- What’s Good: Sophisticated styling inside and out with a super-smooth manual gearbox.
- What’s Bad: Unfortunately trunk space and rear legroom have been sacrificed to bolster its sleek looks.
I have to admit that the last time I drove a Genesis it was a model within the Hyundai family and not a stand-alone brand.
Back then the Hyundai Genesis was taking aim at the luxury market, although a great car to drive, it seemed to lack the finer interior, luxury finishes needed to cement itself into one of the hardest market segments to break into.
Now, a few years later, Genesis is now a stand-alone luxury brand with a proven track record of producing luxury cars that easily contend with the best luxury brands the Europeans and Japanese have to offer.
My particular tester was a bit special, not only was it the 2.0L sports model but it came with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear wheel drive – something that is becoming harder to find in the luxury segment these days.
The G70 is built on the same platform as its cousin the Kia Stinger but from the outside it is hard to see any comparisons. Where as the Stinger has sharp, sporty design lines the G70 has been smoothed out and is much more refined.
The long hood and smooth tapering roofline give the G70 an athletic stance that is further enhanced by the high waistline.
The 19-in five-spoke alloy wheels and bright red Brembo brake calipers enhance the over all look adding an aggressive flare. The Sport trim also includes black headlight housing and dark chrome accents on the grille front fender vents.
Up front the large grille, side air vents and slender LED headlights seem to stretch the width of the car accentuating its muscular stance.
Internally the fit and finish is exceptional with attention to detail made obvious everywhere. The quilted Nappa leather seating and door insets accentuate the soft-touch leather on the dash.
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All are finished with bright red stitching that adds to the sporty feel of the G70. The instrumentation is bright and easily read with the eight-inch floating infotainment screen taking pride of place in the centre of the dash. All controls are easily at hand and very easy to use.
The instrument lighting colour is determined by what drive mode the G70 is in making sure the driver is aware at all times of the set up of the vehicle
Under the hood is the Theta-II 2.0-litre turbo TDI engine that pushes out 252 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque. This is matched to a super smooth six-speed manual gearbox that puts the power down to the rear wheels only.
Here’s what makes this car special.
Genesis haven’t just put this combination together and left it at that, they have made this a real drivers car.
The G70 Sport comes with staggered-width alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires-P225/40R19 up front and P255/35R19 on the rear.
The Sport trim also upgrades the brakes to a four-piston front and two-piston rear Brembo high-performance system that adds piece of mind.
A lot of the driving controls have been given back to the driver with Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) and a few others being unavailable in this specific trim level.
On the road the G70 was way more than I had expected.
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Pulling away the clutch was very easily balanced without being too heavy, the gearbox was smooth and I had no trouble finding the gates.
The engine was smooth and quiet but managed to give a nice growl when pushed.
During most of my time behind the wheel the roads were wet and leave covered, the traction control system handled this without me being aware and never noticed any major slippage from the rear end even when aggressively accelerating from a stop.
The G70 has five drive mode selections: Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport and Individual. Each mode tweaks the set up of the vehicle making it perform and handle differently in a number of driving situations.
The G70 seems to be perfectly balanced; pushing it into corners it stayed flat with steering precise.
I did push it hard a couple of times and didn’t manage to push the rear end out, which was comforting. The Brembo brake system brings the G70 to a comfortable stop without fuss even under emergency braking.
Road noise is kept to a minimum without loosing road feel, on the highway the G70 is pleasant to drive with very little wind noise.
On the back lanes the G70 changed personality. The handling was superb, the tighter the bend the more aggressive the G70 became, combined with quick shifts up and down the car became a lot of fun to drive.
I must admit that I was truly surprised by the G70, not only by its striking looks and performance, but by the way Genesis have managed to produce a luxury car that is smooth and quiet when needed but comes alive when pushed.
Not only is the G70 a blast to drive you still benefit from all the niceties you would expect from a luxury sedan.
Genesis has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons with the G70 2.0L Sport MT RWD.
I am sure that the Germans and Japanese will certainly be sitting up and taking notice especially at the price point it is being sold at.
2019 Genesis G70 2.0L Sport RWD
BODY STYLE: Luxury compact sports sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, six-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder (252 hp, 260lb/f. of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium recommended) 12.8/8.5L/100 km city/highway
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
CARGO: 296 litres
WEBSITE: Genesis G70
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