2022 Genesis GV70 Is a Promising Evolution of Accessible Luxury

2022 Genesis GV70 Is a Promising Evolution of Accessible Luxury

Pushing Korea closer to Germany than Japan

  • New GV70 compact SUV slots under the GV80 midsize crossover
  • Many unique features and styling cues all its own
  • Impressive materials and build quality in higher trims
  • Launches the first GV70 generation for 2022

What is the GV70?

The 2022 Genesis GV70 is the brand's all-new small luxury SUV. Smaller and less expensive than the similarly new GV80, the GV70 competes against such heavy hitters as the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60. After finally getting a chance to drive the GV70 for ourselves, we can state that Genesis is getting tantalizingly close to equaling the established German luxury brands.

While the GV70 shares some visual cues with its larger GV80 sibling, it definitely has its own distinctive style. The two SUVs have a similar-looking front grille and dual-stripe headlight clusters, but the GV70 stands out with a raked roofline and wagon-ish rear end that accentuates its length. These attributes lend the GV70 a sporty appearance not shared with the bigger, more conventional-looking GV80.

How does the GV70 drive?

The GV70 comes with the same engines that are in the larger GV80, which is promising for performance since the GV70 weighs less. The 2.5T model comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, while the GV70 3.5T has a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 good for 375 hp and 391 lb-ft. Both engines have strong power outputs for the class. The GV70 also has an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.

So far we've driven the top 3.5T Sport Prestige trim. Its turbo V6 is responsive and provides authoritative acceleration. You'd rarely ever feel the need to floor the pedal, but if you do, the GV70 also sounds good, with an enjoyable mechanical growl. On a winding road, this small SUV feels a bit larger than rivals in the class, but otherwise it's stable and secure. Selecting Sport mode stiffens up the ride quality for even more athleticism and should please drivers with a penchant for performance.

2022 Genesis GV70

2022 Genesis GV70

How comfortable is the GV70?

Not surprisingly, the GV70's sporty handling results in a rather stiff ride quality. Even in the Comfort drive mode, impacts from potholes are noticeably harsh. The large 21-inch wheels and narrow sidewall tires on our 3.5T test vehicle were likely contributors to the lack of initial compliance, but rivals with large wheels seem to absorb road imperfections better.

The GV70's front seats are noticeably firm compared to those in any other luxury SUVs, and we wouldn't be too surprised if that is a deal-breaker for some people. That said, after 90 minutes in the driver's seat, we didn't find them objectionable. Helping matters is a massage function that subtly shifts your contact points with the seat, temporarily alleviating hard spots. Wind noise is pleasantly muted at highway speeds, but road noise has a tendency to reach intrusive levels on coarser surfaces.

How's the GV70's interior?

The GV70 has a long metal-trimmed oval that extends from the driver's side to the center of the cabin that contains controls and a digital climate control. It creates an interesting visual element but also sets the tone for the interior.

Most GV70s will come with a two-spoke steering wheel that is certainly different from the norm. The question is whether the wheel's quirky design is too outlandish for the standard luxury-crossover buyer. But what can't be questioned is the style and fit and finish in the vehicle we experienced. The quality of materials is better than in recent competitors from Lexus, Infiniti and Acura, and it's similar to what you'd find in a BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC. A few hard plastic surfaces on the center console pull you out of the premium luxury fantasy, however.

Getting in and out of the GV70 isn't the easiest. The door openings feel small, requiring 6-foot-tall passengers to both duck their heads and step up at the same time to get inside. This is especially pronounced in the rear. Once inside, there is plenty of space in the front, but rear passenger space is more restrictive than in other small SUVs. Legroom and foot space are at a premium, and even an average-size adult will likely wish for more space to stretch out, especially on a longer journey.

2022 Genesis GV70

2022 Genesis GV70

How's the GV70's tech?

There's no shortage of interesting features inside the GV70. The new SUV comes with a 14.5-inch touchscreen atop the dash, and an available digital instrument display that has a cool 3D effect for its graphics.

The touchscreen is controlled by a knob that is much easier to use than the flush-mounted dial in the GV80. Unfortunately, the infotainment dial is situated too close to the gear selector dial and we found it far too easy to inadvertently spin the wrong one. To its credit, the system is smart enough to know not to shift into park or reverse while you're in motion.

As in other Genesis models, we've found the infotainment system menus in the GV70 confusing to navigate at times, though we do like the simple interface and impressive graphics. In testing the integrated navigation system, we found the voice prompts too quiet and seemingly not adjustable. Even with the radio off, it was difficult to hear the directions clearly. The top trim's head-up display helps clarify those directions slightly.

We're much more pleased with the GV70's suite of advanced driver aids. During our brief drive in congested city traffic, the lane keeping assist system worked well and the frontal collision warning system didn't fire off any false alarms. The GV70's Highway Driving Assist 2 system combines adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist to alleviate a lot of the driving burden yet still requires drivers to be alert and have their hands on the wheel. As traffic slows to a stop, the system automatically maintains a safe distance and keeps the vehicle centered in its lane, with no inelegant brake inputs or lurches. The smart adaptive cruise control also uses machine learning to mimic your particular driving style, using data from when the system is inactive.

Other convenience tech features include a fingerprint reader that can restore a driver's seat, climate and audio preferences with a simple touch on the dashboard. There's also a keyless option for qualified Android phones as well as a credit card-size secondary key. Remote self-parking furthers the GV70's convenience factor as the vehicle can maneuver itself into a tight spot without having a driver inside.

How's the GV70's storage?

Front seat passengers enjoy a decent amount of space for their personal items, with a wireless phone charger, moderately sized cupholders and door pockets. The real enticement, however, is the GV70's cargo capacity. With 28.9 cubic feet of space, it's positively huge and almost 50% larger than the cargo space in the top-ranked Mercedes-Benz GLC.

How economical is the GV70?

Speaking of the Mercedes, the base Genesis GV70 enjoys a significant price advantage over a similarly equipped GLC to the tune of around $9,000. At the top of the lineup, the GV70 Sport Prestige model costs about $10,000 less than an equivalent Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.

In regard to fuel economy, the base GV70 with the 2.5-liter engine gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in combined city and highway driving. (Larger wheels can drop that figure by as much as 2 mpg.) Going with the more powerful 3.5-liter V6 results in a 21 mpg combined estimate. These estimates are comparable to those for other SUVs in this class.

Edmunds says

Genesis has been steadily improving the quality, performance and refinement of its vehicles over the short time since the brand has been established. The 2022 GV70 is a clear example that it's capable of challenging the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The GV70's slightly too-stiff ride quality, overly firm seats and limited rear seat space keep it from full contender status, but the superb amount of features you get for the money is enough to make the GV70 worth checking out.

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