The Genesis G70, a new sports sedan from Hyundai’s budding luxury brand, won Cars.com’s Best Of award in January — an annual accolade that goes to the best all-new or redesigned vehicle on the market, as judged by Cars.com editors. Shortly after we voted the G70 atop dozens of other candidates for the model-year 2019 award, we purchased a well-equipped example to own all year and report on hits and misses.
Related: Best of 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the 2019 Genesis G70
The hits, as you might expect, outnumber the misses. Our long-term G70 gives plenty of material to draw from, but we’ve also driven various other examples of the car, evaluating both available engines, and the G70’s automatic and manual transmissions. We’re still mighty impressed with the sedan, though it has a few faults. Read on for six G70 attributes we like and three we don’t — plus one we don’t care about.
Things We Like
1. Performance Chops
A choice between two turbocharged engines — a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 3.3-liter V-6 — offers performance ranging from capable to superfluous, but the G70’s steering deserves equal respect. With lively feedback and none of the vagueness that’s historically plagued cars from parent company Hyundai, the G70 is among the automaker’s best-steering cars on the market. And its chassis backs that up with gratifying balance whether you get rear- or all-wheel drive.
Genesis’ quickest car (60 mph comes in as little as 4.5 seconds, the brand says) is just as fun on curvy roads. All told, it can hold its own against the best sports sedans from heavy-hitting luxury brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
2. Relative Value
With a starting price around $36,000, the G70 undercuts such rivals by thousands. Standard conveniences are comparable to other base-trim luxury cars, but other items — among them a full complement of safety and driver-assistance technology, Genesis’ impressive warranty and three years’ free maintenance — go above and beyond. With all factory options, an AWD V-6 model tops out in the low $50,000s. That’s less sticker shock than many rivals: Pile on the extras and an Audi S4, BMW M340i or Mercedes-AMG C43 can easily barrel toward $70,000.
3. Premium Interior
Think the G70’s value pricing signals a glorified Hyundai interior? Not so fast. From double-stitched vinyl on portions of the dashboard to low-gloss wrapping around the cupholders and gear selector, Genesis’ attention to detail fits right in with the entry-luxury field.
4. Intuitive Controls
The G70’s multimedia system comprises a standard 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and HD radio. It bears clear resemblance to the screens in lesser, Hyundai-badged models — a point that drew some controversy among Cars.com editors, but we find no fault in how it works. There are no capacitive-touch buttons, no knob or touchpad controllers to work the screen. Leave those setups to other luxury cars: Surveys now indicate that consumers just want a plain old touchscreen. The G70’s is refreshingly straightforward.
5. Valet Service Appointments
Those three years of free maintenance come with an extra perk: a service valet that drives out to wherever you are, swaps your car for a loaner vehicle, drives your Genesis to the dealer for service and swaps it back when the job is done. We’ve already used it twice for our long-term G70, the result of a shaky head-up display that Genesis fixed under warranty. It’s as convenient as it sounds.
6. Junk Space
Most mass-market cars have plenty of driver-accessible storage space, but for reasons that confound us — cockpit minimalism? Console styling? — too many luxury cars do not. Fortunately, the G70 gets it right. The cabin boasts a generous storage tray (by sports sedan standards, anyway) ahead of the cupholders, plus enough room under the armrest to fit a 16-ounce bottle. The overhead console has a sunglasses holder; the doors have armrest-level cubbies. Bravo.
Things We Don’t
1. Trunk Space
Despite all the cabin storage, the confines behind are stingy. Manufacturer-reported cargo specs often have significant inconsistencies, but the G70’s trunk seems as tight as its purported 10.5 cubic feet suggests, even in a class known for modest cargo space.
Like the trunk, the backseat is tight. If you plan to ferry adults around much, competitors like the Audi A4 and Acura TLX offer friendlier confines.
3. So-So Manual
Manual transmissions are beyond endangered these days, with even stalwart players like the BMW 3 Series doing away with the stick shift. The fact that the G70 even offers one — available on rear-drive four-cylinder models — is laudable, but the execution is not. Imprecise throws, widely spaced gates and a bulky, low-rent shifter make this manual nothing to write home about.
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Hyundai eventually wants to sell Genesis at standalone dealers, but it will make do until then with differentiated areas at Hyundai showrooms where trained specialists detail their wares. If our experience at three local dealers proves anything, the automaker is a long way from either reality. Hyundai dealers sold Genesis alongside Hyundai-badged cars without so much as a curtain between them. The same salespeople hawked both brands, often parked alongside each other. Differentiation? Not a chance.
But we don’t care, and neither should you. Post-purchase, Genesis ensures you shouldn’t have to step back into a dealer — Hyundai or otherwise — for years to come. Saving time and convenience? Now, that’s a real luxury perk.
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