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2022 Genesis GV70 Review: Second Time’s the Charm

We take the new compact SUV on a little road trip to see if 'to know it is to love it' Automotive columnist: , Updated:

Auto123 reviews the 2022 Genesis GV70.

Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to test drive the all-new 2022 GV70 over a few days, mainly in the urban and suburban environments. Now, it was a bigger challenge we came up with for the luxury compact SUV: How would it rate over the longer haul, on a road trip taking us through more varied terrain and contexts? The GV70 was going to be our road companion on a trek in and around Vancouver and, especially, around the southern end of Vancouver Island.

I won’t rehash the rather unique position of the Genesis brand on the current luxury-vehicle landscape, other than to reiterate that its three sedans and now two SUVs compete on equal terms with established German and Asian heavyweights, but are priced more competitively. Status, or the lack of it, seems to be the only thing holding the Korean automaker back.

The remarkable thing about the new GV70 is that, right from its first year on the market, it is in my opinion the best product Hyundai’s luxury brand has put together, good as the G70, G80, G90 and GV80 are in their own right. Our little West Coast romp only confirmed that further.

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2022 Genesis GV70, three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis GV70, three-quarters rear

The looks
The compact SUV category is a paradox, in that while it’s the sweet spot for sales for most automakers (both mass-market and luxury), it’s arguably the category where the models look most alike. Not the GV70, though. It manages to look sleek and modern while being distinct from other sleek and modern SUVs, and though its roof is more sloping than that of the larger GV80, it still provides sufficient back-row space (more on that in a bit). The hood is long, the overhang short, and the proportions seem, well, just right.

To wit, one striking aspect of our road trip was the sheer number of people who felt compelled, completely unbidden, to remark on the nice looks of the GV70. (Its beauty was likely enhanced in their eyes by the superb Barossa Burgundy paint finish you see in the images). Almost invariably, the compliments were accompanied by questions about the brand. Namely, what’s a Genesis? Who makes it? It was about time the automaker stuck its name in big fat letters on the back of their vehicles instead of the tiny, illegible badging they used previously!

2022 Genesis GV70,  interior
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis GV70, interior

The interior
My first impression back in the summer when I drove the GV70 was an appreciation of how much they got right with the interior, and how little wrong. A longer stretch in the SUV only reinforced that impression. This is a vehicle interior conceived for the comfort of its occupants, so the seating is firm but welcoming, you have heating/ventilating/massaging function ideal for longer trips, and the multimedia system is simple enough that you won’t be grinding your teeth as a newbie figuring things out.

For a compact SUV, space is absolutely fine as well. One test I put the car through was to change clothes, head-to-toe, in the back seat, after a particularly wet hike on the Juan de Fuca trail on a day of non-stop torrential rain (did I mention Vancouver Island gets some rain from time to time?). Now, try to imagine removing soaking wet clothes in the back seat of a car. It worked in the GV70, with nary a bump of the knee here or a getting stuck of the feet there. That’s good enough to convince me of the spaciousness of this cabin!

I won’t go into details regarding the features and functions designed to make life comfortable, convenient and connected, because I covered that in my first review. Suffice to say, the level of equipment is rich, particularly given the price point of the GV70. Quality of construction needs to be mentioned as well, because over the entire time of our trip we never heard, felt or saw anything loose that shouldn’t have been, and the surfaces look and feel first-rate.

2022 Genesis GV70, profile
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis GV70, profile

The drive
The GV70 had excuses if it was going to have things come loose, because parts of our drive involved descents down twisting and turning – and cratered - gravel roads. But for all the jarring, bumping and jostling, the GV70 remained tight as a drum and absorbed the bumps admirably.

The paved roads were obviously smoother, except that in that corner of the country they’re also very winding, with ascents and descents to contend with. There the GV70 showed what a nimble handler it is, doing a credible job keeping pace with the Veloster N in front of us for the entire stretch between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

The 3.5L twin-turbo V6 (375 hp, 391 lb-ft of torque) delivers more than enough raw power to get you going in a hurry in any context, including up a stiff incline, and the 8-speed transmission is frankly exceptional. It goes about its business without calling attention to itself, so you can focus on keeping up with the Veloster leaning into the turns ahead of you. When doing so you will certainly feel more roll than it is – there’s only so far engineers can go in making an SUV behave like a sporty car – but still, the road stays glued to.

When the road straightens out again, you gain back your comfortable highway cruiser, with a quiet ride accompanying the quality seating. You can make the engine growl a little more by switching to Sport mode, but that’s personal preference. Making that switch will tighten the steering and adjust a few other parameters, but it won’t make a beast out of the GV70.

2022 Genesis GV70, front
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis GV70, front

By the time we returned the SUV to the starting point of our adventure, it much dirtier and us pooped but sated, we’d had strong confirmation that the 2022 GV70 SUV is a short-lister for anyone shopping in the premium compact SUV category. Frankly this model by a brand so many folks still have not even heard of yet is every bit the equal of its rivals over at BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and others in terms of quality, features, comfort and refinement. And that’s if the pricing is on par. Which it isn’t. The GV70 is priced noticeably lower than its German competitors, equally equipped.

Its one shortcoming is in terms of sheer dynamism, where BMW still largely rules the roost. But as long as you don’t care much about the status that Bavarian make delivers, there’s precious little reason to ignore the upstart brand out of South Korea for your next luxury compact SUV.

We like

Great looks
Quality of construction
Interior refinement
Pricing compared to certain rivals
Simple product offering

We like less

Trunk is not huge
Fuel consumption is only average
Not quite as dynamic as some German rivals

The competition

Acura RDX
Audi Q5
BMW X3 / X4
Buick Envision
Cadillac XT5
Infiniti QX50
Lexus NX
Lincoln Corsair
Mercedes-Benz GLC
Volvo XC60

Genesis GV70 2022, three-quarters front
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Genesis GV70 2022, three-quarters front
The 2022 Genesis GV70, in the Vancouver rain
Photo: D.Boshouwers
The 2022 Genesis GV70, in the Vancouver rain

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Photos:D.Boshouwers
2022 Genesis GV70 pictures, on a road trip