In 2019, Hyundai’s upscale Genesis brand launched the G70 sedan, its first new model since being spun off as a standalone brand two years prior. It’s wild to think that just a few years later, Genesis now has a full model lineup of award-winning vehicles, the latest of which is the all-new GV70, the brand’s first compact crossover. The Genesis GV70 is off to a good start in its first year on the market – it has been voted as the Best Luxury 2-Row SUV in the 2022 edition of the AutoTrader Awards.
The GV70 made a great impression on AutoTrader’s jury of more than 20 automotive experts, who considered and evaluated every single vehicle available in the densely populated compact luxury crossover segment to find the one we would feel most confident recommending to our family, friends, and AutoTrader readers.
To win this award, the GV70 earned more votes than the category’s other finalists, the Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Acura RDX, BMW X3/X4, and Land Rover Defender.
How did the GV70 earn this win over such well established rivals? From its powertrain to design to features to style and value, our experts felt that the Genesis offered the most well-rounded and compelling package, raising the bar not only for itself as a brand but for the segment as a whole.
The Genesis GV70 comes standard with a 2.5L turbo four-cylinder engine whose 300 hp and 311 lb-ft handily outpowers entry-level versions of the category’s other finalists. Meanwhile, the available 3.5L turbo V6’s 375 hp and 391 lb-ft are a near match for the Porsche Macan GTS and BMW X3 and X4 M40i.
Those power numbers translate nicely into the real world, according to AutoTrader Editor in Chief Jodi Lai, who reviewed a GV70 with the bigger motor.
“With the twin-turbo V6, the acceleration has the right urgency when needed, and there’s only a whisper of turbo lag,” she wrote.
Genesis says the 3.5L engine is capable of moving the GV70 from zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, and there’s even a launch control system to help get you there.
Meanwhile, Lai complimented the efforts of Genesis’s engineers to get the GV70’s driving feel just right, nicely splitting the difference between too hard and too soft that she feels few other vehicles in this class achieve.
“The steering has a good weight without feeling too demanding, and it feels direct and responsive. The brakes provide strong stopping without being twitchy. The suspension also hits a good balance of luxury and sport, ironing out most road imperfections while also feeling composed and confident on a twisty road.”
AutoTrader contributor Sami Haj-Assaad, who did a side-by-side comparison of the GV70 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC, said the Genesis has a more substantial driving feel than the Benz.
Some of the credit for that satisfying on-road performance comes from the GV70’s available electronically controlled suspension, which is tied into the car’s navigation system and a front camera that “reads” the road and tells the suspension what to expect.
There’s a lot of other tech packed into the GV70, like a full suite of driver safety assistance systems that work better than most. Genesis’s adaptive cruise control monitors the space around the car – not just in front – to maintain a safe space from all other vehicles. It’ll even perform an automatic lane change when you flick the signal lever and the lane next to you is clear.
Wireless smartphone charging and a 14.5-inch infotainment screen are standard features – ones you have to pay extra for in many of the GV70’s competitors. And if you appreciate the comfort of ventilated seats, they’re included in every trim except the base model. Among the GV70’s unique tech items is a fingerprint scanner on the dash, a world-first feature that provides quick access to certain vehicle settings.
Genesis can make a fast car and load in all the features as it wants, but the brand faces a steep climb to reach the level of desirability that competitors like Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW boast. Helping smooth the road to acceptance among discerning luxury shoppers is the GV70’s distinctive design, with details like stacked LED lighting front and rear and slick exhaust finishers built into the rear bumper.
“There’s a lot going on here … but the overall look is cohesive and unique [and] all the details keep the eyes moving and the interest flowing,” wrote Lai.
That theme continues inside, where Lai calls out a dash made up of “smooth, organic shapes” that create a retro-futuristic vibe, while optional blue, dark green and deep purple quilted leather are nice alternatives to the usual black, grey, and brown.
“It feels like every aspect of the interior in the Genesis has been combed over by a design team that was looking to add something special everywhere it could,” wrote Haj-Assaad in his comparison. By contrast, the Mercedes-Benz GLC “doesn’t feel as special, stylish or value-packed as the fresh-faced [GV70].”
Genesis is past the point where it feels the need to massively undercut its competition’s prices. If you don’t believe your products are worth as much as those of your competitors, how can you expect shoppers to do the same?
The GV70’s $49,000 starting price is only a bit less than the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class’, and it’s a few grand more than the Acura RDX’s base MSRP. Lai points out that the GV70’s top price of $75,500 is a lot for a compact SUV, but for that money, you get every feature Genesis offers. Option up a BMW X3 M40i to match the GV70 and you’ll pay thousands more.
In today’s automotive marketplace, a luxury brand’s success can hinge on its small SUV models, which have displaced sedans as the core of the upscale segment. Our reviewers and jury experts think Genesis nailed its compact crossover debut with the GV70, which Lai described as “an overachieving SUV that is easily one of the best vehicles in its segment” and Haj-Assaad said “may just be the top choice for consumers” among compact luxury SUVs.