampers tightened up, allowing me to sweep through fast, tight corners with little effort. Steering was precise, with just the right amount of road feel and surprisingly little sense of understeer.
The 3.5T powertrain is more than up to the job. Responding smoothly to the movements of my right foot, the 8-speed automatic routinely intuited the best gear for any given moment. At wide-open-throttle, the V-6 also delivered a menacing roar. Under less aggressive driving, the cabin was pleasingly quiet, with only a modicum of road and wind noise.
The sophisticated infotainment system proved reasonably easy to master, though I had previously worked through the basics while driving the bigger GV80. If I had one complaint it was the inability to easily adjust the voice readout of directions from the navigation system. While most cars let you do that by adjusting the volume knob, the GV70 requires you to go into the system’s menu settings – something you’re not going to do while driving.
2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T specifications
|Dimension||L: 185.6 inches/W: 75.2 inches/H: 64.2 inches/Wheelbase: 113.2 inches|
|Powertrain||3.5-liter twin turbo V-6 engine, 8-speed transmission, AWD|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $52,600; As tested: $64,045 including $1,045 destination fee|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
If you’re looking to see what more established European brands have to offer you’d likely compare the GV70 3.5T to the likes of the Audi SQ5, BMW X3 M40i and the Mercedes-AMG GLC43. While the Genesis isn’t the quickest of the batch, it more than makes up for its slight launch lag in a variety of ways.
Performance is as much about perception as stopwatch numbers, and the Korean SUV here stands proud. It also stands up to its rivals in terms of its overall feel and handling.
For a first-time entry into the demanding compact luxury segment, Genesis has truly delivered, with an SUV that is, if anything, even more compelling than the brand’s original entry, the bigger GV80. Add the fact that you get a distinctive design, plenty of appealing features and a pair of solid powertrain options at a great price. While Genesis may not — yet — have the cache of its more established rivals, it is clearly on the right path and the GV70 should help it gain even more momentum in a highly competitive marketplace.
2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T — Frequently Asked Questions
How fast is a Genesis GV70 3.5T?
Not that you’ll take it to the drag strip, but if you’re looking to get to the next stop light faster than the guy next you, a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds means you’ve got a pretty good chance.
Who makes the Genesis GV70?
Genesis make the GV70, of course, but it’s the luxury unit of Hyundai. The South Korean automaker spun the brand off in 2015.
When did the GV70 come out?
The Genesis GV70 is an all-new compact SUV that debuted in the 2022 model year.