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Road Test : 2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

Five years ago, Hyundai made one of the best possible decisions it could make: spin Genesis off. While it was easy for customers to overlook that “luxury” Hyundai in the showrooms, the now standalone premium brand finally started receiving the attention it deserved. Not that the outgoing Genesis sedan and its sport coupe counterpart weren’t good. People simply weren’t shopping for premium products at Hyundai.

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2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

Not only did this allow the new Korean luxury brand to come up with its own aesthetic—and boy was it worth it—but it also revolutionized the car buying process. Genesis became one of the first car brands to skip the brick-and-mortar dealer and offer customers an online-based buying experience complete with test car at-home delivery. Who could have predicted that everyone would have to follow that lead in 2020?

After introducing the G90 and G80 full-size sedans—the evolution of the Hyundai Equus and Genesis respectively—the brand tackled the compact sedan segment with the launch of the G70. Genesis designed the new “entry-level” model to measure up to some of the segment and the industry’s biggest names, including the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4, and the Mercedes-Benz C Class.

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2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

With its suave looks, appealing engine offerings—a base 2.0L turbocharged inline-four and a spirited 3.3L twin-turbo V6—and level of standard equipment typical of a Korean car, on paper, the G70 has all the makings of a category champion, but how about in reality? Well, folks, let me tell you: it’s even better than anything you can imagine.

It’s hard not to be even just a little excited about this car. In terms of design, it manages to stand out from the crowd of European offerings without being offensive to the eye. There’s a nice balance between the sculptural character lines and the graceful profile. Some say the design shows its age but I disagree with that statement. If you agree with it, you’ll be glad to know that Genesis is going to overhaul the G70 for 2022.

The interior isn’t as striking as the exterior, but the layout is user-friendly and efficient which is better than an overly-enthusiastic attempt at reinventing the wheel, or in this case, the dashboard. The controls are simple, straightforward, and familiar, and all the functionality you want from a modern car are present. Plus, if you opt for either Sport trim level, you even have the option to give your new G70 the quintessential “sport car” treatment with perforated black leather and contrasting, red stitching (optional).

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2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

Size-wise, despite its compact footprint, the G70’s interior space is organized well enough to provide plenty of space for four passengers—five if you have a least favourite child or cousin. Even seating at the back isn’t punitive—legroom is actually quite spacious. The only let’s call it “design flaw” is the clearance under the front seats. They’re positioned very low and leave very little space, if any at all, for someone to slide their feet underneath and stretch their legs.

Speaking of space, the cargo volume is pretty standard for a sedan. The overall opening is wide enough but not very tall. That being said, I was able to easily fit one of those big 60-litre storage containers at the back—without the lid—which isn’t half bad. That tells me that it’ll fulfill most daily tasks without space being much of an issue.

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2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport engine

Genesis’ 3.3L twin-turbo V6 is such a great engine. It sounds nice and throaty, and in Sport mode which stiffens the steering and the suspension and makes the gearbox more responsive, the G70 turns into a little firecracker that’ll make you addicted to acceleration. The gears are longer and the setup allows the engine to rev higher instead of cutting the fun short. If you wish to channel your inner Lewis Hamilton, the steering wheel is also armed with a pair of paddle shifters to give you control over the gear changes.

The Sport driving mode isn’t your only option. In the 3.3T Sport trim level I drove, there’s a total of five modes (Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom) that allow you to adapt the level of engine response and the suspension’s stiffness to the situation.

Car manufacturers, you should take notes: this is how you do drive modes. In most cars that offer a selection of driving modes, there often comes a point when I don’t even bother to change the settings because the difference between them is barely noticeable and I tend to forget I even have the option.

In the G70’s case, however, the different drive modes not only change the engine and the transmission’s tuning but the steering and the suspension, completely changing the driving experience as you turn the dial.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget to talk about fuel economy—I omitted the topic on purpose. First because if you’re shopping for a light-sipping car, the G70 isn’t it. If I didn’t have to watch the road so much—you know, safety and such—I swear I would have seen the fuel gauge arrow go down. Second, because that’s not the role this car is designed to fulfill. You want this car to go. When a car goes, something usually has to give and that something is usual fuel economy (when fuel is required—electrics are obviously a different beast.)

I was glad when editor Jeff asked me to get back behind the wheel of the 2021 Genesis G70 for this review. I absolutely love this car—one I’d even consider buying if I were on the market for a premium sedan. There, I said it. Though it’s still a bit of an underdog in its segment—the German trifecta’s roots run deep—with the design upgrade coming in 2022, I wouldn’t be surprised if it started received even more attention. Fangirling over.

2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport
Price: $58,000.00
Freight: N/A
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel-drive
Engine: 3.3L, twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 365 hp/376 lb-ft
Fuel economy ratings: 12 L/100 km combined
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac CT4, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Lexus IS, Volvo S60

Link: Genesis Canada

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