Expert Reviews

Test Drive: 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD

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This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
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Genesis has made no bones about it. The G70 is here to compete. And it’s here to do battle with the age-old masters of the compact sport sedan category – the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and BMW 3 Series. Challenging these established monsters head-to-head is a lofty proposition, and some may scoff at first. Let’s have a closer look at the all-new 2019 Genesis G70 and see how it stacks up.

Plenty of power in every driving situation – you’ll never want for more.

When it comes to the looks, Genesis got it right. The G70 is blessed with classic sport sedan proportions – short front and rear overhangs and a tidy trunk. It sits low and wide. Combine that stance with the swept-back roofline and the stunning grille, and you have the makings of an aggressive-looking sedan. The Genesis styling team used some sculpting as well – like the bulges on the hood and that strong character crease that travels down the side of the car between the front and rear fenders.

That grille is flanked by full LED headlights and an awesome LED driving light signature. I really love the “dark chrome” trim – it’s a coppery carbon colour rather than chrome and it looks stunning – they’ve used it for the wheels, window trim, grille, and even the boomerang-shaped vent behind the front wheel well (a slight styling misstep in my opinion, but not a glaring one).

The wheel wells are filled with wide-open 19-inch five-spoke rims shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s in staggered sizes (225/40s in the front, 255/35s in the rear) – and look what’s peeking through those meaty spokes. Red Brembo brake calipers, that’s what. Yum!

This car got a lot of looks – mind you, I think the delicious Mallorca blue made a bigger impact than the styling.

The initial impression when you get into the G70 is that nothing was missed. It feels like a flawless balance between comfort, luxury, technology and sport. The fit and finish and the materials are world-class, as are the details. Check out the red piping and stitching on the seats and door panels. The genuine aluminum trim and the microsuede headliner are nice touches too, and the switches and buttons all have the perfect level of resistance and feel to them.

Those seats are spectacular. Quilted Nappa leather with perforated sections, the aforementioned stitching, heated, ventilated, and exceptionally adjustable, I found them to be supremely comfortable and well-bolstered. They do as well on a road trip as at the track.

I enjoyed the steering wheel too – it’s chunky and grippy and heated. Behind it is a set of analogue gauges, and between them is a very good driver information screen. It’s an intimate cabin – not crowded but not overly spacious. It lends itself well to the car’s character and mission. Part of that intimate feeling is due to the wide centre console which is home to the gear selector, cupholders, and an armrest, as well as the drive mode selector.

Genesis made the cockpit driver-centric, and pivoted the centre stack toward the driver position ever so slightly. At the top sits a bright, responsive 8-inch touchscreen. It handles everything between your phone, navigation, vehicle settings, and that spectacular 15-speaker Lexicon sound system. I appreciated the strip of hard buttons to access the major functions, as well as knobs for volume and tuning. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

The bin under a sliding lid at the front of the console was very useful for me. There’s a large wireless charging mat for your smartphone, as well as USB, 12V, and auxiliary plugs. You’ll also find a carpeted bin under the armrest lid with another USB plug.

The G70 bristles with driver assistance technology – a surround-view camera with parking sensors, forward collision assist/avoidance system with pedestrian detection, high-beam assist, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep warning and assist, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert. There’s also a configurable head-up display.

Space for rear passengers is a tad limited. I’m 5'10" and sitting behind my own driving position, I found myself with about half an inch of headroom, about an inch of legroom and feet that were squished under the front seat. Anyone taller than me would be displeased. The middle position is very tight and there’s a large driveshaft tunnel on the floor – even my kids didn’t want to sit there.

I appreciate that nothing in the backseat area felt like corners got cut. Every square inch got the same attention the front of the cabin did – the quilted, perforated leather seating and door panels, everything carries over and it’s a beautiful space.

Rear passengers get a single USB charge point, adjustable air vents and heated seats (for the two outboard seats of course). The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with a couple of cupholders.

The trunk has a power lid-opener (and handsfree proximity-based opening) and is a decent size although I couldn’t find the actual space measurement. You can fold down the rear seats in a 60/40-split if you need to transport something bigger.

Under the hood lurks a mighty twin-turbo 3.3L V6, ready to put down 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a full-time all-wheel drive. We ended up with an average of 12.1 L/100 km after spending a good portion of the week full of commuting, a few freeway sprints, and no effort to conserve fuel. Not bad at all.

This top-trim engine is a marvel. It has a nice growl when you fire it up. The car has plenty of power in every driving situation – you’ll never want for more. If you put the hammer down, you’ll experience the slightest amount of lag off the line and then the sensation of the hand of God pushing you back in your seat.

The explosive power comes on immediately (peak torque is available at 1,300 rpm!) and gets delivered in a linear fashion, staying on full boil right up to the shift points. If numbers matter, the G70 Sport will sprint from 0–100 km/h in a scant 4.7 seconds. The transmission is incredibly smooth, and in Comfort or Eco modes, it does pop up a gear or two more quickly than I’d occasionally want. Thankfully the paddle shifters respond fast enough to add some true sportiness to your driving experience.

Sport mode makes the G70 noticeably more responsive and aggressive. The car reacts instantly to throttle inputs, the transmission holds on to gears longer, and exiting corners under throttle gets you a little tail-waggle in the wet. Of course, things never get really squirrelly thanks to the limited-slip differential. Why, Sport mode even pumps up little air bladders to tighten up the kidney bolsters in the driver’s seat and tightens up the suspension.

There’s a launch control feature too which puts all the car’s electronic know-how to the test to ensure you have a perfect acceleration launch every time. Maybe don’t do that in traffic. And do it on a straight road.

The steering is nicely weighted, and feels heavy around town. Actually the whole car feels a bit heavy (or should we say substantial?) around town. The faster you drive, the more engaging it feels. There isn’t a ton of steering feedback, but it’s communicative enough to know exactly what you’re doing. And frankly, it’s more communicative than the German competition’s steering these days.

The turn-in is sharp and the road-holding abilities of the G70 are nothing short of amazing. Throw it around a city corner or into a long freeway merge cloverleaf and it instantly jumps to attention, showing you what it can (and wants to) do. It feels playful and there’s no doubt that Genesis has baked in a ton of performance ability.

While the handling and control is astounding, I was equally impressed by the G70’s comfort levels. The adaptive suspension’s ride is beautifully firm and compliant, but even in Sport mode, it’s never punishing. The price you pay for this comfort is some minor body roll during quick direction changes – and it’s a price I’m happy to pay.

Those Brembo brakes aren’t just pretty. They’re easy to modulate around town and I appreciate that the G70 can bring speeds back down as well as it can accelerate. Stab the brake pedal and it will haul things down with such alacrity that you’ll worry your kidneys will keep moving forward and stick to the windshield.

Although there’s a nice snort from the V6 under throttle, the engine stays mostly quiet. I can say the same for the rest of the car too. Wind and road noise were very well managed at highway speeds. If anything, I’d want a little more throatiness from under the hood when I’m heavy on the gas.

As you’ll see in the pricing below, Genesis only provides all-inclusive prices which makes for an easy decision. There are no surprises, no extras at the time of signing the deal, etc. Not only that, but their customer-focussed approach has been getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. Want to test drive a Genesis? They’ll bring the car to you. Want to purchase one? They’ll come to you, build your car online with you, appraise your trade-in and arrange delivery of your new ride wherever you choose. Does your Genesis need maintenance? (All scheduled maintenance is included, by the way.) You guessed it. They’ll come to you, pick up your car and leave you with a Genesis vehicle so you never miss a step. Time has become a precious commodity and that kind of convenience means a lot to busy people, and it would be a big deal to me if I was in the market.

WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was high. She loved the styling (she said it looks hot), the interior details, and how easy it was to drive. She also found the paint colour delightful.

So what is the G70? It’s certainly not a sports car. It’s not a big car. It’s a finely crafted luxurious compact sports sedan. It has an athletic profile. It’s full of good stuff. And it’s a lot of fun to drive.

Finding this iteration a bit pricey for your budget? Although the G70 as I tested it is competitively priced, you can also get a rear-wheel drive(!), manual transmission(!!!) 2L turbo trim that starts in the low $40,000s. How do you like them apples? If you’re after a simpler, more pure driving experience, that version might just be the one for you.

It never ceased to amaze me as to how many people wanted to look at it and ask about it, and I was equally amazed at how few of those people were aware of the Genesis brand. Although Genesis has some work to do in terms of getting its brand out there, I can say that, without exception, every person that looked at or sat in the G70 loved it. And I agree. I could easily live with this car every day. If you’re in the market for a compact sport sedan, consider this a value proposition and test drive one. Then try wiping the smile off your face.

Engine Displacement 3.3L
Engine Cylinders V6
Peak Horsepower 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Peak Torque 376 lb-ft @ 1,300–4,500 rpm
Fuel Economy 12.8/8.5/10.9 L/100 km city/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 297L
Model Tested 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD
Base Price $57,500
A/C Tax Included
Destination Fee Included
Price as Tested $57,500
Optional Equipment