Mountain Wheels: Korea’s luxurious Genesis brand provides all-wheel drive performance options
My fingers are crossed that the new crop of F-150s and Ram trucks recently released from the factory to our regional media fleets will make their way to these pages, plus at long last a trio of Subaru products that I’ll be driving in a few weeks. I appreciate your patience.
In the meantime, let’s address a couple of import vehicles that are perhaps less exotic than I perceived them to be, and certainly demonstrated some new options for folks fixated on Japanese makes such as Acura, Lexus or Infiniti.
In the fall, I got a chance to drive the 2022 Genesis GV70 SUV and the 2022 G70 sedan, two high-output, absolutely striking all-wheel drive automobiles made in Korea but absolutely loaded with performance and even a bit of value, compared to the competition.
While the larger, Tiger Woods-associated GV80 model I drove last year was indeed a somewhat perplexing experience in terms of design and technology, things are just a little more down to earth with both of these vehicles.
I had a $64,045 example of the 375-horsepower, turbocharged V-6 Sport Prestige model of the GV70, whose slightly smaller size is perhaps comparable to an Audi Q5, the Volvo XC60 or an Acura RDX. It’s a beautiful automobile, genuinely fun to drive and also sports an absolutely gigantic cargo area, in addition to a more livable suite of in-cabin tech.
Much like the bigger GV80, the designers went absolutely crazy with a three-dimensional steel grate look, which appears on the lower rear fascia (surrounding a set of rocket engine-styled exhaust ports) and, oddly, on the back blades of my optional 21-inch alloy wheels.
The British sports car-inspired mesh on the front grille and face is a little more planted, with super-thin, double-stacked quad LED headlamps and a bar of LED lamps in the rear.
Behind the wheel and planted in its grippy, very sporty seats, the full complement of horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque are quite easily accessible (especially in a high-strung, manual-only sport-plus mode). Those modes also seriously add to the steering feel, making the GV70 quite the spirited machine, and maybe a little too easy to hit the 21 combined mpg figure while playing around.
I literally did not notice that my Mauna Red GV70 had a blue interior until the final day of my drive, so subtle is that tint. But with broad swaths of Nappa leather across the elevated dash and the tall console, mixed with piano black faces, carbon fiber trim and low-profile air vents, it’s all a pretty mesmerizing experience — the lit-up AC readouts disappear into that black gloss when the vehicle is off.
You get a somewhat more approachable version of the GV80’s twin control knobs, one of which is indeed the gear shifter, and the other an input for the very wide and sophisticated navigation and entertainment screens. It also had the first 3-D rendered digital instrument cluster I ever used, also an option on the S-Class Mercedes, plus an around-view camera that magically inserts a picture of the vehicle itself in the view for easier parking. And, yes, it also had that equally magical forward-and-back self-driving feature on the remote, for shock-and-awe effect.
The G70 is kind of the baby of the family in Genesis’s sedan line, which stretches to a 90-level model and even a Maybach-ish limousine build, so rear seating room was not especially prodigious, sadly. That’s odd, as it looks as big as a C-Class and has an absolutely cavernous trunk, fitted with performance-minded cargo netting.
The G70 — priced at $49,545 as an all-wheel drive Sport Advanced model — is a striking, speedy and blissfully lower-tech variation on the theme, packing 365 horsepower from its 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6. I was actually able to apply more power more quickly here than in the larger turbo in the SUV, threatening to put the car into orbit at times, and producing some cruising on curves that rivaled the Germans for accuracy, smoothness and unending power delivery.
Inside, beautiful but largely devoid of the weird welcoming symphony or children-playing-in-the-snow sound effects (a real setting) of the SUVs, plus those mystery control knobs. It’s clean, light and yet still unique, perhaps reminiscent of what a Kia Stinger is like. I never got to drive one of those, sadly.
Door and console panels are brushed aluminum, with AMG-level finish throughout. There’s no remote navigation input, so you’ve got to reach over and tap the 10.25-inch HD screen.
Andy Stonehouse’s column “Mountain Wheels” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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