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Genesis G70 First Drive: Not Earth-Shattering, But Then Again, Just a Little

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Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2022 Genesis G70.

Though it was open to interpretation, I took it as a portent when an earthquake hit our region at just about the precise moment a Genesis representative delivered a brand-new 2022 G70 sedan to my door for a socially distanced first test drive. So, did this mean the revised edition of the automaker’s sportiest model was an earth-shattering departure from the previous edition? Was Mother Earth celebrating its arrival on my street? Or had it earned the wrath of Poseidon (yes yes, god of the seas but also of earthquakes!)?

The answer of course is none of the above. The quake was pretty mild. Also, while, the 2022 Genesis is noticeably updated visually, particularly with a view to bringing it into line with the visual signature seen on other current and new models by the Korean automaker like the G80 sedan, GV80 SUV and upcoming GV70 crossover, it’s not a radical departure either. Just like it did before, it offers a high level of comfort and luxury inside; and just like before, the Sport version I test-drove has a powertrain with plenty of gumption and a mildly sporty attitude. There are enhancements but they’re more incremental than earthquake-inducing.

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2022 Genesis G70, name on trunk
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, name on trunk

Perhaps the biggest change has to do with the brand’s attitude in regards to its name. The Hyundai spinoff, now a stand-alone brand, has since its inception toiled in relative obscurity compared to the big boys from Germany. Now, the brand wants to trumpet its presence more loudly than before. Maybe they got tired of being asked “What make is this car?”. And so you get big GENESIS lettering on the back below the small spoiler, instead of the previous hard-to-read winged logo (still found on the front of the hood), and almost no clutter to distract from the name.

In the front, the grille has been redesigned and its g-matrix pattern is repeated on certain elements inside. You also now find the quad lamps that are a major centerpiece of Genesis’ updated athletic elegance visual signature. The fascia contains a wide opening flanked by two smaller ones, like before but all are now larger. The effect of it all is that this Genesis sedan is much more recognizable on the road, whether you’re behind it or in front of it.

For its silhouette, the G70 inherits two horizontal lines (top and bottom) that add to the muscular character of the design. You’ll also notice two functional side air extractors, designed to improve air flow and thus efficiency. The new G70 also gets redesigned wheels.

See also: 2022 Genesis G70 Revealed: The Brand Applies New Style Signature to its Smallest Sedan

2022 Genesis G70, profile
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, profile
2022 Genesis G70, interior
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, interior

Genesis brought some updates and improvements to the interior as well, namely involving the driver display screen; if you’ve seen the one serving the new GV80, it’s the same here. There are new connectivity options, the new multimedia system is accessed via the 10.25-inch screen placed atop the centre console, and the interface itself is frankly a marvel of intuitiveness, responsiveness and resolution. The wireless smartphone charging pad has also been updated to accommodate larger phones, because those things never stop growing.

Making the thing go is one of two engines, depending on the version you choose from the blessedly simple product offering (a Genesis trademark). Neither is new, but both are good. The ‘base’ model comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine (252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque) while a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 (365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque) delivers some real muscle. Our tester was the G70 Sport with that V6 engine. All versions sold in Canada come out of the box with all-wheel drive included.

Pricing is just as straight-forward. There are three trims with the smaller engine (Select, Advanced and Prestige), and three with the bigger mill (Advanced, Sport and the limited-run Launch Edition). Pricing goes from $45,000 CAD to $61,000. And that’s it, that’s all you need to know. There’s no endless list of options, packages and whatnot that could make the final bill skyrocket.

See also: Genesis Canada Announces Pricing for the 2022 G70

2022 Genesis G70, three-quarters front
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, three-quarters front

On the road
Our drive on this day lasted a few hours in warm weather under a gorgeous sun and took us on a variety of road types, from city streets to highways to winding country roads. Default mode is Comfort (self-explanatory), but really once you leave town you’ll want to shift the rotary button on the lower console to Sport. It awakens a mild but pleasant grumble from the engine, and away you go. The 365 horses from the V6 are plenty for this compact sedan and make acceleration hearty, passing a cinch.

No, this is not a pure sports car, but it is sporty of spirit – unless and until the GV70 comes along and proves otherwise, this is easily the sportiest member of the Genesis clan. You can feel a trace of the luxury-boatness of the G80 and G90, but only a trace. This is a solid compact performance sedan, one that sticks to the road with purpose and delivers tight steering, agile handling and sharp braking on demand. But it’s not on the crazy train scale. The suspension gets firmer in Sport mode but not to the point of discomfort, far from it. And if you stick it in Comfort mode and ferry your kids around town, the G70 feels made specifically for the job.

I would add one caveat to that, mind you, and that is, if those kids are tall, their space will be somewhat limited in back. The seats are comfortable enough but even incredibly average 5’9” me found my head tickling the top of the door opening when getting in. Once seated I was OK, but I’m not 6’plus. Just don’t expect the kind of headroom – or legroom - you’ll enjoy in a larger sedan or compact SUV…

2022 Genesis G70, second row of seats
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, second row of seats

Beyond that, visibility out back is decent but no more; as with the headroom, blame the sloping roofline that gives the sedan its pleasing silhouette.

Lastly, on a day of mixed driving I racked up a combined fuel consumption figure of 9.4L/100 km, which isn’t – sorry – earth-shattering, but is within acceptable limits for a V6-propelled performance sedan. Besides, by getting a G70 instead of a much costlier BMW or Audi equivalent, you’ll be ahead of the game financially and probably won’t mind if you do pay a few pennies more at the pump.

Conclusion
For 2022, Genesis has made its compact sedan more attractive, more confident and more up-to-date technologically, and that’s all to the good. The model’s powertrains, especially the V6, are pretty exceptional on the road with this vehicle. To take the G70 out on a hilly, winding country road is to experience the car in its happiest state; its impressive acceleration, handling, road-grip and steering qualities merge for a massively pleasant driving experience.

Remains the same issue that has proved a challenge for Genesis since its inception: for those who value the status that a brand can bring, the Korean automaker’s brand doesn’t – yet - deliver enough of that. Aggressive pricing, generous equipment, an innovative retail approach and simplified product offering will take you some distance to overcoming the cache of a BMW, but not the whole way. However, kudos to Genesis for sticking with its game plan – and for continuing to put time, effort, resources and belief into the sedan genre.

2022 Genesis G70, three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, three-quarters rear

We like

Strong V6 wonderfully adapted to this car
Thumbs up for the handling, steering, braking
Attractive exterior design front, side and back
Great interface for the new, easy-to-use multimedia system
High-quality feel throughout the interior
Simplified product offering, strong value

We like less

The second row is stingy for space
Visibility out back is so-so
Fuel economy nothing to brag about
Maybe they could give that engine a heartier roar?

The competition

Acura ILX
Audi A4
BMW 3 Series
Cadillac CT4-V
Lexus IS
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Volvo S60

2022 Genesis G70, front
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, front
2022 Genesis G70, rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70, rear

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Photos:D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis G70 pictures