2022 Genesis GV70 Review: First Drive
|Engine:||3.5L V6 Turbo|
|Output:||375 hp, 391 lb-ft|
|US fuel economy (MPG):||19/25/21|
|CAN fuel economy (L/100KM):||12.9/10.0/11.6|
|Starting Price (USD):||$42,045 (inc. dest.)|
|As-Tested Price (USD):||$64,045 (inc. dest.)|
|Starting Price (CAD):||$49,000 (inc. dest.)|
|As-Tested Price (CAD):||$75,500 (inc. dest.)|
This is the most important vehicle launch in Genesis‘ short history.
Listen to Lawrence Hamilton, executive director at Genesis Canada, and it’s clear that’s not marketing hyperbole: it’s just math. The brand estimates the compact crossover segment will represent roughly half of the premium market by 2025. Not only that, this little number ought to pull off a similar feat for the brand’s sales, essentially doubling the yearly figures on its own. So yeah, it’s a big deal.
I spent a weekend with the latest member of the Genesis family to determine if it was up to this Herculean task. With the now-traditional blend of athleticism, attention to detail, long standard features list, and high value, the 2022 Genesis GV70 is a strong contender right out of the gate. Congratulations, compact crossover buyers: your decision has now become that much harder.
The GV70 is the second SUV from Genesis in as many years. As the number on that rounded tailgate suggests, it’s a smaller proposition than the statelier GV80. From bumper to bumper, the GV70 stretches 185.6 inches (4,715 millimeters), around 9.0 inches (230 mm) less than big brother. That’s still lengthier than nearly every other compact crossover, and the 113.2-inch (2,875-mm) wheelbase just shades the Mercedes GLC for class honors.Get a Quote on a New Genesis GV70
Short overhangs help visually separate the GV70 from the GV80. The signature quad-line headlight treatment uses softer shapes too, making it clear this lies closer to the Athletic side of Genesis’ Athletic Elegance design language spectrum. An interesting feature is the front hood sitting slightly proud of the rest of the bodywork. Genesis says it cleans up the front end, since it minimizes shutlines. To these eyes, it almost makes the GV70 look as if it’s wearing a mask. I also wonder how much road grit will end up wedged between the sheetmetal.
Following the character line from the headlights across the flanks, the eye is drawn to the unique C-pillar design. The chrome trim doesn’t follow the arc of the window line, instead turning down at the pillar. The design sets it apart from the GV80, but it also makes for a large blind spot from behind the driver’s seat.
The pebble-smooth tailgate is a clean look. Genesis has used a jauntier angle for the rear glass, splitting the difference between the traditional upright competition and their respective “coupe-over” alternatives. Two large exhaust tips poke out of the bumper on Sport trims; other models use tips shaped like the Genesis badge, rotated 90 degrees. A huge set of 21-inch wheels with the intricate G-Matrix pattern rounds out what is a handsome, distinctive design. Even in swanky Niagara on the Lake, the GV70 drew admiring glances on the regular. I’m chalking at least some of that up to the sweet Barossa Burgundy paint.SEE ALSO: 2022 Genesis G70 Review: First Drive
Under the skin, the GV70 shares much with excellent G70 sedan, though the high-rider sticks to the updated engine lineup of the GV80. A 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder handles “base” duties, producing a strong 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. This tester features the familiar 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, belting out 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. Both engines hook up to an eight-speed automatic, and all trims feature wheel-mounted paddle shifters. In both Canada and the US, the GV70 comes only in AWD form; there is no rear-drive option.
Both the G80 and GV80 feature the best interiors in their respective classes, so the pressure was on for Genesis to continue to deliver with the GV70. Instead of simply Control+V-ing those experiences into the GV70—or cribbing from the G70 for that matter—Genesis has given the GV70 its own interior style with a heavy focus on ovals.SEE ALSO: Genesis GV80 vs BMW X5 Comparison
If you just had flashbacks of ’90s Ford Taurus interiors, have no fear. The GV70 interior is a classy joint, all soft-touch materials and clean, flowing lines. The largest of the ovals stretches across the dashboard from the driver’s door to the glovebox. It houses the climate controls, which use a combination of physical dials (yay) and a capacitive touch screen (nay). At least the latter is a decent enough size to poke at while on the move. A handful of redundant infotainment menu buttons sit directly below. Genesis has extended its hidden-vent design across the entire dashboard, with the thin metal divider arching up and over the instrument panel. The design continues on the door panels, including the rear ones. This gives the cockpit design a more unified feel front-to-back.
More ovals sandwich the driver, with carbon fiber trim pieces on the door panel and center console sides. The weave is here on our Canadian-spec Sport Plus tester, but other trims sub in laser-etched trim. The trim allows some of the ambient lighting through, providing a very cool look and a burst of color. That continues to be one of the brand’s biggest strengths: actual color. Including a purple paint option (in both metallic and matte) is cool, and Genesis offers an array of interior color treatments, too. Want green leather, or purple? You got it, chief. There’s even a blue-and-red number that works better than it has any right to.SEE ALSO: 2020 BMW X3 PHEV Review: Plug-In the One to Have
The quilted leather seats keep both my fiancée and I fresh and ache-free on the long drive out to NOTL. Drivers also benefit from Genesis’ Ergo Motion Seat, which uses air cells under the surface to subtly stretch muscles and keep the pilot alert. There’s lots of space up front for us and our various accoutrements. Unlike the G70 it shares its platform with, the GV70’s second row doesn’t feel like it was made for kids, either. Genesis boasts best-in-class rear legroom, and I was able to sit “behind myself” without issue. The rear seats recline as well as fold flat, the latter bumping storage space to 56.9 cubic feet (1,610 liters). Keep the seats up and there’s 28.9 cubes (819 L)—more than the BMW X3.
Focus on tech
Techy folks will be happy to know the huge 14.5-inch infotainment screen is standard on all trims. Genesis’ latest user interface is easy to understand, though the touchscreen can be a reach for those of us with T-rex arms. Thankfully, there is a rotary dial in the center console to easily access the menus. It’s now a short, raised cylinder of a dial, instead of the iPod Classic-style click wheel found in the GV80. Genesis says this was done to make using the dial easier on the move, and while I don’t doubt it, I miss the tactile delight of the wheel.
Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. I ran into two issues with the the Apple integration in the GV70, both of which have never shown up in other Genesis models. The right-most screen tile was supposed to show Spotify info, but it was cut off. Slightly more problematic was Google Maps audio directions randomly disappearing half the time.
A push-button starter is hardly new-tech, but there’s another button just below it that deserves attention. This is the GV70’s fingerprint sensor, which allows dialed-in users to easily access their personal settings, or activate valet mode. Depending on market, it can also handle payments for things like gas and parking—but not here, not yet.
This being the top-most trim, my GV70 tester comes loaded to the gills with other gee-whiz goodies. Genesis’ trick 3D instrument panel is hard to miss. The 12.3-inch screen is always crisp, and it offers up plenty of customization options. A head-up display provides additional information right on the windshield, too. A wireless charger, hands-free power liftgate, and high-resolution backup camera are all included—but then again, they’re included on the base model, too. Like I said, the GV70 is very well-equipped.
Another area Genesis hasn’t skimped on is standard safety. Every GV70 comes with automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, plus junction assist. Also included are rear parking distance sensors, blind-spot collision avoidance with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, and Highway Drive Assist II. The latter works smoothly, changing speed naturally and detecting cars even two lanes over. Genesis has also included a radar-based rear-seat monitor, powerful enough to detect a baby breathing, or a dog in the cargo area.
Like a taller G70, almost
With G70 bones and that torquey, turbo V6, the GV70 has all the ingredients to be a strong performer. First impressions are good, as the little SUV has a positive, consistent feel to its steering, and a firm brake pedal. The 3.5-liter spits out torque at any engine speed, and the eight-speed auto smoothly slurs the gears, ensuring drama-free progress. The GV70 is an excellent highway companion, with higher-than-average wind noise being the only real criticism. Even riding on those enormous 21-inch wheels, the GV70 is smooth, ironing out bad bumps with little more than a muffled thwump.
Throttle response can feel slightly lackadaisical in regular mode. For that, there’s Sport or, if you’re really feeling it, Sport Plus. Throttle response noticeably sharpens here, and the GV70 holds gears for much longer, too. The normally smooth ride feels brittle in these modes, however. Exacerbating this issue is the hefty curb weight: the top 3.5T models clear 4,410 lb (2,000 kg), making the GV70 heavier than most of its competition.
Despite the density, the GV70 can be fun to throw around curvy country roads—so long as the asphalt is reasonably smooth. The same neutral balance that makes the G70 one of our favorite sport sedans is present here. You’re just sitting higher up off the ground. Call for a downshift or two from the wheel-mounted paddle shifters and the eight-speed auto responds quickly, with a pleasant note from those twin exhaust pipes. There’s an available launch control feature, which seems a little overkill for something that isn’t a dedicated M or AMG fighter, but it should surprise your friends.
The one complaint is the same one I’ve levelled at the rest of the Genesis lineup: a lack of hybrid or electric drivetrains. To be fair, an electrified G80 will begin the brand’s transition to EVs, and I’m sure the GV70 will follow. But until then, the GV70 will remain one of the thirstiest options in the class, averaging just 21 mpg (or 11.6 L/100 km) in 3.5T form.
Who’s the competition?
Q5 and XC60 aside, there’s also the likes of the Acura RDX, Cadillac XT5, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX. The latter is due for replacement this year, as well. Every one of them comes with available AWD, though their platforms are all front-drive-based.
Switching over to the rear-drive camp, we find the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and even Porsche’s Macan. In driving terms, the GV70 sits around the middle of the pack; less cosseting than the Merc, but also not as agile as the Porsche.
As for price, the GV70 aligns closer with the first group. In Canada, the 2022 Genesis GV70 starts at $49,000 CAD, including all destination charges. Prices rise to $63,000 CAD for the 2.5T Prestige AWD. The 3.5T comes in two flavors north of the border: Sport ($68,500 CAD) and Sport Plus ($75,500 CAD).
In America, the GV70 begins at $42,045 for the 2.5T, rising through Select ($46,045), Advanced ($50,195) and Sport Prestige ($53,795). The V6 starts at $53,645, topping out at $63,545 for the Sport Prestige model. No matter which market we’re talking, the GV70 represents outstanding value for money.
Final thoughts: 2022 Genesis GV70 First Drive Review
Genesis could have phoned this one in. The 2022 Genesis GV70 could have been a safe, by-the-numbers small SUV and, by dint of merely existing in the largest segment, still sold in decent numbers. Thankfully, the brand did no such thing. The GV70 looks great and drives well. More than that, it offers an impressive suite of tech, solid second-row accommodations, and a truly impressive level of color, inside and out. Don’t discount how important that last point is for people looking to make a statement.
Like the GV80 before it, the 2022 Genesis GV70 carves out a space of its own in a crowded, cutthroat segment. It isn’t the sportiest nor the most serene, and it needed a hybrid or electric option yesterday. But as an overall package, and as Genesis’ first step into this most-important segment, the GV70 is super appealing. It deserves to be on your compact SUV shortlist—and probably in purple.
Discuss this story further at our Genesis GV70 Forums
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- Stand-out looks
- Strong engine
- Standard big screen and safety features
- Thirsty V6
- No alt-power drivetrains (yet)
- Stiff ride
Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.
More by Kyle Patrick