This luxury compact SUV is why the status quo should be quite concerned about their status.
The reason why I said that is because the 2022 Genesis GV70 hits differently.
It is a blow to convention. Then again, so has every Genesis model that have been introduced and revised in the past couple of years.
It was not just a few years ago that no one gave any consideration for a luxury brand from the Hyundai Motor Group. Yes, the manufacturers based in the Republic of Korea have built luxury cars. However, their badges provided no cache or prestige. Plus, the Korean notion of luxury was not seen on par with Japanese luxury, let alone European and American luxury.
That has since changed. Genesis has knocked on the door of the status quo. They’re not going to be left hanging.
The GV70 is an example of a vehicle that crashed the party and became the sexiest uninvited guest to it. It does so with envelope-pushing design, eye-catching curves and lines, a powerful set of engines, and absolute gumption.
This is one luxury compact SUV you cannot ignore.
Why would you want to ignore the GV70?
It starts with that envelope-pushing design. Genesis loves to put everything right in your face, from its bold shield-like mesh grille, the use of different shades of chrome, and employ a split horizontal design for its head and taillight clusters. Both sets of clusters use a high degree of LED lamps to illuminate its way and indicate where it is going or stopping.
The combination of these bold elements are signatures of Genesis design. However, the GV70 adds another dimension not seen across its lineup. The roofline of this SUV is sloping, but curvy. The satin bronze-chrome trim acts as an S-shaped “landau” bar bridging the door glass with the C-pillar.
The finishing touches to this Sport Prestige model are the set of 21-inch alloy wheels with rectangular dimples on the spokes and the large exhaust tips with black trim surrounding them. Both elements add to the “wow” factor of the GV70.
There is one item to discuss on the exterior of my GV70 tester. I know that matte paint finishes are trendy and add a certain cool to the vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Barossa Burgundy Matte finish on this vehicle. However, if you are going to own a vehicle with this or any of the matte finishes available on the Genesis GV70, you better know how to take care of it. I have two bits of advice: Never put it through a car wash of any kind and do not use any chemical-based cleaner of any sort on it. Trust me when I say this…
Stepping inside is another exercise in pushing the envelope of design. You have all sorts of shapes and texture that denote this Sport Prestige trim package using Nappa leather, suede, and other soft touch materials. The curves seen on the instrument panel alone are definitely a sign of elegance that seems to be missing in a lot of luxury vehicles.
The 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle is well thought out and full of information. It also has a 3D affect that looks rather cool. Still, the screens are customizable and can change color and needle shape with the flick of the Drive Mode toggle on the center console. The larger dials also turn into Blind Spot View Monitors, showing you what’s along the side when you use your turn signals.
The climate control has its own light touchscreen with visual functionality. There are knurled surfaces on the knobs and controls, including the large transmission knob in the center console. The tactility of these controls are outstanding.
On top of the center stack is a wide 14.5-inch infotainment screen that is used as a hub for practically everything. There is smartphone integration, along with access to the Genesis Concierge service. The second large “knob” on the center console controls a lot of the screen’s functions, but I found that using the other controls on the steering wheel and elsewhere does the job for me just fine. Sound is provided by a set of Lexicon speakers that are quite good. You also have a handy wireless phone charging slot in the console that keeps your phone away from you when you’re driving.
When scanning the interior, you will also find encased carbon fiber trim on the doors and center console, along with other various high quality materials throughout the cabin. Those materials also include the aforementioned Nappa leather and suede inserts found on the two rows of seats.
The front seats are very supportive. Genesis calls these seats Ergo Motion. The 16-way power driver seat adjustments include a set of automatic bolster adjustments, which are deployed depending on the speed and drive mode you are in. If you’re fatigued, then you should enjoy the automatic massage feature that is deployed after over an hour behind the wheel.
Second-row seat room is more for average-sized adults. There is plenty of headroom, even with the panoramic roof above. You will also find 28.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats, which is expandable to 56.9 cubic feet when they are folded down.
The GV70 comes with a choice of two engines underneath its shapely hood. My tester had the 375-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine. This is the choice for enthusiasts and anyone on a power trip. This engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, plus all-wheel drive.
This driveline proved to be the difference on my drive home from the Midwest Automotive Media Association 2021 Rally. Over 340 miles, the GV70 pulled its weight with great throttle response and confident cruising. As for fuel economy, I averaged 22.7 MPG during my time with it.
Because the GV70 sits in a hotly-contested segment among luxury vehicles, it offers a mix of sport and luxury in its driving experience. You can select a Drive Mode that suits you well. Eco and Comfort are great for cruising long distances, as well as providing a relaxing tone to your routine. Put it into Sport or Sport+ if you’re feeling very motivated to do so. Snow mode is for the winter – and, yes, winter is coming!
One note about putting the GV70 into Sport+: If you do so, you will lose the traction control and will not be able to use the adaptive cruise control. Oh, and you will have the use the paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel. If you’re into that sort of thing, the GV70 could be the most fun you can have without having to add some special letter or few to your mundane luxury SUV.
The overall result is the GV70 giving you a nicely balanced ride/handling mix that manages rougher road surfaces, while keeping the GV70 level through evasive maneuvers.
You still get a decent turning radius from the steering system. On-center feel is fine in Comfort and Eco, solid in Sport and Sport+. It is worth noting that the steering system weight is heavier in the latter two modes. Brake pedal feel was very good. The response from the pedal turned into good stops in normal and panic situations.
Genesis provides a lot of value across the lineup, which has made luxury car buyers notice the newest brand on the scene. My matte finished 2022 GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige tester came with a sticker price of $65,045. This is one of three package upgrades available with the twin-turbo V6 engine. You also have a different set of packages to go along with the standard 2.0-liter turbo engine. Pricing for the 2022 GV70 starts at $41,000.
There is no mistaking that the GV70 is setting a new benchmark for the class. If you look beyond design, engineering, and execution, Genesis may have created a new vehicle for aspiring upwardly mobile customers to crave for.
By the way, it just earned Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year award for 2022. You think it might win #VOTY2021? That may be in your court next month…
This extremely important accolade should tell you how much the Genesis GV70 means to not only the brand, but to the luxury SUV market. That is the statement Genesis and its corporate minders needed to make right now. Considering how the industry has been operating of late, if you have one on order – it is definitely worth the wait.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by Randy Stern